Quaker Parrot suddenly aggressive and bitey

OpieBoy

New member
Sep 15, 2021
2
0
Parrots
Quaker parrot
Hi there,

I've had my boy Opie (2 years old) for a year and a half now. He has always been a very affectionate, smart, gentle boy.
Initially he was scared of everything and over time he grew more and more confident. He comes to me voluntarily for scratches, cuddles, or if he just wants to be close to me or just to perch up and preen me. He's also very chatty and loves a lot of interaction. He doesn't seem to be afraid of anything anymore, and I don't think I've ever done anything to make him feel unsafe or unloved.
I've been noticing slightly more aggressive behaviour in recent months. He gets bitey when he doesn't get his way, but it used to be more gentle and nudgy, and over time the bites became more strong. He would bite me if he wanted a head scratch, and he would bite me if I would stop too soon. He would bite me to stop me from leaving, or to have a bit of my food. I know that he was trying to communicate with me in those instances, and wasn't too alarmed, but I did notice how they became more frequent and powerful.
As I am typing this right now, I am bleeding from my finger. He bit me to the bone this morning as I opened the cage to change the lining. He bit so hard and wouldn't let go for a full 30 seconds or so. I know we are not meant to react and create more drama, but I was screaming in pain and trying to shake him off of my hand. He was yelling a lot this morning, not his usual call to engage, but a lot more loud and relentless. This could have been a clue to me, but like I said, this never happened before and his attack took me by surprise.
Every morning for the last year and a half, he would call to me sweetly to open his cage, he would come out and we would kiss and talk and hang out. Maybe that sounds too perfect to be true, but that's how it was.
He bit my earlobe recently and I bled too, but he let go immediately. I took it as him trying to nudge me about something and getting frustrated, and accidentally bit too hard. It wasn't a striking change in behaviour. Today was exceptionally abnormal and violent.
My first guess is that he's becoming hormonal, but I don't know for sure. Would that kind of a drastic change happen overnight? Wouldn't it have happened sooner? Is he changed forever? I assume that if this is puberty/adulthood behaviour this could last for years. Or will he go through a period like this every year from now on?
I've always applied positive reinforcement, and it was easy because he was so well-behaved. He's even potty trained and I feel like he has made an effort to make me happy too.
I've tried to look up solutions, majority of advice pertained to new birds. The rest was a mixture of different advice, which was a little confusing to navigate. I am hoping that by presenting our story, it will resonate with someone within this community who might have more specific diagnosis and solution. I'm going to observe his behaviour throughout the day. He seems healthy and active, just not his usual sweet interactive self.
I am willing to very patiently train with my Opie, even though I am quite shaken up and upset at the moment.
Thank you all for taking your time to read my post. I appreciate any insight and kind advice you give me.
 

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
9,654
1,018
USA
Parrots
Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
Fall breeding season has started, so hormones can be part if the issue.

Quakers as adults are known to be cage protective, and way protective during fall and spring breeding season. Mine are all cage protective to some extent. I just have them come out, during breeding season I have them come out give them a minute or two to calm their feather Butts down then take them away from cage. That way they are calm and they are sweeties.

Yes they can try and boss you to pet. Mine have recently gotten out if hand with this too. Sigh...I tell them be nice, be careful. If they keep it up I move them to a perch. I have 3 competing . They are learning to take turns. All but my youngest are very careful with pressure. She is almost 2..

Keep working on it, be consistent, about no bossing you to pet. The cage, that's how they are and work around that.
 
OP
OpieBoy

OpieBoy

New member
Sep 15, 2021
2
0
Parrots
Quaker parrot
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@Laurasea

Thank you so much for your reply!
The only thing about not caving in to the bossiness is that they're just so darn cute, it's hard to resist! But I know you're right. I will be disciplined with him.
Opie seemed to be more careful with his nibbling in the past, now he just seems more panicked about not getting his way and tries to get his way with force. I feel like he knows very well when it starts to hurt, but does so anyway.
I'll keep working at minimizing the aggressive behaviour, but will also try to read him better and avoid making him frustrated.
Thank you so much for the advice!
 

Emeral

Active member
Sep 16, 2021
63
121
Parrots
Hanhs Macaw
Hi there,

I've had my boy Opie (2 years old) for a year and a half now. He has always been a very affectionate, smart, gentle boy.
Initially he was scared of everything and over time he grew more and more confident. He comes to me voluntarily for scratches, cuddles, or if he just wants to be close to me or just to perch up and preen me. He's also very chatty and loves a lot of interaction. He doesn't seem to be afraid of anything anymore, and I don't think I've ever done anything to make him feel unsafe or unloved.
I've been noticing slightly more aggressive behaviour in recent months. He gets bitey when he doesn't get his way, but it used to be more gentle and nudgy, and over time the bites became more strong. He would bite me if he wanted a head scratch, and he would bite me if I would stop too soon. He would bite me to stop me from leaving, or to have a bit of my food. I know that he was trying to communicate with me in those instances, and wasn't too alarmed, but I did notice how they became more frequent and powerful.
As I am typing this right now, I am bleeding from my finger. He bit me to the bone this morning as I opened the cage to change the lining. He bit so hard and wouldn't let go for a full 30 seconds or so. I know we are not meant to react and create more drama, but I was screaming in pain and trying to shake him off of my hand. He was yelling a lot this morning, not his usual call to engage, but a lot more loud and relentless. This could have been a clue to me, but like I said, this never happened before and his attack took me by surprise.
Every morning for the last year and a half, he would call to me sweetly to open his cage, he would come out and we would kiss and talk and hang out. Maybe that sounds too perfect to be true, but that's how it was.
He bit my earlobe recently and I bled too, but he let go immediately. I took it as him trying to nudge me about something and getting frustrated, and accidentally bit too hard. It wasn't a striking change in behaviour. Today was exceptionally abnormal and violent.
My first guess is that he's becoming hormonal, but I don't know for sure. Would that kind of a drastic change happen overnight? Wouldn't it have happened sooner? Is he changed forever? I assume that if this is puberty/adulthood behaviour this could last for years. Or will he go through a period like this every year from now on?
I've always applied positive reinforcement, and it was easy because he was so well-behaved. He's even potty trained and I feel like he has made an effort to make me happy too.
I've tried to look up solutions, majority of advice pertained to new birds. The rest was a mixture of different advice, which was a little confusing to navigate. I am hoping that by presenting our story, it will resonate with someone within this community who might have more specific diagnosis and solution. I'm going to observe his behaviour throughout the day. He seems healthy and active, just not his usual sweet interactive self.
I am willing to very patiently train with my Opie, even though I am quite shaken up and upset at the moment.
Thank you all for taking your time to read my post. I appreciate any insight and kind advice you give me.

Hi there,

I've had my boy Opie (2 years old) for a year and a half now. He has always been a very affectionate, smart, gentle boy.
Initially he was scared of everything and over time he grew more and more confident. He comes to me voluntarily for scratches, cuddles, or if he just wants to be close to me or just to perch up and preen me. He's also very chatty and loves a lot of interaction. He doesn't seem to be afraid of anything anymore, and I don't think I've ever done anything to make him feel unsafe or unloved.
I've been noticing slightly more aggressive behaviour in recent months. He gets bitey when he doesn't get his way, but it used to be more gentle and nudgy, and over time the bites became more strong. He would bite me if he wanted a head scratch, and he would bite me if I would stop too soon. He would bite me to stop me from leaving, or to have a bit of my food. I know that he was trying to communicate with me in those instances, and wasn't too alarmed, but I did notice how they became more frequent and powerful.
As I am typing this right now, I am bleeding from my finger. He bit me to the bone this morning as I opened the cage to change the lining. He bit so hard and wouldn't let go for a full 30 seconds or so. I know we are not meant to react and create more drama, but I was screaming in pain and trying to shake him off of my hand. He was yelling a lot this morning, not his usual call to engage, but a lot more loud and relentless. This could have been a clue to me, but like I said, this never happened before and his attack took me by surprise.
Every morning for the last year and a half, he would call to me sweetly to open his cage, he would come out and we would kiss and talk and hang out. Maybe that sounds too perfect to be true, but that's how it was.
He bit my earlobe recently and I bled too, but he let go immediately. I took it as him trying to nudge me about something and getting frustrated, and accidentally bit too hard. It wasn't a striking change in behaviour. Today was exceptionally abnormal and violent.
My first guess is that he's becoming hormonal, but I don't know for sure. Would that kind of a drastic change happen overnight? Wouldn't it have happened sooner? Is he changed forever? I assume that if this is puberty/adulthood behaviour this could last for years. Or will he go through a period like this every year from now on?
I've always applied positive reinforcement, and it was easy because he was so well-behaved. He's even potty trained and I feel like he has made an effort to make me happy too.
I've tried to look up solutions, majority of advice pertained to new birds. The rest was a mixture of different advice, which was a little confusing to navigate. I am hoping that by presenting our story, it will resonate with someone within this community who might have more specific diagnosis and solution. I'm going to observe his behaviour throughout the day. He seems healthy and active, just not his usual sweet interactive self.
I am willing to very patiently train with my Opie, even though I am quite shaken up and upset at the moment.
Thank you all for taking your time to read my post. I appreciate any insight and kind advice you give me.
First thing first, positive reinforcement works well only if negative reinforcement is used hand in hand. Imagine how a child may turn out, receiving only positive reinforcement!

At this point, Opie seem to be as spoiled as Emerald (a hanhs macaw) was. Yes, she bit and I love her dearly so I put up.
I think Emerald was simply wondering, asking, and testing to find out her position in the pack. And I love to let her have her way. She intended No harm and simply NOT knowing what is acceptable and what is not. Oh, But when she draw blood from my ear, THAT was the wake up call.

Since every lound scream, every bite won every argument, Emerald got lounder and bit harder....this was how her biting easily turned into "what you permit you promote".

Determine to get my message across, I stopped allowing her to stand on my shoulder. I literally told her, "Hey, Emerald, you will have to be nice to have this spot."
And persistently, every time she tantrum, I gave negative reinforcement.

The earliest behavior correction is the easiest. So our family setup rules and degrees of disapproval on bad behaviors, which we can be persistent on.

For example,
1 Command No
2 Command No with hand gesture
3 Command No with hand gesture and disapproval face for 1 or 2 minutes
4 put in another room and ignore for 10minutes

The important thing is to be persistent on negative reinforcement and to smile and love her afterwords as though nothing had happened. So that she knows that she is loved but certain act is not OK.

Surprisingly, I found her doing the same things 1-3 times to see if she gets it right. Like when she poop in front of the fridge and I said NO and deliberatedly made a dislike face. With in the next 20 minutes, she flew to the same spot, looked at me and poop again. I, of course made a face again. And that was all it took. So far, no more poop in front of the fridge.

It wasn't easy at first, but once she get the idea, it is a pretty sight. It's nice that simply saying No or a disapprove face stopped her in the middle of the act. She, of course, earned her spot back on my shoulder and so far, gentle nip is always allowed............no more bleeding.

Hope this solution works for you and Opie too.

Good luck
 

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