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Old 01-03-2019, 08:51 AM
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Question Is my IRN bluffing or is he aggressive?

Hi,
I am new here so just getting the hang of things.
I was given a approx. 4 week old IRN orphan in july 2018. I hand raised it and he was the sweetest baby ever. I did step up training and also some flight training. He also gave me kisses.
Then he came into the bluffing stage and started biting when i kissed him, so i stopped. I think he misses it but i cant afford to be bitten on my face etc.

Now if i dont let him do what he wants to, like chew up a keypad, furniture, or computer, he throws a tantrum (like flies at your face with intention to bite whatever he can catch) even if you have a treat to "distract" him (doesnt work even if its his favorite). Whenever this happens we usually duck and lightly fend him/her off with our hand, which Pesto(he/she) doesnt bite.

Also he seems to bite suddenly for no apparent reason. When he bites we try to ignore it but sometimes he wont let go and we have to shake him off. Sometimes he nibbles and if we tell him NO he releases pressure (rare). He is protective of the top of his cage but that doesnt really cause much issues. He is now approx 8-10 months old and has had his first molt. Is this still part of bluffing or is he agressive?

Please help because my family is running out of paitience (and new places to bite)
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:45 AM
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Re: Is my IRN bluffing or is he aggressive?

to me it sounds like he's pushing his boundaries and finding out if he bites you back away and he can do what he wants, in simple terms, he's learning how to be a brat. He wants to chew a keyboard, you approach, he swipes with his beak, you leave, he gets to chew the keyboard.

I would focus on getting step up training done right now, letting him know that he needs to step up when asked so lots of bribery will be needed try 'laddering' with him (making him climb from one finger to the other) so stepping up gets ingrained and he learns if a finger appears, he climbs it. What you can then do is whenever he does he go for a bite or acts out, you can place him somewhere immediately off you with nothing to entertain him, back of a chair, arm of a sofa, countertop, even the floor and completely ignore him for a minute or 2. Preface this with either a 'no' or 'no bite' so he can associate the word with the act. He should quickly start learning that acting naughty and biting will be a fast way to get temporarily booted out the flock which is the last thing he wants.

Just keep at it and keep consistent with telling him no and not letting him get away with things. You can go and cool off after he has been dealt with

Edit: I would avoid using the cage for 'punishment' as that can end up with some very negative consequences such as screaming murder or flying into a fit of rage whenever you try to put him away when you need to go out or go to bed
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:30 AM
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Re: Is my IRN bluffing or is he aggressive?

Right now he is not only going through his first big molt, which is the largest molt he'll ever go through, but he's also probably starting to go through puberty, which is the longest and most difficult hormonal phase that he'll ever go through. So that is probably what is playing the largest part in his sudden aggression. All parrots typically become at least a little aggressive, grumpy, cranky, etc. while going through puberty, but IRN's seem to be one of the species that takes it the hardest. And while I know this is frustrating, you do need to have patience with him, because this isn't his fault, and punishing a bird doesn't work anyway, they don't respond to punishment or negative-reinforcement, but when it's due to puberty and isn't his fault, then the punishing him or yelling/scolding him isn't going to help the situation. So try to be patient with him while he goes through this...

At the same time, you can't have him flying at your faces and biting people. Cage-territoriality is completely normal, some parrots species are worse than other with that, Quaker Parrots and IRN's do tend to be some of the worst when it comes to being extremely territorial about their cages, so as far as that goes it's best to simply open his cage door up and let him come out on his own, don't reach in to get him out, and try to respect his "territory", it's his "safe-space", so using it as a punishment typically doesn't work either.

He is definitely testing his boundaries as Triggs mentioned above, and you need to make sure that you're not letting him get what he wants when he does these things, otherwise he's going to simply continue to do them because he knows he'll get what he wants. You should try the "Shunning Method" whenever he bites anyone, and see if he responds to that...Basically this means that whenever he bites anyone, you immediately tell him "No Bite!", do not yell at him but simply say it to him each time immediately when he bites, and then immediately put him right down on the floor and everyone in the room must then turn your backs to him. Literally, you turn your backs to him. And you must then completely ignore him for 5 minutes. Any shorter and it won't do any good, any longer and he'll lose interest. All parrots HATE being on the floor, because they are the lowest thing in the room, and it takes away all feelings of dominance that they have. During the 5-minute "Shunning" period, you cannot look at him or make eye-contact with him, you cannot say a word to him or acknowledge him when he makes a noise. You simply all stand there with your backs to him while he's on the floor...If he walks around in front of you to face you, you simply keep turning your back to him. If he climbs up your leg or flies to your shoulder, you simply put him right back down on the floor without saying anything. If he flies over to his cage top, I usually just leave them there but keep my back to them and keep ignoring them for the 5 minutes. And when the 5 minutes is up you don't automatically go back to talking to him or acknowledging him, you just walk away or go and sit down and pretend like nothing happened...And if he immediately bites you again, then you have to immediately say "No Bites!", put him down on the floor, and turn your backs to him again for another 5 minutes, and do this as many times as you need to until he gets the point.

I've seen this stop a parrot from biting in literally one day. That first day you'll probably end-up doing the Shunning-Method a bunch of times, sometimes a bunch of times in a row, but that's what it takes for them to get the point. Once they understand that they aren't going to get what they want and biting isn't going to help him get it either, and they understand that ANY TIME THEY BITE they are going to be totally ignored and put on the floor, they do usually stop directly. And any time he "wants something" like to chew on something he should't, you need to do the same thing, take whatever it is away from him immediately and tell him "No Chewing!" (a different Verbal-Cue for each different behavior, as parrots understand the difference), and you certainly cannot "use a treat or his favorite treat to distract him when he's biting or chewing on something he shouldn't be", by doing that you've accidentally/inadvertently encouraged him to do the bad behavior. You simply have to take the keyboard or whatever it is away from him and tell him no, and walk away from him.

If the flying at you and biting you continues, the next step that I personally would take would be to clip his wings, as this is a situation where it's dangerous to people in the house, and it's dangerous to him as well. And when you clip their wings they tend to lose a lot of their feeling of dominance as well...And if you do have his wings clipped, and it's done correctly, they will fully grow back-in in about 2 months or so, so you need to take full advantage of the time his wings are clipped to work with him on his bad behaviors, so that by the time his wings grow back in he'll not just go right back to doing the same things. You should always have their wings clipped by an Avian Vet or a breeder who knows what they are doing, and you need to ALWAYS REQUEST OR DEMAND that they only clip the outermost 5-6 Primary Flight-Feathers on EACH WING. This will ensure that they will grow back fully in about 2 months or so...It's temporary, it's painless, and if you take full-advantage of the 2 months you have where he can't fly, when his wings do grow back he should be trained and the unwanted behaviors should stop. There will be people who say not to clip their wings, it's a personal choice that each individual bird owner needs to make for themselves, it doesn't hurt them at all, and it's very temporary...In a situation where a bird is flying at faces and biting people, it's a safety situation for you and the bird, so I personally feel that it's perfectly fine to clip their wings, as long as you train the bird/work with the bird during that period and you then allow his wings to grow back in again.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:27 AM
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Re: Is my IRN bluffing or is he aggressive?

very good point about Clipping Ellen. I'd definitely say if he keeps up flying at people to shall we say 'Voice his concerns' I would opt for a clip after going through training if he's still doing that. I was considering a clip for my conure when he was being bratty but shunned him and I think it took roughly... 3 hours? Until he learnt biting is bad. I still had to do it every now and then to remind him at times.

As a side note I found my conure when placed on the floor would take flight and ignore the shun so I actually held my hand over him to stop wings spreading and taking off. He learnt real quick he did not like that and for it not to happen he had to stop doing naughty things
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:08 PM
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Question Re: Is my IRN bluffing or is he aggressive?

Thanks a lot guys. Very helpful.
I will definately look into clipping his wings as if i put him on the floor he just flies up to a light or his cage.

"and you certainly cannot "use a treat or his favorite treat to distract him when he's biting or chewing on something he shouldn't be", by doing that you've accidentally/inadvertently encouraged him to do the bad behavior. You simply have to take the keyboard or whatever it is away from him and tell him no, and walk away from him."
If i dont distract him with a treat he throws a tantrum for sure so thats why i was doing it.

Also not sure if it is of interest but he lunges and bites a hanging toy in his cage. I thought it was just playing a bit rough but could that be teaching him to be agressive to us too?
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:04 PM
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Re: Is my IRN bluffing or is he aggressive?

By the way for anyone reading this, clipping was one of the biggest mistakes i made. it made the situation 10 times worst. dont follow that advice if you have a IRN. (also its about 3 months and his wings are showing no signs of growing back)
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