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Unprovoked aggression in gcc

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

Unprovoked aggression in gcc

Postby tookie_floof » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:04 pm

Tookie hatched in july 2016, i have had her since she was 4 months old.

Obviously I knew what I was getting into in terms of gcc being bitey and nippy. With persistance we overcame the infuriating habit of her crawling up the arm and biting ears. Every time she would bite an ear we would say no bite and put her away in the cage.

She very rarely bites ears to this day. However she has started to get testy and agressive. I figure that it might be the start of sexual maturity but theres no sure way to tell.

My rising issue lately has been that she has started to be aggressive with absolutely no telltale signs and no provocation that I can see. Examples are I am sitting on the couch while she's flying about and if I try to take the tv remote she will lunge towards my hand to bite. If I am holding a gaming controller or my cellphone she also decides to lunge and bite. Her neck feathers did not fluff, her tail didn't fan, no growling sounds, just a lunge and and a bite and usually its a very nasty bite.

Also I used to be able to kiss her neck or have her kiss my nose but after 2 nasty bites to the face all face activities are discontinued forever.

This bird gets attention and a healthy diet and regular training and a regular sleeping schedule no matter the sun. So what the f*ck? Lol. I've stuck to the method of saying no bite and putting her in the cage. But its just not working and I refuse to stop living my life because of a parrot. Any help would be very welcome
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Re: Unprovoked aggression in gcc

Postby liz » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:08 am

It sounds like the season. I feel blessed that my Amazons get cuddly when in season.
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Re: Unprovoked aggression in gcc

Postby Pajarita » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:59 am

Well, you were dealing with a baby and a juvenile and you are now dealing with a bird that is rapidly becoming sexually mature and much more self-assured than she used to be.

GCCs are not nippy or bitey - I know that many sites/people say that but it's not true. I have a female now but I had four of them, two males and two females and they were all given to me because they were aggressive and two of them also screamed too much [the other three were rehabilitated and rehomed and they are still doing wonderfully in their current homes] but they all ended up being sweet little birds. It's a matter of husbandry and not of training. If the bird is kept to a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk, fed a diet that is low in protein and fat but high in moisture and fibre, allowed to be fully flighted, given -at the very least- 4 to 5 hours of out of cage time with a bare minimum of 2 hours of one-on-one [this is as long as the bird has a companion of its own, if it doesn't, you need to up this to 4 hours], it will never bite.

GCCS are mainly fruit eaters in the wild so a high protein diet screws them up. They are also intensely needy little things - to the point that I can only compare them to cockatoos in that regard. Plus, your putting the bird in the cage when it was trying to tell you that it was needing something that it was not getting was not the best solution to the problem because you are basically telling the bird that you don't care what she/he needs, that it's your way or the highway and, as you have discovered, this system does not work with parrots.

I suggest you re-evaluate your husbandry and see if there is anything that needs to be changed/improved because GCCs only bite when they are deeply unhappy [they are actually quite sweet-tempered birds].

I'll tell you what I do with mine. My Codee GCC gets her cage uncovered and the door open when there is the barest light in the sky [this time of the year, at 6:30 am]. She gets her raw produce and fresh water at around 7 to 7:30 am and her gloop at around 8:30 am, when she goes back into her cage after spending the previous two hours on me BUT I can get away with just two hours or so of one-on-one because she has a mate. She sometimes comes out again but she really does not stray far from her cage because her mate is severely handicapped and cannot fly so she usually stays in the cage with him. At 3:00 pm [this depends on the time of the year, of course, because all my birds follow a strict solar schedule so as to keep their endocrine system attuned to the seasons and avoid them getting overly hormonal], I turn off the lights and, at around 4 pm [it also depends on the weather because, if the day is dark and gray, I do it earlier] she gets her dinner which is half a tablespoon of a budgie mix and, about three times a week, two small pieces of nut [like a small almond and a quarter walnut or a small pistachio and half a small macadamia, like that] - in the summer, she gets a cockatiel mix which has some grey striped sunflowers and her gloop has more protein than the one she gets this time of the year. She is the sweetest bird I have, she never screams, bites or even nips - so much so that she is the only one I allow my grankids to handle without very close supervision... but she was not like that when she first came to me because she had been free-fed seeds, kept at a human light schedule and not given enough attention. Her previous owner was a young girl that bought her when she was in high school and, by the time she was in college and got herself a boyfriend, Codee turned two years old and started biting and screaming. Three of the four GCCs I had belonged to teenagers that gave them up when the birds became adults - the fourth one came from a lady that worked full time and was not really a 'parrot person'.
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Re: Unprovoked aggression in gcc

Postby tookie_floof » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:33 pm

Pajarita wrote:Well, you were dealing with a baby and a juvenile and you are now dealing with a bird that is rapidly becoming sexually mature and much more self-assured than she used to be.

GCCs are not nippy or bitey - I know that many sites/people say that but it's not true. I have a female now but I had four of them, two males and two females and they were all given to me because they were aggressive and two of them also screamed too much [the other three were rehabilitated and rehomed and they are still doing wonderfully in their current homes] but they all ended up being sweet little birds. It's a matter of husbandry and not of training. If the bird is kept to a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk, fed a diet that is low in protein and fat but high in moisture and fibre, allowed to be fully flighted, given -at the very least- 4 to 5 hours of out of cage time with a bare minimum of 2 hours of one-on-one [this is as long as the bird has a companion of its own, if it doesn't, you need to up this to 4 hours], it will never bite.

GCCS are mainly fruit eaters in the wild so a high protein diet screws them up. They are also intensely needy little things - to the point that I can only compare them to cockatoos in that regard. Plus, your putting the bird in the cage when it was trying to tell you that it was needing something that it was not getting was not the best solution to the problem because you are basically telling the bird that you don't care what she/he needs, that it's your way or the highway and, as you have discovered, this system does not work with parrots.

I suggest you re-evaluate your husbandry and see if there is anything that needs to be changed/improved because GCCs only bite when they are deeply unhappy [they are actually quite sweet-tempered birds].

I'll tell you what I do with mine. My Codee GCC gets her cage uncovered and the door open when there is the barest light in the sky [this time of the year, at 6:30 am]. She gets her raw produce and fresh water at around 7 to 7:30 am and her gloop at around 8:30 am, when she goes back into her cage after spending the previous two hours on me BUT I can get away with just two hours or so of one-on-one because she has a mate. She sometimes comes out again but she really does not stray far from her cage because her mate is severely handicapped and cannot fly so she usually stays in the cage with him. At 3:00 pm [this depends on the time of the year, of course, because all my birds follow a strict solar schedule so as to keep their endocrine system attuned to the seasons and avoid them getting overly hormonal], I turn off the lights and, at around 4 pm [it also depends on the weather because, if the day is dark and gray, I do it earlier] she gets her dinner which is half a tablespoon of a budgie mix and, about three times a week, two small pieces of nut [like a small almond and a quarter walnut or a small pistachio and half a small macadamia, like that] - in the summer, she gets a cockatiel mix which has some grey striped sunflowers and her gloop has more protein than the one she gets this time of the year. She is the sweetest bird I have, she never screams, bites or even nips - so much so that she is the only one I allow my grankids to handle without very close supervision... but she was not like that when she first came to me because she had been free-fed seeds, kept at a human light schedule and not given enough attention. Her previous owner was a young girl that bought her when she was in high school and, by the time she was in college and got herself a boyfriend, Codee turned two years old and started biting and screaming. Three of the four GCCs I had belonged to teenagers that gave them up when the birds became adults - the fourth one came from a lady that worked full time and was not really a 'parrot person'.


Very thorough reply, thank you.

Since I now work from home, she is pretty much out of her cage 90% of the time.

The day starts anywhere from around 8am to 10am, I uncover her cage, she poops and gets some outside time while I am preparing both of our breakfasts, usually fruits and some chop(green veggies, leafies, carrots, etc) mushed together to make gloop I suppose. I put her back in the cage to eat meals, after meals she comes back out and hangs out until I need to start working.

I have deadlines to meet so I cannot allow too much time to be "wasted" by being distracted by her. Usually she tries to hang around the keyboard and attacks my fingers on occasion while I am working. I dont have time to relocate her to a chair or somewhere else every 2 seconds. (I am taking the time during weekends though and it's getting better.) At first I would leave her in her cage with me in my workroom but she would scream and carry on. So I have since chosen to leave her cage in the living room with a youtube playlist of running water, or nature sounds and such. Every 2 hours or so I take a break and let her out for some fly time from anywhere to 20 minutes to an hour while I procrastinate. These times we hang out and get scritches or do some flight recall or shred some stuff or do chores, etc.

Her cage door is always opened to have access to her pellets, toys, water unless we have placed her there to get things done.

During the early evening she goes back in the cage if I am cooking and she comes out after cleanup until I prepare her cage for bed, which usually was 7pm, but I knocked back to 8pm to allow her more time out of the cage.

Don't get me wrong, she is a sweet little bugger, she loves to cuddle and is pretty velcro, unfortunately. It just blindsides me when I am reaching for my tv remote or my cellphone and she attacks with no warning.

I notice you choose pieces of nuts for Codee and do this infrequently, I use walnuts/sunflower seeds for training, could that be causing her to be aggressive towards things I pick up?
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Re: Unprovoked aggression in gcc

Postby dohcsvt » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:53 pm

We have a GCC and he also bites unprovoked. He has bit both my wife and my lip almost to the point of bleeding, but this has only happened once or twice. He usually tries to get the skin of my hand between my thumb and forefinger...I have taken to giving a quick phhht blow from my lips at him and that seems to have stopped it. We tried the "no" and "bad bird" but he never cared. The quick puff of harmless air gets his attention every time. He looks very startled and as if to say "what, I wasn't doing anything?" :lol:

The hard lip bites came to stop as unexpectedly as they started, we had just moved into our new home when they happened, so maybe it was due to the new surroundings?

I wish you luck with Tookie, GCC's are a bundle of loving joy.
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Re: Unprovoked aggression in gcc

Postby Pajarita » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:31 am

tookie_floof wrote:Very thorough reply, thank you.

Since I now work from home, she is pretty much out of her cage 90% of the time.

The day starts anywhere from around 8am to 10am, I uncover her cage, she poops and gets some outside time while I am preparing both of our breakfasts, usually fruits and some chop(green veggies, leafies, carrots, etc) mushed together to make gloop I suppose. I put her back in the cage to eat meals, after meals she comes back out and hangs out until I need to start working.

I have deadlines to meet so I cannot allow too much time to be "wasted" by being distracted by her. Usually she tries to hang around the keyboard and attacks my fingers on occasion while I am working. I dont have time to relocate her to a chair or somewhere else every 2 seconds. (I am taking the time during weekends though and it's getting better.) At first I would leave her in her cage with me in my workroom but she would scream and carry on. So I have since chosen to leave her cage in the living room with a youtube playlist of running water, or nature sounds and such. Every 2 hours or so I take a break and let her out for some fly time from anywhere to 20 minutes to an hour while I procrastinate. These times we hang out and get scritches or do some flight recall or shred some stuff or do chores, etc.

Her cage door is always opened to have access to her pellets, toys, water unless we have placed her there to get things done.

During the early evening she goes back in the cage if I am cooking and she comes out after cleanup until I prepare her cage for bed, which usually was 7pm, but I knocked back to 8pm to allow her more time out of the cage.

Don't get me wrong, she is a sweet little bugger, she loves to cuddle and is pretty velcro, unfortunately. It just blindsides me when I am reaching for my tv remote or my cellphone and she attacks with no warning.

I notice you choose pieces of nuts for Codee and do this infrequently, I use walnuts/sunflower seeds for training, could that be causing her to be aggressive towards things I pick up?


Well, the way I see it, you have three problematic things.

1. Light schedule. You are not allowing any exposure to dawn and dusk and keeping the days artificially long - this is making the bird produce sexual hormones all the time and sexual hormones equal aggression and screams.

2. Diet. You are free-feeding pellets which are high protein food - again, this causes them to produce sexual hormones [evolution made it so they procreate only when there is enough rich food for it thus, rich food equals sexual hormones].

3. Routine. I might be reading your posting wrong and, if I am, please correct me but it seems to me that you don't really have an established daily routine for your bird - you mention leaving her alone for some time, then letting her out for different lengths of time, changing things on weekends, etc. This is not helpful to the bird. Birds in the wild follow the same routine, unchanged, every day of their lives. They wake up with dawn, they stretch out, hang out for a few minutes while the day becomes lighter and then take off -with the entire flock- to get something to eat. Once they are full, they preen and interact with the other birds and, at around noon, they rest. In the afternoon, once the sun starts going down, they again go find something to eat and drink and, once full, go to their roosting place where they sleep until dawn the following day. Some days are longer than others and the amount of food or the place where they find it might be different, they might just stop and chill doing nothing or they might be busy working on a nest, laying eggs, raising young, etc but the activities keep a 'schedule' both within the year different seasons and within the day that repeats over and over and over from birth to death. In captivity, keeping to a steady routine helps reduce the inevitable stress of captivity and the parrot to feel safe and in control of its life. This last one might sound funny but parrots are animals that don't have a hierarchical society [there are no alphas, no leaders, no bosses, no protectors, no nothing - every single bird is the same in terms of ability to make a decision or rights compared to every other bird in the flock, the only difference is physical might, meaning some are bigger or stronger than others but that's about it. No parrot tells another parrot what to do or when to do it, a parrot decides on its own where to go, what to eat, etc. and that is something that is completely lacking in captivity as we decide everything for them. Creating a steady, daily routine that, more or less, matches their natural biorrhythms in the wild allows the bird not only to follow its body's evolutionary dictates but also gives it the impression that it's in control of what happens when the action the bird foresaw actually happens exactly when the bird thought it would. The 'fulfilled prophecy' angle is the greatest de-stressor we can give them.

I not only rehabilitate parrots, I also do it with dogs and cats as I take in the ones that other people cannot deal with and the steady, unchanging routine is essential for this even though these are animals that have been domesticated for thousands and thousands of years and have been bred by humans for thousands and thousands of generations to share the human environment. Our pet parrots are not only undomesticated [so their needs are IDENTICAL to their wild counterparts'], they are only a few generations away from the wild and, unfortunately for them, kept under conditions that are not really very good -I am not pointing at you on this, it's a fact that none of us can actually keep parrots well in a human environment no matter how hard we try. The 'not knowing' and the 'not being able to decide on their own' is hard on them. And, if you add the fact that the bird is kept hormonal through long days and high protein food day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, we are talking of not only acute physical discomfort but also a high degree of sexual frustration because they are not like people, they don't 'choose' when to have sex, they are governed by the hormones produced according to the season so, when you 'make' it breeding season all year round, it's super hard on them both physically AND psychologically. And that's why they bite, scream, pluck, etc.
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