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Help! My Conure is turning into a vampire!

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

Help! My Conure is turning into a vampire!

Postby dooglek » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:33 am

I have had little Chloe, my Crimson Bellied Conure, for about 3 and half months. She is 6 months old and is normally very sweet. However she has recently started biting frequently and Im not sure how to handle it...
Up until this point I have been mostly ignoring her biting, and if it gets really bad, I just set her down and walk away. I also praise her and give her treats when she uses her beak gently with me.

She frequently bites my neck because I have a few dark freckles there. It has escalated to the point where she will bite them off and START DRINKING MY BLOOD. In fact one time I didnt realize she had punctured my skin, and when I felt her gently tounging my neck I started praising her profusely for being gently with me. I was ofcourse horrified to realize that she was in fact lapping up the blood pouring out of my neck.

This I have tried to counter with wearing scarves/hats (she also loves biting my ears) as the biting initially seems affectionate/playful rather than aggressive, and Im guessing she just still doesnt understand that it hurts me... :violin:

I am hoping for clarification though, because there is a lot of conflicting advice about how to handle biting, especially when it comes to the idea of “punishment”, such as timeouts.
I understand the concept of ignoring unwanted behaviors and trying to replace them with wanted ones, but it seems like the biting is still being reinforced (probably because she likes the taste of my blood) I dont know how to communicate to her that biting isnt okay.

There are also scenarios where she gets randomly really aggressive, and Im not sure why. It seems territorial, but its also inconsistent. There are places around the house she really likes to perch, such as on top of the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom. Sometimes if I go to get toilet paper while shes perched there, shes cute and fluffy and will fly onto my shoulder and gently nuzzle my face. Other times she will bite relentlessly, even flying onto my shoulder and biting my face when I withdraw my hand.

She sometimes will also bite aggressively when I try to get her off my shoulder or get her to step up. Its seems strange that she does because I have never let her biting get her what she wants, such as staying on my shoulder.
I either gently pull her off me (while she continues to consume my flesh) or I camly wrap her in a towel and pull her off.

My question is: how should I handle these different scenarios? What am I doing right and what am I doing wrong? Is giving her occasional timeouts a when she’s being aggressive necessary, or counter productive?

Thank you so much to anyone willing to take the time to read and respond! I love her dearly and just want to respond appropriately!

Douglas
dooglek
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Crimson Bellied Conure
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Re: Help! My Conure is turning into a vampire!

Postby Pajarita » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:37 am

Welcome to the forum, Douglas and Chloe [do you know for a fact that Chloe is a female?]. At only six months of age, I don't think that it's hormones that is doing it as she is too young to be going through puberty so the first question that comes into my mind is whether you are completely sure of her age because, if she was a year old and had been free-fed pellets made with soy and kept to a human light schedule, she could be maturing early. The little pyrrhuras do get nippy when they go through puberty but, as I said, six months is way too early for it...

Now, as to what to do. Let me tell you that I have never believed in the ignoring the bite. It's one thing to ignore a 'bad' behavior that is something natural to them like chewing the molding in a painting. We don't want them to do it but it's not as if the bird is doing anything that is not natural to it! If the bird was in the wild, it would chew a branch off a tree but there are no trees in a human home so they chew what they find. But ignoring a bite that causes us pain only tells the bird that it doesn't hurt - which is NOT true! Parrots are not only highly intelligent, they are also super empathetic AND sympathetic to our pain and, when they love us, they don't want us to suffer in any way so not making a peep when they bite us is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. The other argument people use for this is that, if you make a fuss, the parrot will learn to 'like' the 'drama' of it all and continue to do it. But this implies that the bird actually likes causing us pain or that it's too stupid to tell the difference between an exclamation of pain and one of joy - which is even MORE ridiculous because they are not only highly intelligent, they are also masters of the human tone of voice and body language. I take in birds that other people don't want and the greatest majority of them are given up because of aggression but, after some time here, they all stop being aggressive and, aside from good husbandry, what I do is not only loudly exclaim 'OUCH!' but also tell them they are bad birds and get them off me. I do not believe in the time out or any other sort of punishment except for giving them the cold shoulder for a few minutes and praising/loving them when they are good. I have a 'new' bird that came to me in early November of last year and, after the honeymoon period was over and he started showing his 'true colors' [which could very well be what is happening with you even though this doesn't usually happens with babies], he started having these nipping 'fits' where he would nip me pinching hard several times in a very quick succession whenever he got annoyed or startled but he is now hardly ever doing them and all I did was what I told you before: say a loud "OUCH! NO! Bad bird!" and take him off my shoulder for a few minutes. It takes a bit of time but it works because I was depriving him of a bit of his one-on-one time with me which happens every single day at always the same time [right now he is walking from my right shoulder to my chest and trying to get his head under my top :lol: ]. Which brings me to another point in curbing aggression: it's imperative that not only the husbandry is right [meaning diet -low protein-, light schedule -strictly solar-, out-of-cage and one-on-one time] but that they have a schedule with the same routines every single day and at the same time of the day. Another thing that comes to mind with pyrrhuras is that they are extremely needy little birds that require much more time with their owners than any other species, except for cockatoos because if you don't give them enough personal attention, they become very nippy and even bad biters. Pyrrhuras need to be fully flighted and have, at the very least, four hours of one-on-one PLUS out-of-cage time. People see them little and think that they are easier than larger birds but they are not, they are actually harder to keep happy. I've taken in four GCCs [also a Pyrrhura like the crimson bellies], all four were given up because of aggression and they all turned into sweet little birds [three were rehomed and I kept one female, Codee, which I still have and is so very sweet-tempered that is the ONLY bird I have that I allow my grandchildren to handle without close supervision].
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12828
Location: NE New Jersey
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Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
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