Nipping a Biting Bird Problem

Don’t worry, he won’t bite – YEOUCH!
Hate to say it, pet-lovers, but a pet bird has no qualms about biting the hand that feeds him. Even if his name is Buddy. But rather than let it – or him – eat away at you, there are ways to stop your pretty-bird from coming back to bite you. And the first step is understanding why your beaky birdie is doing it, so you can see it coming and nip it for your bud.

Reasons why Sunny may be snapping (with his beak, that is).

What can I say? I’m totally freakin’.
If your pinching Parakeet does just that when someone else walks into the room, take note: While others may be frightened by Bobo’s bite, look at the world from his bird’s eye view, and see if there’s something causing him concern. And when you figure out what it is, remove it, if possible. (So, could very well mean Grandpa stays.) If your Finch is biting out of fear, he needs to learn that you are his refuge. We know, it sounds like an REO Speedwagon ballad. But sitting down with your bird, talking quietly and even singing can help – duet, perhaps? If you discover his fright is actually of new people or similar distractions, it’s probably just easier – and kinder – to leave Rio in his cage, during these times. You can always chirp later.

I’m sooooo hungry. 
If it’s a younger bird biting you, he may be hungry, so that’s easy – feed him. Or, the little ankle-biter may be teething, and learning how to use his beak. (Awwww…) In this case, a short, sharp command like, ‘No’ is the best way to teach your chomping lil’ cherub not to bite you, of all things. Distraction can also be helpful: Try giving the tail-feathered tike a toy when he goes for a nip, until he outgrows the Snapping Stage.

Hey, that’s MY territory. 
If your chomp-happy Canary bites whenever you put your hand in his cage, he’s probably being territorial. Try teaching him to step onto a stick to get him out of the cage, before feeding or cleaning. By raising one end of the stick, your bird will move to the other, away from you. This will help you safely avoid the snap.

But if you find your Cockatiel just doesn’t want to cooperate, we recommend simply putting him back into his cage, pet-lovers. (But not if he’s biting for food, as this will be giving your feathered friend what he wants.)  A little ‘time out’ in the cage to think about what he’s done may teach your munching mate that bites aren’t welcome here. But MAYBE if he stops that beaky behaviour, he can watch Bye Bye Birdie tonight.

The bottom line on biting birdies.

If you fly away with anything, it’s demonstrating to your biting bird that you’re the boss, and you can do this simply by keeping him lower, on your hand. That means resisting any urge to put your gnawing Eclectus at ear-level – for some reason, birds find ears particularly tasty (yikes!). And you definitely don’t want your nipping Conure on your shoulder – even if he wants one to cry on. A helping hand will do. After all, when your pet bird is on your hand, it’s easy to lower it, if he bites. And this will strengthen the sense of command he gets from you. By gently unbalancing Polly and distracting her, the nipping may just bite the dust.

At the end of the day, pet-lovers, teaching your bird who’s top of the flock will help you control his behaviour more easily. Tweet, tweet!


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