Parrots are intelligent pets that will offer you endless joy, love, and entertainment. I know this because I've only owned birds and fish as pets.
I once owned a dog that was only mine by default, though!
So, yeah, parrots, fantastic pets, but they come with a mean set of beaks and claws that can inflict damage and pain at the slightest hint of provocation.
Even the smallest of all, budgies, have the ability to bite so hard you might never want them around your children if you get to experience it.
However, parrots do not bite for no apparent reason.
Usually, they do it when scared, angry, threatened, startled, disturbed, or ignored. As such, the best way to keep yours from biting you is to establish a rapport that'll help you read and understand your bird's behavior and predict a bite.
For instance, if you accustom your bird to sitting on your shoulder only when you are working on your computer, they should be able to learn to associate that with hang-out time.
That way, any period outside that window, they will know you are busy doing other things and will stay away, and may only bite you if startled or angry, but not for attention.
Now, this is not a failproof method. There is a whole lot of other details to keep your parrot from biting depending on the situation, most of which involves being able to know how your little, feathery bird communicates.
Lucky for you, I've outlined most of my hacks below, and I hope they will be helpful to you.
Please read on.
Why Does Your Parrot Keep Biting You
See, for you to know how to stop your parrot from biting, you need to understand why they are doing so in the first place.
Birds bite for many different reasons, and learning why is your silver bullet to stoping them.
Now, I'm not sure whether this is the case for you, but most parrots will bite to seek or dispel attention. Pickles (my GCC) will bite if he feels ignored or when I try to distract him from an activity he finds interesting.
Knowing that, I came up with a training schedule to help him tell between wrong and right and associate words to situations.
Granted, now anytime my birdie bites, I'll say no to him, and he won't bite for a while. Of course, it won't entirely stop because parrots are prey animals that get startled easily.
Just in case he keeps biting out of mischief, I place him in the cage for a while to give him time to calm down and consider his behavior.
Now, keep in mind when reprimanding your birdie, you need to do it with confidence and authority. Otherwise, he will shrug you off🤷♀️ and keep at the bad habit.
You also need to understand your critter will only obey you if he trusts you. So, be patient and let him warm up to you gradually before he can fully submit.
This is especially true for new or rehomed birds not accustomed to human contact and not hand raised.
One last thing to know, parrots are attracted to shiny, glittery things like metal, mirrors, and you've guessed it, jewelry.
So, if you have piercings or love wearing bracelets, watches, necklaces, and rings, you will get a bite every once in a while as your birdie tries to get to the shinnies.
Here is a quick-scan list of things that might make your birdie bite.
- Mistrust or Hate
- Fear, nervousness or anxiety
- Boredome and feeling ignored
- Lack of stimulation
- Territorial agression (Turf war)
- Mischief and intrest, such as biting on facial jewelry
- Pain and ailment
How Do You Train A Parrot Not to Bite
Once you understand your parrot's body language, training becomes pretty easy. However, you need a great deal of time and patience to attain desirable results.
You also need your bird to trust and respect you first.
Having said that, understanding a parrot's behavioral cues and body language to help you avoid bites is not as straightforward.
A lot of research and experience is required.
Online forums and blogs (like this one) come in handy when dealing with unique situations, but for a general idea of bird behavior, I suggest you read Avian books and publications, both hard and soft copies.
I love the book "The Perfectly Trained Parrot", by Rebecca K. O"Connor (A professinal bird trainer) because it covers parrot behavior, with some emphasis to biting.
The write-up offers helpful, positive, and humane methods for training your bird, which is both fun for you and your bird.
Perhaps what caught my eye is the behavioral analysis and training using positive reinforcement bit, as opposed to punishment with things your parrot finds stressful.
For instance, instead of reprimanding or punishing your bird for doing the wrong thing, in this case, biting, it's better to offer him treats when he does the right thing.
That way, he will prefer to respond desirably anytime you ask or request him to do or stop something.
In my case, I try as much as possible to encourage pickles to respond positively to a No (to stop biting) by offering him treats if he quits.
Yes, of course, I lock him up sometimes, more so if he is just moody, destructive, or all-around mischievous or if I'm busy with other things, but this is usually the last option.
I know🙄, evil😈 me.
Just read the book 📖 📚, I'm sure you'll find it quite useful.
How to React When Your Parrot Bites
I've heard more than enough times (from bird owners) I should pretend a bite from my birdie didn't hurt and ignore it.
Well, I'm not sure it'll work, leave alone not hurt. The only thing I know is some bites are hard to assume, more so from larger birds.
You at least have to twitch.
I mean, how do you pretend not to be hurting after a cockatoo, African grey🦜, or even a macaw bites and pulls on your ear or nose ring.
Anyway, I digress😁!
Perhaps a better way to react if your parrot bite is to let him know it hurts and even vocalize it if you can.
Personally, I say ouch, then call his name and say No. That way, he knows I'm hurt and not in a fun way.
If you have a good relationship with your bird, they consider you their flock and will want to protect you. As such, making them understand they are causing you pain every time they bite is perhaps a better way to make them stop.
Should I Punish Your Bird for Biting
Should you punish your bird for biting?
Well, it depends on what you mean by punishing. If you are talking of starving him or something equally cruel, then the answer is No.
Instead, reward him with treats if he does not bite once you warn him, which is better than punishment.
Thats all for this article. See you in the next one.