Biting and aggressive

SkyVenture

New member
Feb 26, 2021
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Hello ! I need help, a lot.
I recently got a green cheek conure (he's 11 years old) and he is so aggressive. He looks for my hand to bite them. He only nipped at first, which I ignored like I was told to, but now he is biting me harsh, my hands are covered in bruises it's very bad. I don't know what to do, whenever I approach him, he bites me until I bleed. So I try to let him do his thing and I ignore, but I was told to not let him on my head or my shoulders so whenever he does, I offer my finger and say "hop hop" to make him climb down, but he just screams and bites me hard. Man I really don't want to get rid of him, he's my baby, but I'm scared of letting him out of his cage at this point. I heard so many different things, I have no idea what to do "Put him in his cage when he bites/no don't or else he'll take his cage as a bad place - just take him off you and place him away/he just flies back and bite me again" what the hell am I supposed to do.
Thanks in advance. I don't know what to do anymore 😟
 

LaManuka

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Aug 29, 2018
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Welcome to you and your GCC! I'm so sorry to hear you are having biting issues with your conure, I know from experience how upsetting this is! Do you know much about his background and how many homes he has had? Having been uprooted from one or more previous homes will almost certainly add to the anxiety, insecurity and aggressiveness that he is displaying. He probably feels like you are just going to be another in a line of people who have abandoned him just as he might have been beginning to form a bond. And what is his name by the way?

I had a green cheeked conure for a sum total of just over 4 years prior to his premature death from pancreatitis in August 2018 so I do not pretend to know everything about them. What I can tell you though is that my beloved sweet snuggly baby named Baci turned into a vicious and bitey demon practically overnight at the age of about 2 and a bit. Now this was at a time before discovering this forum and I had no idea what had happened to him. It was the middle of a summer heatwave and I’d been working a few long day shifts in a row so he’d been stuck in his cage in a hot house for several days and I just thought he hated me for it. Anyway, I found he was suddenly hugely vicious around his cage in particular and I couldn’t get near him for days without him absolutely LACERATING my hands. In desperation I looked up all sorts of things online to try to find a solution, and there’s a lot of stuff out there like the “earthquake” method (doesn’t work with green cheeks, it just makes them latch on even harder!) and dropping them suddenly on the floor (NEVER an option as it could obviously result in injury!) Ignoring the bite just seemed to make him bite that much harder because I clearly wasn't getting the message. Bribery with treats didn’t work on my Baci either, he would take the treat and then bite me anyway, and quite savagely too!

What saved our relationship in the end was the procedure of "laddering". First thing in the morning I would stick a few flesh coloured band-aids on the parts of my hand most likely to get bit, thus lessening my reflexive flinch when I thought he was about to bite, and in turn lessening his reaction to my flinching. Then I would ask him to step up, and if/when he bit me, I’d ladder him onto my other hand and back and forth until he stopped biting, usually only a step or two or three until he stopped. Then I’d pop him down somewhere neutral like the back of a chair and walk away for a minute or two until he cooled off, then go back and repeat the process once or twice. Where possible I would repeat the procedure in neutral territory where he had not previously shown this type of aggression. Baci was a smart boy and it didn’t take him long to work out that he wasn’t going to get away with biting, which was pretty much the only thing I didn’t tolerate from him because he bit so dang hard! He’d grumble at me a little but I’d (carefully!!) give him a big kiss and tell him how much I loved him, then pop him down and he would usually go about his business quite happily for the rest of the day. But I always kept those band-aids handy!

Looking back on it now, and having learned a lot about GCCs from other members on this forum, I now realise that his behaviour change pretty much coincided exactly with his reaching puberty. Your conure is quite a bit older than Baci was but seasonal hormonal changes may well be feeding into his behaviour so hopefully the worst of it will pass.

I wish I had known these things about conures at the time because if I had it may have changed the way in which I dealt with Baci's behaviour. Undoubtedly there are better ways of handling the situation - I know some will say laddering is not the ideal solution to an issue like this and hopefully some of our other members will weigh in soon with some ideas about how you might deal with this behaviour in the longer term. It by no means guaranteed that Baci never bit me again, but as a short term circuit-breaker in this type of emotionally fraught situation I found it very useful indeed. I hope this helps you!
 
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noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
How long have you had him?

If this is like 3 months or less, with an adult bird, you are moving too fast and likely setting back trust with each bite.

Have you had experience with adult parrots before? I am just asking so I don't post stuff if you already know it.

This (From Flboy)--> "The only bite that can't be rewarded is the one that never occurs."

^^That is so absolutely true. 2nd to this, would be ignoring if you don't know why, but the problem is, then you are still giving your bird more practice biting and stressing him/her out with each bite. No matter how good you think you are at not reacting, your bird can likely tell the difference. This will come down to building trust, taking it slow, not doing anything to stress your bird out, allowing him to enter/exit the cage on his own (with supervision) without ever trying to touch him). Let him go in and out on his own (after ensuring the house if safe) and only when you have time to wait. Do not lock him up the second he goes back in, or he will associate going in with getting locked up.


One you have built trust (which it sounds like you likely do not have at this point) read more about ABA-- here is a long post but one of my replies talk about ABA and it also contains some links on it.

http://www.parrotforums.com/conures/89020-conure-biting-sometimes.html


Also, how much sleep is your guy getting each night, and does he have any huts/tents in his cage?
 
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Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Hi,
Feed treats by hand all day long.
Work on building trust.
If you only got him recently, he is also going through grief and missing his old home, even if it was a bad home. It can take them a couple of months to get over that. Everything is new, and he doesn't understand all the changes. Be kind, be patient, make routines, use same phrases,
Needs out of the cage time, and yiu can teach them to go back on their own. I have with treats, target training.

I think this is a good article covers a lot of stuff
https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/stress-reduction-for-parrot-companions/
 
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birdiemama

New member
May 11, 2020
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Doobie, a Pineapple Green Cheek Conure baby about 6 weeks old (on May 11, 2020)
I agree with the previous..."laddering" is a temporary distraction and seems to work in a positive way. Good luck.
 

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