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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I have been told by several people INCLUDING a pet store worker that parrotlets are very nippy. Now I have already read this before deciding to aquire one, and I just basically reasoned with myself that most parrots go through a bitey stage, its just part of being a bird owner. So today I was in the store buying perches and food and things for my Cupcake (she comes home TOMORROW!!!!! :D:D:D) and the girl working there was like: "I hate parrotlets. They all bite and they go right for the spot right here" She was pointing to the cuticle of her thumb. I have seen nothing but good videos on YouTube, and all the folks on this forum adore their birds! This girl is probably the most negative person I have come across. So, my question stands: How bitey can I expect cupcake to be, and do her hormones have something to do with it?
 

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I wouldn't say they are to bitey just more mouthy. untill they get horamonal. I guess it depends on how the baby was raised and how often she has been handled. All of the babies I have raised have been mouty and I seel them all befoer I get to see there "terrible two" stage.
 

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Wow, that is a negative statement to hear from someone. I would say the key to this issue is time. Everything I've read both in books and from people on here, and my own (albeit limited) personal experience, says that time with the bird is critical to keeping the bird tame. In a pet store, the parrotlets may not get time with anyone, and they are not happy about it! Looking for someone to love. :) My Phoebe does bite from time to time, but I'm working with her and she is mostly quite gentle. I do not let her get out of her cage by herself yet either. I read somewhere that it's good to be the one that the bird associates with letting them out of their cage. There were times I tried to get her out and she would be very unhappy with me (and bite hard)! The past few days, however, she's been quite cooperative in letting me take her out.

Anyway, all is a long-winded way of saying these birds need a lot of quality time with their human companions. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good to know!! That is one thing we are working on with our conure right now is making it clear who is boss. We started with the cage in and out rules, and he is already showing improvement. I guess I thought maybe the rules differed between breeds but it sounds pretty standard. One thing I forgot to ask: when there is a mean bite, do they usually break skin? Or is it more like a hard pinch? I may need to buy some bandaids lol
 

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I guess it depends on your perspective. I always think of parrotlet bites like paper cuts. They hurt! I've had paper cuts that hurt more than knife cuts! It's just their little beaks can put quite a punch in you, especially when you're not expecting it. Of all my birds, the parrotlet bites hurt the most (I've had parakeets, cockatiels, and African Grey).

But I usually know what their triggers are and try to avoid it. I don't push them to the point that they feel like they need to bite and when we're playing if I think they're getting too excited and may bite, I stop and give them time to settle before playing again. (usually it's the plastic bags, toys that squeak, etc that set Jinx off).
 

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We have only had Rex for a few months, but he hasn't ever broken skin. I had a dove when I was a teenager, and have no parrot experience. I think he is a pretty easy-going parrotlet, from what I read here, but he does nip a bit from time-to time. Usually he is very clear in his body language, and pretty predictable in what he takes offense to. He does communicate with his beak, but has never seemed to be trying to hurt us. My kids are able to handle him, especially my almost-9-yo daughter. He once took a hold of my ear for some reason and held on for a few seconds. It hurt, but he didn't break the skin and it felt fine in a few seconds--no bruise or anything. I think that with Rex, it seems to be about respect--I respect his needs and he has no need to bite. :) Don't be too worried!

Edited to add that rex is 10 months old, and we got him when he was 7 months. He had been handled a lot.
 

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My Belle rarely bites at all and the few times she has it doesn't really hurt. For me, it's about her noddy language and knowing her likes and dislikes. The few times she's bitten me it's because I was doing something she didn't like.
 

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When Baby gets hormonal she gets bitey and they hurt. Her little beak is sharp. But she has learned no bite and is pretty good. Otherwise she is not bitey on the hole. If I do something she doesn't like she will nip as if to say hey. But I agree with Jinx if you know there triggers you can pretty much avoid getting bit.
 

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The only time Henry even tries to get nippy is in situations that appear he's being forced to do something or is surprised. It's really easy to surprise a parrotlet and their only protection is to bite. I just take it slowly and let him size up the situation before I pick him up or cuddle him - no surprises. I talk to him before I open his cage, then he's not surprised by me. I offer my finger and let him choose to step up. Then, no bites or any possibility of it.

We just need to remember that they're very tiny and see us as enormously huge. What else could they do to protect themselves? Nothing. So, I just show him respect and he's as gentle as a lamb. :)

That person in the pet store probably rushes the birds. Just reaches in and grabs the birds, I bet. Who wouldn't bite in that situation. She needs to take it easy on those birds. It's not the birds' fault that she gets bitten. It's hers.
 

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They are beaky birds. All my guys have been more prone to biting, then a lot of my other species. I would say I have a pretty high pain tolerance though. The bites I wouldn't say are to bad, unless they get you in a spot like your ears, and keep crunching down. I have my nose pierced also, and sometimes my bird targets the piercing and well yes, that hurts when he gets my nostril. But when comparing them to bites from a conure, cockatiel or even a lovebird. They are pretty insignificant. In 7 yrs of owning parrotlets I've had 2 bites that have slightly broke the skin. By slighty, I mean it was like a prick of a pin, and bled ever so slightly. Most of these were untamed breeders too.

I think it just comes down to the individual, how they tolerate it. But as for being nippy birds, yes. They aren't for everyone. A lot of people shy away when they learn how "grumpy" parrotlets can be. But with any bird, biting is a normal occurance and some species are more prone to do it vs others. Parrotlets haven't been domesticated very long compared to some species, and a lot of the time resort to natural wild behaviors. Meaning, bite now, think later. Even if you've been companions for years. My 6yr old plet still did bite often, at least once a day. Not enough to bleed, but it was just communication. To much touching, hungry, bored, etc.
 

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Dinky Duck is my third p'let and none have ever broken skin. Dinky is actually very gentle when she uses her beak as long as I pay attention to her body language and don't push her.

Kim
 

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I have to agree with everyone here. Monster usually only bites when I'm annoying him. He bites to say "back off mom!" and that's it. I don't think his bites are very bad. They don't break skin. I used to have a nasty pants conure who broke skin and HURT! But Monster is quite tolerable when he bites.
 

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I agree with most people. Their bites aren't so bad. That said, Pixie hardly ever bites me. I'm the main caretaker and we're bonded. Usually if she bites, its because she feels threatened by a specific object I'm handling. As Jinx and Noodles said, if you know what these objects are, you can avoid them.

That said, parrotlets are VERY bitey with people they do not know. Any stranger who comes in the house and tries to handle Pixie can expect to get bitten. She gets defensive and territorial. With familiarity, she'll stop biting as much. But even familiar people are much more likely to get nipped than me. People may be basing their opinion on interactions with birds they are not bonded to.
 

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This made me think of the times my 4 year old male parrotlet (Willie) will nip, then repeat over and over....."be nice, be nice, be nice". Almost as if he knows it is wrong, but couldn't help himself. ;)
 

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Oliver use to be VERY bitey when I first got him, and he would break the skin quite often. But after having him for almost 6 months now, and being consistent in showing him that biting is not the way to get what he wants, he rarely bites anymore. I've actually been marveling recently at how gentle and sweet he has become. Of course, the story is different with people he does not know.
 

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I bought Wolf when he was 3 weeks old and then went to the a aviary everyday until e came home. He is out of his cage for hours every day and is much loved by us. That said, he is a biter. He nails us for the slightest thing and is horribly food aggressive. He bites me even when I'm giving him his food! At times I swear he bites just because he thinks it's fun to make us yelp. He bites so much that his favorite phrase is " don't bite me" because we are always saying it. He even associates that phrase with the biting and says don't bite me and then nails us. If we get really angry at him for doing it he says tickle tickle and presents his head for scratching or kiss kiss to get a kiss. I think he just wants to make sure we aren't mad at him lol We have just come to term with the fact that he bites but he is also cute and fun and nice when he chooses to be :)
 

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My Rex bites, nibbles and shreds. Only super hard when he gets scared. Lighter, like a cockatiel's pinch, when he's just checkin stuff out or wants me to do something.

Keep in mind a bird's beak is like our human hand. And a baby boid... ergo, TOUCH EVERYTHING!
 

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Tiki gets nippy with me as well, but only when he doesn't want to be bothered...and he has never broken skin. As soon as he grabs hold I say 'No bite' and he backs off. And he knows not to do it. They are smart. And you will definitely get to know your little Cupcake and her habits. It only takes one bite to start to know the signs. You'll be able to predict when it may happen before she gets a chance to get ya! :D I'm sure you will be very happy with her...I wouldn't trade my p'let for any other species of bird. He's definitely a keeper!
 
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