GCC behaviour issue

Pineapplebird

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Dec 17, 2019
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Hi!
I have a three and a half yr old gcc called Rio. He is confident, loves people and visitors and riding around on my shoulder. Most of the time he is well behaved - he does nibble or lightly nip now and then but nothing out of the ordinary.
He absolutely adores my girlfriend (he know what her car sounds like and flies to a spot where he can watch her walk in!) She doesn't live with us but visits a couple of times a week. He likes nothing better than to sit on her shoulder and give her a preen. He also flirts with her like crazy

Recently he has started to aggressively bite her. Not often, but he did sink his beak right in to her finger last time. I wasn't around so don't know what his mood was like but she is very good with him, she doesn't flap or scream. Apparently he looked evil and very deliberately bit her for no reason that she could see.

I don't know if it is related but he has also been finding more 'caves' (little cosy areas under rugs etc) and been flirting with her more.

His behaviour to me hasn't changed, I don't know if that's because I am more used to his body language so can head things off or because this is linked to her.

Obviously she is a bit worried about being around him now, and I can't have a pet that attacks people! Has anyone got any advice on what I can do?

So far my ideas are:

Take away the tissue that covered the bottom of his cage - he has started making caves under this - and just use newspapers

Less fruit and treats, more veg! He won't eat it yet but still, the option is there....

Change cage layout and toys more regularly

Make sure he isn't touched anywhere except his head/neck

As you can tell I'm guessing hormones are involved.... when he was about 18 months we did have issues with his hormones

Any advice would be really gratefully appreciated, I want to be able to sort this out and have my little family on speaking terms again! Thank you :)
 

LaManuka

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Welcome to Parrot Forums. And welcome too to Parrot Puberty, isn’t it wonderful?!

My former green cheek baby Baci (God rest his precious little soul) would bite me even though he was in love with me. In his case it was either a “displacement” bite to get me to move away from my husband - whom he hated - or to focus my attention on him and demand to know why i wasn’t responding to his romantic overtures!

You are doing pretty much everything right to try to manage the behaviour. Where possible try to prevent access to any dark or shadowy spot that may be interpreted as a nesting site, pet only his head and neck, and keep on presenting him with lower energy veg rather than fruit. If he has one of those snuggle hut things it should be removed. If and when he does bite, pop him gently down in a neutral spot, NOT his cage. Green cheeks are prone to “cage aggression” and can get very bitey and territorial in and around their cage. If he bites just put him gently down on the floor or the back of a chair, turn your back and walk away, and give no eye contact or attention for a good 5 minutes. Then go back and try again. It’s also important to recognise that parrots are simply not always receptive to a scratch or a cuddle. If you can get a few minutes happy interaction, quit while you’re ahead and end the interaction, leave him for a while and try again later. Try to end each interaction on a positive note, before any biting actually takes place. This is the tactic of avoiding being bitten by avoiding being bitten in the first place! Sounds simplistic but it helps to prevent the undesirable behaviour becoming entrenched.

I hope this helps you! Green cheeks unfortunately are a species that can become a little bitey but the hormonal rage will subside eventually. It’s great to have you and Rio here :)
 
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Laurasea

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You got good advice above.
GCC do bite, and it hurts more than any other parrot I've been bitten by! That needle tip into joints or nail bed ouch!

As GCC become adults you have to be paying attention to their body language.they aren't going to let you have the liberty you used have with them.

I've had several episodes of biting with my GCC. And I can say it easy to accidentally make them fearful of hands. And that once a bite happens and you say no, and shun or whatever. For me first bite is no and I put them on my finger where I can look at them when I say no and I squint . Then you go on as though nothing happened. You can't be angry or fearful, or anticipating the next bite. Your bird is reading you body language, pupils ECT. My parrots squabble then it's over and everything goes back like a reset. They aren't wasting time thinking about biting you .

I put several links to behavior on page 10 of my ornithology thread if you want to go through them and see if you find something helpful.
http://www.parrotforums.com/general...hare-discuss-scientific-articles-parrots.html

This is one of my favorite article
https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/stress-reduction-for-parrot-companions/

And read the other GCC threads, there was one on biting just recently. Sometimes different input is given, and sometimes we think of different things to say on different days and threads. But a biting GCC is a pretty common topic. It's easy to get them to bite, and it's usually easy to get them to stop. Pay attention to the situations bites happen in. For myself and many we go about that a bite is our fault, a d we try and fix our behavior and environment of the bird to prevent future bites. A GCC will usually lower their head and crouch with neck feathers slightly puffed and forehead feathers flat before they bite. Also my bird knows I'm sorry. So if I hit a sensitive pin feather and I say sorry quickly I don't get bit ,but I get the stink eye lol
 
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Pineapplebird

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Thank you both!

I have to take away his sleeping tent :eek: this is not going to go down well..... could that just be a temporary measure until he has calmed down?

Another thing I wondered might help - I have a spare smaller cage in a different room, so if he might be getting possessive over his cage in the living room would moving him to the smaller one at bedtime help?

There is a lot of reading on that ornithology thread, that's very useful thank you :)
Rio also lets us know if we hit a sore spot or when he has had enough tickles, but that isn't proper biting (thank goodness)

Usually he is a happy and sociable bird!
 

LaManuka

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Unfortunately the sleeping tent removal will need to be permanent. Many people have lost birds due to them ingesting the synthetic fibres which can block their digestive tract, and this can happen despite owners being unaware that any chewing is going on. They can also get loose threads tangled around their neck or feet, resulting in injury or death. Sleeping tents can also contribute to hormonal aggression because they resemble a nesting site. Rio may be a little disgruntled about it’s removal for a few days but he really doesn’t need it and the hazards far outweigh any benefits and I’ve just read way too many horror stories to be able to recommend them.

Some people use a second smaller cage for sleeping in. They’ll put birdie to bed somewhere away from busy areas of the home where noise may keep it awake long after sundown. I’ve never done that since I have a fairly peaceful home and I’d think, given all that goes on in a wilderness setting, a bird in the wild would be highly unlikely to get uninterrupted sleep the whole night through. But you certainly can consider that as an option to regulate sleeping hours. I think it comes down to whatever solution works best for you and Rio :)
 
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Pineapplebird

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Ok, goodbye tent! He is very ingenious at finding potential nest sites, today it's the back of the sofa

Thank you for your help :)
 

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