Please help...Black Capped Conure aggressive and bitting

ripbern

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Sep 24, 2017
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My little black capped conure, Ari, is nearly 7 years old, and she has always been full flight. I am her only owner, and it's just her and me in my home. She has always been a very docile bird. She started exhibiting aggressive behavior around Thanksgiving such that she is seeking me out and biting me to the point of breaking the skin.

Spoke with the vet's office, and we determined that it could have been due to an environment change, i.e., putting up my little Christmas tree. I removed the tree and kept her in a cage for a few days--I'll admit that I didn't keep her in for the full week the office recommended as it was just heartbreaking and she seemed to be ok. When I took her out a week ago, she was back to herself. She was cuddly and playful. Then, this past Sunday, she started getting aggressive again--seeking me out and bitting me. I called the vet this past Monday, and the recommendation was to keep her caged for a week and avoid changes to the environment. Vet thinks that Ari is getting an emotional reaction from me when she is biting me, so she might think it's a game.

When I interact with Ari while she's in the cage, I step away calmly if she shows any aggression. I'm giving her treats when she is not acting aggressive. She is letting me pet her while she's in her cage, and she's letting me change the newspaper without issue. Last night she slipped out when I was changing her water, and she was fine. I was able to get her to step up. No aggression at all. But...I put her back in per the vet. I gave hear a treat.

I got home today, and after a bit I tried letting her out to see how she would do--I know...full week was not up. She flew off her cage and around the apartment. I could see signs of the behavior starting. When I had her step up, she bit me--hard. I tired to stay calm as she clamped down on my finger and got her back in her cage.

Ari is eating and drinking normally, and there have been no changes to her diet. She is chatty. Other than the aggression, she is herself. Other than Christmas decorations, which are now put away, there have not been any changes to the environment. Maybe it's the time change and lack of daylight hours?

Any ideas as to what I can do? She and I have always been so bonded. I am her person...and I hope I still am.
 
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onamom

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I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. Do you think it could be hormone related? Is she showing any hormonal behaviors?
 

Free as a bird

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We come across a fair few cases of poorly behaved conures on this forum. I suppose when you have such a playful bird it's going to be a handful at times.

One method is to put it away and ignore it for a minute or two when it does bite you. It's called shunning and it's done by other flock members to discourage such behaviour
 
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ripbern

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I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. Do you think it could be hormone related? Is she showing any hormonal behaviors?
Thank you for responding. I’m not seeing any other behaviors. Just a lot of aggression..
 
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ripbern

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We come across a fair few cases of poorly behaved conures on this forum. I suppose when you have such a playful bird it's going to be a handful at times.

One method is to put it away and ignore it for a minute or two when it does bite you. It's called shunning and it's done by other flock members to discourage such behaviour
Thank you for responding. When the behavior first started weeks ago, I tired shunning for a few minutes at a time, which seemed to work. Then…it stopped working.

Other than brief attempt to have her out she’s been in her cage for several days now per the vet’s advice. When she is aggressive in the cage, I walk away.

Shunning won’t work if she’s outside of the cage since she is full flight. I might end up clipping her so I can try shunning when she is out of her cage. I don’t like the idea though since she has always been full flight, and I don’t want to stress her out by taking that away.
 

Free as a bird

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Thank you for responding. When the behavior first started weeks ago, I tired shunning for a few minutes at a time, which seemed to work. Then…it stopped working.

Other than brief attempt to have her out she’s been in her cage for several days now per the vet’s advice. When she is aggressive in the cage, I walk away.

Shunning won’t work if she’s outside of the cage since she is full flight. I might end up clipping her so I can try shunning when she is out of her cage. I don’t like the idea though since she has always been full flight, and I don’t want to stress her out by taking that away.
You don't want to stress her out but it seem it's the other way around. She's stressing you out. A wing clip isn't a bad idea in my opinion. They do grow back and you are running out of options
 
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ripbern

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You don't want to stress her out but it seem it's the other way around. She's stressing you out. A wing clip isn't a bad idea in my opinion. They do grow back and you are running out of options
Thank you. I will talk to the vet about clipping her. Maybe whatever is going on will be resolved by the time the feathers grow back.
 

Chenetaqwa

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Jul 16, 2022
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Winston ... 6 month old green cheek conure
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Im
My little black capped conure, Ari, is nearly 7 years old, and she has always been full flight. I am her only owner, and it's just her and me in my home. She has always been a very docile bird. She started exhibiting aggressive behavior around Thanksgiving such that she is seeking me out and biting me to the point of breaking the skin.

Spoke with the vet's office, and we determined that it could have been due to an environment change, i.e., putting up my little Christmas tree. I removed the tree and kept her in a cage for a few days--I'll admit that I didn't keep her in for the full week the office recommended as it was just heartbreaking and she seemed to be ok. When I took her out a week ago, she was back to herself. She was cuddly and playful. Then, this past Sunday, she started getting aggressive again--seeking me out and bitting me. I called the vet this past Monday, and the recommendation was to keep her caged for a week and avoid changes to the environment. Vet thinks that Ari is getting an emotional reaction from me when she is biting me, so she might think it's a game.

When I interact with Ari while she's in the cage, I step away calmly if she shows any aggression. I'm giving her treats when she is not acting aggressive. She is letting me pet her while she's in her cage, and she's letting me change the newspaper without issue. Last night she slipped out when I was changing her water, and she was fine. I was able to get her to step up. No aggression at all. But...I put her back in per the vet. I gave hear a treat.

I got home today, and after a bit I tried letting her out to see how she would do--I know...full week was not up. She flew off her cage and around the apartment. I could see signs of the behavior starting. When I had her step up, she bit me--hard. I tired to stay calm as she clamped down on my finger and got her back in her cage.

Ari is eating and drinking normally, and there have been no changes to her diet. She is chatty. Other than the aggression, she is herself. Other than Christmas decorations, which are now put away, there have not been any changes to the environment. Maybe it's the time change and lack of daylight hours?

Any ideas as to what I can do? She and I have always been so bonded. I am her person...and I hope I still am.
Im Curious about something that you didn't mention...how much time does your bird get with light cycles... I have my birds lit up with avian sun lights that give UVA and UVB ... the lights are on timers 12 hours on/ 12 hours off...that definitely helps with hormones
 

LoveMyFids

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Aug 19, 2023
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It could be hormone related even if you're not seeing direct hormonal behaviors, but being super cuddly can be a hormonal thing, or stimulate hormones. I would get her wings clipped as suggested, & also increase her sleeping hours/reduce light hours. Birds need a min. of 12 hrs. of sleep & if they get hormonal, 13-14 helps behavior a lot & starts to reverse the hormones. She may not be getting enough sleep & is grouchy. My birds get way more fussy & can be nippy if they haven't slept well. Then when they do, it's like a different bird & they are happy & easy going.
 
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ripbern

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It could be hormone related even if you're not seeing direct hormonal behaviors, but being super cuddly can be a hormonal thing, or stimulate hormones. I would get her wings clipped as suggested, & also increase her sleeping hours/reduce light hours. Birds need a min. of 12 hrs. of sleep & if they get hormonal, 13-14 helps behavior a lot & starts to reverse the hormones. She may not be getting enough sleep & is grouchy. My birds get way more fussy & can be nippy if they haven't slept well. Then when they do, it's like a different bird & they are happy & easy going.
Thanks! We saw the vet yesterday. She got a clean bill of health. Vet and I talked about clipping wings, which we decided against. She has been out and about for several days, and the aggression is slowly declining. She's responding well to redirection, and she's not coming after me as much. If she lands on me, I relax my poster and calmly walk her to a perch. We are working on some training, and she's doing well with stay. Telling her about what I'm up to really helps. I chopped up a bunch of veggies for her yesterday while she watched my from her play stand and listened to me tell her all about it. She was happy to have snacks. Of course if the behaviors started, talking to her stoped as did treats.
 
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ripbern

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Sep 24, 2017
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Im

Im Curious about something that you didn't mention...how much time does your bird get with light cycles... I have my birds lit up with avian sun lights that give UVA and UVB ... the lights are on timers 12 hours on/ 12 hours off...that definitely helps with hormones
Thanks you! I don't have an avian lamp for her. I would love recommendations as to which one is affordable yet good.
 

Chenetaqwa

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Jul 16, 2022
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Winston ... 6 month old green cheek conure
4 budgies ( parakeet)
The lamps and bulbs I purchased from Chewy here is a screen shot of the lamp and bulb
Screenshot_20231214_060127_Chrome.jpg
 

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