Biting issues and puberty questions

Jamisonp

New member
Apr 28, 2020
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Phoenix, Az
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Alphie (2 years old, light blue budgie) and Java (1 year old green cheek conure)
Hi all, so I've written in the health section about some issues I've had with my GCC Java a few times, health wise he's doing well and we haven't had any scares since thank goodness but now we've moved on to a new issue. Java has recently gotten VERY bitey and aggressive, he's got a good attitude when he comes out of the cage and he'll just chill and or play like he always has but then very suddenly out of nowhere he'll grab onto me bite super hard, twist, and won't let go. He's been consistently drawing blood and cutting my hands and I'm kind of at a loss. He's been eating, drinking, bathing, playing etc. normally and there haven't been any changes to his diet or anything so I'm pretty sure this is puberty related especially since he's going to turn two in march (yay!). I guess I just wanted some advice on how to deal with the not letting go, biting in general, and anything I can do to make the puberty phase pass easier. I know about the "no bite" way of training him to not bite where you leave them on a chair and ignore them for a minute or so but I'm not seeing any results from doing it even though I'm being consistent with it. Any and all advice is appreciated!
 

chris-md

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Feb 6, 2010
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Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
How old is he?

So puberty biting is different from fear based biting. Puberty biting is not really controllable via training and time outs - they don’t know what they’re doing when it happens. You control it by controlling the cause, hormones. Which can’t actually be well controlled because it’s biological in origin.

This is more of a “wait it out, find way to handle that keeps hands away” kind of thing. Keep interactions shorter (the longer he’s on your hand, the greater the opportunity), have him step up to a stick instead of your hand.

And of course, standard hormonal controls apply: 12-14 hours of sleep, minimize sugar intake, etc. they aren’t going to be miracles, but stand a chance of taking the edge off here and there until puberty passes. Research hormonal tiggers and controls, sometimes they are in forms you wouldn’t expect (fruits, fruity pellets, etc).
 

Jen5200

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I agree - puberty is tough, it’s like they can’t help themselves. I got very adept at putting Tango on my knee when spending time together (rather than my arm or hand), using a perch to step up on, etc. I also tried to give more toys for her to destroy as that seemed to be what she needed most (chewing up whatever was handy). I did training on a standing perch as it kept her brain busy and my fingers out of reach most of the time (except when providing a treat). I kept up with the short time outs and “no bite” training, figuring that I didn’t want her to keep the biting habit when she was done with puberty. I wore a hoodie with my hood up to protect my ears (Tango is flighted and would land on my shoulder if I wasn’t paying attention). Play stands were my friend - and I encouraged her to spend more time “near” me rather than on me while she was being a velociraptor :). It’s a tough time - if I remember anything else, I’ll note it here.
 
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Jamisonp

New member
Apr 28, 2020
30
28
Phoenix, Az
Parrots
Alphie (2 years old, light blue budgie) and Java (1 year old green cheek conure)
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He's 1 year and 11 months old, he'll turn two March 5th and he's been having a bit of an attitude for a month or so I kind of expected it to happen soon. I'll start with the stick rather than the hand tomorrow then and hopefully we'll be able to minimize the damage. Also had no clue about the fruity pellets thing and it being a hormone trigger! I've been weaning him off of zupreem fruitblend to the natural stuff so that should help too. Thanks for you advice!
 
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Jamisonp

New member
Apr 28, 2020
30
28
Phoenix, Az
Parrots
Alphie (2 years old, light blue budgie) and Java (1 year old green cheek conure)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
I agree - puberty is tough, it’s like they can’t help themselves. I got very adept at putting Tango on my knee when spending time together (rather than my arm or hand), using a perch to step up on, etc. I also tried to give more toys for her to destroy as that seemed to be what she needed most (chewing up whatever was handy). I did training on a standing perch as it kept her brain busy and my fingers out of reach most of the time (except when providing a treat). I kept up with the short time outs and “no bite” training, figuring that I didn’t want her to keep the biting habit when she was done with puberty. I wore a hoodie with my hood up to protect my ears (Tango is flighted and would land on my shoulder if I wasn’t paying attention). Play stands were my friend - and I encouraged her to spend more time “near” me rather than on me while she was being a velociraptor :). It’s a tough time - if I remember anything else, I’ll note it here.
I'll be sure to try all of these too! I've been wanting to get him a nice big playstand but my husband's been a bit resistant to the idea but maybe if I tell him it'll help with puberty it'll change his tune lol
 

chris-md

Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2010
4,238
1,846
Maryland - USA
Parrots
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
He's 1 year and 11 months old, he'll turn two March 5th and he's been having a bit of an attitude for a month or so I kind of expected it to happen soon. I'll start with the stick rather than the hand tomorrow then and hopefully we'll be able to minimize the damage. Also had no clue about the fruity pellets thing and it being a hormone trigger! I've been weaning him off of zupreem fruitblend to the natural stuff so that should help too. Thanks for you advice!

It’s not “fruity pebbles” specifically, it’s the sugar contained therein. Eclectus can breed all year (rather than just spring) so hormonal control is a constant for us Ekkie owners.

Sugar can trigger or exacerbate hormonal behavior. When birds are hormonal (puberty, spring and fall) you want to cut back on the sugar they take in to help curb the diet contribution. Thing is, the sugar comes from places you don’t even THINK about: fruit, lots of different pellet brands, assorted treats.
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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All the above is great advice. Sometimes yiu have to try combinations.
I thought puberty was at 6 month for a GCC, and breeding age was around 1yr. This seems to agree
https://www.beautyofbirds.com/green...ach sexual maturity around,from 22 to 25 days.
" They reach sexual maturity around one years of age. Many can be sexually mature earlier - but it is not wise to breed them younger than a year."

So just a different take from how things are with me and my GCC .

GCC are fabulous as you know, full of personality, smart, funny, can cuddle like crazy. But they also have the well earned reputation for being nippy. They want things just right or they set us straight.

I've had times with mine when for reasons known, or unknown she would start bites, even running up to bite me. If I know the things that have upset her I fix them, did I change routine, change her cage? Ect.

But what works, paying attention to body language, respect when she changes her mind about hear scratch mid scratch, apologizing if I spooked her. And hand feeding treats, many times a day.

Ta-dah would bite me multiple times a day, if I wasn't paying attention to her changing moods and body language. But because I do, I don't get bit. We can snuggle, then she is like I will bite you, so I just pause , in couple if minutes she wants petting again. I liken it to a cat! Most bite threats are I bumped a pin feather, I moved to fast, or jealous of another pet, burd, phone.

If you are getting bitten you are pushing her to far , about something..abd sometimes you just have to earn back trust. Especially if you had to grab for treatment.

Aldo they need to eat , nibble, about every hour, if you aren't giving him breaks for that, can get cranky.
 
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