Nanday Conure Forum

Message #5993. This is a followup to #5984.

Name:Sandra J
Date:Saturday April 7, 2007 1:42:43 pm MDT
Subject:Re: Biting
Message:Hi, Zi-glitterati.

I'm happy you have taken this Nanday as your own. I agree with Bruce's recommendations. You must convince yourself you are not afraid of a his bites and project that confidence to him. Move your hands slowly, but firmly, when you are interacting with him and try not to startle him. If he reaches for you with his beak, don't assume automatically that it will result in a bite. Birds use a beak like an extra foot or hand. If you ask him to step up, he may use his beak to make sure your finger is stable before he steps up on it. If you are cleaning his cage or feeding him, make sure he is aware of what you are doing and talk to him while you are doing it. Give him the opportunity to come out of his cage before you do those things.

Just know that as a new conure owner, you will be bitten at times and you will survive, so there is no need for fear. (He's not large enough to bite off a finger, but he might bloody it a little if it's a really hard bite!) I also encourage you to have lots and lots of patience. It may take weeks or months to change his behavior, but I think it is possible and it will be worth it to gain his friendship and loyalty.

Just hang out with the bird in his room and offer your affection in the tone of your voice and slow, non-threatening movements. When you want to interact with him, open the cage door, then sit down and watch TV or read a book so he realizes that he is not your main focus (this takes the pressure off him a bit!. Talk to him every now and then. Let him decide when to interact with you to satisfy his curiosity. Nandays are social birds and they need a flock. Also, eating is a very social activity for Nandays, so you can munch on a snack you know he loves. He may come to you to try to steal a bite! Once he is more comfortable in his new surroundings, he should eventually start coming out of his cage to seek you out to draw comfort and warmth from you. When he able to be the one to decide when he is ready to interact with you, you are less likely to be bitten.

One of the best recommendations I remember reading from the experts on this board when I first got my Nanday was to ignore every bite. Don't respond at all. Pretend it didn't happen. Try not to yelp or make any noise. Don't scold, don't react, don't jerk your hand away. Parrots like drama, so if you react in any way, it is exciting for them. If you don't react, there is no "reward" for him when he bites you. I find this advice especially useful for a new bird owner. This new bird is trying to gain control of his new environment and gain control of you and a bite is his natural response when he feels threatened. When you don't react to the bite, he'll have to try something else to get your attention.

If, a year or two from now, you feel you and your bird have a better understanding of each other, a "no bite" could be effective if you have good communication already between you and you have success in getting him to obey your other commands.

So, instead, lavish praise on all the good behaviors and just ignore the bad behaviors. If he's screaming for your attention, ignore him until he makes a cute, soft noise that you like or he "talks" to respond. That way, he'll learn to make more pleasant noises when he wants you to interact with him. If he bites you, ignore it, but stay there with him until he realizes that his biting won't make you leave him. Wait until he calms down to do whatever it was that caused the bite or do something completely different with him so that he realizes that you are not afraid of him.

Also, start to learn his moods and make sure you respect those moods. I've learned that my bird gets very "emotional" at certain times (for instance if she REALLY, REALLY wants to chew on something that is NOT for her!). . . rather like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Just like with a toddler, I can make the event ease up by taking the desired object away from her, then ignoring her and doing my own thing, but if I react with any drama or try to physically manipulate her, the tantrum could escalate. In a tantrum, she is least likely to obey my requests and commands, so I just give her some space until she calms down. That doesn't mean she wins, because if what I wanted her to do was for her safety or a necessity for me, she knows it will happen. The funny thing is that she knows the difference in MY moods this way. Sometimes when she has done something "bad" she figures out that one way or another, she's going back in her cage, so when I approach her, she puts herself in the cage before I can. It's not that I yell at her or do anything violent to cause this, instead I just hold myself with a determined energy and with a firm expression on my face and a determined tone of voice and she realizes that I am definitely in charge. Yeah, I guess at those moments I must assert that I am the "flock leader." I'm no "bird whisperer" though, I just understand my bird (most of the time!).

If, a couple of years from now, you feel you and your bird have a better understanding of each other, a "no bite" could be effective if you have good communication already between you and you have success in getting him to obey your other commands.

At the bottom of this page is a search button. If you type in "biting" or "stop biting" you should come up with lots of discussions on this subject. Following those threads will provide you with a wealth of useful information.

In regards to clipping bird wings, I agree with Lynda that it is your choice. I do not clip Zindor's wings because I feel it is a healthier option for MY bird. I understand completely why Enyar clips her bird's wings. I even understand Linda's fierce arguments against clipping.(Yes, we have a Linda and a Lynda on this board!) To me, I find Lynda's argument the best. Assess your situation and your bird. However, if you find that all the other techniques you try to stop the biting does not work, clipping may be something you might want to consider. It will make your bird more dependent upon you and may lessen his aggression. Still, you may not need to go to that extreme just yet, since you prefer to have a free-flighted bird. (Just make sure your house is safe for a flying creature!)

Well, that's enough opinion sharing from me for today! I injured my elbow and wrist with a bit of "extreme" gardening, so I need to stop typing!

Best wishes,
Sandra J

Bruce Byfield wrote:
> zi-glitterati wrote:
> > My daughter recently moved and could not take her bird, a nanday
> > conure, with her. I am keeping the bird.   The bird is
> approximately
> > 10 years old. I love the bird and would like to let him out of his
> > cage to fly and get some exercise. He was free to fly around the
> > first few years and then he began to attack and bite! He took a
> bite
> > out of my face once, and I have been afraid of him since. He seems
> to
> > protect my daughter and doesn't bite her, but everyone else he
> attacks
> > and bites. Do you have any suggestions for me. I would appreciate
> any
> > help or info. Thanks, zi-glitterati
> The first thing that stands out in your message is that you are
> afraid of him. Nandays are highly social creatures, and your bird is
> probably well aware of your fear, and is using it to dominate you.
> Also, he is probably biting because he feels insecure without your
> daughter around. Quite possibly, he has bonded to her as though she
> were his mate.
> The best thing you can do is to spend some quiet time with him. Start
> by sitting by his cage reading or watching television, making no
> demands on him. Then start feeding him. If you regularly spend time
> with him over several weeks, I think you'll be amazed at the change
> in him.
> One thing, though: do everything you can to suppress your fear. If
> you're nervous, he'll be nervous, and more likely to act in ways that
> make you nervous.

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