Attack parrot.

RN247

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Jul 20, 2022
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African Congo Gray
I have a Congo Gray that I have had for 28 years. I was able to handle and play with him with a few bites as expected. 18 years ago our first grandchild was born and I began to babysit a couple days a week. I also worked evenings. My husband also handled him. Several years ago he got to the point where he would bite me if I attempted to hold him or play with him. He will not “step up” for me-just goes after me to bite. He is out of his cage for a few hours every day. His wings are not clipped, and he always has a toy in his cage. He will fly over to me and eat off of my plate and take treats from me. Since I have been bitten rather severely I stopped trying to hold him. within the last couple of years he has started to dive bomb and bite me. He doesn’t bite my husband or one of my granddaughters that likes to hold him. When we go on vacation we board him at a pet bird place where he is treated very well. I have never mistreated him and really love him. My husband and I are in our late 60s. I am starting to consider having the the pet bird store find him a new home. I continue to let him eat off my plate, feed him treats, and talk to him, but I don’t want to have him attack me or have him stay in his cage all the time. Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome.
 

ravvlet

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I agree, a mild clip won’t hurt him and it’ll keep you safe from the dive-bombing.

Is he doing this all year or only during certain parts of the year? If he’s only doing it during the “breeding season” months (depends on what part of the world you live) its possible its a hormonal issue and altering his diet to be lower in fats and sugars, especially during that time, may help.

Is he getting 12 hours of sleep at night? Sleep can also make a big difference for hormones.

And finally, is he only doing it in certain areas of the house - i.e., around his cage, or just anywhere he happens to be?

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. Parrots are wild animals and sometimes they do crazy, unfathomable things even when we take the best of care of them! I’m hoping someone here can help you sort this out so that you don’t have to consider rehoming your feathered friend. You may also consider reaching out to a behaviorist to evaluate him and perhaps work with you toward a solution. We did that with our newest Amazon and it was extremely insightful. Often these folks are also involved in rescue and will work at reduced cost or free if price is an issue; it never hurts to ask.
 

SailBoat

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Well you're still young in my opinion and still likely years from needing to consider such a move. All Parrots change their favored Humans over time. The reasons can be clear or without any understandable reason. Keep doing what is allowed and enjoy. After all, your Parrot could out and out avoid any contact.
 

Ryled1

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Sep 4, 2015
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12
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Bare eyed cockatoo
I have a Congo Gray that I have had for 28 years. I was able to handle and play with him with a few bites as expected. 18 years ago our first grandchild was born and I began to babysit a couple days a week. I also worked evenings. My husband also handled him. Several years ago he got to the point where he would bite me if I attempted to hold him or play with him. He will not “step up” for me-just goes after me to bite. He is out of his cage for a few hours every day. His wings are not clipped, and he always has a toy in his cage. He will fly over to me and eat off of my plate and take treats from me. Since I have been bitten rather severely I stopped trying to hold him. within the last couple of years he has started to dive bomb and bite me. He doesn’t bite my husband or one of my granddaughters that likes to hold him. When we go on vacation we board him at a pet bird place where he is treated very well. I have never mistreated him and really love him. My husband and I are in our late 60s. I am starting to consider having the the pet bird store find him a new home. I continue to let him eat off my plate, feed him treats, and talk to him, but I don’t want to have him attack me or have him stay in his cage all the time. Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome.
I had an African grey. They are usually a 1 person bird. That is the nature of them. A definite wing clip will knock his ego down a peg. He should never be allowed to dive bomb you. Ever. A wing clip pronto. May not stop biting tho. I think he thinks he is the boss of the house, not the adults because he can fly everywhere. And bird's get jealous. And can cause jealousy and resentment between the adult he likes and the one he doesn't. Your routines and priorities changed. He picked up on that. And bonded more with your husband.
Why do you want to get rid of him bc he bites you? You can still interact with him. Train him to do tricks, and hang out on a perch with you, as you relax and watch tv. All without touching him, and still talking and interacting. My bird hung out on a perch next to the couch quite content before I could touch him. I was his 3rd owner. I would transfer him on a pillow. He never tried to bite me on it. Had his perch in the kitchen while I cooked and fed him vegs. I trained him to stay on his perch. He loved being right there. I'd chat, play music and cook. I put lids on pans to be on the safe side. Perch wasn't near stove, but just in case. He was happy to stay on his perch. You can get a long stick for him to step up on. My bird felt uneasy getting on that. So I used a big stiff pillow to transfer him. He never really liked me petting him anywhere but the top of his head at first. Then later his cheeks and under beak. Hated his body and wings touched. Loved under his chin scratched. But that took over a year for that. Never warmed up to having his sides touched.
Also making sure they are fed before coming out to interact reduces bites, or the first thing after coming out. Full tummies make for content birds, and less likely to attack. At least with my birds.
I'd try to figure out why he bit you right before it happened and learn his body language. The eyes will pin and feathers will be flat down against his body. I learned my bird's body language to avoid bites. When he smiled the cheek feathers were more relaxed and would be forward onto the beak, and head feathers more relaxed. A really mad bird will have wings out and 1 foot up and will be growling or screaming, or silent but a death stare. Then you best look out. Back off if you can.
My bird would growl. Then I knew he was really mad. That was when we just got him, and he'd climb off his cage onto the floor. And a broom was used to guide him back on it. Not to hurt him. The people who had him used that. I started using a pillow and all growling stopped. I don't recommend a broom.
I put him on a perch. He wanted to be with people. He learned he got attention and was content. And I could move it to diff rooms. It's on wheels.
Watch the head feathers. That is the key. Is he mad your moving him off the table? Or away from your plate? Does he feel that's his spot? Is he walking right in the plate? A perch Nectar to the table and he has his cup is better. And wipe his mouth if there is too much food on it. Bird's will fling food when there is too much on the beak. Esp with noodles. A napkin won't get you bitten. Just bc he bites doesn't mean he hates you. Hes probably very frustrated he's not getting his way. You moved something or took it away or went to move him or the food maybe.
My other bird, a bare eyed cockatoo started attacking me on occassion. I tried eating less in the evening,but that didn't mean he wasn't. He was frustrated no food was forthcoming and getting hangry. So now I feed him before we sit down on the couch or hang out. I haven been bitten since. I think he was over hungry and extremely frustrated. And they can't tell you they are other than biting. Also turning lights down in late eve relaxes them. Not off but darker in the room. I have my kitchen stove light on, and other lights off except for tv. He relaxes then. And it isn't just a tv bright flickering lights in a dark room. We can see and the light offsets the tv flickering. But he settles down then and sits on my arm and preens.

They need lots of toys, not just 1. They must be rotated thru the cage. Maybe 1x a week at cleaning. Don't forget showers too. My grey hated spritzing, but loved a container he could climb in and out of for a half hour and splash. He was tickled pink with that. He also loved chasing a plastic bottle with something inside that rattled on the floor. Must be supervised with that. You sont want him getting whatever you used in the bottle. I think it was a nut or change. He never broke the bottle. Just rolled it. Chased it all over. And a kids plastic toy piano. It was flat and he could climb on it and it would make noise walking on the keys. Maybe you could put a plastic container in the bathtub with water, so there's no mess. He can climb in and out of it. My bird was in bliss with his makeshift bathtub.
My bird was cage bound and also would bite me every day. Took me a year for him to come around. I had an old big pillow I would get him to step up on to move him room to room.
My other bare eyed cockatoo went through a period of biting. I finally figured out. When he was out of the cage in the evening, he expected to eat. When I didn't want to eat, he would get frustrated and bite me. He was hungry. I make sure I feed him now before we sit down and hang out. Haven't been bitten since. But you never know.
You can also look up bird body language and learn that. Very important. OR post on here what happened before you were bitten. I'd get a hand step up stick or pillow when you want to move him. And a perch on wheels. You can train him to do circles, hand shake, bow etc. He will be content to hang out with you and stop biting.
Also bird's can pick up your tone, frustration etc and think it is aimed at him. It could be your mad you spilled something, mad at what you just heard etc. But they take it you are mad at them. And will react negatively with a bite.
I think you might be doing something he doesn't like and he's biting you. But you need to get those feathers trimmed bc dive bombing is never allowed. He's become a bully in his own home bc he's been allowed too. Like kids you must set limits.
 

thegars

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Jul 21, 2018
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4 1/2 years old now CAG..got her at 14 weeks...Debbie is still clown! Now almost 4 1/2....never a dull moment!
Like some, our Debbie has decided to take my wife to task…it’s not her first time deciding to dive bomb, bite, laugh and fly away…she loves my wife, will sit on her hand or knee for long periods just staring and chatting, then other times just decide to bite her on the back of her head or hand…I have to say and agree that a wing trim is probably upcoming, it worked well last time…calmed her right down when she became dependent on us to move her from perch to perch..
Debbie is soon to be 6 years old, we got her at 14 weeks…breaks my wife’s heart..
 

ravvlet

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Yikes, Debbie sounds like my 5 year old human child. She’s stopped now that she’s older but she went through a terrible phase when she was 3 where when she got excited she’d bite someone and then run off cackling. I had bruises and she broke the skin once!!

They really are a lot like feathered toddlers. They just bite a LOT harder…
 

LeeC

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I give a big downvote on clipping him. Don't modify the parrot; modify the situation.
 

ravvlet

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I give a big downvote on clipping him. Don't modify the parrot; modify the situation.

Could you elaborate please? It’s an old thread so I’m not sure the original poster will see it, but others in a similar situation (like the person who commented today) may. An explanation of what “modifying the situation” would look like would be much more helpful than a statement that blanket incriminates a non-permanent feather clip without any alternative suggestion.

I agree broadly that feather clipping should be reserved for extreme situations where there is clear and present danger for the humans and the parrot, but I also recognize that what qualifies as danger is different depending on the individual situation. For example, I have kids, and if either of our birds (heaven forbid) started dive bombing it would be much more serious than if we were a household of only consenting adults.
 

thegars

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4 1/2 years old now CAG..got her at 14 weeks...Debbie is still clown! Now almost 4 1/2....never a dull moment!
Not wanting to trim Debbie’s feathers but she is becoming a handful! No reason that I can think of she decided that my wife was not allowed on her phone…bite. Later she flew over to my recliner and decided that my leg was mean I guess….bite. The rest of the day her normal noisy self, even head scratches before bedtime.
Today…I was standing at the microwave, she flew over…bite. Ignored the bite. Later she comes to me, as I ask her if she wants to step up, she asks for a kiss…yep all me a sucker…bite…btw your lips bleed a lot fro a gray’s bite!
Knowing that Debbie will be 6 years old in a few days, knowing that we have been her humans since she was 14 weeks old, and knowing that we have had her wings trimmed a couple of times because of these conditions….and it has always calmed her or made her less aggressive, I feel a wing trim is quickly becoming a necessity.
I hate for her to lose her independence but I also hate for my wife and I to have to get wounded without provocation.
 

Terry57

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If I were you I would also do a light clip at this point. Leaving a bird flighted is important, but so is not being in fear of being attacked. She can't be happy always feeling in attack mode, either.
Hopefully if you do, when the feathers come back in she will have gotten past this. I only had to clip my Jenday once to stop his attacks on my other conures. He still hated my Sun, but I just give them different time outs.
I'm so sorry you're going through this.
Y'all need to do what you feel is best for everyone, and perhaps while she is clipped you and your wife may be able to interact with her more without being attacked. That could carry over to when she is flighted again.
 

LeeC

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Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
I've had my attack-Senegal for over a year now. He has a history of wanting to kill his caretaker in all previous homes. He absolutely loves me through cage bars and aviary mesh. He will press his head against the bars/mesh, hard, for as long as it takes for me to get the hint, so I can give him head and neck rubs--even massages. In his case, he was known to have been abused in his first home, so I guess he feels safe behind bars. Your situation is different, but perhaps for your safety, you can start over with him and build trust safely while he happens to be in his cage, or if he is cage territorial, in another cage or carrier perhaps.
 

thegars

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4 1/2 years old now CAG..got her at 14 weeks...Debbie is still clown! Now almost 4 1/2....never a dull moment!
Some how people have misunderstood…Debbie is not an attack parrot most of the time! She is normally sweet to a point, for a Gray more than some, less than others. Interacts with us all day long, she’s out of her cage most of the day, most days. Only really caged when we are not home or at bedtime.
This year is a bit different than a couple years, when her attack mode was in the spring, had her wings trimmed, attack mode gone.
This spring she got aggressive, had her trimmed , attack mode gone. But now she’s fully flighted again and aggressive…
Trust me, I do not like trimming her wings, but she actually seems happy either way..
She’s amazing! Vocabulary larger than some people I know, comical and entertaining most times..yes, she’s noisy, yes, she’s infuriating, yes, she’s family!
 

LeeC

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Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
Early on with Grady, my first parrot, and a true Timneh, I would say, "Grady, you're such a parrot." when he would do things like take a whole, raw, organic cashew from me willingly, and immediately drop it on the floor. :] Then, I learned sometimes, he's not just being a parrot, but he is also being a Grey. I would not have it any other way. I often say to Georgia, my problem-child Senegal, "Georgie, please, go be a parrot.", because she wants to sit on my head or shoulder while I'm trying to move about and get things done, for instance. :]

Grady has never attacked me—but, he has landed on me to attack something I am wearing or holding! That is scary for few seconds when I am being clueless. I wear hearing protection, when I vacuum. Well, Grady will attack those ear muffs, whether they are lying out where he can see them—or on my head! He is fully-flighted and has full liberty (24x7x364.25). I have be careful what unusual things I attach to my body. 😬

[Edit] I don't trim nails either. If he lands on me, in such a way that he does not have to cling, that's one thing, but if lands on me in such a way that requires clinging, that is doubly painful and doubly scary.

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LeeC

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Jun 5, 2019
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Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
After another encounter, I have to add, that of all things to trigger Grady, when I wear those, I cannot hear him coming at me, so if I am not facing his direction--big surprise! LOL I must try discreet ear plugs. :)
 

thegars

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Jul 21, 2018
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4 1/2 years old now CAG..got her at 14 weeks...Debbie is still clown! Now almost 4 1/2....never a dull moment!
Debbie’s freedom has certainly led to some interesting situations! We think that she is extremely jealous of anything that my wife has in her hands. Her cell phone, her tablet or any paper she might be carrying. She goes after her hands…we first thought she was attacking the item but not sure that is the case, seems she’s begun hanging on and chomping on her hand!
We understand that there are remedies, some are just unacceptable, I can’t and won’t expect my wife to not live her life….Debbie’s cage and indoor tree is in our living room, she also has one in the Florida room and out in the lanai so she is free to roam most of the day.
Trimming her wings has stopped all biting in the past, I suppose because she has to be more dependent on us to get around. She happily sits with my wife on her hand !
With that said, time to make an appointment with the Vet…anxious because of her previous seizure while having her toenails trimmed last vet visit, btw, blood work revealed nothing.
Wish us good fortune….
 

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