~4 year old bird has become unpredictable/aggressive following move

bucky91

New member
Jun 29, 2021
1
1
Ontario, Canada
Hi everyone,

I'm a long-time lurker on this forum, but this is my first post. I'm struggling with my parrot's behaviour over the past few weeks, and am at a loss as to what to do. I've had her about a year, and I "adopted" her from her previous owner. I don't know much about her past, except that she was hand-raised and about 4 years old.

I had a break-up and had to move a few weeks ago. She ("Birdo") would bite occasionally over the past year (maybe every week or two), but rarely/never drawing blood. More like a "I don't like that, go away" warning. About a week before the move and increasingly more often over the past few weeks, she has become unpredictable and downright mean at times. She acts normal then suddenly turns on me, biting me VERY hard and much more often. I can no longer have her on my shoulder or anywhere near me because she will be acting normal then suddenly bite me SO hard it draws blood. I then have to remove her from me, which results in bites/tears all over my hands as I put her on another surface or in her cage. My ears and hands are covered in scabs.

This evening, I had her out for a bit and gave her a piece of raspberry as I was eating. She was on the table beside me. Soon after, she grabbed my hand and began attacking me. I've put her back in her cage, but have several large tears all over my hands that have been bleeding for 10+ mins now. Like, some of them look like they almost need stitches. I am in tears and don't know what to do - this bird has become SO mean, and I can barely handle her anymore as she attacks me so viscously and won't let go/continues tearing at me until I can remove her to her cage or another surface. I've had conures and budgies in the past, and they were never aggressive like this. Bites, yes, but not unprovoked.

It's completely unpredictable, which is the worst part. There is literally zero change in her behaviour before an "attack". No puffed feathers, no backing away, no eye pinning, etc. I could always tell if a bite might be imminent before, but not anymore. Her diet and routine is the same, albeit in a new house. I work from home, so normally she would be out with me many hours a day. I no longer feel that I can allow her out of her cage after tonight, as my hands are torn apart after tonight's attack. I understand the move has been a big change for her also, but I don't know if that is what is provoking this. It's been several weeks and just about everything in her routine and environment is the same, and she didn't have much to do with my ex so I doubt she really misses him.

This change is absolutely breaking my heart, and I don't know what to do. Can anyone offer any ideas? Or even just some support. Thanks so much.
 

LaManuka

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Aug 29, 2018
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Bucky91, I feel your pain over this, I really do. I was the mother of a precious little green cheeked conure named Baci (Italian for "kisses") before losing him to a sudden illness a few years ago, and he went through a very sudden mood change at the age of about 2 that I had ZERO idea of the cause. It followed him being stuck in his cage for a few days during a summer heatwave while I was rostered on some very long shifts at my then job. I just thought he hated me for it hence he started biting me very aggressively and it just broke my heart because I loved him so very much. Later I realised it was because he had reached sexual maturity and this played a BIG part in what influenced his sudden hyper-aggression. I am not exactly sure what species your parrot is, but I'm just wondering if all the changes you both have gone through in the last little while, potentially combined with perhaps some annual hormonal influences, may be part of what is at play here. Does she have access to a hidey/cuddle hut or anything that even remotely resembles a nesting site either inside or outside her cage? My little lorikeet Lilly is HUGELY hyper-aggressive during her long, long, breeding season and matters are made even worse if she ever has access to anything secluded or nesty, so we take great pains to ensure that she does not.

Are there any other members of your household, other adults, children or even other pets? Parrot behaviour in an artificial environment such as our homes is very complex and multi-layered, so changes in her surroundings and flock dynamics may also be playing a part, even if she didn't particularly like your ex. Just occasionally too, sudden aggression is an indicator that they are experiencing physical illness or pain. Parrots are, unfortunately, extremely good at hiding illness and sometimes it manifests itself in aggression. It might not even be a bad idea to have her checked out by an avian vet. Understanding there may be limitations with location and availability, the link below may help you find one if not already familiar with one...


Good avian vets are also an absolute gold mine of information about behavioural issues as well.

Hopefully some of our other members will be able to weigh in with some practical advice for you too. Thank you for reaching out for help with this, I understand only too well how much it hurts the heart when this sort of thing happens, and you most certainly have my every sympathy. Wishing the two of you all the very best 🙏
 
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Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
Hi,
I think your back story says everything, thats a lot of change for an emotional intelligent bird.

Parrots pick up on our stress too... break up, loss of flock person, move.
Birds can morn tge loss of a person ( the ex) even if they didn't really like the person, and more so if they did. They are flock creatures, and a missing flock member, well I think as prey species they become hyper alert thinking a predator got them....or they can grieve the missing person and act out.

Try and be patient, explain stuff to them, I don't know how but they really understand a lot. Take them on several tours of the new place.

And my go to, hand feed treats many times a day, many! Say hi give treat.

Create some soothing rituals, pattering to soft music.

And do some objectives observations, maybe something is causing stress.

I will link my stress article
 
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AmyMyBlueFront

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Apr 14, 2015
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Jonesy a Goffins 'Too who had to be rehomed :-(

And a Normal Grey Cockatiel named BB who came home with me on 5/20/2016.
Hi Bucky91...
Sorry to read about your situation. I too had the exact problem with Jonesy,a 24 y.o. Goffin too I adopted from a friend after Smokey my 28 y.o. Timneh AG passed away.
I had Jonesy about a year before things suddenly went totally wacko. He and Amy became best pals,often playing on Amy's play top,grooming/playing/talking to each other. He'd come to me readily,stepping up and asking for skritches.
Even one night,my then girlfriend (whose brother I adopted Jonesy from) were playing cribbage at the kitchen table,with Jones on my shoulder and Amy on Arleen's..Jonesy climbed down my shoulder,walked/hopped across the crib board,climbed Arleen's arm where Amy was sitting on her shoulder,Amy and Jonesy made kissy sounds to each other for about 10 seconds then turned around,walked down her arm,hopped across the crib boars and climbed back up my shoulder! Arleen and I looked at each other like " What the heck just happened???" We think Amy and Jonesy just wanted to be introduced lol.
BUT awhile later is when the "beady-eyed so-and so" snapped. One day he walked up to me wanting to be picked up. He lowered his head for skritches,then..all of a sudden without warning or provocation he went bonkers on me,tearing flesh from my hand and arm,would NOT let go! Blood everywhere! And this continued for months,anytime I tried picking him up. Oh he'd readily come to me then WHAM! It got to the point where there was zero trust on my part. I even discontinued letting him socialize with Amy. Arleen was afraid of him now after knowing him intimately for 20 something years.
Then the non-stop screaming began,from before wake-up time to well after night-night time. He and his house had to go in another bedroom where he got covered up and still screamed. After a few months of this my then girlfriend said its either HIM or me! Both of them went by-by lol.
I re-homed Jonesy to a wonderful lady that ran a convenience store down the street..this was about yrs ago before BB came into the picture.
I just learned that a couple months ago he was once again re-homed to a parrot sanctuary in Providence Rhode Island.. I hope/pray he is doing well.


Jim
 

Skarila

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Apr 19, 2021
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Previous owned:
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✻RIP - 28 YO Zeleni the mischievous IRN
✻RIP -Sunny the budgie
Hi everyone,

I'm a long-time lurker on this forum, but this is my first post. I'm struggling with my parrot's behaviour over the past few weeks, and am at a loss as to what to do. I've had her about a year, and I "adopted" her from her previous owner. I don't know much about her past, except that she was hand-raised and about 4 years old.

I had a break-up and had to move a few weeks ago. She ("Birdo") would bite occasionally over the past year (maybe every week or two), but rarely/never drawing blood. More like a "I don't like that, go away" warning. About a week before the move and increasingly more often over the past few weeks, she has become unpredictable and downright mean at times. She acts normal then suddenly turns on me, biting me VERY hard and much more often. I can no longer have her on my shoulder or anywhere near me because she will be acting normal then suddenly bite me SO hard it draws blood. I then have to remove her from me, which results in bites/tears all over my hands as I put her on another surface or in her cage. My ears and hands are covered in scabs.

This evening, I had her out for a bit and gave her a piece of raspberry as I was eating. She was on the table beside me. Soon after, she grabbed my hand and began attacking me. I've put her back in her cage, but have several large tears all over my hands that have been bleeding for 10+ mins now. Like, some of them look like they almost need stitches. I am in tears and don't know what to do - this bird has become SO mean, and I can barely handle her anymore as she attacks me so viscously and won't let go/continues tearing at me until I can remove her to her cage or another surface. I've had conures and budgies in the past, and they were never aggressive like this. Bites, yes, but not unprovoked.

It's completely unpredictable, which is the worst part. There is literally zero change in her behaviour before an "attack". No puffed feathers, no backing away, no eye pinning, etc. I could always tell if a bite might be imminent before, but not anymore. Her diet and routine is the same, albeit in a new house. I work from home, so normally she would be out with me many hours a day. I no longer feel that I can allow her out of her cage after tonight, as my hands are torn apart after tonight's attack. I understand the move has been a big change for her also, but I don't know if that is what is provoking this. It's been several weeks and just about everything in her routine and environment is the same, and she didn't have much to do with my ex so I doubt she really misses him.

This change is absolutely breaking my heart, and I don't know what to do. Can anyone offer any ideas? Or even just some support. Thanks so much.
Hi Bucky! Terribly sorry to hear what you're going through now with your dear feathered friend. I heard similar story fro my partner's senegal when she was in her terrible twos and threes, she was an agressive little unpredictable monster who almost got rehomed.

Perhaps I missed it in the text, but what species are we talking about? Later when I catch time I will try to write bit more on the topic. Our little sennie is very cute now, but even she still bluffs or just latches onto the hand like a bulldog without a warning. And sennies have extremely strong beaks!
 

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