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Old 07-26-2020, 02:43 PM
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A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

I have two male sun conures that are several months old now and are actually brothers! Rio and Comso. They have REALLY bonded and most times one won't go anywhere without the other. I love these two like my own children but my question is: WHY all the biting? Now don't misunderstand, they have never done it out of anger it's just like something they just HAVE to do! It seems to start out as a nibble then progressively get a little harder. I can handle most cockatiel bites (which I'm use too but that beck on a sun is a tad bit bigger and stronger than a tiels! LOL! About all I've been told in the past is say NO BITE in a firm voice. One woman grabs hers by the beak (gently of coarse) and says no bite. I tried that and it seems to have helped a little but when they get on a tear, it just seems there's no stopping them except back to the cage. Do other sun owners deal with this?
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Old 07-26-2020, 03:21 PM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

I don't have a sun conure, but I do have a green check who is nearly 8 months old (time has flown!) if they are babies they are testing their bounderies to see what they can get away with.

look up bite pressure training on here. Basically you teach them what is acceptable pressure and what isn't,reward gentle nibbles with praise and the command, for Albie its good bird, gentle. Whenit get too hard after a reminder I will say no biting and put him in time out.

Stop putting them in their cage when they bite hard for time outs. All that teaches them is when they've had enough of you and want to go home all they need to do is bite hard and they go home. Instead put them in a really boring area like the back of an unused chair or the floor. No toys no eye contact no talking to them, totally ignore them.

They are social creatures are to be excluded from the fun time with the clock works really well as they don't like to be excluded from the fun. Albie got the idea very quickly.

Be consistent and patient with them and treat them like a 2yr old human.

Here is the bite pressure training thread : Bite pressure training?

Last edited by Stitchthestitch; 07-26-2020 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Finishing a train of thought and added a link
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:36 PM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

Never had Suns but the conures we have had here have both been biters. To me it seems that they communicate with nips and bites where other birds will hiss, pin eyes or raise feathers. Scratch head in wrong spot = bite. Don't scratch head when they want it = hard bite. Not fast enough to give them treat = several bites on fingertips. Offer finger to step up = bite just so you know they are in charge.
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Old 07-26-2020, 08:06 PM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

Quote: Originally Posted by Txcockatielguy View Post
About all I've been told in the past is say NO BITE in a firm voice. One woman grabs hers by the beak (gently of coarse) and says no bite. I tried that and it seems to have helped a little but when they get on a tear, it just seems there's no stopping them except back to the cage. Do other sun owners deal with this?
Oh, no no no.

This just seems so wrong. Okay, I'm not exactly a "seasoned" owner but I've had her almost a year-and-half. So maybe it'll be different in future.

But you've read the bite pressure training threads, right?

What you do is engage them in beak-play. Try, stroking their beaks or etc. Let them be having FUN with it. Then, the command you want to teach them is "Gentle." or "Gentle!" or even "GENTLE!!" -- The last version means, youre hand (which was supplying them with a fun experience), Goes Away. The less emphatic options mean your hand is going to withdraw slightly. So they can learn to chew your fingers withOut breaking skin or hurthing too much.

This works even better if you've been able to watch how little birds react to each other when they preen each other the wrong way. Various levels of chirp or CHIRP and move-away. Your hand should give your bird just that sort of course-correction- (of course you should leave Off the corrective nip!) -accompanied by the word "gentle" or "please be gentle."
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:47 PM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

Hi there! Congratulations on your 2 sun conures. They're a blast.

I have an 8 year old sun conure who became bitey when he turned about 3 years old (hormonal period). These were not play bites but serious bites, some even drawing blood. It was a bad experience. This phase lasted about 6 months then tapered off over another 12 months or so until it stopped. Now, he just gently nips or nudges with his beak to communicate his disagreement about something (they still need to express themselves). I'll share with you the worst advice I received (so you won't make the same mistake I did) and the best advice that finally solved the issue.

WORST ADVICE I received:

1) Tap or grab the beak when they bite. As lumbering humans, we might forget how strong we are and what we intended to be a gentle tap or grab can be forceful to our delicate birds. It hurts them and can be viewed by the bird as cruel and aggressive. There are other, more correct ways to react to a bite which I will mention down below.

2) Water bottle spray. I admit I did it once or twice at the prodding of a seasoned bird owner. I didn't know any better back then and I will forever feel guilty about it. Never again. This is a huge breach of trust for your bird. It's rude, incredibly threatening and may cause your bird to develop a phobia of water.

3) The earthquake. Basically I was told to gently shake my bird off my shoulder or arm. This did not help and only caused my bird to distrust the stability of his human perch. It also actually had the opposite effect because he would bite harder to grab hold of me.

4) My old vet recommended a wing clip to curb his attitude. This is a controversial subject which I won't go into. People have their reasons for clipping their bird's wings. One thing I stand by is to never clip a bird's wings to curb his aggression or attitude. He is aggressive because of underlying stressors. Clipping his wings will not eliminate those stressors - it will make them worse.

5) This same vet also recommended an injection that inhibits hormones. He said he's done it routinely on some birds (every six months). Some medication can harm our bird's organs (liver for example). I reserve the use of medications for life-threatening conditions, not for a biting bird. He is no longer my vet for this and many other reasons.

BEST ADVICE I received:

1) Understand why your bird is biting. Out of play? Hormones? Perceived threats? Jealousy? By understanding the trigger, you can avoid it. No trigger, no bite. That being said, some triggers are unavoidable because they are part of daily human living. Positive interactions with perceived threats over time have changed my bird's perception towards some (but definitely not all) of them. Positive interactions can mean verbal or tactile praise, treats, demonstrating that an object poses no threat, etc.

2) When a bird bites, make him understand that he hurt you. How? By mimicking birds in the wild. Do not shout in human-speak. Screech like you're a bird that got hurt. This may not be effective on the first go but keep trying. Your bird will understand eventually because it's the kind of noise he would naturally make. So when my bird nips harder than he intended, all I do is screech and he scampers to my face to kiss and groom me. Sometimes I keep screeching just so I could get that special treatment. Hahaha!

3) Walk away. Just like #2, it's a way of making your bird understand that what he did was socially unacceptable. Set the bird down, turn your back on him and exit the room. Gently close the door behind you so he cannot follow - this is important. Shunning is a social response in parrot flocks to punish members who crossed the line. Do not shun him forever. Re-enter the room after 15 to 45 mins depending on how serious the offense was. This method is very effective because it not only communicates to the bird that he did something you didn't like, it also gives you a chance to calm down in a different room. IMPT: Make sure your home is bird-proof so that when you walk away, he won't get into anything that could harm him (ex. fans, wires, open doors/windows, open toilets, stoves, other pets, and so on).

Wow, that was a lot of typing! Sorry if I bored you. This topic is close to my heart and I wanted to make sure the advice I received helps someone else who is going through what I went through. Best of luck! Happy parronting!
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Last edited by BoomBoom; 08-02-2020 at 10:39 AM. Reason: fixed words
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:26 PM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

Quote: Originally Posted by BoomBoom View Post
Hi there! Congratulations on your 2 sun conures. They're a blast.

I have an 8 year old sun conure who became bitey when he turned about 3 years old (hormonal period). These were not play bites but serious bites, some even drawing blood. It was a bad experience. This phase lasted about 6 months then tapered off over another 12 months or so until it stopped. Now, he just gently nips or nudges with his beak to communicate his disagreement about something (they still need to express themselves). I'll share with you the worst advice I received (so you won't make the same mistake I did) and the best advice that finally solved the issue.

WORST ADVICE I received:

1) Tap or grab the beak when they bite. As lumbering humans, we might forget how strong we are and what we intended to be a gentle tap or grab can be forceful to our delicate birds. It hurts them and can be viewed by the bird as cruel and aggressive. There are other, more correct ways to react to a bite which I will mention down below.

2) Water bottle spray. I admit I did it once or twice at the prodding of a seasoned bird owner. I didn't know any better back then and I will forever feel guilty about it. Never again. This is a huge breach of trust for your bird. It's rude, incredibly threatening and may cause your bird to develop a phobia of water.

3) The earthquake. Basically I was told to gently shake my bird off my shoulder or arm. This did not help and only caused my bird to distrust the stability of his human perch. It also actually had the opposite effect because he would bite harder to grab hold of me.

4) My old vet actually recommended a wing clip to curb his attitude. This is a controversial subject and people have their reasons for clipping a bird's wings. I won't go into it. One thing I stand by is to never clip a bird's wings to curb his aggression or attitude. He is aggressive because of underlying stressors. Clipping his wings will not eliminate those stressors - it will make it worse.

5) This same vet also recommended an injection that inhibits hormones. Shocking. He said he's done it routinely on some birds (every six months). Some medication can ruin our bird's organs (liver for example). I reserve the use medications for life-threatening conditions, not for a biting bird. He is no longer my vet for this and many other reasons.

BEST ADVICE I received:

1) Understand why your bird is biting. Out of play? Hormones? Perceived threats? Jealousy? By understanding the trigger, we win half the battle by avoiding the trigger (when possible) or teaching the bird that the trigger is not a threat. Teaching a bird that something is not a threat is a whole other topic and one that is still a hit or miss for me. I do want to say that positive interactions with perceived threats over time has changed my bird's perception towards some of them. Positive interactions can mean verbal or tactile praise, treats, showing him that it is safe to interact with the object, etc.

2) When a bird bites, make him understand that he hurt you. How? By mimicking birds in the wild. Do not shout in human-speak. Screech like you're a bird that got hurt. This may not be effective on the first try but keep sticking to it and be consistent. Eventually your bird will understand because he makes the same kind of noises (i.e. I accidentally pinch a not-ready pin feather sometimes). Now when my bird nips harder than he intended, I screech and he scampers to my face to kiss and groom me. Sometimes I keep screeching just to get that special treatment. Hahaha!

3) This is an extension to #2, of making your bird understand that what he did was not socially acceptable. Walk away. Leave the bird, turn your back at him and leave the room. Close the door behind you so he cannot follow - this is important. Shunning is a social response in parrot flocks to punish members who crossed the line. Do not shun him forever though. Go back and give him attention after 15 to 45 mins depending on how serious the offence was. This method was the most effective for me because it not only communicates to the bird that what he did was not acceptable, it also allows you to calm down in another room. Birds sense an upset human very well. IMPT: Make sure that your home is bird-proof so that when you walk away, your bird won't get into anything that would harm him (ex. fans, wires, open doors/windows, open toilets, stoves, other pets, etc.).

Wow, that was a lot of typing! Sorry if I bored you. This topic is close to my heart and I wanted to make sure the advice I received helps someone else who is going through what I went through. Best of luck! Happy parronting!
Thank you for writing this. This is a perfect explanation & everyone who has a bird should read it.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:15 PM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

Thank you for saying that, Fiddlejen. I hope it helps others. It really worked for my situation, which was indeed very grim back then. Cheers to you and your flock!
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Last edited by BoomBoom; 08-01-2020 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:09 AM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

Dear Boom Boom, Great post on biting.Have a question for you.How do Sun Conures compare to GCC as far as behavior.I have a sweetheart boy GCC.Never had any experience with Suns.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:23 AM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

Hi Bonita,

Sadly I have no experience with GCCs to properly answer your question. From what I've read, GCCs have very similar temperaments to sun conures: very affectionate, cuddly, social and opinionated*. They are very much a pair-bond kind of bird so they need a lot of time spent with their chosen human.

*Opinionated in the sense that they have big personalities in their tiny bodies. I see a lot of threads about GCC biting behaviour so they don't differ in that aspect from sun conures. So one would need to adjust themselves to this temperament.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:39 PM
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Re: A question for seasoned sun conure owners.

Dear Boom Boom, Thanks for your input ,very helpful.One more question please would a male Sun likely get along with my male GCC? I love to have a Sun.
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