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Old 04-15-2018, 11:33 PM
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Finley...biting getting worse help!

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This weekend Finley's biting took a turn for the worse. I've tried holding his beak which was highly unsuccessful, I've tried putting him on the floor which seemed to be working until this weekend. I just got a smaller cage out and and made it a "time out" cage and I'm not sure how that will go...not well so far but it's only been half a day. I know another method is ignoring the bites but that's hard because I have Ollie trained so well that I can even tell him not to bite his harness and he'll stop so I can't imagine not having that useful tool with Fin. Ugggg. This is beyond frustrating and I'm definitely getting all worked up about it now too which I know is bad but I can't help it, I'm only human. The things that could have effected Finley differently this weekend are that my husband was home after not seeing him while he's working during the week but that's pretty normal.The weirdest thing is that Ollie went from fighting with Finley to preening him and Ollie seems to really really want to preen him. I'm soooo scared this means that Ollie is shifting mates...or that Finley is. Is there a shift in flock order and Ollie is no longer flock leader? Also, Finley's was keen to ditch me for my husband this weekend too. I can't believe after sooo much progress that there was such a huge back slide. Finley just decided he's going to bite whenever he doesn't like what's happening which is unpredictable and often. He's acting like a spoiled brat and I don't know how to fix it. I'm just sick over this and I'm out of ideas. I didn't want to post this on my story thread because it's just too awful to have staring at me for all eternity. Why is this happening?! Any advice would be much appreciated... especially about Ollie preening him all of a sudden. So weird...
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:52 PM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

Please read this thread first.

BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots


Then let me know your thoughts.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:02 AM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

I have read this... it's the first thing I read when Finley started biting me out of the blue. He has one warning I know of it's a scream he does of I think frustration and annoyance. Sometimes he does it after he bites though which is not helpful. He used to act scared of me a little but only a fraction of the time but now he doesn't even seem scared. He mostly bites when I do an action he does like or I tell him no or not to do something. It seems to be his go to response when he is annoyed or doesn't like what's happening. However, sometimes it's completely out of the blue. To be fair some of these bites don't connect because I know what he is doing and I move my hand or whatever. He does not act aggressive... it's actually more of a defensive thing I think but I'm not sure why. I successfully trained one bird not to bite and I'm not sure why this guy is so difficult.

Also can't anyone weigh in of the preening thing that a of a sudden happened out of the blue? Should I be worried?
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:39 AM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

Birds can change their likes and dislikes, so it's hard to say if he's completely changing who he likes or not.

You do mention "flock leader" which has me a bit concerned. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but I feel as if you mean that he's the dominant one - but in a flock situation, there is no "leader".


Fin is obviously not Ollie, so what may have worked with Ollie may not work with Finley. I don't recommend holding their beaks, using a cage as a time out, ignoring the bites or punishing a bird for biting.

Setting them down (does not have to be on the floor! just not on you!) can certainly help, but we need to look at why the behavior is happening.



Can you teach him new behaviors and if he's acting grumpy, cue the behavior and reward?

Can you redirect his behavior into something he can do? Such as foraging or playing with a toy?

Is he getting enough sleep?

Or enough exercise?




He sounds like a tough cookie to crack, but it may just need to be figuring out his own behavior and working with him in a way that is different to Ollie but is still beneficial to you both?
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:57 AM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

Okay so you're saying there is no "flock leader" in a flock? Hmmm...I was always lead to believe there was one. Fin gets 13 to 14 hours if sleep a night in his own room that is completely dark and quiet. He is getting plenty of exercise, we have Java trees, play stands and multiple cages for him in the house and he's always on the move. I'm not sure I can redirect the biting with a foraging activity because it's usually when I'm holding him so I'm not sure how that would work. I do often distract him with a foot toy or something and sometimes talking bto him a lot helps him feel more comfortable. I can tell mostly he's just being a brat and wants everything to be his way or the highway or the biteway so to speak. Luckily at this juncture his bites are not terribly hard so that's a plus although sometimes they can be hard but not usually. He doesn't usually act grumpy he just decides to be grumpy in the moment and can stop being grumpy and be happy the next. So you don't think a time out cage is a good idea? It's not his regular cage it's a cage that I only use for a time out and looks nothing like a regular cage that is his cage. So the floor is the best, I'm scared he thinks it's a fun game to come and find me after I set him down for biting? I don't want to set him on anything he actually likes because wouldn't he just bite me to get to where he likes? Honestly it just seems like he's acting like a spoiled child throwing a fit for not getting his way and I really hope he'll grow out of it but I know I can't just let him get away with it. I would love to figure out how to crack him...he had been getting better until this weekend...we went a couple days with little or no biting but it all went to crap this weekend and he was worse than ever and of course I acted worse than ever and got really upset which didn't help. I hope both him and I can calm down tomorrow.
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Last edited by Sunnyclover; 04-16-2018 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:25 AM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

I'm not sure where that absurd idea came from that there are flock leaders, but birds are a community. Think of them like a community of neighbors... that constantly fight and bicker, but always have each others backs. Sure, they might fight over resources, but just because one wins a confrontation doesn't mean that they'll win the next. If you read about how parrots actually act out in the wild, you'll find that they rarely bite to cause bodily harm (not to say it doesn't happen! But nowhere near the extent it does in captivity!), birds take turns being the sentry, and overall, they work as "one". They eat at the same times, sleep or nap at the same times, etc.


Can Fin fly at all? From pictures, he appears clipped... flight may help to tire him out and make him better behaved because he may not have as much energy to act out.

Think about it this way... if Fin was a dog and Fin was misbehaving, then we would probably increase exercise via running or more walks and work on desired behaviors. In birds, we kind of do the opposite! We clip them! And if birds don't have a way to get rid of pent up energy, then that energy may become directed towards humans.


You can create foraging activities by hiding treats inside of finger traps, mini paper muffin cups, or any other idea that may come to mind!


Instead of thinking Fin is saying "It's my why or the highway", try and think instead "What is it he's trying to tell me?". Maybe he's not understanding what you are asking of him? Or he's just not ready? Or perhaps the reward isn't of a high enough value? What would he be willing to work for?


A "time out" doesn't need to be 15 minutes! It doesn't need to be 5 minutes! Heck, it doesn't even need to be 1 minute! So no, I do not think a 'time-out' cage is a very good idea. By the time you get him to the cage and put him inside the cage, he's already over the bite incident and has moved on! (unless of course he's still biting you...)


A "time out" can be as short as 3-5 seconds of removing yourself and any rewards he may have received. He *DOES NOT* need to be set down on the floor, but if that's the closest thing, then that's fine, too! But if you are near a chair, a table, a counter, a perch, etc, he can be set down there as well. The main thing is is to remove your attention from him. Try to think of where you went wrong, how you can avoid that in the future, what could he possible do differently, etc. Then see if he'll step up without biting. If he goes to bite, remove yourself again. If he bites, no reward. He steps up without biting, he gets a reward!


If you haven't already, you can train behaviors such as turn around, 'big eagle', wave, pick up an object, etc.


Instead of trying to teach him what not to do, teach him what *TO* do.




I feel like you are already headed in the right direction, just that Fin is being a little harder of a nut to crack!
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:55 AM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

Okay well that's good. Yeah he's only 6 months old and has a long way to go before his flight feathers are grown in. He was ofc clipped when I received him. I can see what you mean about the time it takes to get him to the time out cage and he might forget...he is sometimes still biting me when I get to the floor or time out cage though. He has many many foraging toys that we use on a daily basis including spinning wheels with different doors that open and boxes he can pull out and I can put treats inside. He also has many many foot you and always when I'm on the couch doing play time he has many foot toys to keep him busy. Unlike Ollie he isn't as content to just sit on my shoulder and hang out without a secondary activity but I figured that out long ago. I tried to teach him some tricks but honestly...so far he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed but I'm guessing he just a young toddler and his attention span leaves much to be desired at this time. As far as treats...he likes then but not enough. Unlike Ollie who is very food motivated Finley could care less... he'd be happy eating pellets all day everyday. I was somehow able to potty train him though..which is really strange because after that he didn't care for much training. He's actually really really weird... personally wise. A bit of an odd duck and I'm not entirely surprised he's being so difficult. Thank you for all the help so far. :-)
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:29 AM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

Monica, I believe the concept of flock leader came from a couple different things. Firstly, dogs and pack animals, humans having kept predators as companions for so long due to benefits for hunting skewed our ideas of how prey animal hierarchy worked. People also saw flocks of geese and such flying in the typical V formation and went "Oh so that one at the front is the Alpha" not understanding how the formation worked. Then as time went in this got applied to parrots and height dominance (or as I call it "height confidence") manifested and that got put to a "So the highest one up is the one in charge" that then got to breeders and pet store owners who then told that to uninformed buyers and the myth grew to the point it was believed fact. It's only really been in this past decade the general populace began to realize birds may work differently. Surprising how little people know about the number 3 pet in terms of popularity
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:33 AM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

Thinking about it Desi with him only being 6 months old he still might be finding his way. I had to resolve a few issues with Xander for 3 or 4 month which would of made him 7 months old and then he just changed as he grew up. I agree with whats been said above though with training him. It would encourage him to learn good behaviour through positive reinforcement. Practise step up each day even though he knows it but reward him if he doesnt bite might be a good idea and if he bites put him down and leave him and try again after 10 minutes until he learns he is only gonna get picked up and played with or cuddled if he doesnt bite. On another note spring has hit Xander hard. He is having some really crabby days lately and getting over excited and cooky so that doesnt help them especially being the first time they are going through hormones and i guess from a female perspective you can understand this more. Target training is good fun for you and the bird. Opens up the door to learn tricks ect and its not too hard once they are used to the stick. Keeps them busy. Xander really looks forward to training each day and it usually chills him out for the rest of the evening if he is having a hormonal day. Ill be glad when it passes though lol and im sure Fin will get back to normal and not bite so much. Xander is usually so chilled out and calm and quiet then does a complete U turn on a bad day so hormones have to be a huge part too in recent behaviour. I think in a couple of week Fin will just get back to normal in all honesty but keep encouraging good behaviour still. They really need us this time of year i think. Its nice to have this to look forward to every single year isnt it lol x
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:15 AM
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Re: Finley...biting getting worse help!

Thanks guys. I also think hormones have a roll here even though he's so young. I also just need to chill out about things too, I bet he's picking up on my mood and it's not helping. Today is a new day. I hope to see Improvement.
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