Difference between testing and anger? - Talk Parrots Forums

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Difference between testing and anger?

Kuzco's been with me almost a month now and although my fingers have sustained minor damage, he's been not too bad about biting considering he's a two year old, unhandled lovebird. Until tonight. Usually, he sits on my shoulder for most of the day, playing with my hoodie, flirting with himself in the mirror behind my chair, watching tv with me, napping, etc. Tonight, I took him out for about an hour before bedtime and immediately, something was different. He was hesitant to come out and when he decided to, he immediately sat on my shoulder and started biting my neck. At first it seemed more out of curiosity, but they were VERY pinchy. I tried not to react, but one surprised me and I flinched and moved him away with my hand. Then it became a game. He would move my hair away and bite my neck until I reacted. I ignored him until he started drawing blood, went to move him again, at which point, he started biting my hand, because it's afraid of fingers. I put him back in his cage for the night and now he's having a hissy fit because he's mad.

How do I tell the difference between anger bites and testing bites? He seems to test by seeing how hard he can bite before something happens. And he WILL bite until something happens. I did my best to ignore it, but it's hard when it feels like he's tearing through my jugular. Was he tired? Was he afraid? I'm worried I damaged our bond by introducing my hand when he bit my neck and normally he's very well behaved. I tried distracting him with other things, but he was intent on going for my neck. I don't want this to become a habit. What can I do?

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 08:15 PM


 
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Lovebirds get bored very easily, they need to be active all the time. My lovebird was hand fed, and even with him being hand raised when I let him perch on my shoulder for too long he will get bored and starts nipping at my neck(can be quite painful at times). The best thing to do is not let him get on your shoulder in the first place, do something else like recall training to burn off some of that high energy that they have. The reason he drawn blood is probably cause he was wild caught, he doesn't know how to control his beak strength.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 08:23 PM


 
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This picture is to show how my lovebird would do when he tests his beak. He is testing his beak in this picture. If he was biting he would have been latching on to the flesh.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that pic, it helps. Kuzco starts off his bites like that and then they escalate to where he grabs a tiny amount of flesh and pinches. I took him back out and we did some flight recall because I wanted to end the day on a good note. That seemed to help. He's got several toys for chewing in his cage but ignores most of them, probably because he hasn't been here long and is still adjusting. He wasn't wild caught, but was raised by his parents at a breeder's, and then isolated for the months he was in the pet store. I think you're definitely onto something about him not knowing his own strength though. How can I help him learn boundaries for his beak?

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 08:55 PM


 
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Usually when my birds nip a bit too hard I would give my shoulder a good shake to let them know they're hurting me, if they continue to nip I would shake my shoulder hard enough so they'd fly off. I do this to let them know their actions are unacceptable. I am not one of those that don't react to a nip/bite - I don't find techniques like that work for me.

Giving your shoulder or wherever on you they perch on a good shake doesn't scare them like if one was to swipe them off when they bite if you know what I mean, you can still hold on to the friendship with this shake technique.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 09:06 PM


 
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I also shout out "GET OFF!" along with the shake when they nip or bite

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 09:14 PM


 
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Here is my theory, some may not agree.
But I feel it is ok to react. It is the way you react that counts. As you must not make this reaction a positive for the bird.
Any bird in a flock situation does get told off when it does something that is not acceptable. So yes respond to the bite. Ignore why it bit you and carry on straight away.
If it is a hard bite then time out can be applied. But if you do this make it a very short time out. They need to know why and any delay will not reinforce the action.

As for how hard they bite.
I feel this can depend on how much they like you, and what you are doing when they bite.
Take the death lock bite even a tame Cockatiel can put on you. This one you need to pry their beak open to get your flesh back.
Another situation is where if all things are good they may take your finger and push it away from them. This one is "I like you, but do not do that'
I have a vid showing a Sun Conure who had this thing about shoulders, and would tend to bite to push you away as it did not want to be removed. You can see I did react, and rather badly to getting hit. But you will also notice I did not stop and went straight back to what I was doing. And it did not take long where I could get that bird to step up without any more problems.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSR9jgMhUmM

And next
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jSihryujLo

The other thing you will see is that I ask her to step up. I do not push into the chest to force the move. They should always want to do an action. It needs to be a Positive.


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
 
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This is great, thanks guys. Normally, I can figure out what's causing the bites, but this one really threw me. I will definitely try the shoulder shake tomorrow. He really, REALLY wants to be on my shoulder so hopefully that will help teach him the rules about sitting there. I think part of it was also that he was bored. That said, I'm having a hard time getting him to play with toys, he ignores most of them and isn't settled in enough that I can add new ones without stressing him out. He goes into the budgie's cage and plays with the toys he sees them using and sometimes uses the beads on his boing, but other than that, he doesn't play much. He mostly investigates the cage, watches his surroundings, and wants to be a part of what I'm doing. Hopefully distracting him from biting will get easier once he's found some toys he likes?

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 11:00 PM


 
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My lovebird is very nosey, he likes to go into my other birds cages to play with their things too. What my lovebird loves most is perching on my shoulder when I walk about, but once I stop moving he gets bored very quick and will start to nibble at my neck.

If yours really like perch on your shoulder maybe you could move around a bit, do some walking exercise or something, you'll need to be on the move all the time otherwise the lovebird will get bored and will start nipping. Another way round it would be only to let him perch on your shoulder for a short period of time.

There was one time when my maroon bellied conure was really attacking my neck terribly - what I did was I wrap a cloth around my neck to stop him from biting (he was very hormonal at the time which had caused him to bite). he is now no long bitey so I don't have to wrap a cloth around my neck anymore


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 03:22 AM


 
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Another thing as well is when you remove the lovebird from your shoulder for biting - use a dowel to get him off..that way he can only hate the dowel and not your hand..you don't want him to hate hands anymore than he already has

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 09:46 AM


 
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You said this happened 'before bedtime'. Was this your bedtime or his? Because if it was after dark (your bedtime), it was the wrong time to interact with him. Birds like to eat their dinner when the sun goes down and go to bed as night falls. It's part of their circadian cycle and natural biorhythms. Some birds resign themselves to a human schedule, some don't. And, even the ones that don't, don't always react the same, some are more docile than others. Lovies are very assertive little things and will let you know when you are bothering them. So, is it possible that it was too late for him and he was just letting you know the only way he has that he was upset over your imposition?
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 11:14 AM



 
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I think testing really depends on the bird themselves. Some birds like to push it a bit more than others. My lories and lorikeets would chew me to bits but they weren't 'biting' so to speak

I had a baby military macaw test my arm before stepping up. In no way did he come at me aggressive or anything like that, but my arm was black afterwards

Do you have any freckles or moles? Some birds like to attempt to dig them out

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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Oh don't even get me started with the freckles. I went through a year of my budgies trying to rip them off. It was horrible haha.

It was around 7pm. He likes to be in bed with the lights out by nine, which was his schedule in the pet store. I usually dim the lights around 8:30 and lights out at nine.


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 10:14 AM


 
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Be careful with that light schedule. Lovies are super hormonal little things...
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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And isn't it the time of year for hormones!

Luckily no one's been too bad yet. I'm hoping to get him in bed a little earlier once school starts up again, but right now he's used to going to bed at nine (sun is completely down by about ten to) when the store closes. I'm starting to think his little chomp the other night was out of boredom. I tied a jingly ball to the hood string of my sweater and took away his other jingly balls near his cage, so now he gets super excited to come play with them when he sits on my shoulder

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