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Old 09-29-2020, 11:01 AM
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Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

Hi all, I pretty much signed up to get some help but hope to stay around regardless. Haven't been on forums in years.

I have a Celestial Parrotlet male who's just under a year old, got him from a pretty good Avery (so the reviews go).

I've tried several attempts at gaining his trust from sitting and talking with the door open/closed, millet training, leaving my hand near the door or just letting him fly around and come to me if he wants. It's been a few months and nothing has worked, he's even gotten more aggressive even outside of his cage. If my hand (or any part of me really) goes near him he will attack it, and I don't mean nip and back off he will chase it around and bite hard.

Keeping him clean, fed etc is not a problem, it would just be nice if I could curb his aggression.
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Old 09-29-2020, 11:59 AM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

Not sure if you meant aviary.. if you did, this behavior is semi-understandable. You're dealing with a wild bird right now.

Have you tried clicker training and target training? Target training is probably a great option - having your bird touch the end of a target with his beak then getting a treat. Some birds feel like they don't have an understanding with you, and that is angering to them. The clicker is a fantastic way to bridge that language with your bird. The target is also a great option so he doesn't feel threatened by your hands too close to him. As you continue target training, you can start to target him up onto your hand to reach it.


Here is my favorite parrot youtube channel on training techniques I personally am not one for "slow and steady" bonding (ie sitting with them while they are in the cage for long periods of time, etc), because I believe that often gets birds into a routine of fear and aggression. Getting the bird out of the cage (which you do!!) and working with them diligently helps a lot
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Old 09-29-2020, 02:18 PM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

Quote: Originally Posted by KitKatPlus View Post
Not sure if you meant aviary.. if you did, this behavior is semi-understandable. You're dealing with a wild bird right now.

Have you tried clicker training and target training? Target training is probably a great option - having your bird touch the end of a target with his beak then getting a treat. Some birds feel like they don't have an understanding with you, and that is angering to them. The clicker is a fantastic way to bridge that language with your bird. The target is also a great option so he doesn't feel threatened by your hands too close to him. As you continue target training, you can start to target him up onto your hand to reach it.

BTT Parrot Training 101 | The Basics of Training Your Parrot - YouTube

Here is my favorite parrot youtube channel on training techniques I personally am not one for "slow and steady" bonding (ie sitting with them while they are in the cage for long periods of time, etc), because I believe that often gets birds into a routine of fear and aggression. Getting the bird out of the cage (which you do!!) and working with them diligently helps a lot
That's one thing I haven't tried, mostly because I believe you have to give them a treat and so far he hasn't been food motivated? But I can try.
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:26 PM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

Hello and welcome to the forum.
It is frustrating when you just want to be freinds and they font understand that.

Bribes usually the best way to start, have you tried millit or safflower seeds?
It is hard if their isn't a food they really want

Ignir has a parrolet maybe she will see yiur thread and chime in
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:27 PM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

I share this article all the time, I think its great.
Except clicker training, oh I still shape behavior but i say " good birdie " for the bridge , instead of an annoying clicker.

Except on Soothing Rituals
" Soothing Rituals
Create rituals and predictability in every way possible. Parrots love routines because they appear to enjoy being able to anticipate what is going to happen next. The issue of predictability is closely related with their innate need as prey animals to feel safe. In the wild, most things are predictable. The sun rises and sets without fail. Even the land dwelling animals in the area will tend to behave in predictable, cyclic ways … foraging and resting at certain times of the day. It is only predators who are unpredictable, appearing out of nowhere. Thus, for a parrot that has learned to feel anxiety, any methods that create predictability will be helpful.

One way to do this is to develop a flock language. Say the same things to him at appropriate times. When you feed him, “Are you hungry?” When you give him water, “Do you want some fresh water?” When you leave, “Bye-bye… I’ll be right back.” The more you talk to him in context about predictable happenings, the more secure he will feel. If he hears a noise that startles him, label it for him and reassure him: “That was just the gardeners! Bad gardeners! But you’re okay.”

Rituals are created between owner and bird as a sort of social duet that forms over time. Bedtime rituals can be especially reassuring"
https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/stress...ot-companions/

And this except from above article
" Patterning to Music
Pattern him to some piece of soothing music. (I use Stephen Halpern’s Spectrum Suite for this). This idea is based upon techniques for self-hypnosis and meditation in humans. Simply described, if I meditate for 20 minutes every day to the same piece of soothing music, then after a few months all I will need to do is to hear the music to experience again the feelings of relaxation and peacefulness usually felt during and after meditation.

This works just as well for parrots. Once you choose the music, watch for times when your parrot is resting and relaxed and put the music on to play. Also play it when you put him to bed at night. Eventually, he will be patterned to relax every time he hears this same music. "

The article also talks about doing observations, truly a great tool, be sure to be objective and see what is really there not going in with pre conceived ideas of what you are going to see. I do this at least weekly with my flock, it helps me see how they are making use of their cage and out of cage spaces, when they like to take naps, toy choices, and flock interactions. Somehow it helps to put in your mind that you are doing an act observations
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:36 PM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

This guy starts you off then asks you to join, but the start is solid ive used techniques like it
For this parrot training technique to work, you need to determine your bird's flight distance. All animals have a flight distance (think fight or flight) – a point at which you come too close they will run (or fly) away. So to determine your bird's flight distance you must look to see how close it will let you get to its cage before it moves away

STEP 1
Approach the cage calmly and slowly. Don’t make any sudden noises movements with your arms etc. Avoid eye contact. It may make you appear like a predator. (At this stage it is a good idea to keep the cage in an area that you do not walk past regularly so that you only approach the cage for training and feeding). As soon as you see your bird show signs of DISCOMFORT, immediately stop where you are. What are the signs of discomfort? Your bird may lean back on its perch, crouch down ready to run or fly, step a foot out to the side, suck its feathers in close to its body etc. It’s the movements and signs your bird shows just BEFORE it moves away. Once you see these you must STOP where you are immediately and DO NOT approach any further.

The most important thing is that you must STOP BEFORE YOUR BIRD MOVES AWAY FROM YOU. Otherwise you are just teaching it that moving away from you it will get its reward (ie. by moving away from you it makes you move away also). That is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve – that when the bird calms down it will get the reward of the pressure being released (ie. you move away from the bird).

Screen Shot 2020-08-22 at 10.52.43 am.png
STEP 2
Stay where you are until your parrot calms down and shows signs of comfort. What are these? Your bird may go back to its normal posture, it might fluff its feathers a little, it may even its weight distribution on its legs so that it is no longer ready to run or fly away.

STEP 3
Once you see that your bird has calmed down while you are still standing there, turn around and walk away from the cage. You have just taught the parrot to decrease the size of its flight distance.

Let me explain why…Let’s say that your parrot let you get to about one meter from the cage. Your parrots ‘flight distance’ is one meter. That means that it feels that it is safe until you get any closer than 1m from its cage. But now it is starting to realize that you were at 1m from the cage and nothing bad happened. It hasn’t been touched, harassed or forced to do something it is scared of. It actually made you go away by calming itself down. It had a choice (to stay or to move away) and it chose the right decision (to stay and calm down) and was rewarded for it (the thing it was scared of moved away = pressure released).

STEP 4
Repeat, repeat, repeat! Gradually the bird’s flight distance will decrease. You will be able to get within 0.9m of the cage, 0.8m of the cage, 0.5m of the cage etc. But it will take time and many repetitions. But at no point let your bird move away before you stop or you will have to start all over from the beginning again. Even I did that a few times when I retrained the aviary bird. But eventually you will become more adept at reading your birds body language.

STEP 5
Once you can reach the cage without the bird flying away, start the same technique to train your parrot but this time with just your hand approaching the cage. (I.e. first lift your hand until the bird calms down, then put your hand back down and walk away. Then lift your hand a little higher towards the cage, wait for your bird to be calm, then put your hand down and walk away etc.). Once your bird is happy for you to stand next to the cage and put your hand up to the cage, drop a treat into its food bowl and walk away. Now, this is like positive reinforcement on steroids. Not only does your bird feel calm when you approach, it now gets a treat too!

For now, that should give you enough to go by. Once you reach that stage, sign up to Vonnegut's mailing list below and I'll send you the next steps for taming your scared bird, starting with getting it to accept treats from your hand and 'step up' onto your hand. Feel free to leave any comments
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:00 PM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

Thanks for the replies, I'll try those but obviously it's going to take some weeks if not months.

I'm used to keeping snakes, inverts (tarantulas) etc so things you can bond with are a bit of a new experience.. Outside of walking dogs for other people.
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:16 PM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

This is also a good all around burd behavior article
https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/bird-behavior/

Rule #1 The first rule in teaching a bird not to bite is not to get bitten. When a bird bites, he usually gets what he wants from the action — you will go away and leave him alone. You will also make a big fuss over the bite, which can be attractive to the bird, an animal that loves drama. Rather than reinforce the behavior, just don’t let it happen. Learn to “read” your bird so that you can assess the situation and get out before the bite happens.
Fear Biting You can hardly blame a bird that bites out of fear, even if the fear is unfounded. Look at the world from your bird’s perspective and try not to put him in situations that will frighten him.
Hormonal Biting In the spring when the days get longer, some birds are prompted into breeding mode and may become territorial of their housing area, of another bird, or of a person in the household. This can usually be dealt with by adjusting the amount of light the bird gets a day to less than 12 hours.
Jealousy Biting Sometimes, a bird will love his person so much, and then suddenly chomp down on him or her when someone else comes into the room. This actually has practical application in nature, although it is unpleasant. In the wild, a member of a pair will shoo away their beloved when another bird, a threat to the pair, flies into the territory. The “jealous” bird is simply protecting their mate and their relationship. If you know that your bird does this, make sure that you can put him down before someone comes into the room, and don’t ever allow this bird to ride on your shoulder.
Molting Some birds become irritable when they are molting and may not be feeling 100 percent. The same goes for birds that are ill or injured.
Counteractive Biting Some birds bite to prevent you from performing or not performing an action, for example a bird that bites when being brought back to the cage because he doesn’t want to be locked in. As an aside, some birds that don’t like to be put back into the cage pretend that they have wobbly legs and that they can’t stand up just as you put them away — what a great tactic for not stepping onto a perch! To prevent “put away” biting, don’t put your bird away every time you pick him up. Instead, do something fun, or play a little game before you put your bird away; mix it up so that the bird isn’t sure what’s coming next, and make it fun!
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Last edited by Laurasea; 09-29-2020 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:31 PM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

Birds are incredibly intelligent and social. So this time when he doesn't have a freind in yiu and trust in you is hard on him too.

It really helps to picture a positive outcome everytime you work with him, and celebrate every tiny sucess
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:32 PM
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Re: Help with an "aggressive" bird please?

[quote=Exotics_Keeper;889195]
Quote: Originally Posted by KitKatPlus View Post
That's one thing I haven't tried, mostly because I believe you have to give them a treat and so far he hasn't been food motivated? But I can try.
Understood. Often this issue can be whittled down to 2 things.

1. Your bird gets food that should be "treats" in it's daily diet, or you're training with the food that they get daily.
2. Your bird has food in it's cage all day and therefore isn't hungry when you try to train.

If one of these sounds like you, then you've found your problem! If not, it could simply be that you haven't found something your bird likes yet. What have you tried?
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