Lovebird attacking hands - Talk Parrots Forums

Talk Parrots General General parrot discussion, questions, help and information.

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 98
Thanks: 15
Thanked 42 Times in 28 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
Lovebird attacking hands

Hi all,
A few of you might remember my lovebird, Kuzco, who I bought from a pet store after he'd lived there for three years. He was very afraid of people and hands and although we are very bonded now, he's still struggling with hands so I'm wondering if I can get some advice.

He is super violent towards anyone's hands, but especially mine. It started as fear, he didn't want to step up and would lunge at them if he saw them, hissing and fluffy. He will now almost always step up and is much less afraid of hands when they are in the step up position. The problem seems to be when he's with me. He becomes very territorial of my face. If he's hormonal enough, he will seek out my hands and just start gnawing on them. He doesn't associate them with me. He will tolerate scritches from me, if I'm holding his favorite toy in the same hand, which makes me think he believes the affection is coming from his toy.

Things I've tried: making him step up onto my hands while they're in different positions other than the usual step up finger.
- touching my own face with my hands to show him I accept them (this just resulted in him lunging at my face and taking a chunk out of my nose)
-hiding treats in my fingers and encouraging him to explore. He will sometimes take the treats, but most of the time he discards them and beats up my hand.
-only allowing him to be with me if he's sitting on my hands. I think he thinks this is punishment. Usually results in him going back to his cage very upset.
-feeding him by hand at meal times. Only a few good bites here, but as soon as the food is gone, he beats them up again.
- interacting with my budgies on my hands so he can see they aren't afraid. Had zero effect.
-letting him bite lasted a full two minutes, by which point my hands were bleeding in multiple spots and his rage had only increased.
- putting him in his cage when he bites didn't really seem to leave an impact and also made him see cage time as punishment.
-leaving hands near him but out of reach just stresses him out.

What else can I be doing? I've tried everything I can think of. It started out fear related, but I also think he learned in June pet store that biting hands was a good way to get rid of them. It makes me sad because other than this, he is an absolute dream bird. He gets along great with my budgies, is friendly towards new people, completely bonded to me, and a great traveller. I really want to help him be more confident with hands because he loves scritches when he doesn't know where they come from and also because I'm terrified of the day I have to give him oral medication.

Nala , Chip , and Kuzco
*Echo is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 03:33 AM


 
4thebirds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: California
Posts: 1,616
Thanks: 1,109
Thanked 903 Times in 591 Posts
Rep Power: 17
             
I think reading what you tried, I'd just back off for awhile and let him be. My linnie is a little weird about hands...not in the same way but I have just stuck with the strategy of asking her if she wants a scritch and showing her my finger. If she says no by body language, I say thats ok, you dont have to. With step ups, she'll run if I move my hand toward her but if I leave it still she'll come step up onto it herself. So my point is respecting her, accepting her and letting her know it is ok I won't make her do something she doesn't want to do, and giving her freedom to decide has worked best for me. Over time some things just happen with birds naturally. He'll trust you more and more and you'll learn more about him. Just being around you should desensitize him over time. But also just be ok with it and tell him it is ok because they can sense your anxiety.

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~Anatole France
Owned by & slave to: Oliver, Gemma, Cozette, & the English Budgie Crew

Last edited by 4thebirds; 08-17-2014 at 03:36 AM.
4thebirds is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to 4thebirds For This Useful Post:
Flapping Mama (08-17-2014)
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 03:52 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Tasmania-Australia
Posts: 62
Thanks: 1
Thanked 20 Times in 17 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
As stupid as this may sound, try a full sized rubber hand in the cage , for your bird to take out its angers on-and maybe move on to another stage.. If it upsets the bird at first, take it back out!...My birds hate 'Blue welding gloves and as I saw , me carrying a blue coiled rope, as it looks like gloves and could mean a 'vet visit' or 'bottom clean'. GOOD LUCK!
gwhizz is offline  
 
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 98
Thanks: 15
Thanked 42 Times in 28 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
I should clarify, most of the time, I do let him be when he's nervous about hands. If he runs away from my step up finger, then I leave him alone, etc. I was hoping that'd make for some improvement, but now instead of avoiding my hands, he actively searches them out to destroy. It's a little hard to spend time together because even if I wear long, fitted sleeves and sit on my hands, he will pull back the sleeve, or crawl through it, until he gets to the skin closest to my hand and will attack it.

Someone on another forum suggested I keep a tissue handy and when he bites my skin, I should let him take out his anger on the tissue, give him some down time, and try again. Has anyone had any luck doing something similar? I just wish I could figure out what's causing my normally sweet bird to act this way.

Nala , Chip , and Kuzco
*Echo is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 12:37 PM


 
Flapping Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,647
Thanks: 1,255
Thanked 933 Times in 718 Posts
Rep Power: 13
       
My linnies love me, but they also are terribly afraid of my hands.
I just accept it, and I can understand why.
Most of the time my hands are peaceful, but sometimes I catch them out and put them into the transport box for the vet visit or clip the nails or applicate medicine.
So why should they trust my hands?
But that doesn't mean they don't want contact with me. They come very close to me if I put my hands on my back.

I totally agree with 4thebirds, please try to learn how to read you lovie's body language.
I only know this German website about parrot's body language. It's very informative, you can use google translation if you like.
Or maybe another forum member knows an English website like this.

http://www.vogelforen.de/graupapagei...papageien.html
Flapping Mama is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 02:15 PM


 
4thebirds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: California
Posts: 1,616
Thanks: 1,109
Thanked 903 Times in 591 Posts
Rep Power: 17
             
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Echo View Post
I should clarify, most of the time, I do let him be when he's nervous about hands. If he runs away from my step up finger, then I leave him alone, etc. I was hoping that'd make for some improvement, but now instead of avoiding my hands, he actively searches them out to destroy. It's a little hard to spend time together because even if I wear long, fitted sleeves and sit on my hands, he will pull back the sleeve, or crawl through it, until he gets to the skin closest to my hand and will attack it.

Someone on another forum suggested I keep a tissue handy and when he bites my skin, I should let him take out his anger on the tissue, give him some down time, and try again. Has anyone had any luck doing something similar? I just wish I could figure out what's causing my normally sweet bird to act this way.
I think the tissue is a great idea. I read on a taming thread once, a persons strategy putting a paper towel between your hand and the bird while cupping them to your chest if the bird bites. Check out the website lucky feathers aviary website. That is where I read it. Might be worth a try.

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~Anatole France
Owned by & slave to: Oliver, Gemma, Cozette, & the English Budgie Crew
4thebirds is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 03:26 PM



 
catalinadee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 17,637
Thanks: 1,593
Thanked 2,007 Times in 1,575 Posts
Rep Power: 99
                     
I know I suggest this to almost everybody, but have you tried clicker and target training? If you work on stepping up and recall by getting him to follow the target then he's more likely going to be keeping his focus on that instead of your hands. It will also teach him that your hands are awesome. It's how I train my birds and it works like magic as long as you put the time and effort in and never push the bird

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
catalinadee is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 98
Thanks: 15
Thanked 42 Times in 28 Posts
Rep Power: 6
 
Yes! We have started clicker training I had to get him a quieter clicker because the one I normally use with the budgies scared him. He's pretty good with it, although still tries to go around the target to bite my hand. I think it's definitely fear oriented. I spent a good two hours with him yesterday just asking him to step up repeatedly and I saw some hesitation id never noticed before. I made a fuss over him every time he stepped up, gave him a treat, etc., but it kind of confirmed for me that it's fear oriented, not hormonal. So I'm wondering if maybe when he's sitting on my chest grooming me and lunges at my hands (this is when he's most aggressive towards them) could he be thinking he's protecting us both?

Nala , Chip , and Kuzco
*Echo is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 10:54 AM


 
4thebirds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: California
Posts: 1,616
Thanks: 1,109
Thanked 903 Times in 591 Posts
Rep Power: 17
             
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Echo View Post
So I'm wondering if maybe when he's sitting on my chest grooming me and lunges at my hands (this is when he's most aggressive towards them) could he be thinking he's protecting us both?
Most definitely. Also he could be feeling threatened because you are his territory. From what I have heard, Lovebirds can be territorial birds.

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~Anatole France
Owned by & slave to: Oliver, Gemma, Cozette, & the English Budgie Crew
4thebirds is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2015, 07:20 AM
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Nova Scotia
Age: 29
Posts: 47
Thanks: 3
Thanked 15 Times in 11 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
My cockatiel was terrified of hands but otherwise an amazing and loving bird.

We used treats and trained him to step up on a stick as a solution. We were never able to touch him but we were able to avoid painful bites.
Kyoto is offline  
Closed Thread

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Talk Parrots Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome