Need help please

Ckk767

New member
Dec 3, 2023
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Galah
Hello I’m really hoping for some advice for our newest family member who is a lovely little male galah.

He is a rescue and we’ve had him for around 2 months. Our vet aged him at around 2.

He was found and handed in to a fauna rescue group who let us adopt him and from the start he seemed to bond well with me. He was very sweet and gentle and loved to be scratched and would put his head down for scratches. He loved waddling around on me while im at my desk pulling papers apart, and he would gently nibble me but never bite hard. .

Over time his bites are getting harder and harder which is so confusing. I took him out of his cage tonight and as soon as he stepped up he bit hard into my hand and fingers. He will then step onto my shoulder and let me scratch him for maybe 5 seconds and then bite me again. He was sitting behind me on my chair and was screeching and flapping as though playing, then puts his head down for a scratch but bites me hard straight away. He then got worked up and started panting so I put him away in his cage (and got bitten again). He had a drink then settled down after a minute.

He’s also been losing a lot of feathers and I’m not sure if he’s moulting or maybe plucking a little due to stress of being in a new home. The feather loss is sometimes symmetrical and sometimes not.

It’s obvious he was well cared for and loved and used to being handled and having free rein. He doesn’t get free reign all day at our home though as we have other pets so we need to keep him safe when they’re inside.

It almost seems like he’s not trusting me when I pat him now and I admit I’ve been trying to loosen a couple of pin feathers on his head which he does not like, so maybe that’s why he’s biting? When he’s squawking and hanging upside down next to me he will look at me straight away so I will try to gently play with him but maybe that’s causing fear of my hands?

What can I do to go back to basics and rebuild a bond with him again? I’ve been reading techniques to stop the biting and nothing seems to work - if I push back or tell him no he gets more angry. He seems to understand no though because if he chews things he shouldn’t and I tell him No he will stop.

I feel like I’m letting him down and that he must be missing his original owner who unfortunately hasn’t been located.
 

Free as a bird

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Jul 29, 2023
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2 cockatiels
Hi. So sad to hear, I love galahs and all cockatoos but they can be difficult to keep as pets.

First of all leave the pin feathers, it pricks them when you do that and he probably remembers that, the feathers will sort themselves out.

In the wild when a member if the flock does something bad the other birds shun it. So with you I would firmly say no, he knows what it means, put him away and leave him for a few minutes without any attention or eye contact, then let him back out. Repeat as required

Good luck
 

wrench13

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Biting, whether intentional or not, just over preening your skin or actually taking chunks of meat out - all are PAINFULL! In the wild that sort of behavior is not tolerated by the flock. They ostracize flock members who continue to act like that. We call it 'Shunning'. This WILL work, but needs to be done correctly to get the message across and it needs to be done IMMEDIATELY so the parrot can associate the bite with the shunning action. And it needs to happen every time and with anyone involved with the parrot.

When the bite or over preening occurs:

  • Say in a forceful but not shouting voice "No Bite" or other endearments.
  • Immediately place the parrot on a nearby, handy chairback. NOT the cage (that would only teach the parrot to bite when he wants to go back to his cage).
  • Turn your back to him and ignore him for 1 minute. No peeking, no talking about or too him, NADA. NO eye contact. No less or the message is lost, no more or the bird will not associate the action with the bite.
  • After a minute you can try to re-establish contact.


Rinse, repeat as needed. Most parrots get the message after a few times, some may need more. Also very important - make sure the bite is not your fault. Annoying your parrot, asking him to step up when he is otherwise preoccupied with eating or playing, bothering him during known moody times like mating season, or ignoring the warnings and body language of your parrot - these are bites that you deserve! Learn, and be a better parront !!
 
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Ckk767

New member
Dec 3, 2023
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Parrots
Galah
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Thanks for your advice.
I tried saying no, putting him down and ignoring today. It’s a bit tricky when he bites if o ask him to step up so I can put him down though.

Already I’m seeing a difference - when we reconnect if he’s not interested in interacting I respect his space, but two other times he stepped up and didn’t bite at all. I could see in his little eyes that he was working it out - he’s a fast learner.
 

wrench13

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Yeah at 2 yrs old, he is likely going thru puberty and all parrots can lose their minds during those times. They can go from cuddly to biting machine and back again in seconds, and they have no idea or control over that. You just need to be patient and not let any bad actions become permanent habits.
 

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