Rainbow lorikeet biting

Jorja isherwood

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Nov 14, 2021
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Parrots
Rainbow lorikeet
Hey guys I’ve had my bird rainbow lorikeet skittles since he was six weeks and he is 1 1/2 an hour now, over the past three months he’s been getting very aggressive and biting me on my face in hand for no reason I always get him out and play with him and he’s fine but if I go out again and see him he will screaming growl attacked me.
 
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LaManuka

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Fang (10yo (ab)normal grey cockatiel), HRH Crown Princess Lilly Pilly (purple-crowned lorikeet Jul '18-Jan '22 💔) & Valentino (budgie, gotcha date 14 Feb 2019 at approx 6mo)
Hi Jorja, welcome to the forums to you and your rainbow! :)

This sound to me like your lory is exhibiting lots of the usual traits of a bird that is reaching sexual maturity and does not know what to do with all those hormones all of a sudden. Rainbow lorikeets reach sexual maturity anywhere between 18 months and 2 years of age give or take. The behaviour you describe is common at sexual maturity and not just exclusive to lorikeets, but as with everything lorikeet you can of course ramp that behaviour up by a factor of 5 or 10 due to their sugar-induced hyperactivity. My tiny little purple crowned Princess is sweet, fuzzy and loveable for 6 months of the year but she turns into a bloody-minded and bitey little terrorist for the rest of the year when she gets a rush of those hormones!

You should ensure that your lorikeet does not have access to anything that might even remotely resemble a nesting site, so if he has one of those hidey/cuddle hut arrangements that will most definitely have to go as they are a huge trigger for aggressive hormonal behaviour in many species, not just lories. For my Lilly it's dark little spots behind the cushions on the couch that get her going so I have to strip all cushions, throw blankets etc off the couch during the day. No petting or scratching anywhere other than the head or neck either as this will most definitely trigger aggression too, since they see this as "foreplay" and get very frustrated when those needs cannot be fulfilled.

Just occasionally though, sudden behaviour changes and aggression may result when a bird is ill or in pain. For this reason it's often a very good idea to have him checked out at the vet, particularly if he has not been wellness checked in the last 12 months or so. The following link should help you to find an avian specialist near you if not already acquainted with one...


Good avian vets are also an absolute gold mine of information around behavioural issues as well.

Thank you for joining, and I hope this helps you!🙏
 

Marilee

New member
Dec 6, 2021
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Rainbow Lorikeet
Hi all, thanks for this!
I've had my 5 month old Lori Fausto for a couple of weeks now. He was hand raised and the guys at the store said it was fine to touch him etc. We've been gradually getting to know each other. We had our first play session together on the couch with his ball, during which he mouthed by hands very gently as we wrestled together and didn't mind me tickling his belly etc. But the last 2 days it's like he's lost trust in me and has been biting, just hard enough to break the skin and now I'm spooked. He always tries to stick his tongue up by nose and pull on my glasses so I've been saying 'no' and pulling by head away. But after reading the above about nesting, maybe I pissed him off.... he was going behind the pillow behind my head on the couch and chewing a bit on the molding. I was reaching behind with both hands to try to shoo him out. Then after that he later bit my hand later and jabbed at my face a couple time when I brought it close, whereas before it was no problem to kiss him on the back. Now I'm stressed and not sure what to do. I don't want to have a bird that I never know when I'm going to get bitten.
 

Birdgirl24

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Dec 2, 2021
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I have 1 budgie, He is a male both. I have been looking into getting an Eclectus Parrot tho.
You just have to look out for hormonal signs and when you see them just let them cool off a little bit if you do see hormonal signs, because almost anything can angervate them when there getting hormonal and if you just kinda leave them be when there acting like that you won't get bitten And then go back and play with them again after they've cooled off a bit.
 

LaManuka

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Aug 29, 2018
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Queensland, Australia
Parrots
Fang (10yo (ab)normal grey cockatiel), HRH Crown Princess Lilly Pilly (purple-crowned lorikeet Jul '18-Jan '22 💔) & Valentino (budgie, gotcha date 14 Feb 2019 at approx 6mo)
Hi all, thanks for this!
I've had my 5 month old Lori Fausto for a couple of weeks now. He was hand raised and the guys at the store said it was fine to touch him etc. We've been gradually getting to know each other. We had our first play session together on the couch with his ball, during which he mouthed by hands very gently as we wrestled together and didn't mind me tickling his belly etc. But the last 2 days it's like he's lost trust in me and has been biting, just hard enough to break the skin and now I'm spooked. He always tries to stick his tongue up by nose and pull on my glasses so I've been saying 'no' and pulling by head away. But after reading the above about nesting, maybe I pissed him off.... he was going behind the pillow behind my head on the couch and chewing a bit on the molding. I was reaching behind with both hands to try to shoo him out. Then after that he later bit my hand later and jabbed at my face a couple time when I brought it close, whereas before it was no problem to kiss him on the back. Now I'm stressed and not sure what to do. I don't want to have a bird that I never know when I'm going to get bitten.
Welcome to the Forums, Marilee and Fausto! Wow, so much to unpack here…

Have you ever had other types of parrots before? Or is Fausto your first bird? No matter what his seller/breeder may have told you, lorikeets in general are not easy birds to keep, rainbow lorikeets even less so, even for very experienced parrot people. “Hand raised” does not always mean what we think it does either – it can mean that they were hand fed by the breeder but otherwise just left to their own devices and didn’t get a lot of handling or familiarisation with humans, and sometimes chicks are even isolated from their parents too. That was the case with my purple crowned lorikeet, Lilly, but of course it’s impossible to tell if this might have been the case with Fausto.

At five months Fausto is too young to be reaching sexual maturity, which occurs generally between 1 and 2 years of age with rainbows - unless of course his seller was not exactly truthful in telling you his age. Nevertheless, these types of nesting and aggressive behaviours are NOT something you want to encourage, even this early, with a rainbow lorikeet, as those beaks are capable of inflicting some pretty major damage later in life. So, never allow them to burrow in behind a cushion on the couch, and do not provide them with anything that looks even remotely like a nest hollow, nest box or sleeping tent as these can be a major trigger for aggression. Never scratch, stroke or pet them on the back or under their wings, only pet the head and neck, as touching anywhere else will be perceived sexually by them and will lead to frustration when those needs cannot be met later on. These are good habits that you want to get into now while he’s still young so that he doesn’t come to expect them from you come maturity when it could very well become a major problem.

Rainbows can easily become hyperstimulated during playtime and that will often lead to a bite as well, so the trick will be to read his body language and for you to learn to understand when he’s getting a bit overwrought and stop the play to allow him to cool off a bit before he starts biting. It might also be best to not allow him any shoulder-riding privileges if he cannot be trusted around your face, as your eyes, lips, ears and nose are far too vulnerable for that beak I’m afraid, so for your own safety I think it’s best not to allow Fausto on your shoulder.

What you feed Fausto will also become more important as he gets older. He will need liquid nectar daily (generally the powdered type mixed with water) that you should only leave with him for three or four hours or so because it will spoil after much longer than that, particularly in hot weather. You should then replace it with dry nectar powder than can more safely be left all day. Lorikeets feed a little here and there all day long in the wild and can easily become stressed if food is not available. Lots of people feed fruit, and so did I until it became clear that my Lilly really doesn’t need all that extra fructose (sugar) in her diet, all it does is load them up with extra calories that they do not burn through the way their wild cousins do, which can lead to health and/or behavioural issues as well. So now she gets lots of leafy green vegetables that she happily eats/shreds all day, like broccolini (baby broccoli on a stem), lettuce and bok choy. Big bunches of those are almost as much a source of play for her as they are food!

You can also try to make Fausto work harder for food to burn off some of that pent up energy. The more time and effort they expend on obtaining food the less energy they have to bite you! I have included some links below...




Training *can* help to ameliorate and get through some of the more difficult behaviours but that depends entirely on the commitment of the owner, and unfortunately I am not your girl to ask about training – my lorikeet, cockatiel and budgie just walk all over me and do whatever they want! Perhaps it might be advantageous for you to seek help from a local parrot training consultant, many avian vets have contacts with trainers and/or behaviouralists or can even provide those services to you themselves in-house. If you are new to parrots, or even just new to lorikeets, I think it would be worth your while to get some professional insights - lorikeets can certainly be a handful and rainbow lorikeets even more so!

I wish you all the very best of luck 🙏
 

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