Handling Bites

Virgil8320

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Aug 8, 2020
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Buffalo NY
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Trigger-Quaker bonded to my wife

Virgil-Goffin adopted 8/3/20
It appears the hormonal season has hit us here as Virgil has been showing some signs of hormones. He has been spending alot of time at the bottom of his cage,trying to mate with my fitbit more often, and slightly shaking and panting when I pet his head.


This is my first spring with him and was pretty well read on how they get when they are hormonal but this is my first live experience with it.



With all these signs I was even more careful to not trigger any type of response. We have him on a 12-13 hr sleep schedule in a dark quiet room,no mushy foods,no boxes or blankets.



Even though I was aware and prepared I was not ready for the lunging and biting of me when I came home from work earlier this week and opened his cage. As I approached his cage I always check his body language to make sure he isnt crabby. As I opened his door his body language completely changed in less then two seconds and he lunged and got a hold of my finger. I got him off quickly and quietly and out him back in his cage and let him be for a bit while I cleaned up the bite.I let him out later in the evening but I sat in the other room maintaining eye contact but not physical interaction and he was fine. As I covered his cage he tried lunging and biting again which he has never done.



The next few days after reading in some cockatoo groups that their birds are acting up lately too I figured it was hormones and just was extra careful around him and he has been fine.



This morning he was extra chatty and happy while I changed his food and water so I thought I should let him out to spend some time with me. As I opened the door he lunged and got me good. I blame myself as I should have known and let my guard down.



So after a bite or an aggressive experience do you place them back in their cage and just give them time and space? Guessing he is cage aggressive due to the hormones considering all the other signs.

If I let him hang out in his cage for a while after I get home or he wakes up he will come out and be totally fine.



There have been no major changes in our house,his cage or my appearances.



We did go through about a two month time period where he was scared of me because of a previous accident with fly tape I discussed in another thread but for the last month or two he has been totally back to normal.



This sounds like hormone season but I guess I just need reassurance (face palm)
 

Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Hormonal biting is a bit more difficult to confront as you cannot reason with Virgil at the moment. You're doing most of the right things environmentally but don't have multiple seasons with him to compare levels of aggression. Try to minimize physical contact for a while (hard as that may be) but if/when he bites, a stern "NO" followed by cage time-out may be helpful.

Diet can exacerbate hormonal activity, can you reduce his intake of fatty foods?

Most of my toos manage hormone season fairly well. My closest bonded "Gabby" became unbearable 10 years or so ago. Took her to the vet for well-check, CAV advised a moderate wing clip for behavioral modification. Keep in mind she was about 15 at the time and raised from the egg in my home, so I had many seasons to compare. Perfect response, she was less "bitey" and has not lapsed since. Not suggesting you clip Virgil at this point, just a point of reference for the future.
 

chris-md

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Great advice from a well seasoned vet. And good on you for recognizing what this is. It happens all to often that people research, but when the behavior comes around they have no idea what has happened to their baby until itโ€™s pointed out. Itโ€™s easy to misunderstand when you havenโ€™t experienced it yet.

The trouble with hormonal aggression is itโ€™s unpredictable. Often itโ€™s not just all aggression all the time. It can come in fits and spurts: one minute heโ€™s the sweetest thing, next heโ€™s biting you, and 10 minutes later heโ€™s back to his sweet self. Itโ€™s NOT a training issue.

Follow Scottโ€™s recommendations, and also follow all guidelines pertaining to hormonal control. They arenโ€™t miracle workers but these steps can help perhaps take the slightest edge off the behavior until it naturally passes.
 
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Virgil8320

New member
Aug 8, 2020
25
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Buffalo NY
Parrots
Trigger-Quaker bonded to my wife

Virgil-Goffin adopted 8/3/20
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Hormonal biting is a bit more difficult to confront as you cannot reason with Virgil at the moment. You're doing most of the right things environmentally but don't have multiple seasons with him to compare levels of aggression. Try to minimize physical contact for a while (hard as that may be) but if/when he bites, a stern "NO" followed by cage time-out may be helpful.

Diet can exacerbate hormonal activity, can you reduce his intake of fatty foods? Yes I will reduce anything other then his pellets and little bit of seed we give him. Ive been working on veggies since I got him and was going to try baby food but that may not be good right now.

Most of my toos manage hormone season fairly well. My closest bonded "Gabby" became unbearable 10 years or so ago. Took her to the vet for well-check, CAV advised a moderate wing clip for behavioral modification. Keep in mind she was about 15 at the time and raised from the egg in my home, so I had many seasons to compare. Perfect response, she was less "bitey" and has not lapsed since. Not suggesting you clip Virgil at this point, just a point of reference for the future.


Yes I will reduce anything other then his pellets and little bit of seed we give him. Ive been working on veggies since I got him and was going to try baby food but that may not be good right now.


Not handling him drives me nuts because I "feel" sad that he isnt getting the attention he wants. Today I have let him out of his cages for a few hours and I sit in the other room and chat with him etc etc.



Thanks for the replies.
 

wrench13

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The unpredictability of hormonal bites makes the usual rule of bites hard to implement. The best kind of parrot bites is - the bite that does not happen. The thing to keep in mind is to try and not let biting become learned behavior. Ignoring hormonal behavior is how to handle it. "This too shall pass".
 

SailBoat

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Jul 10, 2015
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My experiences are with Amazons and although there are differences, there are simulates. The most important is that the Parrot has zero control over when and to what level (large /small) that chemical flows. The Parrot is as shocked as the Human is when the surge occurs. In fact when the flow ends, it is not uncommon to find them confused as to what had happened.

This ties to the problem with discipline as while the chemical(s) are flowing they are not in control!

Placing them in a cage and walking away commonly doesn't help as you are exposing yourself to further bits unless you have created a very strong response to 'step-up' that they recognize and auto-responses too. Then you will be very busy keep your Parrot's attention while moving her/him to a safe place to cool-off.

Commonly, allowing them to cool-off where they are is the safest for everyone.

Amazons can and do continue to spin-up when excited (especially from an external driver) and as a result increase the chemical flow. This can be seen when they become play excited, or some stupid Human toy's with them. This can quickly become dangerous for everyone.
 
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Ira7

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Hormonal biting is a bit more difficult to confront as you cannot reason with Virgil at the moment. You're doing most of the right things environmentally but don't have multiple seasons with him to compare levels of aggression. Try to minimize physical contact for a while (hard as that may be) but if/when he bites, a stern "NO" followed by cage time-out may be helpful.

Diet can exacerbate hormonal activity, can you reduce his intake of fatty foods?

Most of my toos manage hormone season fairly well. My closest bonded "Gabby" became unbearable 10 years or so ago. Took her to the vet for well-check, CAV advised a moderate wing clip for behavioral modification. Keep in mind she was about 15 at the time and raised from the egg in my home, so I had many seasons to compare. Perfect response, she was less "bitey" and has not lapsed since. Not suggesting you clip Virgil at this point, just a point of reference for the future.
How does a wing clip change behavior?
 

Scott

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Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Hormonal biting is a bit more difficult to confront as you cannot reason with Virgil at the moment. You're doing most of the right things environmentally but don't have multiple seasons with him to compare levels of aggression. Try to minimize physical contact for a while (hard as that may be) but if/when he bites, a stern "NO" followed by cage time-out may be helpful.

Diet can exacerbate hormonal activity, can you reduce his intake of fatty foods?

Most of my toos manage hormone season fairly well. My closest bonded "Gabby" became unbearable 10 years or so ago. Took her to the vet for well-check, CAV advised a moderate wing clip for behavioral modification. Keep in mind she was about 15 at the time and raised from the egg in my home, so I had many seasons to compare. Perfect response, she was less "bitey" and has not lapsed since. Not suggesting you clip Virgil at this point, just a point of reference for the future.
How does a wing clip change behavior?

A good question and an action I wouldn't have normally contemplated. Gabby had really gone off the deep end with lunging and biting after 15 years of sweetness. After clarifying no underlying health issues, my concern was aggression might lead to permanent personality change. My vet is highly respected Avian ABVP Diplomate and his suggestion was curative. Not sure I can explain the "how," other than she (thought to be a male at the time) equated clip with unacceptable behavior.
 

SailBoat

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Jul 10, 2015
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Western, Michigan
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DYH Amazon
Hormonal biting is a bit more difficult to confront as you cannot reason with Virgil at the moment. You're doing most of the right things environmentally but don't have multiple seasons with him to compare levels of aggression. Try to minimize physical contact for a while (hard as that may be) but if/when he bites, a stern "NO" followed by cage time-out may be helpful.

Diet can exacerbate hormonal activity, can you reduce his intake of fatty foods?

Most of my toos manage hormone season fairly well. My closest bonded "Gabby" became unbearable 10 years or so ago. Took her to the vet for well-check, CAV advised a moderate wing clip for behavioral modification. Keep in mind she was about 15 at the time and raised from the egg in my home, so I had many seasons to compare. Perfect response, she was less "bitey" and has not lapsed since. Not suggesting you clip Virgil at this point, just a point of reference for the future.
How does a wing clip change behavior?

A good question and an action I wouldn't have normally contemplated. Gabby had really gone off the deep end with lunging and biting after 15 years of sweetness. After clarifying no underlying health issues, my concern was aggression might lead to permanent personality change. My vet is highly respected Avian ABVP Diplomate and his suggestion was curative. Not sure I can explain the "how," other than she (thought to be a male at the time) equated clip with unacceptable behavior.

The problem with precisely defining the driver in behavior modification is the lack of the individual's (Gabby in this case) ability to verbally state what changed. Since this is all very subjective, my two cents is the loss of flight abilities limits the physical abilities of the Parrot, thus (likely) limiting the increase (spin-up) driving of a larger chemical flow. But, that is based on observations with our Amazons!
 
Last edited:

Scott

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Aug 21, 2010
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Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
How does a wing clip change behavior?

A good question and an action I wouldn't have normally contemplated. Gabby had really gone off the deep end with lunging and biting after 15 years of sweetness. After clarifying no underlying health issues, my concern was aggression might lead to permanent personality change. My vet is highly respected Avian ABVP Diplomate and his suggestion was curative. Not sure I can explain the "how," other than she (thought to be a male at the time) equated clip with unacceptable behavior.

The problem with precisely defining the driver in behavior modification is the lack of the individual's (Gabby in this case) ability to verbally state what changed. Since this is all very subjective, my two cents is the loss of flight abilities limits the physical abilities of the Parrot, thus (likely) limiting the increase (spin-up) driving of a larger chemical flow. But, that is based on observations with our Amazons!

Makes sense Steven! Been a while, but her attitude changed rather quickly. Subsequent hormonal seasons far tamer, but of course we don't have much to work with based on a single awful season!
 

noodles123

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Jul 11, 2018
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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
I'd eliminate all shadowy spaces and pet on head and neck only (sounds like you already are doing that). 12 hours of sleep, avoid mushy foods....don't pet if that sexy stuff is happening, and if it does happen, walk away. I know that sounds cold, but that is what my vet told me to do and that is what I did for years (although er have had an egg this year lol!)
Do not wear your smart watch around the bird if it is a trigger, and do more games/toys that require high interaction with low contact.


When Noodles is hormonal, her bites are usually tied to something I did, but just heightened because of the hormones..So, it's way easier for her to hold onto grudges when she is in that mode. The hormones are the root of it, but annoyances seem amplified.
 

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