Biting husband's ears and losing focus easily

Kyoto

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Mar 18, 2015
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Halifax, NS, Canada
Parrots
Kyoto (AKA Kyo)-Green Cheek Conure
Charlie - Canary
Tommy - Budgie
Sunny - budgie
Hi everyone,
As you know, Kyo has been really wonderful since we brought her home. At least, she gives ME no big problems (other than losing her attention very easily during training).

As soon as she flies onto my head or shoulder, I pick her up and lay her on her back (she either then switches to cuddle mode or realizes she is doing something I do not like). After she gets the idea I praise her and I either put her on the door to her cage or her play stand, and she usually stays to play for a few minutes. She at least doesn't act aggressively or lash out at me. She is however more interested in exploring the room than she used to be, so I'm finding it hard, (but manageable) to keep her focused for longer than 5 minutes. I'll take any tips on this small issue if anyone has some :)

Now, the real problem… She seems to have mixed feelings about my husband. He is very good about spending time with her while I am at work, but unfortunately she feels entitled to sit on his head and shoulders even though she knows not to sit on mine.

Whenever he tries to do what I outlined above, if on his head she bites his neck and latches on, and if on his shoulder she is latching onto his ear! She is also obsessed with trying to be on his shoulder and head. She likes to preen his whiskers and is generally gentle but as soon as he tries to move her she gets mad. He's tried ignoring the bites but it's getting too painful for him. The rare times she has nipped me I've told her to be gentle and it mostly works, but it's like she is in this weird head space and just ignores this towards my husband when I am supervising their interaction.

We are not giving up and will be persistent, but if anyone has any tips on how to react properly to her behaviour my husband and I would love to know. I've tried even distracting her with the target stick for a treat, but she is still more interested in being on hubby's head/shoulder than getting food. As I stated above, she does not do this when it is just me in the room. My husband says she is also better behaved if it is just him, but still a bit nippy at times.

I should also mention that my hubby wears glasses (not sure if that means anything or not).

Thanks in advance,
Sarah, Brent, and Kyoto :green2:
 
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The worst part about this is something is obviously upsetting her and I can't figure it out. I feel so terrible :( any pointers would be really appreciated.

She was better today than yesterday, but still gave my hubby a bad bite just before bed time.
 
Okay I am no bird behavior expert at all, but since you haven't got any suggestions I will share mine. I would toss her off immediately. It is obvious she wants to stay there since the REAL biting starts when you try to remove her. I think this has gotten to one of those moments where, in Mark's words, you may have to call in Mr. Towel. For the time being I would not allow her to preen your husband at all. The SECOND she lands on his head or shoulders I would remove her. If she bites you painfully in the removal, use a towel or glove. Make her earn back her privileges to even THINK about being on the shoulder. Also make it apply to YOUR shoulder and head as well. She lands there, you get her off ASAP and set her on the floor. Repeat as needed. Once she realized that the shoulder and head are NOT places she can land then you can start rewarding her by placing her onto your shoulder. But first she has to learn that shoulders are a privilege, not a right, and that there is only ONE way to get there, and that is by you placing her on there from your hand. This is what I have been teaching Sammy, and he now steps up off my shoulder without biting, though I rarely allow him the privilege of being on my shoulder because I know that if he is not 100% distracted he will go for the mole on my neck. So I only shoulder him if I am going to do something that will keep him distracted, like cleaning or something else that has me moving around. But I didn't let him up there at ALL for at least two weeks. And when he fluttered up there I immediately removed him. If I couldn't catch him, I stood up and shook him off of me and let him flutter to the floor. Now he has figured out that he can go on my shoulder only when I set him there. It sucked doing it because it is so FUN to shoulder a bird, but I knew that if he didn't learn the lesson then getting him off my shoulder would be a mess forever. You might give that a try and see if it works. Like I said, no expert on bird behavior here, but it has worked pretty well for me. He is no longer a terror to get off my shoulder and respects that it is a privilege, not a perch.
 
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Thank you for the suggestion Puck.

She doesn't try to go onto my shoulder at all anymore. She will land on my head once in a while, but she never puts up a fight about leaving it.

This morning she was being fine with me, while my husband was showering… Suddenly he came into the room to play too, and it was like she turned into a different bird. Not only did she obsess over his shoulder, she suddenly started attacking my hands and gave me SO MANY bad bites I couldn't even ignore it.

We tried putting her on time out for 5 minutes at a time (luckily I had time this morning because I work later than usual today) and giving her a second and third chance to come out, but all she was interested in was attacking my hands while my husband was in the room :( I tried distracting her with target training, I tried putting her down, but just wildly gripped onto my hand no matter what I did.

After being absolutely PERFECT before my husband came into the room. I put her on a last time out and instead of letting her back out I just sat by the cage and talked to her. She saw me cry for the first time and seemed upset about it, but I couldn't hide back the tears. I feel so bad that I'm doing something wrong :( she has so much potential and I just don't understand how to fix this problem. It's obvious she REALLY doesn't like my husband and is becoming a one person bird. He has spent time with her while I've been at work every day, and I just don't understand. :(
 
Thank you for the suggestion Puck.

It's obvious she REALLY doesn't like my husband and is becoming a one person bird. He has spent time with her while I've been at work every day, and I just don't understand. :(

I wouldn't call it a dislike. She is preening him too!
You are the flock leader, she appears to feel she is second in command. She is bossing him around! Hubby will have to assert his dominance! Mr. Towel(facecloth), flip her on her back, talk very calmly how you love her,etc.
Am late for work, but Birdman666 in the past week did a great GCC thread on this, will edit later and add the link.

Found it:
http://www.parrotforums.com/behavioral/52432-my-sweetheart-monster-disguise.html
 
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Kyo was doing really well after work for about 40 minutes before she decided to demand to sit on my head and I got a NASTY bite for asking her to step up. We introduced the towel that moment :) let's just say she was not impressed and bit the towel for about 20 minutes before finally calming down. I gave her a treat and then went and got her fresh foods which she is now squealing over and eating in her cage. Does my hand ever hurt >< hopefully it only gets better from here.

Thanks everyone for all of your help and advice. I have to head out to our studio in a little bit but I'll continue to update our progress (particularly when my husband is around).
 
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Well... Towelling happened... And she seems to LIKE it. Sigh.
 
I have no particular advice related to biting behavior other than "don't do whatever you are doing when the bird bit you" (in this case, don't let her on shoulders if she's going to bite). Birds don't really respond to punishment, so move her focus elsewhere.

Even if she bites you when you remove her, don't show emotion, don't let out a yell, just pick her up, move her, and ignore her for a bit. If she flies back, do the same. If she flies back again, do the same (repeat repeat repeat). Locking her in her cage or toweling her as punishment just makes it harder to use those things in the future as positive experiences (sleep time, or nail trimmings, etc).
 
The worst part about this is something is obviously upsetting her and I can't figure it out. I feel so terrible :( any pointers would be really appreciated.

She was better today than yesterday, but still gave my hubby a bad bite just before bed time.

Hormonal vibes acting up perhaps....How much natural sun light is it getting a day? Birds get a bit moody without it.
 
Birds get a bit moody

Fixed your post :D

Seriously though, this is something to consider as well. Most windows filter UVA light, which a bird needs. If your bird isn't getting unfiltered sunlight, it may be worth investing in a UVA/UVB lamp.
 
I know it isn't a full substitute, but I use a simple daylight bulb in a brooder lamp. Make sure the cord is protected in some way or your little girl could get really hurt! As said, definitely not a uva/b substitute, but our guys really like them. I also have JoJo outside with me, caged, almost every day.My wife does the same for Bongo at her place.
 
Birds get a bit moody

Fixed your post :D

Seriously though, this is something to consider as well. Most windows filter UVA light, which a bird needs. If your bird isn't getting unfiltered sunlight, it may be worth investing in a UVA/UVB lamp.

What was wrong with the post That you had to fix?:cool:

You apparently didn't see a previous post about ultra violet lighting...:D
My birds get plenty.....I would not invest in a UVA/UVB lightening if my life depended on it. Total waste of money.....U of M did a research study and Busted the myth that those lights give off required lighting...ha ha ha, it dose not...as a matter of fact there might be one maybe two manufacturers out of 1000's that actually give some form of beneficial lighting but not the full spectrum. There isn't a manufacturer out there that offers full spectrum lighting which is needed. Not one.....it's all mis-leading.....that said some lighting is better than none....My birds go outside at least once a day. Have a screened gazebo that allows nice sunlight.
 
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Hey everyone! Thanks for all the great advice. She does have a uv lamp, and I think I've found a solution.

Since she wants more than anything to sit on me, be it my hand or my leg etc. And that's when she bites, I've taught her today that maybe sitting on a "perch" is a better idea with better treats. I've been reintroducing my hand to her slowly over the past hour, only let her sit on it when she behaves, and it seems to be working a lot better than towel (she wants to roll over and play in the towel as soon as she sees it lol)
I know it's not ideal, but it gives me a means of control without stressing her or getting bit. She was much calmer tonight and I think this may be my way forward.
 
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Also, my country is still cold with snow, but I will definitely be taking her outside when it warms up :)
 
Birds get a bit moody

Fixed your post :D

Seriously though, this is something to consider as well. Most windows filter UVA light, which a bird needs. If your bird isn't getting unfiltered sunlight, it may be worth investing in a UVA/UVB lamp.

What was wrong with the post That you had to fix?:cool:

You apparently didn't see a previous post about ultra violet lighting...:D
My birds get plenty.....I would not invest in a UVA/UVB lightening if my life depended on it. Total waste of money.....U of M did a research study and Busted the myth that those lights give off required lighting...ha ha ha, it dose not...as a matter of fact there might be one maybe two manufacturers out of 1000's that actually give some form of beneficial lighting but not the full spectrum. There isn't a manufacturer out there that offers full spectrum lighting which is needed. Not one.....it's all mis-leading.....that said some lighting is better than none....My birds go outside at least once a day. Have a screened gazebo that allows nice sunlight.

Haha I was joking that parrots are moody, full stop (rather than under certain situations).

Do you have a link to that UofM study? It sounds fascinating.
 
Fixed your post :D

Seriously though, this is something to consider as well. Most windows filter UVA light, which a bird needs. If your bird isn't getting unfiltered sunlight, it may be worth investing in a UVA/UVB lamp.

What was wrong with the post That you had to fix?:cool:

You apparently didn't see a previous post about ultra violet lighting...:D
My birds get plenty.....I would not invest in a UVA/UVB lightening if my life depended on it. Total waste of money.....U of M did a research study and Busted the myth that those lights give off required lighting...ha ha ha, it dose not...as a matter of fact there might be one maybe two manufacturers out of 1000's that actually give some form of beneficial lighting but not the full spectrum. There isn't a manufacturer out there that offers full spectrum lighting which is needed. Not one.....it's all mis-leading.....that said some lighting is better than none....My birds go outside at least once a day. Have a screened gazebo that allows nice sunlight.

Haha I was joking that parrots are moody, full stop (rather than under certain situations).

Do you have a link to that UofM study? It sounds fascinating.

Yeah the link was on "Science Daily" . This site only posts things that can be verified by peer review and research studies that are documented.
They never post Bull crap. All article follow strict citations and articles can be found as far back as 10 years.

Like some sights anyone can write about something but dose not make it true....the Science daily states proven facts. On just about any topic, including university studies of parrots.
 
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No bites this morning :) good Kyo!
 
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No bites for me in 24 hours. Unfortunately, she was good for hubby this evening for about 10 minutes, and then suddenly went into attack mode towards him :(

She got a 10 minute time-out in her cage for that. When I fed her fresh food I let her back out and sat with her, no issues at all. No aggression towards me, no nipping, just the sweet loving birdie I brought home weeks ago. I out her to bed (later tonight as we were at the studio much longer than normal today), and got hubby to come back upstairs to talk to her while she was cuddling up. She seemed aggressive suddenly once again (in her cage)

I feel so terrible that things aren't going as smoothly as they were at first, I wish I could figure out what it is about my husband that is setting her off. It just seems so random! He's so sweet and kind to her, talks nicely to her, praises her, gives her treats, target trains with her, is gentle with her, and she just has suddenly over the past week decided that she wants to dominate him… and when I step in to break it up, often I get bit too.

Stick training her has helped a bit. as I said, she gave hubby 10 good minutes tonight which was an improvement from the other day. Towelling is alright, I don't like doing it but when I have to pick her off my husband and she ignores the stick I have to do it to avoid getting a nasty bite (drawing blood, ripping flesh off).

Will this get better just with our persistence, or is she just always going to dislike my husband now? Do you think even at only 15/16 weeks of age she could be getting hormonal?

I'm so sorry for dragging this post on continually, but it's been my only means of advice. Her next avian vet visit is Tuesday for a nail trim, and I'm hoping to get some more advice then.

Thanks so much everyone.
 
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Hi Everyone,
After things started to get a bit better for me, Kyo is still really not a fan of hubby... to the point that he's afraid to let her out when in the room. She literally lunges at his hands and face and flies to him to attack and won't come around even with him visiting her every day giving her treats. The weird thing is, when she is in her flight cage she allows him to scratch her feathers and will give him kisses... it's only when she's out that she suddenly gets aggressive. She can be nippy towards me, but she will at least stop when I either distract her or relocate her away from my desk.

We still keep trying to give her some time with hubby once in a while, such as today when she immediately flew at him and started biting his hands viciously. I really don't want to do it, but I'm considering clipping her wings. I am generally against this practice, but I'm starting to think we may have no other choice if we want to eventually enable my husband to have some sort of relationship with her.

I'd love to get other's opinions on this. She is now 7 months old, has a UVB/UVA lamp, gets out for about 4 hours daily (more when I can! this is a normal day when I work though) and has periodic visits with hubby to change her water while I'm at work (she has to stay in her own room due to our cat Dougal incessantly trying to get her). She gets chop every morning and has Roudybush and Zupreem natural pellets available while I'm working.
 

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