Bird Care

Behavior Problems in Pet Birds

Just like children or cats and dogs, parrots and other pet birds sometimes exhibit behavior problems that their caretakers find difficult to manage. While there are a number of ways that birds can misbehave and irritate the people they live with, several behavior issues are more widely reported. Thankfully, most of these problems have rather simple solutions if owners are capable of putting forth a little time and effort. Read on to learn about the 5 most common behavior problems in pet birds, what your bird means by exhibiting these behaviors, and what you can do to fix them.

Biting

Biting is one of the most commonly reported behavior problems with pet birds, and it’s no surprise―bites hurt! Thankfully, it can be easy to correct biting behavior in birds if you can identify the cause. If your bird has been chomping at you, ask yourself a few questions about your pet. Could your bird be frightened of something? Could the biting be hormonal in nature? Is the bird simply trying to play with you? Once you are able to figure out where the behavior stems from, you can take steps to discourage it from starting back up again in the future. For example, birds who bite out of fear can be gradually desensitized to people.

Screaming

Screaming is another undesirable behavior that many bird owners report as a nuisance. While all healthy birds scream and vocalize at some point throughout the day, problem screaming can result from boredom, depression, or some other type of stress that your bird is experiencing. If you’ve considered all factors and consulted with an avian veterinarian to rule out any medical problems, you may want to talk to a parrot behavior consultant for help with modifying your bird’s behavior if the screaming doesn’t begin to calm down on its own.

Destructive Behavior

Destructive behavior in parrots is often a sign that a bird either has a problem with his or her environment or isn’t receiving enough mental stimulation to keep its mind occupied. Birds are highly intelligent and need lots of attention in order to keep from becoming bored. If your bird shows signs of blatantly destructive behavior, assess how you are spending your time with your pet and take steps to include your bird in your daily activities. Doing so can greatly reduce destructive tendencies in most pet parrots.

Territoriality

Often, birds who suddenly become territorial are simply experiencing hormonal problems due to the onset of the breeding season. However, territoriality can have other triggers and can be a sign that your bird is not as happy and comfortable with you as you might like him to be. To help curb territoriality and related behaviors, try practicing some bonding techniques with your feathered friend. Improving your relationship on a fundamental level can go a long way in terms of resolving behavior problems with your pet. If you find your bonding practices aren’t helping things improve after a reasonable amount of time, consider hiring a parrot behavior consultant for help.

Birds Aggressive

The most common causes of aggression in birds are fear or previous traumatic experiences. These can lead to handling problems, bites, and attacks when birds are interacting with their owners and others.

  • Fear often develops in pet birds that were not hand-fed when they were young.
  • A lack of proper socialization may lead a bird to be afraid of humans, other birds, or new experiences.
  • Some birds become jealous when their owner interacts with other people. This plays on the natural “pair bonding” instinct many bird species have and, in captivity, you may be seen as your bird’s partner.
  • If you adopted an older bird, it’s possible that it was mistreated or neglected in some way by its previous owner.
  • Some birds become aggressive during their adolescence due to hormone changes. This will typically pass once the bird gets through this stage.
  • Protecting their claimed territory, such as the birdcage or feeder, can lead to aggression.
  • Birds that are stressed or lack mental stimulation may also act out.

How to Stop Aggressive Behavior

If your pet bird bites you when you try to handle it, you must set aside time each day to work on handling your feathered friend. This doesn’t have to be anything specific; you can incorporate your attempts to reduce your bird’s aggression into normal handling. For instance, you might need to work on bonding with your bird or train it to enjoy petting. You can even teach it how to do fun bird tricks. The point is that the more you work with your bird, the more it will enjoy your company, and the less aggressive it will act.

When working with your pet, a few tips and techniques will help it to learn that handling is safe and fun. 

Move to a Neutral Location

If possible, move your bird’s cage to a neutral location during training sessions. Removing a bird from its “territory” can sometimes make it more willing to cooperate with its owner and prevent any territorial aggression.

Don’t Force Contact

If your bird lunges at your fingers when you place your hand near it, try not to jerk away suddenly out of fear. Your swift movements will likely make your bird even more nervous and apprehensive.

Taking it slow and easy is the better method; don’t try to force contact. Try to leave it up to the bird to decide when it’s comfortable enough to step up or accept a treat.

Avoid Yelling

Raising your voice in anger (or pain) will not make your bird understand that it has done something wrong. In fact, it’s more likely to reinforce your bird’s bad behavior as it will love getting such a big reaction out of you. Whatever happens, avoid the temptation to yell at or punish your bird.

Bear Gifts

Offer your bird treats and speak in a soothing voice when you’re trying to handle it. Using treats and praise will help your pet be more willing to interact with you and it’s much more effective than discipline. If every interaction with your bird results in a positive experience, it will likely become more comfortable and open to a closer relationship with you.

Many people try to force interaction in the hope that this will stop the bird from resisting and it will simply give in to being handled. This is referred to as “flooding” and it’s not recommended as a training technique.

Build Trust Through Repetition

With birds, repetition and consistency are keys to training. Make time to work with your bird at least once a day to ensure success. Keep in mind that it sometimes takes a while to build up trust with a bird, so don’t give up!

President

The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.

4 Comments

Back to top button