Confused Newbie!

Weightedwombat

New member
Aug 2, 2015
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0
Parrots
Pineapple Strawberry GCC
Hey everyone! I'm a newbie to the forums here and hope to become a valuable member to such a nice friendly community! That being said, I need to tap into the vast knowledge base of the many people here as I'm having a bit of a frustrating issue.

My wife and I have had several cockatiels in the past and decided to take the Conure plunge about a month ago. We got ourselves a friendly 3 month old Pineapple Strawberry Conure. We were so excited to have him (assuming its male) in our home, the first couple weeks were amazing! He learned step up extremely quickly and was just such a cuddler. As of the past week he's become, seemingly out of nowhere, bitey, destructive and just an all around brat!

I'm not sure if this is normal Conure "growing" issues or what but his personality has done a 180 and we can't even have him out without him attempting to destroy our hands. We've tried everything from the firm no no and putting him back on his cage to ignoring the biting all together and nothing is curbing it. His bites aren't enough to draw blood but they're definitely not pleasant. I'm not sure how to proceed and both my wife and I are completely perplexed. He's started also rolling on his back and kicking his feet (looks almost like a toddler temper tantrum lol) but if he is touched he will bite and bite hard. If anyone has any thoughts on perhaps what I'm doing wrong that'd be extremely helpful! :confused:
 

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Ann333

New member
Jan 8, 2015
1,119
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New Mexico
Parrots
--PUMPKIN - male YS GCC. Hatched Halloween Day 2014. Came home Jan. 4, 2015. Started talking in July '15!

-BUTTERNUT- female TYS GCC Hatched in late Jan. 2016 and came home March 14, 2016
Green cheek conure are very nippy by nature. All you can do is pick a method and be consistent and patient. My breeder told me to blow air in his face and say "be nice" so that's what I did consistently and it has helped. I do still get bit though, they are very smart and opinionated. They are not shy in telling you what they want or don't like. Good luck.
 

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
258
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
The rolling on the back stuff is generally a form of play. That's less tantrum, than simply really wound up. He doesn't seem to realize he's using too much bite pressure. Tell him "too hard" and stop the game for a second. If he wants to play, he has to be gentle. Work on bite pressure training.

A conure is just a shrunken macaw. They can be feisty and opinionated. But mostly, they play, and play, and play...
 
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Weightedwombat

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Aug 2, 2015
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Pineapple Strawberry GCC
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Thanks for the tips, is it normal behavior though to go from being a giant cuddle monster to a huge biting brat? Or is it possibly something I'm doing wrong?
 

Mimsy01

New member
Jul 7, 2014
512
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GCC-Foofany
European Starling-Zeki
BCC-Ellie House Sparrow-Napolean Parakeet-Bean
As Ann said, consistency is the key, whatever method you choose.

Foo came to us as a return to a pet store for biting. She wants more than anything to just be with us, whether on our shoulder, snuggled under a chin, on our hand, sitting on a perch right next to us..just PLEASE let me be close personality. So we just put her on her playtop when she bites and walk away. I always say no bite when it happens, not sure if thats good or not, cause when she is about to bite now she says "no bite" or sometimes "be nice bite" and then goes for it.

Now she is mostly just a cuddle bug. Though she has her moments, like you are not sharing the yogurt, you touched my box, you put yucky food in my bowl. :) But we can now read her well enough that no one usually gets bit.

Rolling on their backs is usually a play thing, and they do tend to play rough. Use a stuffed toy, easier on your hands and he gets to play. You are correct about the toddler thing-my husband always calls her our little bi-polar 2 year old.

He's adorable!
 

Kyoto

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Mar 18, 2015
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Halifax, NS, Canada
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Kyoto (AKA Kyo)-Green Cheek Conure
Charlie - Canary
Tommy - Budgie
Sunny - budgie
This is typical GCC behaviour. You've been given lots of solid advice. Also, make sure your baby is getting a full 12 hours of rest every night, or she may get cranky.
 

Ann333

New member
Jan 8, 2015
1,119
0
New Mexico
Parrots
--PUMPKIN - male YS GCC. Hatched Halloween Day 2014. Came home Jan. 4, 2015. Started talking in July '15!

-BUTTERNUT- female TYS GCC Hatched in late Jan. 2016 and came home March 14, 2016
Kyoto has a good point lack of sleep has a notable effect even with my limited experience. Also diet, a bird who isnt fed nutritious food can more often get sick and therefore cranky. I dont think you're doing anything wrong, i think you gave a gcc and biting is what they do. :)
 

Allee

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2013
16,852
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Texas
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U2-Poppy(Poppy lives with her new mommy, Misty now) CAG-Jack, YNA, Bingo, Budgie-Piper, Cockatiel-Sweet Pea Quakers-Harry, Sammy, Wilson ***Zeke (quaker) Twinkle (budgie) forever in our hearts
Hello and Welcome to the forums! What a beautiful little conure!
 
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Weightedwombat

New member
Aug 2, 2015
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Pineapple Strawberry GCC
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I'll have to just stay calm and be consistent. I know he's a good bird because I've seen how sweet and loving he can be! Thanks for all the helpful advice :)
 

Notdumasilook

New member
Jul 28, 2015
539
6
Charlotte, NC
Parrots
Blue Fronted Amazon, Cookie..Sun Conure..lil Booger (RIP) Have owned Parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels, cockatoos, pocket parrot, and quakers.
Kinda share the opinion this bird is playing. Especially the "on the back" thing. They love to mock fight. Sadly..they dont know their beak pressure when young. Not saying itll work for you but whats worked for me is when I get an unintentional hard bite I shake my hand and give a human version of a birdy squawk. Some hard bits ARE intentional however. Like when you get too close to their foods, or a toy they are protective of. My little Sun loves mock fighting and when hes on his back that means "tickle my belly while i chew on you".usually not to hard.. but I can tell a big difference when he is on the offensive because of something I did wrong. My Amazon likes to mock play too..using the same method and telling him "be easy" he learned what that means. He can have my finger in his beak and get a lil too much pressure ..and as soon as I say "be easy" he backs off the pressure. Also give him plenty of othe stuff besides you to chew on. It doesnt have to be fancy pet shop birdie toys. lil leather doggie chew toys hung on a string, cardboard .. like toilet paper and paper towel rolls are a real hoot for my birds. Get some small hemp twine and tie knots in it and let them see how long it takes to untie em. Bottom line..give them something besides you to chew on. Good luck
 

OneHorseRanch

New member
May 25, 2014
179
1
California
Parrots
One Green Cheek Conure, Sheldon. Hatch date: 7/27/13
Yep, Sheldon went through the same phase. When we brought him home he was sooo quiet and polite. Then he settled in and boy did things change. I think his biting was more out of frustration. Not being able to "tell" us what he wanted so we had to "guess"... and shed some blood. He's two years old and he's soooo much better. You get know their body language/chirps. He'll nip but not hard and if he does he gets put away and we all leave the room.. he hates that, but it seems to work. Good luck. I see it as just another phase in life. Kind of like kids. You can almost count the days when it passes.
 

Notdumasilook

New member
Jul 28, 2015
539
6
Charlotte, NC
Parrots
Blue Fronted Amazon, Cookie..Sun Conure..lil Booger (RIP) Have owned Parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels, cockatoos, pocket parrot, and quakers.
I enjoyed the article as well but it left a some important points out. When you adopt a bird you are dealing with millions of years of hardwired behavior. Although a totally different species a bird sees you as another bird, and not if but "when" you get bit.. it can be typical bird behavior. A bird bites for a lot of reasons. #1 fear #2 territory #3 warning of danger #4 asserting his self in the flock #5 defense of a mate and / or young.#6 play. There are more but this are the ones we usually deal with. Just because you get bit does not have to mean you did something wrong... but you can lessen the chances by being aware of how birds in a flock interact with each other... thats how they intereact with you. They have no choice.. its hardwired in them.. and that in itself is part of their charm. Sure, we can teach them tricks, teach them our language, but to them we are another bird in the flock, perhaps we are mommy, daddy, best buddies, a mate, or the one bird in the flock they want to dominate. If you let a bird dominate you (which most will eventually try) things are not going to go well. You have to remain "boss bird" when challenged.. or be prepared to either re-home the bird or bleed a lot (if your bird has the beak pressure). Im no "bird whisperer" by any account, but I've been taught some lessons by the birds themselves... and yeah, Im still learning after over 35 years.
 

SilverSage

New member
Sep 14, 2013
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Columbus, GA
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Eclectus, CAG, BH Pionus, Maximilian’s Pionus, Quakers, Indian Ringnecks, Green Cheeked Conures, Black Capped Conures, Cockatiels, Lovebirds, Budgies, Canaries, Diamond Doves, Zebra Finches, Society F
A lot of good advice has been given here, especially the part about them being tiny macaws. I personally have found that most conure specific training advice in articles is garbage, and if you truly want a well behaved conure it is macaw training that you need to look into.

As has been said, there are many reasons for biting, and each bird may be biting for many reasons. So look around and ask yourself each time you get bit, what is going on, what am I trying to do, and what did the bird do right before he bit me.

When I got my Flick she was quite sweet, and then she turned into a monster biter. Two factors were identified, the first being bite pressure issues. As a hand raised bird, she had never learned how hard was too hard. Her affectionate kisses were extremely painful! So when she was snugly and loving and suddenly bit me, I would "squawk," and pull away. She didn't get any more scratches until she came over and touched me gently with her beak. She learned within a couple of days and we never had that issue again.

The other problem was that the breeder had raised her with the idea that if you simply force a bird to accept something they will eventually stop fighting it. Now, there is a place for a small bit of this in early socialization, but not to the point where the bird feels helpless and defenseless. As soon as flick realized we weren't going to force our will on her at all times, she began asserting herself through bites, because she could. So we worked on respect from both ends. I started asking hear to step up, and if she gave me the body language of not wanting to, I would offer a treat and ask again rather than forcing the issue. Once she realized I wasn't going to force her against her will, she no longer had a reason to rebell. Now, this also means I did NOT allow her to go places where I knew she would rather stay than step up, such as shoulders or the top of her cage. When she did bite me, I would push into the bite instead of pulling away, and I would NEVER stop doing what I was trying to do. For example if I needed to pick her up and she didn't want to even with a treat, I would pick her up anyway. If she bit me, I would push into it and continue picking her up. I would say "no bite" and ignore the pain as if it wasn't happening. Some people say to shake your hand and unbalance her, but I only do that with birds that are absolutely latched on with their beaks and I shake them off onto a soft piece of furniture and then start over picking them up until I can do it without a bite. The point is to teach them to politely express their opinions without biting, and that biting won't help me get their way.
 

Skittys_Daddy

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2014
2,172
63
Lewiston, Maine
Parrots
Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10)
Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sammy"
(1989-2000) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sandy"
(1987-1989) R.I.P.
I've no experience with GCC, but I do know that with Skittles, my sunny, he is very 'opinionated' and some days he's the most lovable creature in all of creation and other times he's a complete monster. While the latter days are in the minority, I chalk it up to moods mostly.

I do know that suns need 10-14hrs of sleep a night and Skittles is free-flighted all day, so he tends to need a full 14hrs and is grumpy if he doesn't get them.
 

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