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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 04-16-2018, 02:47 AM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

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Just last night I got caught. Syd is usually pretty sweet and over the past year since he moved in we have had times when both of us have had to learn about biting. Last night was no different in my world from many other evenings.

Syd was on my shoulder, we had been preening his pins, flying, cuddling, etc and all I said was 'it's nearly bedtime are your ready for bed?' This is the usual precursor to our bedtime routine and at that point he always jumps onto my shoulder ready to go. Last night his immediate response was to lunge at my cheek and draw blood.

I have no idea what happened to cause it. I saw/heard absolutely nothing to give me any warning. I left him and went into another room to recover my equilibrium while he flock called his head off and instead of taking him to his sleep cage brought the cage to him. This morning once again I brought the sleep cage to his day cage to avoid a long transfer process. He seems quite happy but I am nervous all over again. No matter - back to square one again.... sigh!
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 04-16-2018, 07:49 AM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

Not quite square one - or at least not necessarily - but I feel your pain. The one time that Maya bit me was when she experienced hormones for the first time. She went full Nosferatu on my thumb with absolutely no warning whatsoever.

It was definitely a setback in terms of trust on my part, but certainly not square one. Like Syd, she had the fundamental basics of how she is supposed to behave already laid down in her mind. Something may have temporarily disrupted that, but the foundation is still there.

Personally, I handled it by suspending Maya's shoulder privileges for a while until I felt confident she could be trusted there again. It's funny. We always talk about earning their trust, but the truth is that need for trust can run both ways. Interacting with our fids from a place of fear can be damaging to the established dynamic, so we have to be able to suppress our instinctive sense of self-preservation. Reminiscent of that childhood game of "No Flinching" where you get punched full force in the arm anytime someone gets you to flinch. Soon enough, you learned not to outwardly startle. (I grew up in one of the rougher areas of the Bronx, so childhood games often tended toward the infliction and receipt of pain. Don't get me started on "Hot Stick of Butter" or "Suicide Ball". Lol!)

Oh, and for what it's worth, I think that you handled the situation well. Hopefully it proves just an isolated incident rather than the beginning of a new behavior. I'd suggest going back over the incident in your mind again to make sure that there wasn't something that you might have missed. Just to be on the safe side.
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 04-16-2018, 04:28 PM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

Here's the No-Reward-Biting Liturgy here on Planet Rickeybird!

I have reduced biting to almost zero over the decades... not because I've changed the bird, but I have changed me. And a lot of that has involved giving up on a lot of my desires/expectations. After years of battle, I surrendered. I don't do stuff that gets me bitten. I NEVER do stuff that makes him mad... I don't touch others when he's out; I rarely try to get him to step up onto my hand first. Hand-held perch first, then hand. In some ways, I swallow my disappointment at having such a little monster for a pet, but he is what he is. I ALWAYS wear my hair down when he's on my shoulder, so all he can bite is hair. Really, I don't involve hands much... he doesn't like them. He seems to think the real ME is my head, perched on a weird moveable tree with questionable appendages.
Since he's fully flighted, the ONLY way I get him into the cage is to toss a chile pepper in and he flaps in after it. So food reward is a necessity for me. Time-out doesn't exist in the Rb's kingdom.
My Rickeybird is in some ways kind of a worse-case scenario, but we have it all worked out between the two of us.
Parrot-owners usually wind up determining their own personal comfort level with various behaviors. Over the years, I have sometimes been very embarassed/downhearted/sad about having a pet that was so... out of my control. But it is my choice to indulge and adore him.
Finally, I accepted that I have an amazing half-wild being who shares my life! It's magic enough for me!
Great thread!
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2018, 01:31 AM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

Yesterday I banned Syd from my person almost completely. He spent a few minutes on my wrist but I moved him off with a perch offcut and let him spend most of the day in his cage so I could observe him feeling more relaxed myself. The bite to my face at bedtime the night before left me quite jittery.

Bless him he spent most of his time repeating 'I'm sorry baby!' in a rather plaintive voice. I say this to him on the odd occasion when I misjudge a pin feather or he squawks for any reason - but he obviously knows how to pull on my heart strings. The rest of the time he was at the closest possible point in his cage looking at me with a confused and sad little eye, but I stuck to my plan and once more made the transition from day to sleep cages as short as possible. However he got his treat and bedtime song as usual (I know I'm crazy!) and I was feeling more confident by bedtime.

Keeping a distance seems to have been a good thing to redraw the boundaries. He's not up yet so I am considering today's plan of action and I feel shoulder privileges are on hold once more but we will go to our normal out of cage time today and see how things are. Fingers crossed!
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2018, 07:53 AM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

T00tsyd,

I totally understand how you are feeling. Itís a quandary for sure.
Even though Levi is treated like a true family member with all of the love, patience, understanding, respect, etc that comes with this. Itís difficult to comprehend why he still sometimes does obnoxious things. At times Iím scratching my head.

We have a safety gate at the top of our stairs and itís one of his favorite perches.
Hubby screwed in an eye screw, so we can hang toys there for him. He likes to fly from the bedroom to the gate. But, once heís there he can get territorial & possessive. Much to my chagrin, when I offer my hand to Step Up he lounges at me & tries to bite me. Itís bizarre to say the least. So, of course I donít do that anymore. Ha. But, Iím puzzled by it.
I asked the Vet & she recommended offering him a treat. But, she didnít answer my question as to why this behavior would happen. Of course his fave treat would get him to come without any incident.
Now, I tell him weíre going down & ask if he wants to join us. If not, I leave him there. But, the question remains, why does he do it in the first place?

Iíve come to realize that at times there will be, (no warning) behaviors theyíll exhibit that weíll never understand. And because of this premise, heís not allowed on my shoulder. He hangs on my forearm and is very content with that.

Good Luck and Iím very sorry he bit you and the trust is now on shaky ground.
I get it
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2018, 09:20 AM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

Quote: Originally Posted by Tami2 View Post
We have a safety gate at the top of our stairs and itís one of his favorite perches.
Hubby screwed in an eye screw, so we can hang toys there for him. He likes to fly from the bedroom to the gate. But, once heís there he can get territorial & possessive. Much to my chagrin, when I offer my hand to Step Up he lounges at me & tries to bite me. Itís bizarre to say the least. So, of course I donít do that anymore. Ha. But, Iím puzzled by it.
I asked the Vet & she recommended offering him a treat. But, she didnít answer my question as to why this behavior would happen. Of course his fave treat would get him to come without any incident.
Now, I tell him weíre going down & ask if he wants to join us. If not, I leave him there. But, the question remains, why does he do it in the first place?
He could be biting because he *enjoys* being there and doesn't want to move - so the vet is suggesting giving him a better reason to come down or step up than to stay, i.e. a treat.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2018, 10:56 AM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

Quote: Originally Posted by MonicaMc View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by Tami2 View Post
We have a safety gate at the top of our stairs and itís one of his favorite perches.
Hubby screwed in an eye screw, so we can hang toys there for him. He likes to fly from the bedroom to the gate. But, once heís there he can get territorial & possessive. Much to my chagrin, when I offer my hand to Step Up he lounges at me & tries to bite me. Itís bizarre to say the least. So, of course I donít do that anymore. Ha. But, Iím puzzled by it.
I asked the Vet & she recommended offering him a treat. But, she didnít answer my question as to why this behavior would happen. Of course his fave treat would get him to come without any incident.
Now, I tell him weíre going down & ask if he wants to join us. If not, I leave him there. But, the question remains, why does he do it in the first place?
He could be biting because he *enjoys* being there and doesn't want to move - so the vet is suggesting giving him a better reason to come down or step up than to stay, i.e. a treat.
Yes, I get that. But, he could just not step up & I'd say okay, stay. But, fluffing up his feathers and lounging. It's clearly over the top. Not necessary, IMHO.
I don't rule with an iron fist and his has a great deal of freedom.
Considering we have such a pleasant & positive relationship it just took me by surprise. I need to take Parrot Psychology 101 ... ha

Thanks Monica, appreciate your input
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2018, 01:30 PM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

FWIW. I have experienced an empathetic nature of an Amazon and a Macaw. Its a bit difficult for me to feign my own behavior, So I currently take my boy into the "time out" category.

I am picking up on his growth and sense that my boy who isnt (probably) an adult yet. It feels like a subtle form of dominance.

My point to this thread is that Rudy interacts with me and the general public when we go for walks. He is getting more "bitey" or nips more frequently.. I don't have the vaguest clues on or if there are triggers. All I know is my ears are sometimes sore after a long walk.

Other times are, he doesn't want to be put into his house, my arm will get a "correction with a nip..

Sometimes he will pull at someones sleeves, ( seems to be sweaters) anyways...

More or less, he is a bird, he needs to keep the beak filed and that's what he does!?
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:15 PM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

@Tami2 I get that! He must like that spot a *lot*! It's honestly great the way you work with Levi!


@DiscoDuck - Any possibility that he isn't comfortable on long walks? Or maybe something on those walks is triggering the behavior? It could be something far off, like another animal, a person, a vehicle, etc.

Going back in the cage - definitely need to find a treat that he only gets when Rudy goes back in!
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2018, 10:29 PM
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Re: BRAINSTORMING: Biting Parrots

yeah. Monica.. I would need to dive into the details due to Rudy and I's unique interaction. and copied my and your comment over into a Diary I created in the Macaw forum

I think we now have about 300 - 4 hr days of walking in his 1000 day life time. He is growing up, so the changes are very subtle.

I am leaning toward anytime he nips my ears, he gets taken off the high road (my shoulder) to my forearm.. (the low road)

he cant stick my ears in his mouth if he cant reach them!


Last edited by DiscoDuck; 04-17-2018 at 10:39 PM. Reason: added pic and smiley face
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