One of the most common behavioral problems bird owners face is the biting bird.
Birds bite for many reasons. The key to stopping your bird from biting is to figure out why the behavior is happening.
Is your biter a baby? Even though they do not have teeth, baby birds go through a teething stage just like baby humans. Baby birds use their beaks to explore the world around them. When they get carried away, they start to bite. You will need to teach your baby acceptable behavior. The easiest way to stop this biting phase is to distract your bird with a chew toy. If he continues to bite you, rapidly lower your arm several inches. Your bird will lose his balance and stop biting. Repeat this motion every time he bites and he will begin to associate biting with an unpleasant drop. Make sure you never allow him to climb above your elbow since you will lose control of him and he can give you a painful facial bite.
Does your bird bite when you get him out of his cage? If he is tame and enjoys being handled at other times, he may be biting to protect his territory. The easiest way to solve the biting problem, in this case, is to allow your bird to come out on his own. Once he is out, you will need to begin teaching him the up and down commands. These commands tell the bird when it is time to climb onto your hand and then back off. You will have to work with him for several sessions before trying to use the command to put him into his cage and then take him back out again. The commands will help distract your bird when he is thinking of biting and will help him realize that you are in control of the situation.
When birds bite from aggression or fear, it is harder to break the behavior. However, you can still minimize biting behavior once you figure out why the bird is biting. First, take a look at birdâ€™s environment. Is his cage or play stand higher than your head? Does he perch on the sofa when you are sitting down? Do you ever allow your bird to sit on your shoulder? If so, your bird may be biting because he thinks he is the boss. Make sure you keep an aggressive bird below your eye level. What if he is already below eye level and very nervous? Try making your timid bird feel secure by raising him to your eye level. However, never let him sit near your face since he could strike without warning if he is startled.
Next, look at when your bird bites. Have you changed his routine by having someone else feed him or by turning off the light earlier than usual the night before? My African Gray will bite because he doesnâ€™t like his routine to be disrupted. To prevent this type of biting behavior, shake things up a bit in the daily routine so that your bird doesnâ€™t get used to the same thing happening every day. Alternate the person who is feeding him instead of having the same person feed him every day. Take him into a different room occasionally.
Finally, no matter why your bird is biting, you can learn to read his body language and avoid his bite. Look at how he is sitting. If he seems tall and skinny, he is scared and may bite from fear. Instead of looking him in the eye, close your eyes completely for a few seconds. Talk quietly and donâ€™t make any sudden moves. However, if his eyes are dilating and his neck feathers are ruffled, he is very excited. This excitement could quickly turn to anger, so approach with caution.