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I’m a mom to a 9 month old male parrotlet. He’s so smart, says so many things.
I’m having a real problem with him right now. I know these guys bite for about the first year, but my guy seems a little out of hand. He has never bitten me out of anger, but he nips me constantly, on my arms and on my cheeks. Constantly. I’ve tried everything I can think of, I give a No Bite command. I ignore him, as much as possible. I try to redirect him, I don’t know what else to do. He started the nipping when he hit puberty, for him it was four months. And he gets a bit nippy when he molted. Right now I do not think he is hormonal or molting and I can’t figure out why he is so obsessed with nipping. He gets 13 hours of sleep a night, eats seeds, pellets, vegetables, an occasion a piece of fruit, and a few treats of sunflower and chia seeds. When he is out of his cage he is on me and when he is on me he is nipping me, and it is constant. I’m at my wits end on what else I can do. Please, any advice is much appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Hi Benny’s mom. Welcome to the forum! Benny sure sounds like a sweetheart so of course he has to go and make it difficult by being so bitey. That’s a Parrotlet for you. They really are notorious for their nippiness and it is indeed worse at some times more than others. I don’t want to worry you but their biting doesn’t usually stop after a year. It ebbs and flows with their hormonal periods and other factors but it is something that you have to help them learn not to do … at least so hard. They explore the world with their beaks and that includes their humans.

I don’t know if you have tried the “gentle beak” technique but there have been many success stories by people who have used it. For me personally, the “earthquake” technique was fairly successful. Using that method, you give your finger a bit of a shake, just enough to unbalance him a little so he focuses his attention on regaining his footing. You have to experiment with it a little, starting more gently until you get the right intensity for a bit of a wing flip and focus redirection. It can be a bit discouraging at first because you will do it a fair amount to start but it pays off eventually. Patience and persistence really is the key to these little birds.

I am also going to suggest something I have always done that works wonders even now with a word of caution that the shredding I am gong to suggest can be taken as nesting activity and encourage hormonal behaviour. I have a female so it can increase the risk if egg laying and possible binding, but I never had an issue with it. So what I do is stuff a tissue into my clenched hand and leave a bit poking out at the too between the curve of my thumb and index finger. Kiwi then sits in my thumb and pulls and rugs and shreds that tissue to bits. It’s a bit messy but it really occupied her during her worst bitey phases (when I would literally be in tears). Giving them something to work on rather than just ti distract can be helpful.

I will say that my girl has become increasingly less bitey over the years to the point where she now doesn’t bite very much. But she always bites and sometimes hard. So it does get better even if it doesn’t ever go away.

Remember to celebrate the small victories as you go through this process. It will help to remember that these little birds are actually wild animals despite being raised in a human environment and they are prey in the wild while you are a predator. The relationship you have already established is incredible and a beautiful gift - a small wild bird trusting you, a big predator. That is awesome. Even getting to that point is a big deal so the biting thing is just something to be worked in with patience and respect. I am no saint - I dos not always see it this way, especially when I was being what I thought was unjustly attacked. But every time I did, it gave me the strength and compassion to keep trying and I can tell you, it is worth every effort.

You are already doing a great job - diet and sleep looks great and he is out with you, which many struggle to have happen. Victories. Keep us posted on your progress with your challenge. You will get there!
 
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