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Old 07-17-2019, 12:30 PM
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Unhappy Young Green Cheek Biting

I recently adopted a 6 month old green cheek conure.
Problem is, he's rather nippy. I've done so much research and tried so many methods in order to get him to stop, but nothing has worked. He bites hard to the point it breaks my skin.
Here is what I have tried so far:

- Blowing on him gently to distract him.
- Not reacting at all to the bite and letting him bite me (he simply pinches harder and harder, as if he's trying to rip off a little piece).
- Not making any sounds or sudden movements, removing my hand, and turning away to ignore him.
- Leaving him alone for awhile.
- Giving him treats when he allows me to pet him and then turning my back to ignore him if he bites (he stopped biting as hard for a bit, more like gentle little nibbles, but they've resorted back to hard nips).

He doesn't act frightened. I'll approach him with my hand or a finger very slowly and calmly. He'll just open his beak and slowly try to latch on to my finger, it's not a lunge like an attack. At one point he was nestled on my shoulder and I was petting him no problem. It's when he's anywhere else he gets bitey. It's a big problem as I can't get him to step up because he'll just bite my hand/arms.
I'm worried his previous owner handled him too roughly. They would just grab him in his cage.

Should I try using gloves for now?

Last edited by aleks0_0; 07-17-2019 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 07-17-2019, 12:34 PM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

Green cheeks are notorious for being nippy! It's just a very common thing for them, so you are not alone.

Some options....
- Stick training , training him to be on a perch and getting him to go where he needs, no finger interaction.

- when he attempts biting, try to distract him with a chewable toy in your hand, something he can bite down on hard instead. Same principle as teething puppies, where you want to give them something else to chew on.

Hope that helps a little. Lots of green cheek owners on here who will hopefully chime in and offer some more advice.
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:24 PM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

Yep most GCC owners have to deal with bites at some point..you can get past it and back to a cuddles baby, but with only rare bites.
Be clearer that you don't appreciate the behavior, say no, if no other pets put right on the floor, birds hate this. But then pick right back up and go on about your life , a second bite I say no and take them to the cage for ten minutes time out.
Yep they will bite harder, yep they learn the most tender spot to bite,.
I've said in other posts GCC run a tight ship and they don't back down, they expect you to behave perfectly.
Earlier in the year my GCC of five years started bites, started running to me to bite me!!! As I believe bites are the fault of humans not the birds. I had to figure out what went wrong, you can look up my Ta-dahs week of biting. Basically three things I identified as the problem. Number one inadvertently caused her to develop fear of hands, by using my hands to shoo get away from another bird. I used treats, patience, and stoped letting my hands be " bad guys" abd payed very close attention to her body language. We remain bite free and happy now. It wss a surprise to me that she turned breifly into a blood letting beastie, but we got through it and you can too. Has anything changed in her routine, have you done any cage make overes?
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:46 PM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

The step up nip is normal! He is steadying your hand!
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:03 PM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

In the wild birds in a tree may use their beak to test the branch they are stepping onto to ensure it's strong enough to hold them.
It's not a bite.
It's not surprising when this instinctive behavior occurs when a finger is offered as a perch.

Birds have wings instead of hands, so the beak gets used for lots of stuff we'd use our hands for.
People new to birds often mistake this for "biting".
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:35 PM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

Agree with above - nippiness is a GCC thing, and you can work through it. I’d like to ask how long you’ve had your recent addition and how long you’ve been working on the nipping?

It does take time to work through and develop boundaries with your bird. I would be hesitant to use gloves - sometimes that can really freak them out and set you back further. My Tango took about two months of using a consistent method to get past his “piranha” phase. Stanley was a really bad biter and he took about a month and a half to get there. Both of my birds came to me as adults so it might have taken a bit longer than it would with a younger bird. There’s a few good threads on biting in the conure sub-forum (it’s a pretty common theme among conure people lol).
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Old 07-18-2019, 09:39 AM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

I'm not familiar with conures, but the consensus seems to be they are bitey. Perhaps bite pressure training may help? Bite pressure training?
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:34 AM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

My Pineapple is 18 months old and has never bitten me...UNTIL RECENTLY.
I live alone but about 10 months ago, I entered into a relationship that has become serious.
This lady loves my Buddy and handles him all the time.

That's when the biting started, especially towards me. Buddy seems to prefer her over me when she stays here for a few days. He does bite her also on occasion, especially when it's time to put him back in his cage.
He does interact with both of us which I feel fortunate about, but he will bite me more than her.

Here's the funny part. When she goes home, and it's just me and Buddy...no biting. He returns to being a sweet affectionate bird.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:12 PM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

I'd just give your little one more time. Birds change at a slower pace than most folks would like, but it's worth the wait. if it helps, I just adopted a 14 1/2 year-old conure who was as sweet as could be for the first few days....until...chomp! much chomping.

To be fair, she went from her old home to a new one, then to the vet for a senior birdie checkup. Then into a new cage since hers was tall and narrow with dowel perches and she has a touch of arthritis in her feet. New cage is shorter, wider, opens at the top and has branch and rope perches and new toys. Scary! But she seems to be enjoying the exploration.

On the plus side, she hasn't bitten me today, and even came over on her outside rope perch to give me a little head butt and take a carrot slice. I think we'll be on speaking terms again before the year is out.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:31 PM
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Re: Young Green Cheek Biting

As an owner of now three Green Cheeks, I feel your pain. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Point training works wonders. It helps you build trust in your relationship. I love watching Dave and Jamieleigh on YouTube. The name of their channel is BirdTricks.

Learn the body language of your bird. If he hunches over and tries to get away. Don’t push it, he is just saying no right now. That doesn’t mean it won’t be yes later. Find out what motivates them. Mine are very food oriented. They will do anything for a sunflower seed. It took me a while and I had to buy a lot of different treats to find what they like. Nutriberries are almost always an instant hit but just don’t give to many.

Which leads to me to diet. Feed lots of vegetables (no ovacado, onion or garlic), some fruits (a couple of times per week as a treat) and a high quality pellet. Take it easy on the seed. My Son used to give Izzy tons of tears like popcorn, graham crackers, only fruit and seed. She was super hyper and bit a lot. Now that Izzy lives with me and is eating right, she has calmed down and has not nipped in a long time. It wasn’t his fault but his moms. She feeds her dogs so many treats that the turn their nose up to anything good for them.

I personally involve my conures in as much as I can. The more they see you and interact with you, the better bond you will create. My coworkers think I’m crazy but my birds go on trips in the car with me and love every minute of it.

Take your time and build your relationship. Everything else will fall into place and the biting will stop.

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