Green cheek conures biting

AzurZafir

New member
Apr 16, 2020
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Hey everyone,

I'm actually new here, but I searched everywhere to find some solution for this, but I'm still not sure what to do...
I have two green cheek conures. We adopted them, and the previous owner said they are a male and female and they just turned one year old now, but I'm not sure about that, but they are young. They are both flighted. I've had them since October and I'm a first time bird owner. I'm also a part of a 7 member family, and I'm still in my teens. :(
I've tried to create a bond with them, but I don't know if I'm doing it right, because only little progress was made. At first, they were terrified of us and didn't want us near. Now they like to come and see what we do.
One of them sometimes comes up to me and flies on my shoulder. I know I shouldn't let that happen, but sometimes he/she acts so nice there, I don't know what to do. The other times.. He starts to nibble on the edge of my sweater and then on my skin a little bit and then that starts to become harder and so it hurts. I have a bad habit of saying shh when it hurts and sometimes he stops to that but sometimes he just stops for a second and starts doing it again, but harder. I then put him off me and leave the room. The other conure is shyer, she barely comes to me.
I think they are also afraid of my hands. I've never touched their feathers. Every time I have my hand coming close, they start to open their beaks, ruffle their feather, ect.. if I woudn't pull back, they would bite. The one who sometimes comes to my shoulders twice let me touch his beak very softly several times, but if I try to do it again, he wants to bite.
One time, actually today, I had him (the one with the shouders) on a jar, which was filled with their seeds. He was standing at the edge, and I was trying to put him down on a perch, but he didn't want to go down. He suddenly slipped, right onto my hand and bit me three times. It - luckily - didn't break the skin, but it hurt real bad. He somehow managed to get back on the jar and I managed to put him down. I didn't panick when he touched my hand, I didn't do a thing, but he just bit down, even though I held him from falling down.
Also today, he was on my arm, nibbling my sweater as usual, and then started to touch my hand with his beak very gently. I thought how cute, but then he started to eat my hand! He bit down three times and all of them broke the skin and bled. It still hurts. I immedietly put him down and said No! and went away.
I sometimes let them bit me because somewhere I read that bite pressure training was about letting my parrot bite me and then "tell" him what pressure is okay. But how do I know if this works?
I've tried getting the bird out of its balance when biting, but then he just bites even more to keep its balance I guess.
I don't know if I'm doing anything right or if I'm just being a total bummer. I don't have anyone to ask advice from, just the internet.
I also can't let them out of their cage every day, just every two days, because of my family. :rolleyes:
I really hope that we'll get though this with your help so thank you all the answerers.

A hoping conure owner:green2::green2:

ps.:sorry for the long text...
 
Welcome to you and your conures, Juli! Thanks for a comprehensive bio, allows members to give targeted advice.

Adopted birds bring much baggage to their new homes, you will not be aware of formative experiences. Having them for 6 months ensures they have passed the "honeymoon" period and their personalities are apparent. If they are about 1 year of age, they may be on the cusp or have entered puberty. The hormonal process plays havoc with behaviors and may continue for some time.

Keeping them in the cage except for every other day may encourage "cage bound" aggressive tendencies. Do they hesitate to exit when offered? It is important to strike the balance of cage as safe refuge with bonding and socializing with others.

Some threads of interest:
Bonding/building trust: http://www.parrotforums.com/general-parrot-information/49144-tips-bonding-building-trust.html
Bite Pressure Training: http://www.parrotforums.com/training/63988-bite-pressure-training.html
Clicker/Target Training: http://www.parrotforums.com/training/60435-clicker-target-training.html

What is their diet? There is some linkage between behavior and nutrition. Generally, fresh veggies and fruits are preferred as the base diet. Many will offer pellets and/or seeds as supplements. There is plenty of debate whether seeds are good/bad. As with most things, proportion is key.

Birds naturally gravitate to the shoulder. They are excellent perches and close to your head, the part of the body they associate with "you." Shoulder privileges ought be earned not assumed. Conures are capable of inflicting serious damage to the neck/face, so please use caution!
 
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Welcome to you and your conures, Juli! Thanks for a comprehensive bio, allows members to give targeted advice.

Adopted birds bring much baggage to their new homes, you will not be aware of formative experiences. Having them for 6 months ensures they have passed the "honeymoon" period and their personalities are apparent. If they are about 1 year of age, they may be on the cusp or have entered puberty. The hormonal process plays havoc with behaviors and may continue for some time.

Keeping them in the cage except for every other day may encourage "cage bound" aggressive tendencies. Do they hesitate to exit when offered? It is important to strike the balance of cage as safe refuge with bonding and socializing with others.

Some threads of interest:
Bonding/building trust: http://www.parrotforums.com/general-parrot-information/49144-tips-bonding-building-trust.html
Bite Pressure Training: http://www.parrotforums.com/training/63988-bite-pressure-training.html
Clicker/Target Training: http://www.parrotforums.com/training/60435-clicker-target-training.html

What is their diet? There is some linkage between behavior and nutrition. Generally, fresh veggies and fruits are preferred as the base diet. Many will offer pellets and/or seeds as supplements. There is plenty of debate whether seeds are good/bad. As with most things, proportion is key.

Birds naturally gravitate to the shoulder. They are excellent perches and close to your head, the part of the body they associate with "you." Shoulder privileges ought be earned not assumed. Conures are capable of inflicting serious damage to the neck/face, so please use caution!

Hello and thank you Scott.
Thanks for the links, they’re great help. ☺️
I’ll try to keep them off my shoulder then, you are right. Can they go on my arms though?
They come out instantly from the cage when I open the cage door.
Their diet is of seeds, vegetables and fruits. Unfortunately we don’t have pellets in the pet shops here and I’m not sure how I know the ones from Amazon for instance are safe but I’ll think about it for treats.
I don’t really know then what time boundaries should I set for in-cage and out-cage time so I hope someone chimes in.
Juli
 
Nothing wrong with them on your arms as long as you can control them! Having them get used to you as a "person" is a good thing.

Great, so they are not "cage bound" and reluctant to exit the cage. This is the ideal case, as well as rewarding them for returning and learning to self-entertain with themselves and toys.

The type of seed mix is important. Sunflower and safflower tend to have the highest fat content. Many mixes contain cheap "fillers" many birds will never eat. Peanuts often contain high amounts of toxins, especially in the shell.

Ideally they should come out of the cage at least daily, even if the only time is relatively short. As you bond and learn to trust, they may enjoy sitting on your shoulders while you are in the house. Of course it is extremely important to be aware of them so you don't walk outside and accidentally have them fly away. (don't laugh, it has happened)
 
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Okay I think that we actually had that fill-in seed mix �� because they always ate some specific seeds and left a lot, so I’ll search for a new one. ;)
So do you mean one-two days out of the cage and then one day only two hours?
 
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I’ve also started target training and they are doing pretty good :) . Also wil teaching them tricks help with the trust? Or is that just simple fun for me?
:gcc::gcc:
 
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Hello
Today one of them stepped up on my finger for a treat without biting me which is absolutely amazing. I stopped feeding them too much seeds and they seemed very happy. Just wanted to post the progress. :D
Juli
 
I’ve also started target training and they are doing pretty good :) . Also wil teaching them tricks help with the trust? Or is that just simple fun for me?
:gcc::gcc:


Tricks are a great bonding tool:)


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Thank you lollipoppy, then I’ll keep up with the training. ��
Can I say shh when they bite me and then no or is that a bad idea?
 
Thank you lollipoppy, then I’ll keep up with the training. ��
Can I say shh when they bite me and then no or is that a bad idea?


I’m not sure about that, shh would sound like a hiss and I’m not sure how birds respond to that. I just say “No bite!” Or “Gentle” depending on what’s going on... if he seems overly playful / irritated nipping I say no bite and let him calm down, if he’s preening me and getting a little too over zealous I say gentle. I’ve been teaching him “gentle” on toys - when he plays with his toys I say “good gentle! Gooood!” And when he bites the toy hard I say “no bite!” And take the toy away for a second. It seems to be helping!


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Okay that’s a reasonable good method so “no bite” and “gentle” from now on! :D
Thank you lollipoppy your help means a lot to me. ;)
Also how do you deal with cage aggression or territorial behaviour. My green cheeks are ready to bite every time I put something in their cage. :33:
 
Okay that’s a reasonable good method so “no bite” and “gentle” from now on! :D
Thank you lollipoppy your help means a lot to me. ;)
Also how do you deal with cage aggression or territorial behaviour. My green cheeks are ready to bite every time I put something in their cage. :33:


Anytime!

Cage aggression I’m not an expert on - my parrotlet was cage aggressive and I always just moved quickly and minimized any time with my hands in her cage.

You could try target training through the bars with seeds, nutriberries, or a piece of millet. Then, as they start to feel comfortable with target training you could start training them to come out on their own, so you can pick them up from outside of the cage.

MandyandRio on YouTube have a great video on target training, among other things for GCCs :)


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