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Stop Biting

men with a parrot on his shoulder

Parrots are naturally social creatures and are fun to have as pets. Some pet owners however have problems when their pets bite. Among the three most common behavior problems in parrots, which are plucking, screaming, and biting, biting is probably the most feared by pet owners but at the same time is brought about by things that the owner does. Most tame parrots will not bite without a good reason. If you get bit by an aggressive wild parrot then it is your fault for trying to handle an untamed bird. If your tame pet parrot however bites you then do not fear because parrots only bite for good reasons. All you need to do is find out why your pet is biting in order to address the problem.

Why Does My Parrot Bite?

There are four main reasons why parrots bite. One of the reasons is that biting is an instinct with parrots and is often just used by them to inspect or play with something. Often times people who get bit by parrots were actually just being inspected by the parrot as it tried to “get more acquainted” with the person’s finger. However, people not used to this behavior misinterpret it as biting and get scared and pull back or does something that scares the parrot as well. This leads to the second reason for biting – fear. Parrots bite when they get scared. It is an instinct they have used to protect themselves. Parrots also bite out of territorial aggression. They will bite people who dare stick their finger in their cage if the person hasn’t gained their trust yet. Some parrots bite though because they have learned that biting will get them the response they desire. This is called learned aggression. For example a parrot, even a tame one, can suddenly bite a person holding it even though they seemed to get along fine at first simply because it has learned that its owner will immediately take him back if he bites. Biting is the fastest way to get back to its comfort zone.

How To Stop Your Parrot’s Biting

To stop your parrot’s biting episodes you first need to learn why it bites. If you realize that your parrot is not actually biting but exploring then simply train your parrot to learn to what degree it can “examine” fingers. When your parrot is “beaking” (not biting) reprimand it with a firm but gentle know “No” or tell it to go “Gentle”. Then push your hand into the beak instead of pulling since this will cause the parrot to break its grip. If your parrot is biting out of fear then simply remove your parrot from the stressful situation and avoid such situations next time. Warn strangers to also not try to pet your parrot or stick their fingers in its cage. But most of all you have to work with your parrot and give it trust building exercises so that it will not get easily frightened and be better adjusted. A good trust building exercise would be to trick train your bird starting with the STEP UP command and progressing to more complicated tricks as the trust between you and your bird increases.