Sun Conure Question

FieryPhoenix

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Jan 18, 2022
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Quaker Parrot Sun Conure
For those of you who have or had had Sun conures who are aged 2 and up, even better if you have one who is considered senior, have a question.

I had posted a question to a Sun Conure group a few months ago about how often people would get bit by their sun conures and the majority of the group said rarely.

Am I missing something. Granted my Sunny is a relatively good bird but I do get bitten. Today she bit my finger right over a vein and I bled. Ihave been keeping track of how often I get bitten and possible triggers. In the last couple months it was related to hormonal behavior (mating with other bird, regurgitating, etc) and she was molting a few weeks ago. Also, she may bite if she gets overly excited.

Today, I really don't know what set her off, except maybe she didn't sleep all that well.

Prior to today the last time she bit me was two weeks ago and then two weeks before that. I feel like an idiot because most sun conure people say there bird never bites or rarely bites. One person said they get bitten twice a year (man I wish that were me LOL!)

Keep in mind that I handle my birds on a daily basis for the most party so obviously the more I handle them the more like I will get bit.

Is there anyone out there who gets bitten by the sweet little sun like me?

A little background: I have had this Sun for 17 years since she was a little over a year. She was not a hand-raised baby. I was told she was abused. I feel pathetic that even after 17 years, her bites still get to me LOL!

She turned 18 this past March.
 

fiddlejen

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Sunny the Sun Conure (sept '18, gotcha 3/'19). Mr Jefferson Budgie & Mrs Calliope Budgie (albino) (nov'18 & jan'19). Summer 2021 Baby Budgies: Riker (Green); Patchouli, Keye, & Tiny (blue greywings).
Mine is about 3 1/2 years now. I rarely get bitten by her, but, it does occasionally happen. I have worked a lot with her for Bite Pressure Training, and that makes a big difference. Also I know if she moves in a certain way (i think of it as "snakey," kinda looks cobra-like), keep my hands away as a bite would be likely. (She will play-rough with her toys, when she gets like that, also.) Every now and then she might bite from excitement. Also I do not give her treats by hand as she gets excited and bites me. (I can give her veggies by hand, though. But not reward-treats.)

Anytime she does bite me, once, for some reason, she is almost certain to bite me again more than once in the next coming weeks. Kind of like she thinks, "gee, that had a result, let me try it again!" I do try to quickly figure out what her Goal was with the bite and Not reward that goal (for example, "oh you withdrew when I bit you before... I want you to withdraw, I will bite you now!" -- so i Keep my hand right there despite the bite, in that case) - and to also make it clear, she has some other option to communicate her request to me, other than biting. (Look up ABC training to get a clearer idea of this.)

I purchased her from pet store when she was 6 months, and we learned together how to get along, so other than normal separation-trauma (and possibly treatment for an injury, i theorize), she does not have any known past-history to deal with.

Also I know it's fairly common for Sunnies to have great personalities BUT I have also heard of some that are extra-bitey as part of their personalities. Mine seems mostly gentle by nature anyway. For example, every now and then a toy might be destroyed but Mostly even her shredding toys last a long, long time. She is far Less destructive than even my budgies.

I'm quite thankful that mine is very sweet but I know that is not automatically true for all of them.
 
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FieryPhoenix

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Quaker Parrot Sun Conure
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The one thing I will say about mine is that she might bite and then it is like it never happened and she goes back to being sweet.

I really can't fathom the cause of this one except perhaps poor sweet because the computer sound was on the ping notification were coming in all night.

What is ABC training?
 

fiddlejen

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Sunny the Sun Conure (sept '18, gotcha 3/'19). Mr Jefferson Budgie & Mrs Calliope Budgie (albino) (nov'18 & jan'19). Summer 2021 Baby Budgies: Riker (Green); Patchouli, Keye, & Tiny (blue greywings).
Antecedent (what occurred right before the behavior) -- Behavior -- Consequence (what happened right after the behavior). So when it occurs, think about both of those.

If biting continues, think about what happened right before, and avoid those situations or avoid handling in those situations. As far as possible, of course. I mean yes mine is also more cranky, hence more chance of biting, if not enough sleep. So I am more careful of her when Im aware of that. But it's more like, what happened Immediately beforehand. So again, I can sometimes notice certain movements in my Sunny if she is more likely to strike, and I might position myself slightly differently so it's harder for her to bite quickly, or divert her before it happens.

As far as the consequence... again a difficult word. NOT "punishment." NOT!!!! This cannot be emphasized enough. I think of this as, "If you Bite me, you get what you did Not want." ALTHOUGH this can be a dangerous way to think of it too. It is NOT about being mean. NEVER, NEVER EVER. It is about figuring out, what was the result and how is she learning from it?

IF for example I put my hand to OFFER her to Step-Up out of her cage. (This is sometimes contentious because her body language about step-up is often unclear. Sometimes she walks away in Preparation to step up.) Sometimes her way of replying, "No thanks," is to Bite me. IN that case, IF she bites me to say "no thanks," to the step-up, then I will actually take hold of her and lift her out of the cage. (Alternatively, as long as she does Not bite me, I give her a count of three and then withdraw my step-up offer by removing my hand.) SO because she bit me, what she got was what she Not-wanted. THUS she is incentivized to Not Bite. (And indeed, she bites like that, only Very Rarely.)

(As an aside. If for some rare reason i actually Must grab her against her will... well, she WILL bite, and that is fair, and I accept it as my due and ignore it and proceed. Etc)

On the other hand maybe a bird is biting for excitement. If the consequence of biting is that people YELL or get upset, the bird learn to use Biting for entertainment or attention. OR. Maybe, when the bird bites, it goes back in its cage? Then the bird Might learn to use biting, to tell you it wants to go back to cage. Etc. SO, when a bird bites, you should think about, what is happening beforehand (the antecedent), and what is happening afterward (the consequence), and WORK with those, so the bird will have less incentive to continue biting.
 
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FieryPhoenix

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Quaker Parrot Sun Conure
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What I typically do is reward her when she steps up with either a treat or a head kiss.

Today when she bit me she got none of that.

I am a bit baffled as to why she might have bit me but here are my two theories.

1. She is still molting - I found a couple yellow feathers on the floor. She was molting two weeks ago and I thought she finished but maybe she has a few more left.

2. She was feeling tired or overtired like a little kid - the computer was making ping noises (notifications) maybe it kept her up and she didn't sleep as well as she did.
 

kme3388

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Sep 17, 2021
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Eclectus Parrot: Nico (male)
Jenday Conure: Kiwi (female)
I have a Jenday Conure which is very similar to the Sun. Mine is a sassy frass. She loves to cuddle up under clothing, and when I go to pull her out she will nip. Kiwi will also shoulder rush when she doesn't want to go back in her cage at night. She will also bite here as well. I ignore it entirely. I've had her sense she was a baby, and she's about 12 years old now. I really think it has to do with her personality.

When Kiwi is molting, when its spring (hormones), and so on she will bite more often. She also becomes very protective of her cage during these times. She will let me clean her cage, but she will attack anyone for touching her toys, or things. I pick my battles with both of my birds. Unless there is an emergency I let them have their cages for their own privacy. If they want to come out they can as I leave the door open all day. If they don't want to come out I am not going to make them. They usually come out on their own.
 
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FieryPhoenix

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Jan 18, 2022
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Quaker Parrot Sun Conure
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I have a Jenday Conure which is very similar to the Sun. Mine is a sassy frass. She loves to cuddle up under clothing, and when I go to pull her out she will nip. Kiwi will also shoulder rush when she doesn't want to go back in her cage at night. She will also bite here as well. I ignore it entirely. I've had her sense she was a baby, and she's about 12 years old now. I really think it has to do with her personality.

When Kiwi is molting, when its spring (hormones), and so on she will bite more often. She also becomes very protective of her cage during these times. She will let me clean her cage, but she will attack anyone for touching her toys, or things. I pick my battles with both of my birds. Unless there is an emergency I let them have their cages for their own privacy. If they want to come out they can as I leave the door open all day. If they don't want to come out I am not going to make them. They usually come out on their own.

Yeah, what you describe with your Jenday is like with my Sun. I find that she gets more easily triggered than my Quaker when it comes to stuff. She is just more sensitive.

I thank God that she is a small bird and her bites can't send me to the ER but in general I hate getting cuts on my fingers because I hate wearing bandaids because of handwashing. My bite is healing nicely but I will have to keep it covered for a variety of reasons: 1) I have a tendency to touch cuts (and zits), 2) it apparently heals faster with a bandaid and 3) it makes the girls stepping up on that hand more comfortable since the cut is protected.
 

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