Aggressive recently acquired lorikeet- needing guidance

Pillow Drool

Member
Jul 25, 2022
11
26
Parrots
Nansun / Roseifrons conure / Parakeet / Stella lorikeet
Hello everyone!

I’m new here and in desperate need of some help regarding a very unpredictable 2 yo male Stella lorikeet. ( it appears that I’m not the only one with an aggressive little bugger)

I found Toki ( his new name ) via a local classified ad where the owners couldn’t take care of him anymore due to partners health reasons. I have been wanting a lorikeet and I have been reading up on maintenance and care and thought I could do this. I met him at their home and he was in a travel cage and in their living room. The first thing I noticed is he seemed very stressed so I said why don’t we give him space to come out on his own terms. They said apple sauce is his favorite and we could try that to see if he would come out. It worked, he came out and was enjoying the snack and hanging out. I noticed that he definitely did harder bites than any of my conures would but the husband didn’t flinch so I did not think it would be as hard as it was.

He ended up flying to me and in turn gave me a nice chomp on my finger which drew blood and hurt like hell. The next fun thing he did was fly at my face and chomp thru my lip. I chalked this all up to stress and that he just wasn’t having a good time. About 2 mins later though he was jumping around and being playful and came to me for scratches and head rubs. It was like a totally different bird entirely so I really just assumed environment.

Fast forward almost 2 weeks, I have other birds so I am keeping him in my office for now but make sure to interact daily and give him time outside of his cage. We started working on fingers not being the devil by me putting a fruit chop on the tip of my finger and slowly bringing it to him which he then started coming up onto my finger and I felt like he was getting more comfortable. We also were doing well with “jump” which is where I would hold my hand out about a foot from his cage and he would jump to it. He also loved scratches and just having fun flying to me and no issues until 2 day ago, he started terrorizing again.

He now will absolutely lunge for any hand in his cage that comes near him like previously. He won’t jump to me anymore and also he isn’t being as playful and just more so always waiting to attack but truly he doesn’t show any signs, it’s one second he’s good and next straight attack. If I say the word no ( not yelling but just no ) it makes it worse ( I’m thinking maybe previous owners yelled this at him?) so I try to do a noise instead to distract. It’s almost like he pitches a fit for not letting him attack me if that makes sense.

I know you can’t undo 2 years of previous history in 2 weeks so I’m looking on advice on how you all managed an unpredictable lorikeet. I saw someone mention a leather glove, would that be a good place to start? I am not going to just abandon him in a room with no playing as punishment, that solves nothing. I have just never worked with a bird that truly scares me before and it’s incredibly intimidating. Please help me
 

Cottonoid

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Welcome to the forums!

I haven't been through this myself, but I think your description of your bird being sweet as can be the first couple weeks home and then changing seemingly overnight is really common.

From what I remember from other threads about this, the non-bitey behavior for the first days is more of a coping mechanism to cover how stressed they are.

Hopefully someone else will offer better advice, especially since I don't know lorikeets at all, but if I were you I'd start from scratch as if you just brought home a really scared bird. Go back to the basics of building trust by just sitting by his (closed) cage and talking or reading out loud without looking at him until he stays calm. Then offer treats at the cage bars like you did before, but wait until he is calm before you put your fingers at the bars, and if he gets bitey remove your hand and turn around for 5 seconds then turn back around and try again.

I find it helpful to talk through every single thing I'm doing and what the goal is - like "ok today we're going to work on trusting each other and being gentle with each other. You don't know me well enough yet to know that I'm always going to be gentle with you, so let's practice. I'm going to wait until you're relaxed then I'm going to offer you a treat, and if you can take it gently I'll let you have the whole thing. If you get amped up I'm going to take it away for a minute to show you I don't want to interact like that, and we'll try again"

I do this for a couple reasons - number 1, it helps ME be in a mindset of staying calm and having a plan for how to react before things get too aggressive - overcoming our natural fear response is hard! And I've found with my bird that he DEFINITELY notices when I'm scared and it doesn't help either of us! Number 2, talking through everything you're doing helps your bird understand your intentions. A chatty predator is not a successful one, so babbling the whole time can help them stay calm. I also do think parrots understand so much of our mindset based on our body language and how we use our voice.

Hopefully you'll get some tips that are more specific to you and Toki! I love his new name and I'm really glad you're here on the forums!
 
OP
Pillow Drool

Pillow Drool

Member
Jul 25, 2022
11
26
Parrots
Nansun / Roseifrons conure / Parakeet / Stella lorikeet
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Welcome to the forums!

I haven't been through this myself, but I think your description of your bird being sweet as can be the first couple weeks home and then changing seemingly overnight is really common.

From what I remember from other threads about this, the non-bitey behavior for the first days is more of a coping mechanism to cover how stressed they are.

Hopefully someone else will offer better advice, especially since I don't know lorikeets at all, but if I were you I'd start from scratch as if you just brought home a really scared bird. Go back to the basics of building trust by just sitting by his (closed) cage and talking or reading out loud without looking at him until he stays calm. Then offer treats at the cage bars like you did before, but wait until he is calm before you put your fingers at the bars, and if he gets bitey remove your hand and turn around for 5 seconds then turn back around and try again.

I find it helpful to talk through every single thing I'm doing and what the goal is - like "ok today we're going to work on trusting each other and being gentle with each other. You don't know me well enough yet to know that I'm always going to be gentle with you, so let's practice. I'm going to wait until you're relaxed then I'm going to offer you a treat, and if you can take it gently I'll let you have the whole thing. If you get amped up I'm going to take it away for a minute to show you I don't want to interact like that, and we'll try again"

I do this for a couple reasons - number 1, it helps ME be in a mindset of staying calm and having a plan for how to react before things get too aggressive - overcoming our natural fear response is hard! And I've found with my bird that he DEFINITELY notices when I'm scared and it doesn't help either of us! Number 2, talking through everything you're doing helps your bird understand your intentions. A chatty predator is not a successful one, so babbling the whole time can help them stay calm. I also do think parrots understand so much of our mindset based on our body language and how we use our voice.

Hopefully you'll get some tips that are more specific to you and Toki! I love his new name and I'm really glad you're here on the forums!
Thank you so much for responding! I definitely state my intentions each time I approach his cage and since I work from home him being in my office helps that bond and just being in his area.

I do need to work on the amount of time between when he does a negative action and then working with him again. I usually
give about 10-20 mins space then come back so I’ll work on that! Thank you!
 
OP
Pillow Drool

Pillow Drool

Member
Jul 25, 2022
11
26
Parrots
Nansun / Roseifrons conure / Parakeet / Stella lorikeet
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I wanted to post an update: so I read someone else talking about a glove and I went and bought some leather gloves from lowes. He literally doesn’t attack the gloves at all, it’s just bare human fingers from what I am noticing so far.

It’s only been a day so we will see with time, he’s just such an interesting and quirky bird that I hope gets to a point where we can trust each other.
 

Cottonoid

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It sounds to me like the two of you will greatly enjoy each other for a long life :) You're so close! And I'm sure he is noticing every little step you're taking to ensure he is safe and loved!
 
OP
Pillow Drool

Pillow Drool

Member
Jul 25, 2022
11
26
Parrots
Nansun / Roseifrons conure / Parakeet / Stella lorikeet
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We had a great day together today, he was playful and wanted to roll over and play on his back and was nippy but not hard nips like previously where he is out for blood. I think it’s just going to be a “ when he wants time he will be ready for it” and it’s all on his schedule. I’m totally fine with that, whatever makes him comfortable and feel loved and not ignored.

I keep updating this because I’m hoping if someone else is in this situation they can find hope in my updates, or at least know they aren’t alone and how to co exist with a bird that has their own schedule and wants.
 

Cottonoid

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I love your updates - and I have a bird who is on his own schedule and wants with a heap of stubborn will power :) so thank you for sharing your progress!
 
OP
Pillow Drool

Pillow Drool

Member
Jul 25, 2022
11
26
Parrots
Nansun / Roseifrons conure / Parakeet / Stella lorikeet
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So today we were playing totally fine and then this started happening , anyone seen this before? Today was another good day of giving him space and he flew to me and wanted to hang out while I watched tv shows
 

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HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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I see little Vlad doing a march- in -place and posturing at your hand. I’m guessing he’s excited, maybe being sexy, or mad and getting ready to bite.

If my bird was doing that I would back off and let him calm down.

He’s so striking and I’m glad things are going better for you.
 
OP
Pillow Drool

Pillow Drool

Member
Jul 25, 2022
11
26
Parrots
Nansun / Roseifrons conure / Parakeet / Stella lorikeet
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Hello everyone, I wanted to bump this after some months and go they progress with you all and others who might need to hear good news!

So it’s been months now and the progress that has been made is HUGE. So we are still learning hands aren’t bad ( very territorial on food and water) so we have been working on training that when I open his cage he comes out and sits on his perches. This has been going phenomenal and has super helped with going in his cage. This has also helped with getting him used to pets as a reward. When he comes out on his branches we do a thing called knuckles and I’ll make a fist and he will sometimes quickly or slowly go for my hand however because no fingers are around he just searches with his tongue. Slowly he will work his tongue to fingers area where I will gradually I fist my hand and this has greatly improved his response to fingers and not going attack mode.

The other thing during this months were just giving him space to be himself BUT with his cage open. This has allowed him to freely come out and hang out when he wants and go back when he wants. It also gives him the ability to roam around my office and have his space. This has worked up trust and bonding where he feels safe with me. I cannot stress enough how much I feel this has helped.

With this he has also enjoyed spending his nights out of his cage and free to roam into the bedroom and hang out with myself and my bf. When we see him wander in we both sit on the floor and call Toki but we let him to come us. He loves jumping up to my bf and hanging out with him. Toki will only jump up to my bf ( when he holds out his hand) and it’s really the cutest thing to watch.

Of course when it’s bedtime we have the nightly routine of bird roundup and most of the time toki has already made his way back to his cage and tucked himself in.

I’m not saying every bird will turn out like toki but I am saying time will tell and giving your bird the space and trust to thrive is key. We aren’t 100% yet and we might not ever be but we are way closer than we were months ago. I have attached some videos as well to see the handsome Toki in action
 
OP
Pillow Drool

Pillow Drool

Member
Jul 25, 2022
11
26
Parrots
Nansun / Roseifrons conure / Parakeet / Stella lorikeet
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  • #11
It says every file is too large, I’ll find a way to upload videos later
 

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