How to stop parrots from biting
In many cases (particularly in cases of poorly socialized or abused birds), it is self-defense. They may have learned that hands are something to be scared of -- because people might have punched at them (or actually hit them) in the past, waved their hands in a threatening manner at them, used their hands to toss things towards them ... Once that happens, birds will associate hands with something bad. We use our hands for self-defense. Birds don't have hands -- they use their beaks.
- The trick is to teach them that hands are something good -- only to be used for preening them, holding them, giving them treats. Never ever use your hands in a negative context. Once that happens, whenever your hand approaches your pet, he or she will have to make a quick decision as to whether the purpose of this is "good" or "bad" .... In most cases, birds will instinctively bite ... Always be aware of how your hands are perceived by your pet. Always approach your pet with your hands slowly, in a non-threatening manner. The more your pet learns to trust you AND your hands, the less likely he or she will be apt to bite. As their trust level grows, their bite also becomes less forceful.
- The more scared OR startled they are -- the harder they will bite. Fast movements near your pet are likely to result in painful bites. Birds are prey animals and have learned that predators can approach them at any time -- sometimes they may not realize that it is their "mate" (bonded bird or human) that is approaching them quickly, and they will bite to fend off a potential predator.
- They don't like what you are doing. Even bonded birds will bite -- but mostly only to let you know they don't like what you are doing and their bites are generally gentle and don't hurt. However, if you ignore this "gentle" warning, her or his bites will progressively become more forceful and painful.
Are you trying to put your parrot back in his cage when he doesn't want to?
That is one common situation that results in biting ... You are doing something that may be necessary, but is not to your bird's liking.
· Turn the act of putting your bird back into his cage into something "nice" by providing his favorite foods in the cage. Make sure your parrot sees it. Have a little treat in your hand as you pick your parrot up to place him back into his cage.
· Don't be predictable. For example, using a stick to pick a bird up and then immediately placing him or her back into the cage will cause your pet to stop stepping up on the stick, as he or she will associate with being locked up. Instead, pick your pet up with the stick (or your hand), have some fun playtime with him or her for a few minutes, you may want to walk around for a few minutes, and, finally, show him or her a treat and give it to him or her while placing your pet into the cage.
· Last - but not least - don't EVER punish your pet by placing him back into his cage. A cage should be a place he or she WANTS to be in; with toys for entertainment and good food and clean water. Once your pet views the cage as a place of punishment, it will naturally fight you whenever you want him or her back in his cage.
Innocent playtime and exercise: Birds use their beaks for climbing and holding on to things as they move about. These bites are usually not painful, although as you try to free your finger from his beak, it may become painful.
- Gently holding your pet up with your other hand will usually relieve the pressure of your pet's beak on your finger as he is not solely relying on his beak to hold himself in position. Provide a toy or stick for your pet to hold on to.
Territorial behavior: Birds are usually protective of their personal space. The basis for that is that in the wild they are protecting their nestsite and young from pedators.
- This is innate behavior and no efforts should be taken to change that - but accommodate your pet's desire to be "the master" of his personal space. This could mean choosing a cage that allows you to change food and water from the outside. Instead of reaching into the cage to get your pet out, either use a stick to help him or her out of the cage or simply wait for your pet to come out of the cage by him or herself.
Hormonal birds: Now that is a chapter by itself. If your pet is attacking those that he or she perceives to be a rival for your affection.
Source: Avian Web