Ask Lafeber

Question:

August 28, 2020

Parrotlet behavior


How do you get a parrotlet to stop biting? She likes to be with me but just constantly bites. I’ve tried gently blowing on her to distract her. (She scolds me if I leave her in her cage.)


Answer:

Hi Susan,

The best thing is to prevent the biting in the first place. This means observing her and understanding her body language as well as not giving her the reaction she wants. Birds almost never bite without motivation or warning. But some warning signs are not as obvious as others. If this is a young bird, she doesn’t know any better and she needs to learn what is and isn’t acceptable. It’s a good idea to have some type of toy handy to offer her when you can see she is wanting to bite. Give her the toy to chew on instead of yourself. With some birds, you can try to stick train them and this gives them something to bite instead of your finger. As Dr. Tully said today, positive reinforcement is the only thing that really works. A quick puff on a biting bird can get it to stop, but that doesn’t mean that she connected that with the biting. And she might think it is a game. I’m going to give you the link to our page on bird behavior and it also has a section on dealing with biting. I think this information can help you to avoid the bites and to have a better relationship with her. The second link has training tips, stick training tips and a section on positive reinforcement training. One other thing to note is if she is a female, is she hiding under anything when she is out or tucking herself under your hand or arm or someplace nearby? If so, is this when she bites? When a bird can get cosy like that, they also get territorial and will strike any any movement near them. The solution of course is no cosy places! 🙂

Pet Bird and Parrot Behavior

Teaching Your Bird

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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