It's been 6 months, 0 progress.


New member
Oct 15, 2019
Alright, today was the first time I scolded my IRN. Literally, after months and months of trying to build trust, being extremely patient to all sorts of biting and misbehaviour, and getting him used to his environment, he still has some absolute hatred for me.

Scratch that, it's not me, it's my hand. By scold, it was no physical damage or actually attacking the bird, it was more like him biting my finger to the point that it bleed, for trying to position his bed/swing better since it was hanging literally sideways, so I had a miniature snap and just poked his beak twice when he tried to lash out, nothing hard, literally just like a tap, whilst saying "No!" in an authoritative tone.

I've been trying to train/bond with him for 6 months straight whilst working a 9 to 5. He's got an extremely large cage, and whenever I'm outside of work, I usually leave the cage door open so he can explore the room, since I don't see him as happy by staying in the cage all his life. He understands who I am and has absolutely no fear of my face getting near him to the point I can literally give him a kiss on his beak without much of a reaction, but anything finger/arm related puts him into an instant defensive pose, lowering his head and backing away whilst simultaneously trying to bite me. He has no issue grabbing food from between my fingers, and, though he struggles and will almost never jump on it voluntarily, will latch onto my arm if it means I can take him out of the cage.

But I just don't get it. I understand parrots take a while to bond, since my family had a African Grey that bonded to me when I was still a kid and was an excellent childhood pet throughout. Is it because it wasn't hand raised? I just don't understand what else I can do. I followed the step by step guide on taming/training him on this forum, letting him dictate what happens, walking into my room cautiously/slowly if he shows fear, but no matter what, he's still the same bird I bought when he was 2 months. Apart from the fact that he can jump onto my arm, absolutely nothing has changed.

He will honestly prefer hurting himself by flying away and taking risky routes around the room rather than get into his cage/get onto my arm so I can take him into his cage, WHEN IT'S HIS TIME TO SLEEP. He'll do anything to avoid my hand/arm if it has no food whatsoever. I've been trying to associate my hand with good things, but he just doesn't care.

I love the bird a lot, and I spent most of my childhood with the African Grey where he had no worries simply answering a whistle and jumping onto my shoulder. He had no fear of my hands so he had no issue with letting me pet him or jumping onto my arm to move place to place.

Any assistance would be amazing. I'm thinking about passing on this bird to my dad if he just can't behave. Clicker training doesn't even work on him, he doesn't associate the click with food, he doesn't... Understand anything. It's annoying.

Edit: Trying to make it up to him now by giving him a tiny bit of apple. He calmly stepped up onto the edge of the cage. Tried to ask for a whistle, he responded back instantly. Doesn't seem to hold a grudge. In general, he's happy, constantly whistling/singing throughout the day and then constantly moving during the afternoon.
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My ramblings...

Personally, I have reduced biting to almost zero over the years I've spent with the Rickeybird... and a lot of that has involved compromise. I don't do stuff that gets me bitten. Some will say I have let him get away with too much, and that's a fair criticism, but, well... I'm okay with it. I don't do stuff that makes him mad... I don't touch others when he's out; I rarely try to get him to step up onto my hand first. Hand-held perch first, then hand. In some ways, I'm disappointed/embarassed at having such a little monster for a pet, but he is what he is. I ALWAYS wear my hair down when he's on my shoulder, so all he can bite is hair. Really, I don't involve hands much... he doesn't like them. He seems to think the real ME is my head, perched on a weird moveable tree with questionable appendages.

Since he's fully flighted, the ONLY way I get him into the cage is to toss a chile pepper in and he flaps in after it. So food reward is a necessity for me. Time-out doesn't exist in the Rb's kingdom.

Over the years, I have sometimes been very humiliated/downhearted/sad about having a pet that was so... out of my control. But it is my choice to indulge and adore him.
Finally, I accepted that I have an amazing half-wild being who shares my life! It's magic enough for me!

Good for you, for hanging in there, and continuing to reach out to us.
I don't know the history. Seems like you have a male. I'm not sure how that translates to behaviors though.

Thanks for posting as I was thinking of something similar. My IRN came to me as a 5yo male Lutino about 6 months ago. He is bonded with a female cockatiel, which I think is good for them but complicates bonding with me!

He is mostly tame but still behaves much like you describe. At first he would lunge at the bars every time I walked past his cage. Our first hands on encounter included him stepping up while administering a few new holes to my hand and finger. I've worked with him daily and he has mostly stopped biting. He will lunge most times when I enter his cage to pick him up, but I've learned that a tight fist prevents him from getting a grip, and I honestly don't think he is after that anymore, but more of a hit to shoo me away. It is his cage after all. It doesn't happen anymore when I changing his food/water or cleaning.

When he is out, it's mixed whether he will eagerly step up (usually if I come from the kitchen and he thinks he'll get food), or he will turn and start to walk away. If he turns, I'll give a sad awe and walk away, but talk to him from my chair.

It's not all bad. I've found he is easier to get to step up when coming from the side rear, but I can come from any direction. Sometimes even from his corner perch in his cage he will start to extend his leg backward fishing for my hand. It's so cute.

I've stopped the kissing/smacking sound as I started to relate that with his threatening beak clicking. I will still kiss him but give an hmm sound or other balking sounds that I've heard him make when grooming himself or mate.

If he bites (or tries), I do similar as you, but just gently hold his beak and say No Biting. He used to try and bite me when doing that but doesn't any longer. He's never bitten or lunged at my face when holding him or when on my shoulder. I can give scritches on the head and around the neck, and sometimes below the beak and sides of his face. I can see when he's had enough and have been able to avoid his reach-around snaps at my fingers. I'll repeat the no biting, and then give him some "kisses" when that happens.

He has what I call a block-head stare of death. His head is puffed up large and square and I am getting a straight on stare where I cannot see his eyes, but the thin black accent that runs from his beak up over his eyes. It looks so ominous. Last night I was whistling him a song and he apparently does not like that. I started wondering if he'll ever lighten up, and eventually care about me. Maybe he is getting there and I need to be more patient, observant, or just accepting of who he is.

Now I can't wait to get home, open his cage, and wait for him to come out for a shoulder ride to the kitchen so I can prepare a fresh bowl of chopped veggies, some nuts, and maybe a piece of fruit. It might take some coercion, enticement, or even some insistence, but I think it's good for him to see where all the food comes from, how it's made, and to have a few nibbles with me along the way.
As a small bit of hope for ypu, the sentence "Nothing has changed except he will jump on my arm" draws a special bit of attention to my way of thinking...that is absolutely progress...yes these things take time, but also remember that small steps lead to great accomplishments.
I'm sorry to say, but Indian Ringnecks can be really painful when it come to keeping them as a companion bird. I would say they are one of the hardest birds to control.
My cousin tried for ages with hers after it had reach sexual maturity (when all hell breaks loose), did all the training, asked the vets and the experts, but it never came around
I had to rehome it to a very good mate of mine who breeds IRN's, so now my cousin's IRN is now in a big aviary
Noah Till
My go-to suggestion is target training.

It has a number of benefits: first, most birds learn to do it in five or ten minutes; second, it gives you something positive to do together where everybody wins; thirdly, it's useful to be able to ask your bird to go wherever your stick points; finally, it gives your bird something to think about and a reason to try and please you.

My corella arrived in a highly hormonal state. She had never been socialised and had no manners whatsoever. For the first few weeks, I wondered what (if any) future there might be for her because she was so dangerous. She wouldn't stand still long enough for me even to offer her a treat before she was going for my eyes! Then, one day, I just pointed at her with a chopstick and she bit the end. I offered a sunflower seed and she immediately sought out the stick and did it again. We were off!

Rosetta is still a work in progress, but because of target training she has learned to watch and wait to see what I'm going to do. There might be a treat, there might not, but she's attuned to my every move and doesn't go into a flat spin every time I change position. I just reckon that teaching a bird to follow your target stick is a quick, easy and useful way of grabbing his attention and keeping it. It reduces biting because the bird bites the stick, not you. He gets a reward for biting the stick, so why would he want to bite you?

Birds are smart and I believe the ringnecks (I have Alexandrines) are among the smartest. They need more than just sitting on a perch or on your shoulder: they need a challenge or a job! Trick training was the best thing I ever did with my Beaks. It was as though my good, well-behaved green birdies reached a higher level of wonderfulness once they learned to do little things for me on command.

Give it a go! Put a few sunflower seeds in your pocket and give one to your bird every time he does a good thing. Teach him to target and then teach him other tricks. I bet it helps you both! :)

PS. There are posts about target training among our forums.
If your bird bites, don't respond. That's what he/she wants, in my experience with Mister and family member's birds. And don't 'tap' the bird either. Try target training, as some of my friends here have suggested, or if you really cannot handle the bird, consider re-homing or donating to someone who is experienced in the species.
As a small bit of hope for ypu, the sentence "Nothing has changed except he will jump on my arm" draws a special bit of attention to my way of thinking...that is absolutely progress...yes these things take time, but also remember that small steps lead to great accomplishments.


What Wheelsie said!

I feel you with this one. Same breed as well, a female ringneck

It kind of seems like she doesn’t care for me, and that the times she hangs out with me are “forced” and she dislikes it, I don’t really think that’s actually the case

Some birds will just never be tame. We can focus on the negative but not every bird will be the cuddly friendly type we portray their breeds to be and we just have to keep on loving them and accept it. Having the parrot even hanging out with you, sitting on your shoulder etc is huge! That took me a couple months

As for the biting, it’s best to ignore it so they know it isn’t effective or to avoid being bitten. I usually know when mine will bite because they show some signs before, its important to know their body language and to find out what your parrot tolerates and respect their boundaries, if you see your parrot lingering or if his eyes are pinning that’s a sign.

The fact you can physically touch him is amazing, I’d definitely give him more time, i have had mine since april and the most i can do is give her a scribble on the head on rare occasions... so you have to think to yourselr, will i love this parrot even if he will stay like this?
I forgot to add this bit of perspective. A yootoob video about a tamed crow, which was rescued when young, took 4 years to develop a strong bond with the owner. That video showed me another side of a crow I had never seen, and a variety of sounds I'd never heard from a crow before.
Was your ringneck tame, I mean hand tame, when you got him? Read SilverSages words on them. If they are not tamed as fledgings. almost always that ringneck is not gonna be a good candidate as a hands on companion parrot. At that point they do better in a aviary, just being a parrot. read up on them.
Maybe he thinks every time you pick him up you might be trying to put him in his cage or travel cage or other places he doesn't want to be. I leave the lights off as it gets dark or a small dim lamp in the opposite corner, as I find he takes himself inside the cage before it gets too dark for him, or if I'm in the room, he roosts on me but after a little while in low light he is sleepy enough to let me peel him off on to the inside of the cage door with gentle encouragement.
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There are a few things I think I would change. Firstly if he can get out of cage on his own I would let him! I never take my guy out of his cage. He likely feels safe in there and it's probably more important for him to feel safe than "explore". If he hasn't come out ever in 4 weeks or so, then ok, time to rethink, but otherwise let him do it.

I don't know what you do about food, but I don't feed my Alexandrine anything other than a controlled number of treats when he's out of his cage. I can "put" him back in, but prefer to watch out for his cues and wait until he goes in for a drink around bedtime and just close the door. He goes in and out for food and drink while he's officially out so it's not an issue. A whole nut also works well like the Rickeybird's chilli, although if I leave it too late he gets proper stroppy and not interested in food and it can become a battle if wills for a while.

I'd try the clicker again. Have you made sure you've "loaded" or "charged" enough? Ringnecks are (meant to be) bright so he should be able to pick it up. The clicker will mean you can start to communicate properly and this helps hugely with bonding.

He won't "hold a grudge" because he's a bird. Biting is like giving someone a stern talking to to birds, he's probably thinking "not this one again, I don't know what else to do, I've frozen, I've leant away, I've looked away, I've stared, I've pinned my eyes, I've tensed my wings, I've gone silent, I've even flown away and they just don't get that I'm saying no. Why don't they understand!?! There's nothing else for it...CHOMP". A bite is a last resort of communication, you need to get better at noticing earlier and then think round what you actually need him to do and how you can work out a way that makes him feel safe enough to do it.

Ringnecks do have reputations as being wild things and I only have an Alexandrine, who I think in lots of ways are their huge, stoned cousins, but mine was terrified of hands and not hand raised. I just avoided situations that would get me bitten. I didn't even start asking for step up until I'd had him 18 months because I only did what he was comfortable with. He would still come out and go back into his cage every day. It's just about working out how to do things the way that works for him at the point you are at and sometimes being open to changing your expectations a bit.

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