Parrot Forum Header Left  
Go Back   Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community > Species Specific > Conures

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 12:49 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2019
Thanks: 15
Thanked 8 Times in 4 Posts
Socatze is on a distinguished road
Why is my conure attacking me ?

I have a serious possibly stupid question. I have a pineapple gc conure that I've had for about 8 years and for the most part he's nice, we get along, I've had him since he was a baby so I've observed his behavior change from being an infant to an adult and some things I understand, others I don't. Some things are very clear - maybe I have a coffee, he sees it and scurries toward me and leans forward kind of vibrating his wings. After doing this many times I once gave him a sip of coffee and he liked it and kinda danced around, then carried on with his toys and foraging dish and whatever else. Like that's obviously interest in something I have and excitement for being involved or introduced to it. Other things I don't get. Maybe I don't know as much a birds as I think I do and someone can help me out here. For the sake of the visual his cage is not higher than me, it's about eye level. When he comes out of his cage he's fine with stepping up if he's at the door/climbing up the bars or he wants to get to his second "gym" cage but when he's of top of his cage and I present my hand in any way he attacks it. I mean literally attack he'll grab my finger/wrist/forearm whatever he can get and rip into it, biting, causing bleeding. If he's on top of his gym cage, which is lower than eye level, he does the same thing. If he's anywhere else on his cages he'll usually accept my hand when I hold it out but if he's on top of either cage he does not want my hand anywhere near him or the top of the cage. He has dishes and forage tunnels I've built and a bird bath dish I have to clean and refill/switch over so this kind of drives me nuts, trying to evade his viciousness by either getting a branch and moving him with that or trying to keep his attention while I get the dish.

He does this in his cage also. If I'm filling or cleaning his food or water dishes he doesn't care, but if I put my arm in his cage for any other reason like to unscrew a toy he'll specifically seek out my hand/arm and attack me. Am I making him angry or is he really cage territorial? Have I done something wrong? When he was a baby he didn't care it was just in the last couple years this became an increasing issue where today I was off work and we had a great day. I made him a couple toys and forage dishes/toys. He was calling to birds outside, he has some puzzle toys he was going to town on, a little later were chilling out he's relaxing on a branch in his cage and I put my hand in his cage(not fast or threateningly, just casual) to remove a toy with fruit/food all over it and his personality flipped. He lunged and grappled my arm, ripping and tearing at me for about 6 seconds straight, didn't break the skin but it was really vicious and very, very painful. I didn't react at all and I try my hardest not to when he's done any biting, I just went still for a second and when he stopped and went back to his branch continued what I was doing and took the skewer out.

Am I stupid and completely invading his personal space or his he overly cage territorial? I've looked online but all the scenarios are different. Should I stop putting my actual arm/hand in his cage when he's in there, save for changing food and water, and let him come on a perch instead (which he gladly jumps on because he knows he's coming out)? Or is he possessive of his cage and angry at my hand/arm for entering his personal space, and if that's the case, what can I do to really actually fix this? I would never sell him or get rid of him. If I had to accept he's just being agressive of his space, so be it, but I do love him terribly and it depresses me badly when he hurts me and it makes me feel like I'm failing. It really bums me out because some days I question if he just tolerates but actually fears/hates me, and some days I read to him and play music and we have a great time. I have a really demanding job and went from 5/6 days a week at my job to 4 days so I could spend more time with him I really care about his wellbeing but there are days I actually think he genuinely hates me and my coworkers/friends/family don't understand. Most people I know think it's a living decoration and if it screams or bites they say "time to get rid of it". I know people here dont think that. If there's anyone here who can give me some guidance or clarity I would really appreciate it.

I apologize if this isn't the right category for this. I'm on mobile sorry if my format and spelling are awful

Edit: this is an increasingly prevalent behavior that hasn't been present before, just in the last year and a 1/2, growing. I don't wanna be afraid to handle him. He loves to be petted and scritched, taken out of his cage, etc, it's like when my arm/hand comes in unsuspected he gets really possessive and angry of his space

Last edited by Socatze; 06-19-2019 at 01:26 AM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Socatze For This Useful Post:
Flboy Supporting Member (06-19-2019), GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), LaManuka Supporting Member (06-19-2019)
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 05:10 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2019
Thanks: 128
Thanked 324 Times in 181 Posts
RemiBird is on a distinguished road
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

I know what you mean.
I just think that conures are territorial little buggers and that's that. I keep comparing Remi (GCC) to my two cockatiels I used to have (not right I know but sometimes I get tired of his attitude, lol), and Remi is very territorial and moody. It's just the way he is. The cockatiels were even tempered and sweet.
So, maybe it's just how these birds are.
Remi loves to cuddle next to my neck and loves his head scratches and beak rubs. But if I try and change his water or seed, he gets upset, lol. Actually, he sees me taking his seed dish out (to refill it), and waits by the dish holder while I am refilling the dish in the kitchen. He knows I am bringing his seed for him and still tries to bite my hand while I am putting the dish in his cage. How ungrateful is that? LOL.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make is, I think these species are like that. I was just thinking about it last night (after Remi wanted scritches and changed his mind and bit me) - how ungrateful he is, lol! But you can accept them for who they are or not. It's just how they are.
To be honest, Remi is probably the last conure I will have. I love the little bugger, but he is a lot of work.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to RemiBird For This Useful Post:
GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), Socatze (06-19-2019)
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 05:30 AM
LaManuka's Avatar
Supporting Member
Parrots:
Fang (8yo (ab)normal grey cockatiel), HRH Crown Princess Lilly Pilly (purple-crowned lorikeet gotcha date 28 Oct 2018) & Valentino (budgie, gotcha date 14 Feb 2019 at approx 6mo)
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Brisbane Australia
Thanks: 3,734
Thanked 5,530 Times in 1,501 Posts
LaManuka is on a distinguished road
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

Hello and welcome. I would’ve answered your post sooner but I was being pinned down by a needy marauding lorikeet!

I’ve had a GCC for a sum total of about 4 years prior to his premature death last August (still cry over him too) so I do not pretend to know everything about them. What I can tell you though is that my beloved sweet snuggly baby named Baci turned into a vicious and bitey demon practically overnight at the age of about 2 and a bit. Now this was at a time before discovering this forum and I had no idea what had happened to him. It was the middle of a summer heatwave and I’d been working a few long day shifts in a row so he’d been stuck in his cage in a hot house for several days and I thought he hated me for it. Anyway, like you, I found he was hugely vicious around his cage in particular and I couldn’t get near him for days without him lacerating my hands. What saved us was the procedure of laddering. With a few protective band aids on the parts of my hand most likely to get bit, I would ask him to step up, and if/when he bit me, I’d ladder him onto my other hand and back and forth until he stopped biting, usually only a step or two or three until he stopped. Then I’d pop him down somewhere neutral like the back of a chair, and walk away for 5 minutes or so until he cooled off, then go back and repeat the process. Baci was a smart boy and it didn’t take him long to work out that he wasn’t going to get away with biting, he’d grumble at me a little but I’d give him a big kiss and tell him how much I loved him and he’d go about his business quite happily.

Now I know some will say laddering is not the ideal solution to an issue like this, and it by no means meant that he never bit me again. But as a short term circuit-breaker in this type of emotionally fraught situation I found it very useful indeed!

You’ve certainly come to the right place for empathy and understanding, I’ve had birds all my life but still have learned more here in the last 10 months than the preceding 50 years! I hope you’re able come to an understanding with your conure and that you stick around, there are plenty of smart people (way smarter than me!) here who will be only too happy to help you.
__________________
"Words speak us more than we speak them.” Hercule Poirot (He may be fictional, but he’s my favourite “Belgian upstart”!)

Last edited by LaManuka; 06-19-2019 at 07:30 AM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to LaManuka For This Useful Post:
GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), RobynnLynne (07-23-2019), Socatze (06-19-2019)
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 06:21 AM
Senior Member
Parrots:
Umbrella Cockatoo- 11 years old
Join Date: Jul 2018
Thanks: 3,504
Thanked 6,010 Times in 2,443 Posts
noodles123 will become famous soon enough
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

Do you have any snuggle huts. bedding material, tents, hammocks, boxes, hollows or low ledges in the cage? If so, remove them-Access to these sorts of shadowy spaces stimulates hormones (which can manifest as aggression, screaming, self-mutilation etc)---sources outside the cage= access to under furniture, in shelving units with low over-hangs, blankets, pillows, under clothing etc.
The tunnels sound particularly problematic, as they cup the body and provide the same sort of enveloped space that a nest would provide. I know you built them and I am sure he likes them, but tunnels and birds do not mix when it comes to hormones. Territorial behavior is often directly linked to hormonal issues.

Also, pet on the head and neck only when you do. No snuggles---this is like foreplay to them---while it may look cute, it sends the message that you plan to mate with them and if you CAN sexually frustrate a parrot.

Last thing for now, 12 hours of dark, uninterrupted sleep (on a daily routine) = essential. Without consistent sleep and a consistent light/dark schedule, your bird will be unable to properly regulate hormones and immune function. I would advise covering the cage at night and making sure you put him to bed and wake him up at the same time (or within 30 min of) each day.

Oh- and too much sunlight can also result in hormonal issues, as can warm/mushy food and shredding grass toys. The shredding toys and mushy food may not always be an issue, but in an already hormonal bird (which seems to be the case with yours) you will want to avoid these things. The simple act of pulling on and shredding grass can also contribute to the desire to reproduce/nest etc.

MAIN TAKE-AWAYS:
Remove all boxes, tunnels and shadowy spaces from the cage (and prevent access to these spaces outside of the cage), pet only on the head/neck and make sure your bird is getting at least 12 hours of quiet sleep on a nightly routine.

He may not appreciate these changes at first, but I would bet you money that within a few days to a week, you will start to see a decreased intensity to these behaviors. It is very smart of you not to react when bitten-- the only other thing I can say is to read his signals and try not to provide him with opportunities to practice biting--- the more he does it, the easier and more natural it will feel...So, if you know you will be bitten in a scenario, try not to put yourself in that situation to begin with (at least until you have a better handle on the cause).

Last edited by noodles123; 06-19-2019 at 07:59 AM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to noodles123 For This Useful Post:
GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), LaManuka Supporting Member (06-19-2019), munami (06-19-2019), RobynnLynne (07-23-2019), Socatze (06-19-2019)
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 07:54 AM
Flboy's Avatar
Supporting Member
Parrots:
JoJo, 'Special' GCC, Bongo, Cinnamon GCC(wife's)
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Greater Orlando area, Florida
Thanks: 12,135
Thanked 10,960 Times in 5,163 Posts
Flboy is on a distinguished road
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

This is my ‘goto’ Study! Give your little one some time, some of this now sounds like learned behavior!
Every bite is it’s own reward!

BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots
__________________
..David..
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Flboy For This Useful Post:
GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), RobynnLynne (07-23-2019)
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 12:26 PM
SassiBird's Avatar
Senior Member
Parrots:
Black Capped Conure - Sassafras - 2015; GCC Rosie - 2018; GCC Apple Blossom - 2018
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnesota
Thanks: 665
Thanked 311 Times in 132 Posts
SassiBird is on a distinguished road
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

I just want to say, I hear ya. You are not the only one.

I have two GCC's and one Black-cap. One of the GCC's is like that. FWIW she is the most aggressive of the three and they are all females housed together.

I don't think they associate the hands and arms with you. Don't take it personally. Your bird doesn't hate you.

I'll be watching to see what others say as I'm no expert. My advice would be to remove her before the bite happens. Give her something to do that she likes. Then go about your business. Hang tough, friend!
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to SassiBird For This Useful Post:
GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), RobynnLynne (07-23-2019), Socatze (06-19-2019)
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 02:23 PM
Senior Member
Parrots:
Umbrella Cockatoo- 11 years old
Join Date: Jul 2018
Thanks: 3,504
Thanked 6,010 Times in 2,443 Posts
noodles123 will become famous soon enough
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

Quote: Originally Posted by SassiBird View Post
I just want to say, I hear ya. You are not the only one.

I have two GCC's and one Black-cap. One of the GCC's is like that. FWIW she is the most aggressive of the three and they are all females housed together.

I don't think they associate the hands and arms with you. Don't take it personally. Your bird doesn't hate you.

I'll be watching to see what others say as I'm no expert. My advice would be to remove her before the bite happens. Give her something to do that she likes. Then go about your business. Hang tough, friend!
Birds can be hormonally triggered by birds of the same gender---just FYI. That could be part of your problem (and hormonal birds often become territorial in specific locations). Birds also tend to struggle more with unwanted behaviors toward humans when housed with other birds (as they bond with the birds instead). The human becomes the "third wheel" in many cases. If housed separately, I imagine a lot of the aggression would decrease. Birds definitely know they are biting you when they do--if they didn't, bite pressure training etc wouldn't work. They can absolutely discriminate between what is you and what is not you. Every bird I have ever met has been very aware of the fact that my hands are my hands (for better or for worse). That is WHY they bite (to stop you or influence you to change what you are doing in some way). If they thought your hands were just random objects, then they would be biting everything all of the time in the same way--they don't. They can mouth things, then can preen, they can use extreme self-control and precision with their beaks (on objects in their cage, flock-members, baby birds, people etc).They bite things hard/aggressively in order to send a message to the instigator of an unwelcome action or to get a reaction etc. They know that your hands are yours (50000%) They are quite intelligent. This is also why they will bite some people's hands but not all people's hands. Try not brush off your birds intentions to bite as confusion etc because in doing so, you will harm trust and miss the message altogether.

Biting is communication BUT just because a bird bites you does not mean that they hate you- they dislike what you are doing and it is the bird equivalent of putting ones hands out to stop something...or even people raising voices in a argument. So don't take it personally, but DO consider what factors may be causing it (to both the OP and the poster above, I suspect a certain level of hormones/environment are triggering your birds). That means that with proper modifications, you will be able to curtail the behavior. Bird hormones make PMS look like a joke.

Last edited by noodles123; 06-19-2019 at 06:41 PM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to noodles123 For This Useful Post:
GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), RobynnLynne (07-23-2019), Socatze (06-19-2019)
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 06:47 PM
Senior Member
Parrots:
Albino Cockatiel (Ghost) Green Cheek Conure (Echo) Pineapple Green Cheek Conure (Ari)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Australia
Thanks: 40
Thanked 243 Times in 124 Posts
Talven is on a distinguished road
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

From what I understand of birds you are just your head. Every other part of your body is what you are perching on so biting hands or arms is just biting a very strange perch that moves. If your bird starts biting at your face/head aggressively then they have an issue with you.

Some of the biting sounds to me very much like a tantrum. "Nooo don't take me away from the playground!! Waaah!" might be what you get from a toddler. A parrot just bites and shrieks but I think it's the same kind of mindset. The other I think is territorial behaviour. My 2ish year old GCC will attack me if I change anything in his cage but outside of it he is reasonably tolerant of me (He is my wife's bird) while my 1yr old pineapple GCC couldn't care less.

As noodles123 has mentioned about shadowy places already I will just add to it. I had issues with the elder GCC with aggressive biting and territorial behaviour when I got him. He had a snuggle hut type thing that the previous owner got him. Once I found out that they can be fatal to birds I removed it. Within about a week of it being removed the aggressive behaviour dramatically decreased. To me this seems to be a major factor. Anyway that's just my 2 cents. Good luck
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Talven For This Useful Post:
GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), RobynnLynne (07-23-2019), Socatze (06-19-2019)
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 07:11 PM
Senior Member
Parrots:
Umbrella Cockatoo- 11 years old
Join Date: Jul 2018
Thanks: 3,504
Thanked 6,010 Times in 2,443 Posts
noodles123 will become famous soon enough
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

Quote: Originally Posted by Talven View Post
From what I understand of birds you are just your head. Every other part of your body is what you are perching on so biting hands or arms is just biting a very strange perch that moves.

There is no way this is true though! When I got mine, she bit my hands (now she does not--this only stopped when she started trusting me more). I have seen this time and time again with dozens of birds...My bird will bite me when she is mad at for having gone out of town... there is just no way they don't know. Now that she trusts me and we have a bond, she doesn't bite my hands/arms and she is gentle--even when she has slipped and had to use my fingers to catch herself, she did so in a gentle way (not leaving a mark etc). When I first got her, she drew blood more than once from bites directed at ME.

Most parrots (at least birds like cockatoos, greys, Macaws etc) demonstrate object permanence and cockatoos have beaten 4-5 year old kids on intelligence tests involving visual-spatial tasks.

Where did you guys hear this?
All of my experiences contradict this idea...My bird is OBSESSED with my dad when we visit and she will not bite his hand (EVER)--even when he makes he do things she doesn't want to do. She likes me 2nd best and rarely bites (unless she is really mad at me for something that I did---past tense--such as a bad vet appointment or a multi-day trip) but she will occasionally bite other people's hands (unless I put my hand over theirs--then, even if she is mad at them, she won't bite because she doesn't want to bite my hand, but if I remove my hand and they try on their own, the same does not hold true).

Last edited by noodles123; 06-19-2019 at 07:44 PM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to noodles123 For This Useful Post:
GaleriaGila Supporting Member (06-19-2019), RobynnLynne (07-23-2019), Socatze (06-19-2019)
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 07:51 PM
GaleriaGila's Avatar
Supporting Member
Parrots:
The Rickeybird, 35-year-old Patagonian Conure
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Cleveland area
Thanks: 28,238
Thanked 29,867 Times in 9,620 Posts
GaleriaGila will become famous soon enough
Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

Great advice. My two cents?

*sigh*

Life with "Genghis Conure" (aka The Rickeybird)...



As time goes by, you'll find that you can determine just how much you'll put up with. By all means, do try all the great advice you'll get here (like all the above), but I would say that it's okay to compromise a bit in the long run. Your bird is so so so new... most folks think it takes months for a bird to settle in, so this really is a good time to learn and practice the good stuff. You were right about that, and very right to reach out!

Personally, I have reduced biting to almost zero over the years I've spent with the Rickeybird... and a lot of that has involved compromise. I don't do stuff that gets me bitten. Some will say I have let him get away with too much, and that's a fair criticism, but, well... I'm okay with it. I don't do stuff that makes him mad... I don't touch others when he's out; I rarely try to get him to step up onto my hand first. Hand-held perch first, then hand. In some ways, I'm disappointed/embarassed at having such a little monster for a pet, but he is what he is. I ALWAYS wear my hair down when he's on my shoulder, so all he can bite is hair. Really, I don't involve hands much... he doesn't like them. He seems to think the real ME is my head, perched on a weird moveable tree with questionable appendages.

Since he's fully flighted, the ONLY way I get him into the cage is to toss a chile pepper in and he flaps in after it. So food reward is a necessity for me. Time-out doesn't exist in the Rb's kingdom.

I have had some success with using the "earthquake" technique for biting. When he bites, give your hand a swift shake... it should make him let go. The idea... every time he bites, a mysterious earthquske shakes him up. Some people feel this is mean and/or engenders lack of trust. The same can work for clothes biting... give your shoulder a shake, or jump! For me, it has helped.
But please... listen to and try all the good advice you'll get here.
Don't compromise until you know you've done your best. Then just accept and love whatever/whoever your bird turns out to be.

My Rickeybird is in some ways kind of a worse-case scenario, but we have it all worked out between the two of us. Parrots run the gamut (just like people) of temperament and mental stability/brain chemistry. Like the proverbial box of chocolates... ya never know what you're gonna get.
Parrot-owners usually wind up determining their own personal comfort level with various behaviors.

Good luck, and good for you for reaching out.


I think you're wonderful for hanging in there, and trying, and trying, and trying.
I'm glad you're with us.
__________________
My Rickeybird
35 year old Patagonian Conure
The Artist. He chews holes -uh- designs - in cloth. I sell them in my eBay art store, Galeria Pet Portraits.
The Scrapbook. 1984-?. http://www.parrotforums.com/incredib...4-updates.html
The Star. Cinema verite! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyC...22fVRRwfLk9gwA
The Pet of the Day. Suggest one!http://petoftheday.com/archive/2016/May/20.html
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to GaleriaGila For This Useful Post:
RobynnLynne (07-23-2019), Socatze (06-19-2019)
Reply

Lower Navigation
Go Back   Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community > Species Specific > Conures

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sun conure attacking my toes BoomBoom Conures 12 12-18-2015 06:58 PM
Way to make sun conure stop attacking our new sun? James121515 Conures 0 07-29-2015 02:21 PM
Conure tries attacking other parrot bpenniman Conures 4 04-01-2015 09:32 AM
help/advice Conure attacking my 4 year old Bradari Conures 1 12-10-2013 07:37 AM
GC Conure Attacking Me TShea Conures 19 08-07-2012 10:07 PM



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.