If you’ve ever had pet birds, you know that one of their less than charming features besides all that molting can include biting. Depending on the size of the bird and the beak, it can be more of an annoyance than anything else, but at times it still hurts and you wish they’d get over it already. But besides being put off by the boorish behavior, have you ever wondered why they’re doing it? What’s behind it usually stems from one of two things. Read on to find out why they are and the best way to put a stop to it — it’s that or keep getting bit. It’s up to you.
Aggressive Bird Biting
So, you’ve got a sassy bird that shows their independence in a variety of ways, including biting. Biting in birds can be caused by aggression, and the reasons behind it could stem from control and/or territorial dominance issues, a variety of medical issues that could possibly include hormones, or even something as mundane as just a lack of attention. Everybody wants to feel loved. If your bird bites out of anger or fussiness, then there are three steps you need to take to curb this lashing out. Let me start off by saying none of these three steps involves yelling or sudden or violent moves on your part.
How to Stop Your Bird from Biting
The first thing you want to do is, without raising your voice firmly tell them “no” as soon as it happens. Along with your calmly delivered demand you need to include a stern, serious look. I know it sounds silly, but birds are extremely intelligent creatures and body language and inflection are not lost on them. The next thing you’ll want to do is known as "laddering." If you’re not familiar with the phrase, it’s simply where you tell your feathered pet to "step up” onto your finger. Once they complete this, you’ll want to do it at least three or four more times in a row. By doing so you’ll put yourself back in control and reinforce to your bird that you are the one in charge, not them. It’s important to be consistent with this technique if you want the biting to stop.
Bird Biting Out of Fear
Fear is a great motivator. It can make us fight or take flight. If you’re stuck in a cage and your wings are clipped, chances are you’re going to have to stay and fight. Often times the reason for your pet’s fear is obvious. It could be the sound of a door suddenly slamming or a cat’s sudden appearance or maybe the sound of a vacuum cleaner or blender starting up. These noises can be especially grating to birds. If you believe your bird is reacting to audio stimulus, then remove them from the situation or try covering their cage with their night drape. If it’s a cat or another animal that’s set them off, put them in another room or take the animal out of their immediate environment.
Acclimating Pets & Getting Over the Fear
If your pet bird is exhibiting fear to something in particular that can cause it no real harm, it’s probably a good idea to get them used to it. Try giving your bird treats and plenty of positive reinforcement while you gradually, over time, introduce the bird little by little to the source. You’ll want to do this very slowly over a period of days or even weeks. There’s no set time with it, as all living creatures respond differently. Eventually, with patience, you can likely turn it around and your bird will come to associate the cause of their fear with the positive reinforcement you’ll provide. If you’re consistent with these techniques, you should be able to correct the behavior and the biting will stop.