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Old 09-05-2018, 10:48 PM
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very suddenly aggressive bird

hi! my black capped conure, theo, has suddenly become hyper agressive- enough so that im incapable of taking him out of his cage, in the last day or so. hes bitten me hard enough to draw blood the two times i attempted, which is very upsetting because he hasnt done so since i got him.

i got him back in February from a woman who had been lying about the care he was receiving. i have since adjusted this (pellets, millet, cuttlebone ect.) he has a long list of behavioural issues that i have been working very hard to manage- we go to a bird training school once a month! im really not sure whats suddenly spurred this on...
i did put him in his harness (that he currently does not very much like) over the weekend, but he was doing fine until today. i did start school today, but ive been away for 8 hour shifts at work over the summer. hes also very attached to my dad, and has been exhibiting the same behaviors towards him. hes roughly 9 years old, hatched 2009, not a DNA'd male. they said he was, but didnt have any paperwork on him.

is he just having a bad day? should i start cutting down how long his UVB light is on during the day as the season changes? at the moment it usually goes on at 8am and off around 8pm. he gets up at 7:30 and goes to bed at 9.

any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:53 AM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

No idea, sorry (I am struggling with an all of a sudden lunging and biting macaw as well)
could be something seasonal ?


New moon next saturday, so we can rule out were-parrot (as in werewolf)
(I know, not much help - I hope someone else will have a brainwave about this)
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:16 AM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

Remember- this is about the time of year most parrots in the northern hemisphere begin their annual molt (which has to be uncomfortable for them and can cause them to become quite irritable) and also, they most certainly are sensitive to seasonal changes! 9 is far too old for a conure to be hitting puberty and it is just not the right time of year for hormonal behavior, though it's possible his hormones are out of whack.

I suspect though he is reacting to a change of some sort. Parrots can exhibit pretty extreme reactions to things they don't like and it doesn't necessarily have to be something huge and obviously scary to really piss them off. Has anything changed about his environment lately? A new toy in his cage or a new decor item in the room where he can see it? Have you yourself changed anything about your appearance? New hair style/color, painted your nails, wore a bold color or pattern clothing item, new glasses etc....?
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:13 AM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

Hi, if you are forcing him into the flight suits. That's your issue right there. Judt because conures are small enough to man handle into a flight suit. It takes a great deal of positive training to get them to accept the harnesse. Plus you named several others what with going back to school and all. And Kiwibird is right I have two in moult right now. Burds can also become cage agressive. Let him gaurd his cage, let him come out in his own, then work with him away from the cage. Lots of understanding, patience. Don't take this bites so personally, there over and done with. I've gone through brief periods of biting but worked through it, to have years with no bites.youbcan do this and work past this. Doend time with your bird even if you are on opposite sides if the bars and talk connect with him. Many behaviors can improve by spending more time with the bird, eating gruop meals together really benefits them. Plenty of bath time options, can offer a bath bowl daily. Can you explain the other behavior issues?
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:49 AM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

Excellent points above. May be the "perfect storm" of molting, hormonal activity, and possibly the flight suit.

What type of pellets, are fresh vegetables and fruits offered?
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:56 AM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

He has been molting for about... 6 months now. Before I got him he was on a seed only diet and hes been going through rounds of pins ever since i swapped him over to pellets. While he didnt like the harness, he was pretty content to be outside and, this was on the weekend. The aggressive behavior only arose yesterday.

As for other behavioral issues, there is a few. Thankfully no plucking though!! He only gets along with my dad and I, to the extent that were the only ones who can handle him- my mom has "given up" after being bit a handful of times but to be honest, I didnt expect much from her on this anyway. I believe he has something more or less similar to separation anxiety? When I leave the house or am gone from the room for too long, he screams. This isnt even about attention, because as long as he can see or hear me, hes fine. It's more extreme with my dad, to the point he cant even take a few steps away without him screaming.

I know I shouldnt take his bites personally, it's something that I need to work on myself. Obviously I dont take this out on him, nor would I ever want to. I love him to bits and I really want to help him work through everything.

As for food hes on a 50/50 mix of zupreme and tropican pellets, since he likes the zupreme more but In my opinion the tropican is a little bit better. He gets seeds as a reward, and occasionally in a foraging toy. Fruits and veggies have been difficult because he wasnt ever given veggies til now. He avoids everything green!! He does like cherries, raspberries and his absolute favourite is bell peppers. I'm currently trying to convince him to try the bukchoy I got.

Last edited by Pansexualpuns; 09-06-2018 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:51 PM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

I totally understand about taking bites personally as this is something I have to tell myself and really take the time in my head to be calm and really forgive and forget as my rescue Penny and work on trust. I never went to imply that you were doing any punishment or anything like that at all. More of the mental thing of not getting upset I think they can read our minds lol if not our body language very well. Remember they can communicate by pupil size!!! Where is the cage located? Birds flock call to each other when out of sight, it's good to answer this, nit screaming of course. But try when you first are out of sight doing your own flock call first, I say I'm still here to mine. Sounds like you are doing good on diet. Offer a bowl I use a small square caserol dish with a shallow layer of water every day for bathing. Will he let you preen those pin feathers? If not some misting will help.
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Old 09-06-2018, 03:42 PM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

I just returned from a 7 month overseas deployment, and my conure wasnt happy in the least. He pierced my lip, as well as drew blood a few times. Maybe yours is just angry, and you need to rebond. It depends on how long you had him before you went away as well. I had Mochi a good year and a half, he eats breakfast with me and i sit when i have my coffee. Ive found calmly putting him back in the cage, walking away and ignoring everything for a few tends to do an attitude adjustment, and then we can come out and play. Mochi has free fl oil ght around the house, so maybe see if that will work?
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:24 PM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

I agree that you might need to work on bonding again. Like the person above one of my conures became really aggressive towards my dad after he was gone for work for about 2 months. Before then he would love being around my dad and would even let him stretch his wings himself.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:45 PM
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Re: very suddenly aggressive bird

If this just happened suddenly, out of nowhere, then typically that is due to a sudden change or sudden newness...From what you describe, could be the new schedule, could be the harness (is it just a harness or is it an actual flight-suit? Big difference, harnesses are fine, flight-suits not recommended at all for a number of reasons)...It could also be that his molt is finally just making him irritable. All of my birds, including my Ringneck Dove, are suddenly molting all of their feathers it seems, they are all suddenly covered with pin-feathers and my house has feathers floating around everywhere, especially the Dove, holy cow he molts! It looks like a pillow exploded! Even though he's been molting off and on for months now, that doesn't mean that he didn't just "hit the wall" with it so to speak.

Do you bath/shower him often to help with the molts/pin-feathers? If not, you might want to give that a try, one way or another, as it will not only speed-up the molt, but it will help a lot with his itching from the pin-feathers.

His diet sounds good, I personally switched to Tropican pellets and Tropimix seed-mix about 6 months ago for all of my guys, and they love it. And it was recommended by my CAV over Zupreem Natural, which is what they were on prior...If you're feeding Zupreem Natural pellets they are fine, but if you're feeding Zupreem fruit pellets, then yes, you want to try to switch from them to totally feeding the Tropican, as most-any fruit-flavored pellets are loaded with sugar, Zupreem being one of the worst. Just like feeding them fresh fruit every day, it's not good, just too much sugar, which is converted into fat and stored in their liver, just like the fat from sunflowers seeds and nuts is, no different at all. So go easy on the fresh fruit too...Try some of the different, "meatier" fresh veggies, such as different Squash, Sweet Potato, Eggplant, Okra, etc. They tend to love these even if they don't seem to like fresh greens or the more common fresh veggies like Green Beans, Pea Pods, Broccoli, Carrots, etc.

Also, as far as putting him under an artificial UVB light, you should really consider not doing so, as it's totally unnecessary and can actually be counterproductive and literally harmful to them, depending on what type of UVB bulb you're using. If it's a Coil/Spiral UVB bulb it's bad news, for any pets, including reptiles and amphibians, as they ALL emit very harmful light rays that are a byproduct of the manufacturing process, and they are well-known to cause severe eye damage, blindness, skin damage, feather shaft damage, etc. In addition, Coil/Spiral UVB bulbs, as well as Compact UVB bulbs (regular lightbulb-shaped bulbs) are extremely weak in the amount of UVB light they emit, to the point that you can put a Bearded Dragon under them for 14 hours a day and they still readily and quickly develop Metabolic Bone Disease, simply because they just don't emit enough UVB light to be beneficial in any way. So really the only recommended UVB lights for the types of creatures who actually need them/require them to survive, such as most reptiles and amphibians, are either T10 or the stronger T5 strength UVB tubes mounted inside of strip-light fixture, and usually they need to be 10.0 UVB tubes to be effective. However, birds do not at all benefit from being underneath an artificial UVB light at all, no more than human beings, dogs, cats, etc. would benefit from them. Birds do not need to sit under an artificial UVB light in order for their bodies to manufacture Vitamin D3 or to be able to digest, process, or use the Calcium that they ingest, or any other mineral or vitamin. And the fact is that sitting your bird underneath an artificial UVB light is not only pointless, but 9 times out of 10, it ends-up doing much more harm than good, especially if you're using either a Coil/Spiral or Compact UVB bulb. The only reason companies like ZooMed and Arcadia started marketing UVB bulbs for birds was for revenue, not based on any scientific research or studies saying that their are any benefits at all, which is completely backed-up by the physiology of a bird. Changing your bird's diet from being all-seeds to being a healthy fortified pellet supplemented by a healthy, non-sunflower seed, varied seed-mix, with added fresh veggies daily, and then occasionally getting him outside for some natural sunlight is going to give him everything he needs without the risks you're putting him at by putting him under an artificial UVB light.
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