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Old 03-31-2011, 01:16 PM
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aggression and out-of-cage issues (long)

I posted a few months back about Louie's (Jenday conure) feather picking and biting problems. He just turned 3 last week and the feather picking has gotten so much better! The biting is still a huge issue, but we're working on it. I've been consistently setting him down and walking away for a few minutes whenever he bites. He hates being ignored, and short-term, it seems to be having the desired effect of him not biting, although it doesn't stop it completely.

That said, he's got all new issues I'm not sure how to deal with, and I'm beginning to get frustrated with myself (not him) and feel like a bad parrot owner.

He wants out of the cage more and I want him out of the cage more. The problem is that as soon as he's out of the cage, things that don't bother him while he's in the cage (and never used to bother him outside of the cage) turn him into a nervous wreck. Mostly they are noises that he hears on a daily basis and never responds to when he's in his cage...the sound of our dishwasher, buses going by outside, etc. But they startle him when he's out and about, and he bites at me when it happens.

I don't think he's overbonded in the sense that he doesn't take to other people. He sees different people all the time and responds well to most people stopping to talk to him, hold him, or give him a treat. He's extremely clingy toward me though. If he's out, I can't get him off of me. I totally take the blame for this one because I knew nothing about overbonding when I got him, but it is something I'm trying to correct. I bought him a sturdy perch to sit on outside of the cage and he hates it. I sit him on it and he immediately tries to get back to me, leaning toward me till he almost falls off and flapping his wings. He makes himself so anxious that he begins to show visible signs of distress (eyes wide, crouched down, labored breathing, shaking) and I feel so guilty for stressing him out that I either pick him back up to comfort him or put him in his cage where he feels more secure. I feel like we're not getting anywhere and I should let him stress out a little, calm down, and see that the perch is not an unsafe place, but I'm also afraid that too much stress could make him ill.

I'm also worried he's starting to show signs of aggression toward random people, even people he's known his whole life. When we had our dog, Louie used to do what I called his "aggressive dance" where he puffs up, growls, and waddles back and forth. Sometimes he screams along with it. I can understand why he did it with the dog, but he's started doing it to people now too. I've told them not to talk to him while he's doing it because I don't want it reinforced as an okay behavior.

I've had him on my shoulder since day one and he's always been fine, loved to snuggle into my neck. Had to completely change that recently because he's started biting while on shoulders. I've already been bitten in the face and neck once and a friend of mine got a nip to the back of the head. I hate to change the rules mid-game, but I cannot allow that to happen to anyone again.

I know hormones could be playing a role in a lot of this, but I can't even scratch my little man's head anymore without having my fingers chewed off, and sometimes I sit around wondering where my cuddly baby boy went. Please don't think I love him any less; he's got an incredibly charming personality, is smarter than I'd ever imagined a bird could be (which he likes to use to try to manipulate his mama ), and I really don't mind the challenge. I just want him to be happy and well-adjusted, and I'm beginning to feel frustrated that I can't give him that.

Any advice about any of this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading my incredibly long post!
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:35 PM
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Re: aggression and out-of-cage issues (long)

lol sounds like his coming of age

from my experiance with nut, when she was in season, nothing we did worked, she just kinda got over it in her own time, she did the whole feather chewing, biting, agressive behaviour, didnt know what she wanted, other then to mate!

trip to the vets for a check over, just to be sure

when he is startled what is your reaction?? as sometimes nut has a mad half hour, where she flaps about, circles the room, screaming sometimes, i just calmly look at her an say *whats up you nut?? and ignore her, she might have a few more laps, but will calm down soon after that, wheras before i use to try to calm her an she just did it more through out the day

and lol nut use to look all i want a head rub an when we got close enough she lunge with intent, now when ever i go to give her a head rub, i make a clear signal finger scratching the air an watch her reaction, even when scratching her head

as for biting your face?? i'd not let him on your shoulder while he is in this mood, funny thing is nuts fav person is my man, yet she will bite his face, every now an again, not hard, but not soft for it to be classed as a nibble. i've noticed its when his intently watching telly etc or talking to me for any period of time

i'd say stay in room with him but reduce his out of cage time, but put plenty of things in his cage for him to destroy!

but please don't feel bad! its horrible when they do this, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you will have your little man back
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:33 PM
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Re: aggression and out-of-cage issues (long)

Over the years i have had Sun Conures as pets & have found when they mature they do change. But not to the extent of your Louie. First if this behavior is so out of character i would visit the Vet. Birds can have a low grade bacterial infection that may need an antibiotic. Also check his diet & make sure he is having a healthy balanced diet, fresh fruits & veggies a few pellets & a tiny amount of seed as well. Raw nuts.

Now if it's spring in your area then that would explain a whole lot & his hormones will be playing a big part in his behavior. They can & do get a bit nippy around this time when their needs are not being met. The aggression he is showing towards people is really normal behaviour. He is protecting his flock from intruders. Conures can get possessive with their little flock & will chase anyone they think is in the way.

I would just ignore his behavior at the moment, check with the vet that things are OK & just wait out the season. If you make to big a deal of everything he will play on it an this behavior may never go away.

With my conures when they got nippy i would just put them back in their cage, especially if other people were around. They were fine with us but very territorial when others were around.
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