Ask Lafeber


September 9, 2020


My African Grey is always gentle but today she’s biting me when I have her step up even though she does want to come out. Why is she doing this?


Hi Mona,

A sudden change like this can be a medical issue, but more often it is related to hormones or molting. Make sure she is eating normally, acting normal other than the biting and her droppings are normal. If anything else seems off, she might need to go to the Vet.

It sounds more like she is either cranky due to molting, or she is hormonal. Birds become hormonal due to a number of triggers – any one trigger can be the cause. It has been extremely hot in many regions and warmer weather can trigger hormones. Some regions have had their first cold weather, so turning on the heat in the house makes it nice and cozy, but can also be a trigger. If you tend to snuggle with her or pet her on her body, this is a big hormonal trigger. We have learned it is best to limit petting to head scratches. Only a mate is allowed to groom the body, so when we pet a bird all over, we are sending the signal that we are the mate, which causes frustration and aggression. If she has a bird hut or box or anything she can get inside of, this can trigger hormones because she views it as a nest. Likewise, if she has paper or other materials to shred, this can cause nesting behavior. The best solution is to avoid these triggers and generally the bird will get back to normal soon. You can make some changes in the cage or move the cage to keep her from feeling like it is a good nesting site. We recently hosted a 2 part webinar on pet birds and hormones so I’ll give you those links in case you want to watch them.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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