Ask Lafeber


July 30, 2021


We adopted a 6 year old cockatiel and he bites. How can I stop that?


Hi Barb,

If this bird has never been tamed, then you have your work cut out for you. If he is simply scared to be in a new home, then he may get better with time. I don’t know how long you have had him, but he needs time to settle in – this can be weeks or months. You should not be trying to handle him yet. Taming is a slow process, and can take weeks, months or longer to make progress. It all depends on the bird and your own patience. The first step is to talk to him and keep your hands away from him. Each time you reach for him before he trusts you will undo any progress you have already made. Sit by the cage with your hands out of sight and talk to him. Move slowly when you feed him or clean the cage. When he accepts you being near him, rest your hand near the cage. Each step depends on when he accepts the previous step. And he still may not ever be tame or trust hands. He’s an older bird and set in his ways. He may have been teased or handled wrong in the past. Birds are prey animals and do not like being grabbed since this is what a predator would do. I’ll give you the link to our training and behavior pages that will give you more detailed information about working with him.

Teaching Your Bird

Pet Bird and Parrot Behavior

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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