I am at my wits end - my GCC is suddenly attacking me

Tzutzik

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Hi all,
I have a 1yo (will be 2 in May) male GCC, I’ve had him since he was 3 months old, hand fed from a reputable breeder.
I think he imprinted on me which is not something I’m proud of, but it was before I knew better, so please don’t judge😢 Hes been attacking everyone else for a while now, especially men, but was never aggressive towards me. He was actually snuggly.
However, since last week, when I let him out of his cage, he suddenly flew straight to my head and bit my ear and neck so hard I actually cried.
His wings are not clipped, he’s not on an only seed diet, he eats pellets, fruits and veggies, he’s not a fan of green veggies but he loves carrots and hot peppers.
He used to be out of the cage whenever I am home before he became so aggressive towards me.
I tried to let him out every day since but I almost got my fingers chopped off every single time. I have really deep cuts and even blue bruises, depends on where the bite was.
My question is - I know that parrots usually get hormonal when they’re 1-2 year old, but how can I know if it’s just hormones or if he hates me? Before he became so aggressive I tried to introduce him to a toy which scared him a lot for some reason, could this be a reason for him to lose trust in me?
Is there anything I can do to calm him down and regain his trust?
He does call me when I leave the room, but when I approach the cage he seems aggressive, then would stop for a while to look at me, then if I move he becomes aggressive again.
It breaks my heart to see him like this.
I am sure there are hundreds of posts like this one here but I’d be thankful if you could advise.
Thanks
 

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TeekoGreenCheek

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Definitely sounds like puberty.. usually gets happens about a year and mid in their life, just wait and see if it could possibly pass. It usually does..make sure you keep up the socialization. Don't get mad, or upset at him. Because it could make the situation worse. Don't try to handle him for your safety and his. Just let him hang around with you in the cage of course. Like if your watching TV, or..studying..cleaning etc.. If his mood changes in a few days or week. You will know it's puberty! Goodluck. Best wishes

Ps.. Teeko has gotten aggressive before, he didn't fly into me but hes bitten me pretty darn hard in his phase. And I know the feeling of heart break. But don't take it personally. He loves you as I can tell in the photo. And it easily could be the toy if it frightend him enough. Remember "it's hard to gain trust, easy to lose it" but be patient. Nothing love and treats can't fix
 
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Tzutzik

Tzutzik

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Definitely sounds like puberty.. usually gets happens about a year and mid in their life, just wait and see if it could possibly pass. It usually does..make sure you keep up the socialization. Don't get mad, or upset at him. Because it could make the situation worse. Don't try to handle him for your safety and his. Just let him hang around with you in the cage of course. Like if your watching TV, or..studying..cleaning etc.. If his mood changes in a few days or week. You will know it's puberty! Goodluck. Best wishes

Ps.. Teeko has gotten aggressive before, he didn't fly into me but hes bitten me pretty darn hard in his phase. And I know the feeling of heart break. But don't take it personally. He loves you as I can tell in the photo. And it easily could be the toy if it frightend him enough. Remember "it's hard to gain trust, easy to lose it" but be patient. Nothing love and treats can't fix
Thank you so much for your answer! I still socialize (and baby talk😅) to him everyday. I truly do hope it’s puberty and that it’ll pass soon
 

LaManuka

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Hi all,
I have a 1yo (will be 2 in May) male GCC, I’ve had him since he was 3 months old, hand fed from a reputable breeder.
I think he imprinted on me which is not something I’m proud of, but it was before I knew better, so please don’t judge😢 Hes been attacking everyone else for a while now, especially men, but was never aggressive towards me. He was actually snuggly.
However, since last week, when I let him out of his cage, he suddenly flew straight to my head and bit my ear and neck so hard I actually cried.
His wings are not clipped, he’s not on an only seed diet, he eats pellets, fruits and veggies, he’s not a fan of green veggies but he loves carrots and hot peppers.
He used to be out of the cage whenever I am home before he became so aggressive towards me.
I tried to let him out every day since but I almost got my fingers chopped off every single time. I have really deep cuts and even blue bruises, depends on where the bite was.
My question is - I know that parrots usually get hormonal when they’re 1-2 year old, but how can I know if it’s just hormones or if he hates me? Before he became so aggressive I tried to introduce him to a toy which scared him a lot for some reason, could this be a reason for him to lose trust in me?
Is there anything I can do to calm him down and regain his trust?
He does call me when I leave the room, but when I approach the cage he seems aggressive, then would stop for a while to look at me, then if I move he becomes aggressive again.
It breaks my heart to see him like this.
I am sure there are hundreds of posts like this one here but I’d be thankful if you could advise.
Thanks
Your situation sounds quite similar to one i had some years ago with a beloved GCC whose name was Baci - I named him after my favourite brand of Italian chocolates because when i got him he was so sweet, and it's Italian for "kisses" as well 💖 I offer you my experience in the hope that it will help along with all the other great advice you've had thus far, even to hopefully just provide that emotional circuit breaker that you need.

I had Baci for a about 5 years prior to his premature death from pancreatitis in August 2018 (still cry over him too) so I do not pretend to know everything about them. What I can tell you though is that my beloved sweet snuggly baby turned into a vicious and bitey demon practically overnight at the age of about two. Now this was at a time before I discovered this forum, and up to that point I'd had birds for whom puberty had really been a non-event, so I had no idea what had happened to Baci. It was the middle of a summer heatwave and I’d been working a few long day shifts in a row so he’d been stuck in his cage in a hot house for several days and I just thought he hated me for it. Like you, I found myself heartbroken and utterly confused, convinced that I had lost my baby boy forever, he had become SO vicious. I couldn’t get near him for days without him LACERATING my hands, and he was lashing out biting my ears and nose which he had never done before and drawing blood. In desperation I looked up all sorts of crazy things online to try to find a solution, and there’s a lot of stuff out there like the “earthquake” method (doesn’t work with green cheeks, it just makes them latch on even harder!) and dropping them suddenly on the floor (NEVER an option as it could obviously result in injury!) Bribery with treats didn’t work on my Baci either, he would take the treat and then bite me anyway, and quite savagely too! I think I was also lucky that, although i never clipped his wings, he was an extremely reluctant flyer so he never actually flew to attack me.

What saved our relationship in the end was the procedure of "laddering". I would stick a few protective flesh coloured band aids on the parts of my hand most likely to get bit, thus lessening my reflexive flinch when I thought he was about to bite, and in turn lessening his reaction to my flinching. Then I would ask him to step up, and if/when he bit me, I’d ladder him onto my other hand and back and forth until he stopped biting, usually only a step or two or three until he stopped. Then I’d pop him down somewhere neutral like the back of a chair and walk away for a minute or two until he cooled off, then go back and repeat the process once or twice. Where possible I would repeat the procedure in neutral territory away from his cage, as green cheeks are also prone to a thing called "cage aggression" - another thing I didn't know about them before, where their cage quickly becomes their territory which they will defend to the death! Baci was a smart boy and it didn’t take him long to work out that he wasn’t going to get away with biting, which was pretty much the only thing I didn’t tolerate from him because he bit so dang hard! He’d grumble at me a little but I’d (carefully!!) give him a big kiss and tell him how much I loved him, then pop him down and he would go about his business quite happily. I also constructed what I would call my "armour plating" - about three bandaids permanently stuck together that I would leave within easy reach if I could tell that Baci was going to be bitey that morning, and I could strap them on quickly if/when the need arose.

Another great method of reducing biting by a LOT is a process known as "shunning". This is particularly useful when your bird wants to be part of your flock/family, as it would appear that your GCC certainly does! Whenever he bites you, just pop him down in neutral territory, like the back of a chair or a table, not the floor as it's not safe and not back to his cage as this might be exactly what he wants, though it's ok if he makes his own way back there. But once you put him down, turn your back on him and make NO eye contact for a good minute or two, and then go about your business. GCCs in the wild are prey animals and they need to be part of the flock for protection from predators, and a GCC who exhibits bad manners like biting in the wild might find themselves ostracised from the flock and they do not want that. This works best when EVERY member of your household consistently does it EVERY single time, because they will look for chinks in the armour!

Looking back on it now, and having learned a lot about GCCs from other members on this forum, I now realise that Baci's behaviour change pretty much coincided exactly with his reaching puberty. Undoubtedly there are better tactics than the "laddering" method that I've suggested, but it worked for us and as a short term circuit-breaker in this type of emotionally fraught situation I found it very useful indeed to help stop the worst of the biting and help us get back on track, and I hope something here might be helpful for you too! 🙏
 
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Tzutzik

Tzutzik

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Your situation sounds quite similar to one i had some years ago with a beloved GCC whose name was Baci - I named him after my favourite brand of Italian chocolates because when i got him he was so sweet, and it's Italian for "kisses" as well 💖 I offer you my experience in the hope that it will help along with all the other great advice you've had thus far, even to hopefully just provide that emotional circuit breaker that you need.

I had Baci for a about 5 years prior to his premature death from pancreatitis in August 2018 (still cry over him too) so I do not pretend to know everything about them. What I can tell you though is that my beloved sweet snuggly baby turned into a vicious and bitey demon practically overnight at the age of about two. Now this was at a time before I discovered this forum, and up to that point I'd had birds for whom puberty had really been a non-event, so I had no idea what had happened to Baci. It was the middle of a summer heatwave and I’d been working a few long day shifts in a row so he’d been stuck in his cage in a hot house for several days and I just thought he hated me for it. Like you, I found myself heartbroken and utterly confused, convinced that I had lost my baby boy forever, he had become SO vicious. I couldn’t get near him for days without him LACERATING my hands, and he was lashing out biting my ears and nose which he had never done before and drawing blood. In desperation I looked up all sorts of crazy things online to try to find a solution, and there’s a lot of stuff out there like the “earthquake” method (doesn’t work with green cheeks, it just makes them latch on even harder!) and dropping them suddenly on the floor (NEVER an option as it could obviously result in injury!) Bribery with treats didn’t work on my Baci either, he would take the treat and then bite me anyway, and quite savagely too! I think I was also lucky that, although i never clipped his wings, he was an extremely reluctant flyer so he never actually flew to attack me.

What saved our relationship in the end was the procedure of "laddering". I would stick a few protective flesh coloured band aids on the parts of my hand most likely to get bit, thus lessening my reflexive flinch when I thought he was about to bite, and in turn lessening his reaction to my flinching. Then I would ask him to step up, and if/when he bit me, I’d ladder him onto my other hand and back and forth until he stopped biting, usually only a step or two or three until he stopped. Then I’d pop him down somewhere neutral like the back of a chair and walk away for a minute or two until he cooled off, then go back and repeat the process once or twice. Where possible I would repeat the procedure in neutral territory away from his cage, as green cheeks are also prone to a thing called "cage aggression" - another thing I didn't know about them before, where their cage quickly becomes their territory which they will defend to the death! Baci was a smart boy and it didn’t take him long to work out that he wasn’t going to get away with biting, which was pretty much the only thing I didn’t tolerate from him because he bit so dang hard! He’d grumble at me a little but I’d (carefully!!) give him a big kiss and tell him how much I loved him, then pop him down and he would go about his business quite happily. I also constructed what I would call my "armour plating" - about three bandaids permanently stuck together that I would leave within easy reach if I could tell that Baci was going to be bitey that morning, and I could strap them on quickly if/when the need arose.

Another great method of reducing biting by a LOT is a process known as "shunning". This is particularly useful when your bird wants to be part of your flock/family, as it would appear that your GCC certainly does! Whenever he bites you, just pop him down in neutral territory, like the back of a chair or a table, not the floor as it's not safe and not back to his cage as this might be exactly what he wants, though it's ok if he makes his own way back there. But once you put him down, turn your back on him and make NO eye contact for a good minute or two, and then go about your business. GCCs in the wild are prey animals and they need to be part of the flock for protection from predators, and a GCC who exhibits bad manners like biting in the wild might find themselves ostracised from the flock and they do not want that. This works best when EVERY member of your household consistently does it EVERY single time, because they will look for chinks in the armour!

Looking back on it now, and having learned a lot about GCCs from other members on this forum, I now realise that Baci's behaviour change pretty much coincided exactly with his reaching puberty. Undoubtedly there are better tactics than the "laddering" method that I've suggested, but it worked for us and as a short term circuit-breaker in this type of emotionally fraught situation I found it very useful indeed to help stop the worst of the biting and help us get back on track, and I hope something here might be helpful for you too! 🙏
First, I am so sorry you lost your Baci😔 I’m sure he knew how loved he was. ChiChi is also a sweet boy, and he loves kisses, he even mimics kisses sounds. Thank you for your advices, this is really helpful! I never heard of laddering before, it sounds like an interesting method, will definitely give these suggestions a try! I hope we’ll be able to get through this stage like you and Baci did🙏🏼
 

LaManuka

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First, I am so sorry you lost your Baci😔 I’m sure he knew how loved he was. ChiChi is also a sweet boy, and he loves kisses, he even mimics kisses sounds. Thank you for your advices, this is really helpful! I never heard of laddering before, it sounds like an interesting method, will definitely give these suggestions a try! I hope we’ll be able to get through this stage like you and Baci did🙏🏼
Thank you for your kind words, @Tzutzik, and you're most welcome :) There are a lot of traits with GCCs that are pretty similar across the board but of course each bird has it's own personality, so what works for one may not work for another. I found the laddering thing worked pretty much straight away as Baci stopped biting on usually the first or second step up from one hand to the other. I usually found the biting was worst early in the morning but it would only take a ladder or two for him to calm right down. GCCs are such beautiful little birds and very quickly work their way into our hearts, as ChiChi clearly has done with you. I'm glad you're here and hope you'll keep us updated as to your progress!
 

wrench13

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A#1 advice on shunning! But that is more for parrots not in the throes of puberty. They almost have no minds when it comes to that - flushes of hormones coursing thru thier tiny bodies for the first time, they often go from Dr Jeykl to Mr Hyde and back in a blink of an eye, and they have little to no control of it.

  • So to lessen the effect of hormone behavior, but never to eliminate it):
  • NO touching anywhere but head and neck!
  • Little to no sugar bearing foods like corn
  • a good solid 12 hours sleep - dark and quiet (but not 100% silence)
  • Lots of toys and puzzles - tired parrots dont have the energy to get fiesty
  • Ignore attempts to mate or otherwise rub one out on your hand or a toy.
  • As has been noted - dont let bad behavior become habit!
 

LaManuka

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A#1 advice on shunning! But that is more for parrots not in the throes of puberty. They almost have no minds when it comes to that - flushes of hormones coursing thru thier tiny bodies for the first time, they often go from Dr Jeykl to Mr Hyde and back in a blink of an eye, and they have little to no control of it.

  • So to lessen the effect of hormone behavior, but never to eliminate it):
  • NO touching anywhere but head and neck!
  • Little to no sugar bearing foods like corn
  • a good solid 12 hours sleep - dark and quiet (but not 100% silence)
  • Lots of toys and puzzles - tired parrots dont have the energy to get fiesty
  • Ignore attempts to mate or otherwise rub one out on your hand or a toy.
  • As has been noted - dont let bad behavior become habit!
Very true, Master Wrench. I don't know that there'd have been much that would've slowed my Lilly down one jot when she was a rampant bundle of hormones. But there again, hormonal purple-crowned lorikeet hens can get *particularly* murderous!
 
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Tzutzik

Tzutzik

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A#1 advice on shunning! But that is more for parrots not in the throes of puberty. They almost have no minds when it comes to that - flushes of hormones coursing thru thier tiny bodies for the first time, they often go from Dr Jeykl to Mr Hyde and back in a blink of an eye, and they have little to no control of it.

  • So to lessen the effect of hormone behavior, but never to eliminate it):
  • NO touching anywhere but head and neck!
  • Little to no sugar bearing foods like corn
  • a good solid 12 hours sleep - dark and quiet (but not 100% silence)
  • Lots of toys and puzzles - tired parrots dont have the energy to get fiesty
  • Ignore attempts to mate or otherwise rub one out on your hand or a toy.
  • As has been noted - dont let bad behavior become habit!
Thank you for the tips! I don’t touch him anywhere but his head as I know this can make them frustrated. Before he started biting me he actually never tried to “mate” but I will of course now allow that. I do suspect the pellets he eats may not be the healthiest (I think they contain some sugar) but these are the only ones he’s actually eating and I thought it’s better than seeds, maybe I’ll try switching to something healthier again
 
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Tzutzik

Tzutzik

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Hey just checking how's things going??
Hi! While he’s still quite nippy he’s been a less aggressive for the past 2 days so he’s getting more time outside of the cage again! I’m pretty sure it’s hormones and I’m relieved cause it means he does not hate me. Thanks for checking 😊
 
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Tzutzik

Tzutzik

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Thank you for your kind words, @Tzutzik, and you're most welcome :) There are a lot of traits with GCCs that are pretty similar across the board but of course each bird has it's own personality, so what works for one may not work for another. I found the laddering thing worked pretty much straight away as Baci stopped biting on usually the first or second step up from one hand to the other. I usually found the biting was worst early in the morning but it would only take a ladder or two for him to calm right down. GCCs are such beautiful little birds and very quickly work their way into our hearts, as ChiChi clearly has done with you. I'm glad you're here and hope you'll keep us updated as to your progress!
Hi! Just wanted to give you an update - things are getting better and he slowly becomes less aggressive! The shunning seems to work! He still bites me sometimes but thankfully it’s not as bad. Thank you for your help again! And I totally agree with everything you said about GCCs :)
 

LaManuka

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Hi! Just wanted to give you an update - things are getting better and he slowly becomes less aggressive! The shunning seems to work! He still bites me sometimes but thankfully it’s not as bad. Thank you for your help again! And I totally agree with everything you said about GCCs :)
Oh you're most welcome! It hurts the heart more than anything else when they bite - i'm so pleased to have been able to be of some help! 💝
 

Chenetaqwa

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Oh you're most welcome! It hurts the heart more than anything else when they bite - i'm so pleased to have been able to be of some help! 💝
I have 2 gcc... a male and a female male is 2 months older than the female.. at just about 2 years old ... the male has been dealing with the hormones all summer ..one day a cuddling lover and the next day a complete terror... the female is much better so far ...
Winston (the male) is getting better with the attitude but still has his moments... give it time this will pass..
As I'm trying to type this he's crawling all over my
hands and biting at the phone ...lol
 
G

Guest46745

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I'll just add some of what works with my male GCC. Mine was also a little saint for the first year or two. Then he became an absolute monster. He got much better in time, and now at old age he's fairly nice, but never as sweet as the beginning. In addition to what's stated above, there are TONS of behavioral tricks on YouTube to investigate. You'll have to try different things and see what works.

I know for an immediate change there are 2 things that worked for me. First, 12 hours of silent sleep tricks him into thinking it's winter (they are from South America, so they think the USA/UK winter is summer). That will temper hormones which will decrease the frequency of biting, but not stop it (you still need a technique to make him understand). Second clipping wings will put him, instantly, in a dependency state and make him less aggressive. I did that for 6 years. He would turn that attitude right around. Some people think clipping wings is cruel, some think safer, that's for you to decide.

I'm sure it will take time to try different things, so in the mean time protection is key to your happiness. To move him in and out of the cage or around the house, use a stick, a small pillow, or an oven mitt. He will rage out on that, instead of your hand. When on your shoulder, if he bites the neck or ears, wear a scarf or hoodie. A hoodie also protects your clothes from poop. He will go in and out of "the trust circle" as I call it at different times. Sometimes biting, sometimes not. When bit, I point and state a firm "no," and then lock him up for 15 minutes. You can't take it personally. He doesn't hate you. He's got a brain the size of a raisin and doesn't understand you don't like being bit. Birds are still wild animals. They are NOT domesticated like cats and dogs.

Owning a bird is like owning a classic car. Both have personalities that only allow use in the way they want, not the way you want. And if you force them to behave how you think they should, you'll both crash and burn. Like a classic car, over time you'll be able to read or feel when they're going to be bad, by the subtle motions and sounds he makes. You'll memorize something you did that got a reaction you didn't like, and not do that again. For mine, if he is sitting above my eye level, I have to face him and walk backwards as I move in and out of the room. If I turn my back to him, he attacks. It's just how he is. If at eye level or below, he's perfectly fine, but a height advantage makes him crazy.
 

LoveMyFids

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Definitely sounds like hormones. It's very unnerving when it happens the first time. I just dealt with it w/my male Rock Pebbler & it was shocking because I've had him for 15 yrs. & this was the first time he ever turned into a total monster from hormones. He, like yours flew at my face-like dive bombed me. He's fully flighted. He tried to go after my male parakeet as well. Never had he done anything like this in his life, as he's always been super happy, silly, & very easy going. It was a result of having to get him up a couple hrs. earlier than usual because we had contractors coming to landscape our backyard. I wasn't putting him to bed earlier & just that amount of extra light per day caused his hormones to surge big time. He was SUPER hyper active & started plucking some spots too & drinking excessive water & got polyuria as a result. I took him to the vet & he confirmed it was hormones. For a few days I had to put him directly back into his cage after letting him out due to his crazy behavior just for his & my other bird's safety, but after letting him get 13-14hrs. of sleep, his behavior got way better in about 5 days. He is also on a low fat, low carb, low sugar diet. It took a good 3 weeks I'd say before getting more sleep & less daylight hrs. did the trick. He's back to his happy go lucky self & drinks normally now. He's letting his feathers come in now too. You have to stay consistent with the sleeping hrs. I try to do like 13 hrs. a night, but I know he's not sleeping through for that time because I will hear him rustling around each night for the first couple hrs. after I put him to bed. It has definitely made a difference. It freaked me out though because never has he acted so crazy in his life. It's like he went instantly insane for a couple weeks. Poor guy. The moral of the story is exposure to more light & longer days can really effect them! It didn't effect my females though-oddly enough. Just him.
 
G

Guest46745

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Just happens that a YouTube channel I follow posted this yesterday:

Not sure if links work on this website (or if they're allowed :whistle:), but it's:
TheParrotTeacher "BIRD BITING - How To Stop A Parrot Bite"

I don't agree with it :LOL:, because it says to not react (which I cannot do) but I'm sure he's more of a pro than I am!
 

mrs. brisby

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Hi! While he’s still quite nippy he’s been a less aggressive for the past 2 days so he’s getting more time outside of the cage again! I’m pretty sure it’s hormones and I’m relieved cause it means he does not hate me. Thanks for checking 😊
Hi, I'm currently going thru the same thing. Mine has been biting for awhile but the last week he has been insane! He flew at my head and bit my ear! How long was yours going to nuts and how long did it take him to get better?
 
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Tzutzik

Tzutzik

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Hi, I'm currently going thru the same thing. Mine has been biting for awhile but the last week he has been insane! He flew at my head and bit my ear! How long was yours going to nuts and how long did it take him to get better?
Hi! Sorry to hear, going through this is really though. When I first let him out after he became aggressive I actually covered my ears with a headset, I was scared and it helped me not to flinch😅 I tried the shunning method as suggested here as well and I believe it helped. It took a little more than two weeks in my case.
 

mrs. brisby

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Just happens that a YouTube channel I follow posted this yesterday:

Not sure if links work on this website (or if they're allowed :whistle:), but it's:
TheParrotTeacher "BIRD BITING - How To Stop A Parrot Bite"

I don't agree with it :LOL:, because it says to not react (which I cannot do) but I'm sure he's more of a pro than I am!
putting my bird down when he bites doesn't work because he doesn't seem to care. He just wants to walk around on the floor getting into trouble. He only wants attention now when he's sleepy.
 

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