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Old 01-22-2019, 06:43 PM
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Training baby conure to be more gentle.

I have a young green cheek conure. Only 3/4 months old.
Very sweet thing but ofcourse cheeky and curious. Problem I'm having is she like to nibble on fingers and ears and the nibbling gets a bit hard and although I try to ignore her it gets to the point she really bites down. I'm pretty tough but friends have struggled with her biting. It doesn't seem to be aggression, she starts by sort of cleaning your ear and then must just be nice and squishy so she chews down harder.

Just wondering with her being young how do I stop her? I dont know if I should get mad at her or distract her.

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Old 01-22-2019, 07:53 PM
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Re: Training baby conure to be more gentle.

You don't EVER want to get mad at her, never get angry, never yell or scold her, and certainly never ever hit or spank her, flick her beak, or anything like that...She's a baby Green Cheek, and that's how they are, it's not aggression, but she does need to learn about "Bite-Pressure"; If you search "Bite Pressure Training" you'll learn quite a bit about that...

However, if she's biting your ears then the best thing to do is not allow her to be on your shoulder until she learns that biting is a no-no...Birds respond to "Positive-Reinforcement" training, meaning you reward them when they do something good or do what you ask them to do, but never to "negative-reinforcement" or punishment...If your Green Cheek bites your eat when she's on your shoulder or head, you need to immediately just tell her "No Bites", not yelling but just tell her, and put her down. Being on your shoulder should be a reward that is earned...

Look-up "The Shunning Method" on here as well. It's the best way to get a "Velcro-Bird" like a Conure to stop biting. Basically whenever they bite you put them on the floor so they are lowest thing in the room, which takes away any dominance they feel (and they hate that), and you literally turn your back to them for 5 minutes and totally ignore them, pretending they aren't in the room, which they hate even more...They usually get the idea pretty quickly, that if they want to held or be on your shoulder they have to earn it and not bite...

***Important note on something you said...You mentioned that "your friends have struggled with her biting"...I highly suggest that you not allow too many people to handle her, in fact I wouldn't let anyone that doesn't live in your house or that isn't at your house on a very regular basis handle her at all...There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one being that they are "flock" animals, and your bird's "flock" is you and whomever else lives in your home...Passing her around to friends or allowing friends to handle her that are not a part of her "flock" and that she doesn't know is a very bad idea, as birds are comfortable within their flock with the people and other birds/animals they know, and that's it...If she bites one of your friends that she doesn't know, that really is asking for continual issues...Plus, if your friends aren't bird owners themselves they may handle her the wrong way, or too rough, or touch her in a way that they shouldn't....Plus, if she's biting your friends enough that "they struggle with it", that's because she's not at all comfortable being touched by them, and rightfully so. They are not her flock, and if you allow your friends to come over and make her uncomfortable and then she bites them, that's not her fault at all, it's your fault for allowing them to touch her...I don't mean that in a rude way, it's just how it works with parrots...They aren't dogs or cats or any other type of "pet", and they typically do not EVER become comfortable with strangers or non-flock members that they don't see every single day handling or touching them...So that isn't something that you're going to change or that will ever change..I have 4 of the sweetest, nicest, most gentle parrots in the world, but that's with me and maybe my mom because she's over here a lot. And that's it. And even my mom is questionable, because she isn't a part of their "flock" and they aren't comfortable with her...So you need to make a rule that no one else but you and whomever else is in her "flock" that lives with her touches or handles her, because it's going to be impossible to teach her to stop biting you if you allow others outside of your house to touch and handle her, because she's NEVER going to be comfortable with that...Again, she's not a dog, and it just doesn't work that way...
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:49 AM
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Re: Training baby conure to be more gentle.

Bite pressure training?


and I do not agree with Ellen on the not-socializing the bird: it is okay for other people to have contact with the bird, but!!!! only if the bird wants it.
So it must always be on the tems ot the bird.
(and the humans must be thourougly instructed in how to behave and not be left alone with the bird)

(My greys are flockbirds just like they are in nature, not one-person birds as they are usually trained to be, do not teach your bird to fear other human beings plze. Sunny is still working on that.)

Just make sure 'holding the bird' is having the bird on a finger/hand, leg etc. but not grabbing it of holding it between hands.
(I know it can be confusing, but when you "hold" a bird it is ON you, you are not restraining it in any way)

Last edited by ChristaNL; 01-23-2019 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:56 PM
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Re: Training baby conure to be more gentle.

FWIW, the socializing experience of my GC has been very different.
Pico is 3-years old, hand-fed, and has never flown since the breeder started the wing trimming before he was weaned.

I began taking Pico out for walks and doing chores starting right when I got him, a week or so after being weaned.
He immediately took to and loved sitting on the shoulders of new people, nibbling on hair and giving neck-cuddles and kisses.
He's been on literally hundreds of shoulders of strangers.
(We live in a mild climate.)

Of course I first judge if the person is suitable for, and open to, this interaction.
Then I explain what to expect, and some dos and don'ts.
IMO the #1 'don't' is the person may not touch Pico, or even getting their hand close to him.
Handling a parrot may not be rocket science, but it does require an amount of training that's not possible in a quick casual encounter.
I, and only I, put Pico on their shoulder and I take him off when either Pico or the human has had enough.
Once in a while we'll meet a very bird-experienced person who gets the green light to handle Pico, which he loves.

I think my no-hands rule is key to why Pico never feels threatened by anyone.
BTW, I never allow Pico contact with a child, even if the child and/or the parents want that experience.
This is for the protection of Pico and of the child, and IMO a sensible liability-limiting strategy.

The people are always delighted, as is Pico.
Often they tell me that it's the first parrot experience they've had.

Many people buy a parrot before doing any homework, so after their encounter - to prevent them from impulsively purchasing parrot - I ask them to watch that 26-minute video on Youtube, "11 Reasons NOT to Get a Parrot".

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Last edited by YSGC; 01-23-2019 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:01 PM
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Re: Training baby conure to be more gentle.

When my GC nibbles too hard on my ear I slowly pull my head away a bit without saying anything.
He gets the message.
At first it took 3 or 4 times pulling away before he'd stop.
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Last edited by YSGC; 01-23-2019 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:16 AM
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Re: Training baby conure to be more gentle.

Thankyou everyone for the info. I've been doing a little shunning and she hasnt chewed my ear since. She likes to sit on my shoulder and seemed to pick up quickly if she chewed on my ear she didn't get the shoulder. She's also less interested in fingers but I'm wearing my silicone watch again and I think that's more squishy to chew on. I give her some shunning after chewing on it and after 2-3 episode she seems to click and focus on other things. She's got some toys and things I allow her to chew and play with. Otherwise she's a very well behaved bird.

In regards to my friends it's only 3 of them. I make sure that my bird has free choice. They never force her to them, I generally open up her cage and allow her to do as she pleases. Sometimes she goes back to her cage for a feed or to sit on top. But she does enjoy their company and will at times want to be with them instead of me.

Thanks for the info and help. I wanted to be sure I don't mess up while she's still young and develop bad habits.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:49 AM
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Re: Training baby conure to be more gentle.

Sounds like you’ve got this . You are absolutely right to set boundaries (and not bad habits) while she’s young. It’s good that she seems curious about different people and that you let her choose if she wants to socialize - I feel that it benefits them later if “new people” are not a terrifying concept. The shunning method has worked well for me to limit unwanted behaviours too....and she sounds like she picked up on those queues well!
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