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Now I know some of this could be because she's still adjusting and is new and scared, but Allie was doing great the day i brought her home, but all day yesterday and today she has been just vicious. She doesn't like anyone getting near her and is biting very hard. I don't think that I'm doing anything to make her feel like I'm attacking her, and she's got a big cage, lots of toys, good foods and everything else all the books say to have. So why is she being so mean? I'm not expecting miracles and to have her unconditionally love me from the start, i know you have to work on trust. but all the biting just doesn't make any sense to me. I don't understand if I'm doing something wrong or if I'm missing something. if anyone has any ideas, I'd be more than willing to try anything. Please help!
 

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I suggest you begin a training regimen to establish trust, fun, stimulation. Also, we have been discussing a bird's need for a mate - a single bird can very often feel unsafe and will bite out of fear. Is she flighted? What size is her cage? They have a LOT of energy and need a way to expend it. If she can't fly in the cage she needs a lot of time out of the cage to do so. You absolutley have to avoid her feeling the need to bite. Every time she bites it challenges the relationship that should be forming.

Check out the clicker training info here:
http://www.talkparrotlets.com/showthread.php?t=482&highlight=clicker

And please read this thread also:
http://www.talkparrotlets.com/showthread.php?t=533&highlight=clicker

And the issue of one bird versus two:
http://www.talkparrotlets.com/showthread.php?t=535

Just please don't take it personally and understand that she is under a lot of stress and pressure and she is lucky to have you trying to figure it out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She is not flighted for training purposes but when she is older I will probably let her flight feathers grow back in. she has a very big cage and she can move around quite a bit in there, but she has had plenty of time out of it.
 

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Since she is not flighted for training purposes, this may be one of the reasons she is biting. We do not trim flight feathers of birds in training as I feel it challenges the trust and confidence they have in us. Yes it makes it a little trickier, but it does work and it does not make the bite out of fear or anxiety. What exactly is a very big cage? What are the measurements? Sometimes cages with tiny doors make it difficult to comfortably work with a parrotlet. The big doors like a 14" x 14" door or so that opens like a normal door (hinged) or as a platform.
 

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What I have learned is to pay attention to what you are doing when you bird bites you. Often you have to alter your behaviour instead of trying to change your bird's behaviour. Also, some birds can be territorial when it comes to their cage, training is often accomplished easier away from the cage. Sometimes being in a smaller room helps as well. Personally, I find birds with clipped wings much easier to bond with and/or train.

Birds use their beaks like we use our hands, so often times when they are exploring, sometimes biting a little too hard.

It's best not to react when you bird bites you, like pulling your hand away (yeah, sometimes it hurts and you want to pull away...little beaks HURT). This can be interpretted as a game or add to aggression. One method that has worked with some of my lovebirds is to gently place your thumb and forefinger on their beak when they bite and say 'No Bite' firmly, but not overly loud. The louder your voice, the more excited your bird may get.

Good luck....hope your birdie becomes a recovered biter;)
 

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What I have learned is to pay attention to what you are doing when you bird bites you. Often you have to alter your behaviour instead of trying to change your bird's behaviour.
This is an EXCELLENT point and often is the case with most behavior "issues"

Also, some birds can be territorial when it comes to their cage, training is often accomplished easier away from the cage. Sometimes being in a smaller room helps as well.
You still have to have a calm and trusting way to get the bird from the cage to another room. No grabbing, no forced step ups, no toweling, etc. Any of these things will challenge the trust in your relationship with a bird and therefore not set you up for a good training session in neutral territory. But yes, a smaller room, neutral territory, FEW distractions :) are best for training/taming.

Personally, I find birds with clipped wings much easier to bond with and/or train.
I agree it is EASIER to train a bird with clipped wings, but I feel that it compromises who they are just to make things the way we want, to be easy. We must do what is best for the bird, not necessarily what is best for us.

Birds use their beaks like we use our hands, so often times when they are exploring, sometimes biting a little too hard.
This is another valid point. If your parrotlet is this new and if she has had an unsteady step up with you, she may not know if your hand is steady and safe to step up onto. They will test the perch (hand or whatever) for safety and stability before stepping onto, and this can sometimes mean a bite that is unpleasant for us.

It's best not to react when you bird bites you, like pulling your hand away (yeah, sometimes it hurts and you want to pull away...little beaks HURT). This can be interpretted as a game or add to aggression. One method that has worked with some of my lovebirds is to gently place your thumb and forefinger on their beak when they bite and say 'No Bite' firmly, but not overly loud. The louder your voice, the more excited your bird may get.
This is true IF you have not been able to properly read their body language and avoid them feeling the need to bite. Of course we should aim to avoid that action the best that we can though. Parrots do not respond well to punishment of any kind. You must instead use positive reinforcement for all of the GOOD behaviors, thus minimizing any bad/unwanted behaviors. With my parrotlets (I currently have 22 in my care and have raised many in the past several years) I have found that ANY response to biting will cause more biting, this includes the firm but gentle beak hold and "no bite" You absolutely have to stay a step ahead of your birds to avoid this.
 

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I appreciate the posts I have just read, I have always maintained that the new owners need to know that the behavior that they may see as bad or unwanted may be the reaction the p'let is having to their( the owners) behavior. I'm no expert but I believe that they reactive, they has fiesty little personalites but when we read post after post about the birds somewaht bad behavior then I wonder what the owners are doing. I'm sorry but I always feel that the problem is probably beginning with the owner. The posts always start like this" I have had the p'let 2 weeks and he or she was fine and now he or she is biting or won't come out of the cage and is scarey of everything. Why is it never the owner with the problem why is it always the p'lets behavior. I have for years watched people come into my home and the first thing they want to do is poke their finger into Bitsey Jo's cage and she runs up and tries to bit them and then they say" she's mean".......what? you poked your finger into her cage. I'm certainly no behaviorist but common sense goes a long way and empathy to the little things.....Heaven only knows what they endure at the hands of ill prepared people who expect that they will sing and dance on their fingers, and when they don't say what's wrong with them. I will never ever punish Jo for anything she ever does, what could she possible do to be punished....she's 4 inches tall.
 

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I agree it is EASIER to train a bird with clipped wings, but I feel that it compromises who they are just to make things the way we want, to be easy. We must do what is best for the bird, not necessarily what is best for us.

We definetly differ in many opinions, clipping of wings is the one I shared with you at one time but now have the completely opposite opinion, well sort of.

As much as our birds are birds, they are our pets and responsibility. I have had hand tamed birds and 'wild' birds. I find for safety of my birds, having their wings clipped, 3-4 flight feathers, allows them to fly, but not full force into walls or windows. Unless you have a completely bird proof area, having a fully flighted bird can be very dangerous for your bird. I have also had a bird who had a TERRIBLE wing clip and she is just now learning to fly. As a baby, before she was a confident flyer, she was given an ALL HER FLIGHT FEATHERS wing clip (not by me)....poor thing would plummet to the ground...I am happy to say, with some practice, (her on the couch me on the floor moving farther and farther away) she has become a decent flier!

As well, I have many hens. I actually have some sort of attaction to any female bird (not by choice, it's like some psychic gift;)...I really want some boys! ). All my hens act different when they get into their nesty nasty mode. One would actually fly over to me and bite my ears, neck, face, fingers, toes....any exposed skin. It was either a wing clip or no out of the cage time...I choose wing clip. I don't actually believe that there is any training or patience that would stop some of my hens from their nesty behaviour....they get clipped and can still enjoy time out of their cages, looking for nesting supplies.

I actually believe the best advice I ever received regarding birdie bites was : DON'T GET BIT!!
 

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When we first got our Parrotlet she was a biting terror! It was like she was a hungry dog and your finger was a big juicy steak. She'd gnaw on you and everything! We tried to be patient (which was very very difficult!) and not react to being bit aside from saying "No" in a stern voice and doing repeated step ups. Finally she began to not bite as much or as hard, and now after we're getting closer to our two month mark she rarely bites very hard, if at all. She still uses her beak to climb up on our fingers, but it's considerably gentler than a bite and is obviously used as a way to climb, not hurt. She's even beginning to come out of the cage on my finger without too much drama. Just give her time and she may very well come around on her own. Just take it slow and don't get discouraged. Just be prepared to get bit in the process of making friends :(
 

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At the risk of offending someone and I really do not mean to hurt anyones feelings but I agree with Andrea 1000 percent...it's the only way they can communicate their displeasure with us. Why are they biting us? I can tell you exactley why Jo bites me when she does and it is rare. I'm not the perfect bird trainer that is for sure but I KNOW my bird. She can communicate with me as if she could talk, remember her ringing that bell for me to come.....she knows that I will come.
 

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Well I don't want anyone mad and I'm not speaking for anyone but myself and my reality with my p'let. I have had a red headed mexican parrot and a noble macaw years and years ago so I know a little about being bitten and the macaw was totaly WILD, they caught her with welding gloves and put her in the cage and handed it to me. I was young and clueless and it took about 8 months or more to be able to even put seed in the cage. I had to pour it in from the outside, the water was attached to a perch in the center of the base.. The cage top came off the stand so I could lift her off, then clean it. Before she passed away she was my best friend and never ever bit me and called my name to come all the time. Again being young and stupid....I was newly pregant with my son and my family had a family meeting and said that they were afraid she would bite the new baby and my parents took her to live with them, I stupidly and under pressure let them and she grieved herself to death and died. My husband and parents didn't understand her at all she would never have bitten my son. I was so sad that I told myself I would never get another bird.. 16 years later I rescued Bitsey Jo and all I knew to do was what I had learned from my Macaw and the patience it took and the outcome I got and it worked with Jo also...I had to build trust above all else never let her not trust me , to be sweet to her and rescue her if she is scared and never ever punish her....ever. It was ironic that my son was there when we saved B'Jo and she loves him too. I would have taught my macaw about my baby but I didn't get a chance. Everyone has a different point of view and that is normal but if what you are doing is not working just be open to try something else, anyone can dominate an aminal but to win it's trust is the most rewarding thing in the world. Food for thought....if you were to train a dog to protect your home would you dominate it and make it be aggressive to protect your home or would you make it love you so much that it would lay it's life down to save you?
 

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Just be prepared to get bit in the process of making friends :(
I don't like this - we should look for ways to AVOID the bites. Every time they bite they are not happy about something that we are doing.
Isn't it inevitable that your pet bird will bite you while you are getting to know him or her? Isn't that how you learn what your bird's tolerance levels are? Isn't this how your bird trains you as to what he/she likes? You have to get bit to know how to avoid getting bit.

For example, I have a bird who I give scritches to, all around her head and neck. When she has had enough, she will turn around and bite me. This could be after 2 secs or 10 minutes, this is her way of telling "OK enough, your work is done!". This same bird also has a 'I'm the boss' attitude (one of the things I love about her, it's cute....most of the time). If she ends up somewhere that I don't want her to be for safety reasons, when I remove her, she bites me....HARD....I can't avoid it, I have to do it, and she will probably always bite me for it. I will take her beak in my fingers gently, and tell her no bite and she stops. My fingers would be on her beak no matter what because she bites very hard, HARD HARD!
 

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Our birds attempt desparately to train us via their body language. In all of my years of hand rearing, parrot behavior consulting, resuces, rehabs, etc, etc. I have never known a parrot to bite without first trying to tell us something with their body language.

If she ends up somewhere that I don't want her to be for safety reasons, when I remove her, she bites me....HARD....I can't avoid it, I have to do it, and she will probably always bite me for it. I will take her beak in my fingers gently, and tell her no bite and she stops. My fingers would be on her beak no matter what because she bites very hard, HARD HARD!
Good example of the need for training regimens. Birds can learn to "leave it" "drop it" "go away" all on command, thus avoiding a nasty bite. It is our responsibility to train them these things. Like with children, you have to establish grounds of communication and training, if you don't you have unruly, disrespectful children. Same with parrots. And parrots do NOT respond positively to any sort of negative reinforcement. They never will.
 

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Well, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. I only offered my opinion and my experiance, which has worked out for me, as well as the many bird owners I am in contact with. Everyone has their own methods and beliefs, it's just nice to know that other opinions can be accepted.
 

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Off topic, I'm afraid but I just have to respond to Memmey's hartbreaking story about her macaw... Such a sad story, and how many regrets you must have had. Maybe saving B. Jo feels like a chance to make things o.k. again? You sure give her a wonderful life :)
 
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