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Old 04-16-2015, 06:49 PM
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Galah biting feet could use some help

Just got Charlie he is about 1 year old Galah Cockatoo. He is very friendly and is comfortable being around people. When I get him out, whether it is to do training or just let him play or follow me around as I'm cleaning his cage, he attempts to bite my feet. He will go for my slippers or my socks. He will also bite at my clothing and the floors in my house. They are hardwood floors.

Now, so far any type of new toy I try to get him to play with outside his cage has been unsuccessful. In fact he typically is scared of anything new I put in front of him and will move away from it and then goes back to my feet or the floor. I have tried wooden toys, random things around the house, straws, and those little cat balls with the bells. If I get up and move, he will follow, and then go for me feet again when I stop.

So far I've dealt with it by getting something he doesn't like, (which is almost everything lol) and use it to block him once he goes in for my feet or the floor. I carry a object in my pocket and I block him with it. He will spread his wings and back up. It seems to have slowed him down somewhat but he is still doing it. I don't say anything or touch him at all when doing this.

Is this the right thing to do with this situation?
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Old 04-16-2015, 07:50 PM
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Re: Galah biting feet could use some help

For many reasons, I don't think the floor is the best place for parrots to be. Mine are not allowed on the floor and so feet-biting isn't a problem for me. LOL!

You say Charlie is still new. If that's the case, he probably hasn't quite settled in yet and is still sussing out his new environment. Some birds can take weeks to finally feel at home and loosen up enough to play and interact. Galahs are very tactile and love tasting things, chewing things and testing things with their beaks. Mine likes to rub his beak along the surface of things as if sharpening it (the beak). His favourite is an empty pizza box - I think he likes the sound it makes - but he'll also rub on fabrics or metal or anything that feels new to him.

If Charlie's not playing with his toys yet, then that sort of hints to me he's still a bit disoriented. Why not start by offering him one toy and spending time with him teaching him how to handle it? Put the toy in his cage or hang it from the roof of the cage so he can see it and examine it. Galahs are not like budgies: they won't normally peck at a bell or play with a mirror. They like to chew and rip things apart. Anything wooden or cardboard is potential chew-material. Pizza boxes are good (you might want to cut one down at first, since they're so big). My Dominic just loves the drink trays you get at McDonald's: there must be something about that particular cardboard that gels with his personality. LOL! Wooden toys are OK, but make sure they're not painted or treated with anything toxic. Soft woods that are easily stripped or chewed are great! Australian paperbark (Melaleuca) is like gold for a Galah because it strips off in thin layers like - well - paper. If you can get your hands on any kind of Australian foliage, that would be good for Charlie to chomp on.

In my experience, birds that chase and bite feet are generally enlarging their personal space. I think it starts out from a fear reaction and quickly becomes a learned behaviour. Maybe Charlie was trying to get you to move away from him at first and then once he found it worked, he's continuing to do it because he can?

I'd strongly recommend not allowing him on the floor, at least for now. Whenever he goes there, pick him up immediately and put him in his 'safe place', whether that's the cage-top, a table or a perch. For the moment, wear shoes whenever Charlie's out of his cage (unless you're happy to have perforated toesies). Be prepared. If Charlie comes at your feet, scoop him up at once and put him in his cage. Galahs are very clever: he won't take long to learn that biting feet will earn him a one-way ticket back to the cage. If you're consistent and attend to the behaviour every single time Charlie does it, you should have it sorted after a day or three.

Afterthought: when Charlie does the feet-thing, does he come running at your feet with his wings spread and his hat up? Does he squawk loudly? If so, then that's definitely a defensive behaviour and he's doing it out of fear. That would be another good reason not to allow him on the floor. Just sayin'...
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Old 04-16-2015, 07:57 PM
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Re: Galah biting feet could use some help

Quote: Originally Posted by Betrisher View Post
For many reasons, I don't think the floor is the best place for parrots to be. Mine are not allowed on the floor and so feet-biting isn't a problem for me. LOL!

You say Charlie is still new. If that's the case, he probably hasn't quite settled in yet and is still sussing out his new environment. Some birds can take weeks to finally feel at home and loosen up enough to play and interact. Galahs are very tactile and love tasting things, chewing things and testing things with their beaks. Mine likes to rub his beak along the surface of things as if sharpening it (the beak). His favourite is an empty pizza box - I think he likes the sound it makes - but he'll also rub on fabrics or metal or anything that feels new to him.

If Charlie's not playing with his toys yet, then that sort of hints to me he's still a bit disoriented. Why not start by offering him one toy and spending time with him teaching him how to handle it? Put the toy in his cage or hang it from the roof of the cage so he can see it and examine it. Galahs are not like budgies: they won't normally peck at a bell or play with a mirror. They like to chew and rip things apart. Anything wooden or cardboard is potential chew-material. Pizza boxes are good (you might want to cut one down at first, since they're so big). My Dominic just loves the drink trays you get at McDonald's: there must be something about that particular cardboard that gels with his personality. LOL! Wooden toys are OK, but make sure they're not painted or treated with anything toxic. Soft woods that are easily stripped or chewed are great! Australian paperbark (Melaleuca) is like gold for a Galah because it strips off in thin layers like - well - paper. If you can get your hands on any kind of Australian foliage, that would be good for Charlie to chomp on.

In my experience, birds that chase and bite feet are generally enlarging their personal space. I think it starts out from a fear reaction and quickly becomes a learned behaviour. Maybe Charlie was trying to get you to move away from him at first and then once he found it worked, he's continuing to do it because he can?

I'd strongly recommend not allowing him on the floor, at least for now. Whenever he goes there, pick him up immediately and put him in his 'safe place', whether that's the cage-top, a table or a perch. For the moment, wear shoes whenever Charlie's out of his cage (unless you're happy to have perforated toesies). Be prepared. If Charlie comes at your feet, scoop him up at once and put him in his cage. Galahs are very clever: he won't take long to learn that biting feet will earn him a one-way ticket back to the cage. If you're consistent and attend to the behaviour every single time Charlie does it, you should have it sorted after a day or three.

Afterthought: when Charlie does the feet-thing, does he come running at your feet with his wings spread and his hat up? Does he squawk loudly? If so, then that's definitely a defensive behaviour and he's doing it out of fear. That would be another good reason not to allow him on the floor. Just sayin'...
Thanks or the advice. He doesn't come squawking or anything. He is very silent and slow in his approach. He doesn't seem scared or that he is trying to attack it. He just likes to bite feet lol.

The main reason I have been letting him on the floor is so he can run around and get some extra exercise since his wings are clipped.
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