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Suddenly aggressive African grey

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Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Cog117 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:53 am

AfricN grey I’ve owned for 7 months is suddenly very aggressive. He will lunge at me and raise his feathers when I get close by. He was nicer in the beginning and jus the other day stepped up onto my forearm. We went from playing and head scratches to lunging and biting. Oddly enough he still chirps when I leave the room which tells me he at least wants attention.

Any advice? I don’t wanna give up here. This bird has become a part of my life.

Also, he is 5 years old.
Cog117
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Congo African grey
Flight: No

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Pajarita » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:32 am

Welcome to the forum! Now, no bird is 'suddenly' aggressive. It doesn't work that way unless we are talking about a bird that went through a very traumatic experience -like getting hit or very scared [like somebody banging his cage or something like that]. Because, if nothing like this happened and you know this for a fact, then the only other possibility is that he is finally over his honeymoon period and now is showing his 'true colors' even though 7 months is an unusually long honeymoon period...

Now, please give us a bit more info: is he DNA'd a male? Do you know something about his past? What is his diet? What is his light schedule? Is he clipped or fully flighted? If he is clipped, has he always being clipped or is this something you did after you got him? How many hours is he out of cage and at what time during the day? How many hours of one-on-one with his chosen human? Does he have a chosen human? Is your household a busy one -like with children? Where is his cage located in the house?

If you answer these questions, we would be able to give you a more precise advice.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13195
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Cog117 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:36 am

Pajarita wrote:Welcome to the forum! Now, no bird is 'suddenly' aggressive. It doesn't work that way unless we are talking about a bird that went through a very traumatic experience -like getting hit or very scared [like somebody banging his cage or something like that]. Because, if nothing like this happened and you know this for a fact, then the only other possibility is that he is finally over his honeymoon period and now is showing his 'true colors' even though 7 months is an unusually long honeymoon period...

Now, please give us a bit more info: is he DNA'd a male? Do you know something about his past? What is his diet? What is his light schedule? Is he clipped or fully flighted? If he is clipped, has he always being clipped or is this something you did after you got him? How many hours is he out of cage and at what time during the day? How many hours of one-on-one with his chosen human? Does he have a chosen human? Is your household a busy one -like with children? Where is his cage located in the house?

If you answer these questions, we would be able to give you a more precise advice.



He was sold to me as a male, and his wings were clipped when I first got him. I don’t know much about his past. To be honest I’m afraid my dad may have yelled at him when I was away at school as he’s an escape artist and will chew on wood furniture is unsupervised. I however never yell at him. Never really had a chosen human. He liked my dad just fine and I’m sure he preferred me. He’s out of his cage majority of the day. He’s in the tv room. His diet is mainly seeds but I’ve been offering fruit and veggies. He’s taking a liking to fruit recently. I know I need to ween him off of seeds. It’s lights out at 10 and the blanket comes off at 8 every morning.

He did let me hold him the other morning like old times but come afternoon he was aggressive again.
Cog117
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Congo African grey
Flight: No

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Pajarita » Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:57 pm

Well, his diet is bad [too high protein, too high fat and no real nutrition] and his light schedule is off so, if he was kept this way before you got him too, he is overly hormonal and, at his age, most likely in constant pain. All birds need to be kept at a strict solar schedule with full exposure [at least 1.5 hours but 2 hours is better] to twilight [this means that there cannot be any artificial lights that can reach the bird before the sun is up in the sky in the morning or after the sun is halfway down to the horizon in the evening]. By simply covering and uncovering his cage, he is not getting the benefit of dawn and dusk and they need it because the different light that happens during these times is the ONLY thing that turns on or off their 'internal clock' which they need in order for their endocrine system [the one that either starts or stops the production of sexual hormones] to be in tune with the seasons. When birds are exposed to a human light schedule [what you are doing right now], they end up overly hormonal and having what people call 'behavioral problems' [biting, screaming, plucking, etc]. Now, the solar schedule changes naturally with the seasons but, this time of the year, I uncover my birds' cage [and open up the blinds in the windows and their cages doors] at 6:15 to 6:30 am, turn on the overhead lights at 8:15 am when I give them their gloop [they get their raw produce at around 7:45 am] and, in the pm, I turn off the lights at 5:30 pm, give them dinner at 6 pm and cover their cages at 7:45 pm. There is no TV, no radio and, if we have to talk, we do in very low voices after they get their dinner so there is complete darkness and quiet to ensure quality sleep for them so, if the bird is in the TV room and there is people in it after 6 pm, he is not getting enough rest even if the cage is covered.

Now, if your father screamed and maybe even swatted at the bird because it was chewing furniture that could have made him distrust all the humans in the household, even the ones that did not do it. You never said if there were children in the house but I might as well tell you that, usually, grays do not do well in households with children or that are too busy in terms of people coming and going, loud TV, etc. Grays are naturally high-strung birds that need a quiet environment and calm people. No screams, no sudden movements, no hullabaloo, etc. just a lot of patience and a soft voice because punishing them or screaming at them doesn't work and only makes things worse [parrots have no bosses in the wild and they don't even understand the concept of obedience or discipline].

Please correct me if I am wrong but it sounds as if you are not really the bird's owner and, if that is the case, I don't know what you can accomplish but the bird needs to be kept at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk and completely darkness and quiet for sleeping. His wing feathers need to be allowed to grow back because handicapping them is dangerous for them [they have no way of getting away from danger and this makes them terribly insecure and anxious which can translate into aggression]. Furthermore, it's unhealthy for them not to be able to fly as they need flight in order to keep their respiratory system healthy. Rule of thumb is four hours of out-of-cage time but I personally consider this number not anywhere enough for a bird, especially a bird that has no other bird as a companion. He needs a very large cage placed near a window so he can get natural light through it and the cage needs to be tall enough that his roosting perch is at a person's eye level when standing up [prey birds do not like anything or anybody looming over them]. It should also be against a wall but, if this is not doable, a large piece of material should be draped over the back so as to create a fake 'wall' [this reduces stress and anxiety]. He needs to be fed a fresh food diet [something like gloop, mash or chop accompanied by raw produce for breakfast and all day picking] with a measure portion of a good quality seed/nut mix for dinner and a multivitamin/mineral supplement [you might want to start this immediately because if all he has been eating is seeds, he is badly mal-nourished.

Now, there is something in your post that is either incorrect or very alarming [and I do hope for the bird's sake that it's incorrect!] and that is the fact that you say that after 7 months in your home, the bird has not a chosen human because parrots ALWAYS choose a human to bond to. Sometimes, they choose the wrong human [as when they choose a person who is not there for them all the time or doesn't like or know how to treat them properly -like my husband, for example :D ] but the only time they remain without a chosen human is when they are disaffected and the only way a hand-fed parrot becomes disaffected is when he has been severely neglected for a long time or abused. Is it possible that this bird came from an abusive or severely neglectful situation?

Parrots are VERY high maintenance companion animals - a million times more difficult to keep healthy and happy than dogs or cats because they are avian undomesticated species with complex psychological and physical needs... a cage, water and commercial food don't do it for them. And African Grays are one of the more difficult species because they require a very special environment to thrive, are naturally picky eaters and more prone to behavioral problems than other species so prior parrot experience is almost a pre-requisite with them.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13195
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Cog117 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:57 am

Pajarita wrote:Well, his diet is bad [too high protein, too high fat and no real nutrition] and his light schedule is off so, if he was kept this way before you got him too, he is overly hormonal and, at his age, most likely in constant pain. All birds need to be kept at a strict solar schedule with full exposure [at least 1.5 hours but 2 hours is better] to twilight [this means that there cannot be any artificial lights that can reach the bird before the sun is up in the sky in the morning or after the sun is halfway down to the horizon in the evening]. By simply covering and uncovering his cage, he is not getting the benefit of dawn and dusk and they need it because the different light that happens during these times is the ONLY thing that turns on or off their 'internal clock' which they need in order for their endocrine system [the one that either starts or stops the production of sexual hormones] to be in tune with the seasons. When birds are exposed to a human light schedule [what you are doing right now], they end up overly hormonal and having what people call 'behavioral problems' [biting, screaming, plucking, etc]. Now, the solar schedule changes naturally with the seasons but, this time of the year, I uncover my birds' cage [and open up the blinds in the windows and their cages doors] at 6:15 to 6:30 am, turn on the overhead lights at 8:15 am when I give them their gloop [they get their raw produce at around 7:45 am] and, in the pm, I turn off the lights at 5:30 pm, give them dinner at 6 pm and cover their cages at 7:45 pm. There is no TV, no radio and, if we have to talk, we do in very low voices after they get their dinner so there is complete darkness and quiet to ensure quality sleep for them so, if the bird is in the TV room and there is people in it after 6 pm, he is not getting enough rest even if the cage is covered.

Now, if your father screamed and maybe even swatted at the bird because it was chewing furniture that could have made him distrust all the humans in the household, even the ones that did not do it. You never said if there were children in the house but I might as well tell you that, usually, grays do not do well in households with children or that are too busy in terms of people coming and going, loud TV, etc. Grays are naturally high-strung birds that need a quiet environment and calm people. No screams, no sudden movements, no hullabaloo, etc. just a lot of patience and a soft voice because punishing them or screaming at them doesn't work and only makes things worse [parrots have no bosses in the wild and they don't even understand the concept of obedience or discipline].

Please correct me if I am wrong but it sounds as if you are not really the bird's owner and, if that is the case, I don't know what you can accomplish but the bird needs to be kept at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk and completely darkness and quiet for sleeping. His wing feathers need to be allowed to grow back because handicapping them is dangerous for them [they have no way of getting away from danger and this makes them terribly insecure and anxious which can translate into aggression]. Furthermore, it's unhealthy for them not to be able to fly as they need flight in order to keep their respiratory system healthy. Rule of thumb is four hours of out-of-cage time but I personally consider this number not anywhere enough for a bird, especially a bird that has no other bird as a companion. He needs a very large cage placed near a window so he can get natural light through it and the cage needs to be tall enough that his roosting perch is at a person's eye level when standing up [prey birds do not like anything or anybody looming over them]. It should also be against a wall but, if this is not doable, a large piece of material should be draped over the back so as to create a fake 'wall' [this reduces stress and anxiety]. He needs to be fed a fresh food diet [something like gloop, mash or chop accompanied by raw produce for breakfast and all day picking] with a measure portion of a good quality seed/nut mix for dinner and a multivitamin/mineral supplement [you might want to start this immediately because if all he has been eating is seeds, he is badly mal-nourished.

Now, there is something in your post that is either incorrect or very alarming [and I do hope for the bird's sake that it's incorrect!] and that is the fact that you say that after 7 months in your home, the bird has not a chosen human because parrots ALWAYS choose a human to bond to. Sometimes, they choose the wrong human [as when they choose a person who is not there for them all the time or doesn't like or know how to treat them properly -like my husband, for example :D ] but the only time they remain without a chosen human is when they are disaffected and the only way a hand-fed parrot becomes disaffected is when he has been severely neglected for a long time or abused. Is it possible that this bird came from an abusive or severely neglectful situation?

Parrots are VERY high maintenance companion animals - a million times more difficult to keep healthy and happy than dogs or cats because they are avian undomesticated species with complex psychological and physical needs... a cage, water and commercial food don't do it for them. And African Grays are one of the more difficult species because they require a very special environment to thrive, are naturally picky eaters and more prone to behavioral problems than other species so prior parrot experience is almost a pre-requisite with them.

How do I not sound like the owner?
He came from an elderly couple who had several birds. I doubt they abused him as he appeared to be healthy. I am the birds owner, but perhaps he liked my dad as well but preferred me? He would step up for me and me only before this all happened. He also hates women. A lot.

I’m trying my hardest to feed him properly. I want him to be healthy and have good nutrition and he’s finally accepting fresh fruit after all this time. Veggies are something he loathes but I’m coaxing him into it by having him watch me eat them.

There are no children in the house. I’m moving out to an alrtment to finish schooling here in a month so it’ll be a good place to get him in a more quiet environment.

I know that you can’t yell at or hit birds. I know that they don’t understand discipline, at worst I’ll talk sternly to him if he misbehaves. That gets the idea across
Cog117
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Congo African grey
Flight: No

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Pajarita » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:50 am

Actually, your best bet is to redirect his behavior when he is misbehaving because, although I do use a stern tone of voice when I tell them "No!", "Don't touch!" or even a 'What are you doing?!" which they know to be completely different to the "Watchyadoing?" said in a playful tone, at the beginning [and the 'beginning' lasts a loooong time], I redirected.

As to his diet, if you free-feed seeds, he will never eat right and will end up with fatty liver and high uric acid as well as malnutrition because even when they have a real good fresh food diet [and this is much more difficult that it sounds because you need to learn a lot about nutrition in order to provide everything they need in balance - and no, pellets don't do it, either] and only a measured amount of protein food, they still cannot produce vit D3 so it needs to be supplemented.

Also, please take into consideration that if you are going to move to an apartment on your own and the parrot will be all alone during the day, you might need to start thinking about some sort of plan to provide him with company [daycare, somebody coming over to birdsit, etc] because alone is not good for parrots no matter how many toys you put in their cage...
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13195
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Cog117 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:06 pm

I’ll be moving into the apartment with my sister. Her class schedule is a lot less than mine so she will be home to give her attention when I’m gone 6-7 hours a day

Today she got in the floor and started strutting around. When she wanted to go back she stepped up right into my arm. Maybe because she’s used to the place she’s just become independent?
Cog117
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Congo African grey
Flight: No

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Pajarita » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:30 am

Birds almost always step up when they are on the ground - even the ones that don't like us. You are not referring to the bird as a 'she' but you said it was a male before - have you learned something new? African grays can, almost always, be visually sexed by looking at the tail undercoverts. If they have a very thin gray edge, they are females, if they don't, they are males. People also talk of head and eye shape but, in all honesty, unless you've had exposure to lots of grays and have a male and a female side by side, nobody can tell. I don't think that the walking around was the bird becoming more independent, I think that it's simply looking around its new domain.

Now, please don't take this the wrong way because I am not trying to pop your balloon or anything but do you realize that if you are not going to be home during the day for 6 or 7 hours, in the winter, you won't be able to see the bird awake at all? And you do realize that if your sister is going to be the person there during the day taking care of the bird, most likely, she will end up being his/her chosen human, right? Parrots are not like dogs, they don't 'go' to any human gladly while still having an 'alpha'. Parrots have one single human. Period. They might be social and well-adjusted enough to not bite everybody else and to even step up to most people but that's not the rule with them...
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13195
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Cog117 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:35 pm

I’m holding her as I type this. I’m saying her as she has the silver highlights on her tail feathers. Also she’s crouching down, raising her wings half way, and making a hissing sound. Then she wil now her head for scratches. Just like she used too

I’m not sure what’s going on at this point at all. Is she just hormonal or did something scare her and she’s just regaining trust?

I understand what may happen during the winter. But I’ll do my best and if the bond transfers it doesn’t matter, so long as she is happy.
Cog117
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Congo African grey
Flight: No

Re: Suddenly aggressive African grey

Postby Pajarita » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:39 am

"Highlights"? What do you mean by this? Because if by highlights you mean grey or blackish spots, those are stress bars. What you use for sexing is the actual edge of the tail undercoverts [the smaller feathers that form like a V under the rectrices [the longer feathers that actually 'make' the tail]. Sometimes the edge is so very thin that you need to take one that has fallen off and put it on a red surface to see it.

I don't know about the hissing sound being a sign of her/him being hormonal. When they are overly hormonal [a bad thing], the females make what I once read described by a poster as 'puppy' sounds [kind of like little 'whimpers' they make without opening their beaks]. The man thought that it meant the bird loved him to pieces but the poor thing was suffering...
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13195
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

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