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Old 10-04-2019, 06:08 PM
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At our wits end.

Bobby has been with us since May, but recently, say last month or so, he's hormonal. He's fine with my wife, but bites me. Face twice, right hand 8 or 9 times, and a few on my left. He isn't cage bound unless we're out. We recently had his wings clipped (we had it, it was getting worse).

I do not want to give up on this bird, but i fear going near him when he's out due to the biting.

I've already removed any boxes he can 'nest' in, he doesn't really play with toys in his cage, but does enjoys things on the floor.

The last thing I want to do, and I'm the one getting bit is get rid of him. What can we try, as I know there is no 'cure', to help calm him down enough we can manage him.

Thanks Everyone.
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:33 PM
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Re: At our wits end.

I am not owned by a cockatoo so can not offer any advise. I do, however, wonder if you can share any behaviors other than biting that lead you to believe he is being hormonal vs territorial or frightened?
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:10 PM
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Re: At our wits end.

Did Bobby receive a light or substantial clip? I had similar with my most closely bonded Goffins - Gabby. He became a terror while hormonal a few years ago so I had an evaluation by my CAV. Perfectly normal but he suggested a substantial clip. Made a huge difference almost overnight. The psychological effect of grounding had immediate and positive impact.

A few differences, though. Gabby was about 19 or 20 at the time and was "my" bird almost from birth. So we had decades of closeness and regained such after the clipping. Wings grew back and we never had repeat performance.

I hope a significant clip will quickly alter Bobby's behavior. If not, a visit with his vet may be invaluable.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:30 PM
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Re: At our wits end.

Quote: Originally Posted by Scott View Post
Did Bobby receive a light or substantial clip? I had similar with my most closely bonded Goffins - Gabby. He became a terror while hormonal a few years ago so I had an evaluation by my CAV. Perfectly normal but he suggested a substantial clip. Made a huge difference almost overnight. The psychological effect of grounding had immediate and positive impact.

A few differences, though. Gabby was about 19 or 20 at the time and was "my" bird almost from birth. So we had decades of closeness and regained such after the clipping. Wings grew back and we never had repeat performance.

I hope a significant clip will quickly alter Bobby's behavior. If not, a visit with his vet may be invaluable.
Have to agree 100% with Scott, grounding him would be a good option and does usually works as had to that with Frankie and finally was able to properly target train him as he would just fly . Now he fully flighted again as he molted shortly. Was able to carrier, harness and free flight train him in that time. Now he flys back on command and doesn't attack people anymore. It took other training as putting him in time out when he would bite and not panicking, but put him on chair, floor, or T stand for 5 minutes and after a while he got the point and stopped biting. The other thing is you can't panic, or show signs of fear, they pick up on that and even negative attention is attention to them.

He was way more aggressive at first and would, not just bite, but fully fly to person and attack anyone that came near his cage and get them where ever he could. Now he a completely different bird and well socialize, doesn't bite anymore. I even mange to get my male U2 Copper to accept him in flock as Cooper didn't like him before and would try to attack him, but now he like him and play and preen him.

Just do a clip of his 5 outermost primary flight feathers on each wing. He still be able to glide, but just not take off.

Make sure your wife not cuddling him, or petting below his head, don't pet under wings or back, or by tail as they take it sexual foreplay and will become more hormonal. Also remove any nest boxes, or anything that can be used as nesting material.

Decrease the amount of light your bird gets every day. Ensure that your bird is getting 11-12 hours of darkness per night. Limiting the amount of daylight and / or artificial light the bird receives. If you cannot sufficiently darken the room the bird is in, then put a dark cover over the cage, but only cover cage when it bedtime. I have the lights in bird room on a custom controller to control the custom LED cage lighting to curb breeding behavior and it worked as one of my female cockatiels use to lay eggs quite a bit and was worried about egg binding as she still to young to breeds, so after did lighting haven't seen a egg since.

This one important is to change cage around as changing the "scenery," and try moving the cage to a different location in house. This helps big time and control hormonal behavior and cage aggression. Provide foraging opportunities and Bird Toys / Entertainment and also change toys around, it keep them distracted and busy.

Worst case stick-train your parrot. This is very important. You may not and don't want to handle a hormonal parrot, as you already know they can bite very hard. T-perches are great. If you use just one simple straight perch, they can move over to your hands and bite. It's easy enough to make such a "T" perch yourself. The manufacturer simply attached a short perch to the long one. Stick-training is a natural process. Simply pushing the perch against the parrot's tummy will prompt them to step up. Always accompany the action with the words "step-up" or "get up" or "up" - whatever you like. This way the parrot knows what is expected. Then this way you hand, or arm is not at risk and you can move him if needed.

Last recourse is take him to a vet and they can prescribed him a drug that will help control his hormonal behavior if needed.

Last edited by ParrotGenie; 10-04-2019 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:09 AM
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Re: At our wits end.

Oh wow, I know how you feel! My female, Rosetta, came to us almost out of her *brain* with hormones! She bit and scratched and flew in everyone's faces with her claws outstretched to do maximum damage. I thought at first she was off her scone (ie. mad)!

Well... I s'pose she was, really. Hormone-mad.

Once I'd realised it was a chemical thing and not some kind of savagery directed at me, I began to watch her and see what, if anything would capture her attention. Nothing did! I tried food rewards and singing to her; I tried distracting her with toys and foraging; I tried leaving the room and ignoring the bites and scratches, but nothing worked. Then one day I thought it might work to try training her and grab her attention that way.

We began target training and within about fifteen minutes, I had 'Setta busily earning rewards and following my chopstick all over the room! Suddenly, her main aim was not to eat my flesh, but to chomp my chopstick and get a sunflower seed. This was the beginning of our relationship and I cannot *tell* you what a difference it made to both of us. I'd been *so* depressed, thinking 'It's not safe to keep a bird like this near my kids! They'll be blinded!'

'Setta is still very switched-on and energetic, but all I have to do now is wave my chopstick and her attention is mine. I think this all goes to the massive intelligence of cockatoos. They truly relish the stimulation that training gives them. It makes them think and solve problems as they would have had to do in the wild. In line with this, I try to give my birds most of their food hidden in paper packets and small cardboard boxes or egg cartons. Searching for food seems to keep them intellectually occupied and has certainly cut down on the noise index at our house.

Along with this, I've been trying for quite a while now to find an opposite gender friend for Rosetta. This is a very personal decision, but I believe my animals deserve the chance to mate and enjoy a full pair-bond as they would have had in the wild. My Alexandrines are an extremely happy male/female pair and occupy one another fully in terms of companionship and active play. I want that for 'Setta as well, but do you think in this great, wide, brown land I can find a suitable male corella to come and marry her?

I cannot.

I shall post most joyfully when 'Setta's nuptials are imminent. In the meantime, she yells and bounces and hops around, nearly going bonkers every time a wild flock flies over. I'm quite sure she's propositioning every bloke in the sky: 'Oy! G'day! You're a bit of all right! Come on down and see me sometime!'

Do use all your creativity with your boy. He's not attacking *you* when he bites, he's just frustrated and taking it out on the one he loves, y'know? Do keep us informed! I hope you find an answer to Bobby's frustration and reach a new understanding.

PS. Two things I always recommend to owners of birds that bite: i) *always* carry a chopstick to offer the bird (If his mouth's full of chopstick, there's no room in it for your flesh) and ii) when you offer your hand, offer the back of your very tightly-closed fist. If he bites, he won't be able to get a purchase on the flat back of your hand and it should save you some skin. Never ever offer your fingers: that's just begging for stitches!

PPS. Madge got me a beauty this afternoon. I was sitting in a deck chair near her cage and I felt her reach to groom my hair. Moving closer, I reached behind me (without looking) to poke my plait closer to her. Hm. Won't be doin' that again in a hurry. She nearly had my finger off at the elbow! (Madge is just a tad cage aggressive, but very sweet outside of it).
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:02 AM
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Re: At our wits end.

Thanks everyone, lots of reading to do.
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Old 10-07-2019, 01:48 PM
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Re: At our wits end.

My Rocky can't (or won't, not sure which) fly, so hormonal behavior can't be curbed by clipping him. There are only two people at my house, and I'm the target when he gets hormonal, so my husband has to deal with him when I can't. The usual parrot tricks to stop hormonal behavior don't always work on a cockatoo -- that is, pet only the head, early bedtime, plenty of sleep, ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. If you're the target of the attacks, you just have to wait it out and let someone else handle him in the meantime. Trick training, as suggested above, might be an option, but again, with Rocky, when he's in full blown hormone insanity, NOTHING works but time.
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Old 10-07-2019, 02:20 PM
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Re: At our wits end.

Quote: Originally Posted by Siobhan View Post
My Rocky can't (or won't, not sure which) fly, so hormonal behavior can't be curbed by clipping him. There are only two people at my house, and I'm the target when he gets hormonal, so my husband has to deal with him when I can't. The usual parrot tricks to stop hormonal behavior don't always work on a cockatoo -- that is, pet only the head, early bedtime, plenty of sleep, ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. If you're the target of the attacks, you just have to wait it out and let someone else handle him in the meantime. Trick training, as suggested above, might be an option, but again, with Rocky, when he's in full blown hormone insanity, NOTHING works but time.
First get him to step on a T stick or a perch is referred to as "stick training." It's is pretty much how you handle and train a bird that's not able to be handled at first, or hormonal . It's a less invasive approach and make sure he clipped. Also get him to bite the stick instead of you and reward him when he bites the stick, or use a clicker, or treat. You have to target and stick train him, done on some of the most aggressive birds and works wonders.

One main reason birds attack other people when they get Hormonal is they think you are treat to that person which is your husband. Break the just Pair Bond, if your bird becomes jealous of your husband interactions with other people, you need to better socialize your bird and show it that these people are not a threat to the relationship it has with your husband, since it you are the one he attacks.

Try various confidence-building exercises with other people and have your husband stay nearby to show his approval. You might, for instance, have friends, or family members offer your bird a treat whenever they enter the house. To reinforce good behavior, they should also praise the bird in a happy, upbeat voice while making eye contact.

Another exercise is to lay out your bird's food on a towel in front of the bird and have your family pick at it with their fingers, just like a bird does with its beak. If you do this regularly, your bird may want to join in the fun. They can also help you clean the cage or give your bird food or water so it is comfortable with your family's presence. This is how you socialize your bird, have them talk to the bird, have your husband in the room nearby while this is happening, that very important. Even while your cleaning his cage.

I did this with Baby as she would attack and even dive bomb people that came near me when she was hormonal. It was bad to the point everyone feared her. Now anyone can pick her up and play with her and she loves the attention, even during mating season. She goes out to stores with me as well and let people pet her and etc. So yes it possible to curb the behavior.

Of course take it slow, no sudden movements. Never have people, or yourself approach the bird to quick, it one sure way to get bitten. At the same time don't show fear, or yell, one way to become a target.

Last edited by ParrotGenie; 10-07-2019 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:29 AM
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Re: At our wits end.

I thought I'd give everyone here a quick update. After the last bite, I wanted rid of the bird. I'd had enough. My wife and I were both naturally upset. As we went down that path, I posted here and started other research. So in the end, we are not going to re-home him. I didn't want to pawn off another mis-understood cockatoo. We all know that happens to far too many of them.

I like to think we're going to invest in him, first off, by a bigger cage. I'm looking at one around 30" x 40" so there are a lot of toys for him. His current cage is tall and narrow and doesn't leave a lot of room.

That's one thing, the other is various methods to try to lower the hormone monster. I still won't handle him right now, but I will engage when he's in his cage, or even on his cage.

We have a really good vet close buy, and the School of Veterinary Medicine is in Guelph, maybe 30-45 drive. We will probable make an appoint with the vet to check how is wings are clipped and some diet tweaks.

So for now, it's a work in progress. But we have a goal.

And the approach we use with Bobby will only help the other two birds, though the CAG and Quaker are not as bad as Bobby as been.

For everyone who posted, we both thank you very much.

Mark & Jen.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:12 AM
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Re: At our wits end.

My utmost respect for taking the high road with Bobby. "Investing" is the perfect metaphor; emotionally, financially, and hopefully no more blood!

I'd recommend verifying wing clipping is significant, just this side of extreme. Restricted mobility made dramatic difference with Gabby. They'll readily grow back with a healthy bird.

Please keep us updated, wishing you success with a newly well adjusted Bobby!
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