The Biting Parrot

Could the reason be YOU? Companion parrots react to how we humans feel when we approach them. They pick up on if we are stressed, nervous or unhappy, so its best not to approach them when we are nervous, stressed or unhappy. They will sense it and this will result in fear and apprehension. Parrots don't have much time to think and are more likely respond with a quick bite.

Another way we can cause companion parrots to bite is if we use our hands for punishment. if we use our hands to shoo them away or even worse to throw objects towards or at them in order to "shut them up" or stop a behaviour we consider bad and the next time we want to handle them after that, they won't know whether our hands approach them in a friendly manner or to punish them or to drive them away.

Also, if you only pick them up with your hands or arm to put them back into the cage, they will soon learn to dislike your hands or arms very quickly. This being said, in order to prevent them from disliking your hands or arms use them for fun things, like walking around the house, giving scritches/tickles, healthy treats and talking to them this will help your parrot realise that your hand or arm is not only used for putting them back in their cage. One of the most important things is to teach your parrot that they have nothing to fear of your hands.

In many cases (particularly in cases of poorly socialized or abused birds), it is self-defence. They may have learned that hands are something to be scared of -- because people might have attacked them) in the past, waved their hands in a threatening manner at them, used their hands to throw things at them ... Once that happens, birds will associate hands with something bad. We use our hands for self-defence. Birds don't have hands -- they use their beaks. The trick is to teach them that hands are something good and only to be used for preening them, holding them, giving them healthy treats. Never ever use your hands in a negative way. Be aware of how your hands are perceived by your parrot. Always approach your parrot with your hands slowly, in a non-threatening manner. The more your parrot learns to trust you, the less likely you'll get bitten.

The more scared or startled they are, the harder they will bite. Parrots are prey animals and have learned that predators can approach them at any time, sometimes they may not realise that it is their human that is approaching them quickly, and they will bite to fend off a potential predator.

Even bonded parrots will bite, but mostly only to let you know they don't like what you are doing and their bites are generally gentle and don't hurt. However, if you ignore this "gentle" warning, the bite becomes more forceful and painful.. Playtime and exercise: Parrots use their beaks for climbing and holding on to things as they move about. These bites are usually not painful.

Reacting to a bite...

If your parrot is sitting on your hand while biting, drop your hands a few inches, this will force your parrot to focus on getting its balance back and they'll usually release their grip on your finger. Place your parrot on the floor or on a play stand. . The worst thing you can do when your parrot bites or is trying to bite is to scream, yell or pull away. Such reactions will only reinforce this behaviour. Instead, you should find ways to prevent being bitten. For example, take the time to learn your parrot's body language. Do they pin their eyes, flex their wings, fanned tail feathers, fluffing up their feathers to make themselves look bigger and crested parrots such as cockatoos will put up their crest for the same purpose, before they bite etcetera? Most birds have a common signal to tell you they're getting angry. Learn these signals and the two of you will be able to come to a harmonious solution much faster.

Gaining your Parrots trust

You will have to spend some time working with your parrot. Talk to him calmly. Understand that your parrot may become aggressive as long as he or she doesn't know and trust you. Spend lots of time making friends with your parrot in a non-threatening manner. Don't approach them with your finger or your hand until a bond or understanding has been established, and even then, only when they are okay with it. In fact, don't force physical contact at all. Gain their trust by talking and spending time interacting with your parrot in a manner that doesn't put any stress or demands on them. Offering healthy treats also helps to gain trust, but the goal is to have the parrot come to you to get the treat, rather than you breaking through their comfort zone barrier to get the treat to him or her, which may result in a bite.

You should accept your parrot on his or her own merits. The parrot that you have may not be the cuddly companion you anticipated, parrots are not domesticated animals like cats and dogs, they're essentially still considered wild. However, every parrot will have personality traits that you'll really enjoy; whether it is singing, talking, or just being a companion who likes to sit near you while you are watching TV. Enjoy them for what they are, in the end you may be surprised about how strong a bond you both have forged.

Posted by AdminJohn on 2019-10-09

Feather Plucking

Feather-plucking, feather damaging behavior or mutilation is a behavioral disorder sometimes seen in captive parrots, companion parrots which chew, bite, snip or pluck their own feathers, resulting in damage to the feathers, feather follicles and occasionally the skin. It is especially common among, African Greys and Cockatoo's. The areas of the body that are mainly plucked are the more accessible regions of their body such as the neck, chest, upper back, inner thigh, tail and wing area.. The most common reasons for feather plucking are: cage size is often too small and restricts the parrot's movements; the cage design and lack of toys to stimulate them, and solitary housing, which fails to meet the high social needs of the parrot, illness and lastly poor diet.

Early experience

Feather-plucking is often attributed to a variety of social causes that may include poor socialization, absence of parents during the rearing period and because of this, the young parrot subsequently expressing the disorder fails to learn appropriate preening behavior. Isolation In captivity, companion parrots are often kept isolated from 'their' own kind, whereas in the wild they would form stable, large flocks. Deprivation of a social or sexual partner may lead to 'separation anxiety', 'loneliness', 'boredom', sexual 'frustration' and/or 'attention-seeking' behavior'. These factors may all contribute to feather-plucking. Poor environment

Increasing their environment with suitable toys, foraging toys etcetera can sometimes reduce feather-plucking. Parrots in captivity are usually given energy-dense, readily available food that is consumed rapidly, whereas in the wild they would have to spend many hours foraging to find this. Stress Feather-plucking can also be because of stress, loneliness, boredom, induced by inappropriate social or environmental factors. It has also been suggested that long day-lengths can cause feather-plucking; presumably this could relate to birds becoming overly tired and therefore stressed. Medical and physical factors

Many medical causes underlying the development of feather-plucking have been proposed including allergies, skin irritation (e.g. by toxic substances, low humidity levels), obesity, pain, reproductive disease, systemic illness (in particular liver and renal disease), hypocalcaemia, psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), psittacosis, airsacculitis, heavy metal toxicosis, bacterial or fungal folliculitis, genetic feather abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies (in particular vitamin A and Calcium) Some parrots exhibiting feather damaging behavior have been diagnosed as having inflammatory skin disease based on paired skin and feather biopsies. The, parrots try to relieve itching by grooming their feathers, but this often leads to over-grooming and eventually feather-plucking.


Veterinary treatment and an improved and more stimulating environment may help birds suffering from feather-plucking. There are organic bitter sprays that are sold in pet stores and online for parrots to discourage plucking, although we don't recommend this since it doesn't address the real reason why the parrot is plucking feathers and shouldn't be used unless you are told to use it by an avian vet.

Posted by AdminJohn on 2019-10-03

Over Bonding

Indications of parrot/human bonding, loosely in order by strength and the progression of bonding.
  • The parrot ceases other activity and watches the human when visible, but shows no fear or nervousness.
  • The parrot parallels the human's movements and vocalizes when the human talks.
  • The parrot will make direct eye contact with the human and vocalize, and responds directly and vocally when the human talks to it.
  • The parrot moves towards the human when the human is near the cage.
  • The parrot will accept food from the human's hand and eat it. (At this point, the parrot passes the 'technical' definition of tame.)
  • The parrot will step onto the human hand when pushed to do so and/or sit on the human without biting.
  • The parrot will tolerate petting without trying to get away or bite.
  • The parrot willingly steps up when asked to, and accepts petting with some evidence of enjoyment.
  • The parrot calls for the human when the human is out of sight, and/or screams when the human leaves its sight.
  • The parrot initiates conversation and play, and climbs onto the human without invitation.
  • The parrot preens and grooms the human.
  • The parrot solicits petting and preening, and allows 'unpleasant' handling such as being groomed or turned upside down.
  • (total bonding) The parrot shows obvious complete trust of the human, accepts any handling including restraint and grooming, and occasionally attempts to feed or display typical 'courting' behavior to the human.

Symptoms of Overbonding
  • The parrot screams and performs aggressive displays such as attacking toys whenever the human talks to or pays attention to another human or bird.
  • The parrot is only happy when on or close to the human, and constantly preens and attempts to feed/court the human.
  • The parrot will not tolerate petting or handling by any human except the chosen one.
  • The parrot attacks/bites any human or animal that the chosen human shows affection for or pays attention to.
  • The parrot aggressively 'defends' the body of the chosen human from all others.
  • The parrot will bite and punish even the chosen human for interacting with and/or touching other humans or animals.
  • The parrot will not accept food or water from anyone except the chosen human, and/or will not eat except in the presence of the chosen human.

Posted by AdminJohn on 2019-10-09