Ask Lafeber


May 21, 2021

Cockatiel question

What is a good method to get our cockatiel to stop picking at our moles, pimples, etc


Hi Becki,

Distraction is really the only thing you can do. Birds do not learn from negative reinforcement. But you can try offering a toy, or something else to chew on, or move the bird to another place. This is a natural behavior, and he thinks he is helping by removing “bugs” and preening you. They normally do this when on shoulders, so you can stop allowing him on shoulders. I’m not a fan of birds on shoulders because it puts them in a position where they are in charge. They can refuse to get on your hand, and it also leaves you vulnerable. He can accidentally or deliberately injure your face, eye, or ear, and some will pull on an earring causing injury to you and risk to the bird if it is a small earring.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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