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Elvis is biting. : (

Discussion in 'Cockatoo Causeway' started by sunnysmom, 2/13/18.

  1. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    I am not sure what is going on with Elvis but he is biting/attacking the fiancé. It's been going on for about 4-5 weeks. I was really hoping to have the problem under control and not have to write this thread. But I don't, and I need help. I know your first thought probably is that it's because he doesn't like the fiancé and is bonded to me. I really don't think that's it.

    When we first got Elvis, Howie, the fiancé, was his favorite. I knew that going into this but thought that maybe Howie should get a chance at being the favorite since I was Sunny's whole world and I think Howie sometimes felt excluded. And Elvis liked me well enough. Just given the choice, he would sit with Howie, etc. rather than me. We've had him for 10 months about and he's never really bitten until now.

    I really think it started as play, but I'm not sure. Elvis would dig under the throw blanket if Howie was laying on the couch looking for his fingers. Somehow that evolved to him biting through the blanket to get his fingers. Then he started attacking his feet. Literally, dive bombing them. Then he started biting his hands without the blanket. But he does it randomly. He still likes Howie. He still wants scratches and wants to be with him. 75% of the time, he still chooses Howie over me if given the choice. And he bites Howie whether I'm there or not. So, I really think this has nothing to do with me. Last night, I got home later than usual, and Howie was telling me that Elvis drew blood twice. While we were sitting there, Elvis swooped down and bit his hand good. Probably the worst bite yet.

    I made Howie go to a parrot class this past weekend to help give him some ideas on what to do. And it helped, I think. Although it was suggested that we clip Elvis's wings for Howie's sake. I really don't want to do that. Elvis loves flying and has become a much more confident bird since he's been flighted. However, Howie is getting to the point where I think he's seriously regretting that we got Elvis. I don't want their relationship to deteriorate to the point that he wants nothing to do with Elvis, especially since Elvis likes him best. Since Sunday, we started working on distracting Elvis with toys if started digging in the blanket looking for Howie's fingers. And we started pointing him back in his cage if he bites. (We had stopped giving him time outs a few months ago but I don't know what choice we have again.)

    I am also trying to increase his hours of sleep. It's hard because his cage is downstairs. I've decided that I have to get a sleep cage for upstairs. But I need to clean out the office and buy another cage. So it won't be happening immediately. And as of yesterday, I've starting using a white noise machine at night for Elvis because the past week he's been screaming at night again.

    Any thoughts as to why Elvis is doing this and suggestions on how to make it better? Elvis is so unbelievably gentle with me. It's hard to believe that he can be so vicious with Howie.
     
  2. danadear

    danadear Rollerblading along the road Avenue Veteran

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    Hormones maybe? How old is he? Sometimes they bite the ones they love at this time of year.

    It is hard to maintain the trust after a bad bite. Been there.
     
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  3. Tanya

    Tanya Rollerblading along the road

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    It is possible to do a slow down clip that doesn't rob him of the ability to fly... only makes it a bit more work to stay aloft. Usually stops dive bombing since it's not as easy to get going.
     
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  4. WendyN

    WendyN Rollerblading along the road Celebirdy of the Month Evil Villain

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    This might be off the walll. But...could Howie start to do target training with Elvis.
    It may redirect the initial “play” routine that lead to biting to another activity which would enable a healthier relationship for Elvis and Howie.
    Also changing the routine a little could help.
     
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  5. JLcribber

    JLcribber Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    This is what I would recommend also. Clipping does not mean “grounding” the bird. You just need to take the oomph out of his flight. He’ll still be able to fly. It will just take a little more muscle which is good for him anyway.

    Just clip the two biggest flights and watch him fly. If he still gets around a little too well, take one more flight on each side and so on until he can fly without much lift.

    Having said that. This is the next level of cockatoo ownership. You’ve been in the honeymoon stage until now. This is the true Elvis.

    It's that time if year. You are experiencing the first round of hormones. New life. New blood. Better environment. Better diet. All things that are going to make them kick in hard and probably last longer than they should the first few times. They last anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.

    Your turn to read the infamous article. Take the time to absorb what it says. It will help a lot.

    Site Name - Articles - Behavioral - Sex And The Psittacine
     
    Last edited: 2/13/18
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  6. Hjarta5

    Hjarta5 Sprinting down the street I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    You have always provided such great advice @sunnysmom that I wish I had something great to give you in return, but sadly I dont. I just wanted to say, though, that I hear you and how hard this is for you. Big :sadhug2: to you and I hope things turn around soon between Elvis and your fiance, so this isnt stressing everyone out :hug1:
     
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  7. Jenphilly

    Jenphilly Rollerblading along the road Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award SuperHero I Can't Stop Posting!

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    John described the clipping almost exactly as I would! I am a fan of birds having their wings, but I know I've posted before about our bare eye cockatoo girl, Ivory... She loves to fly and went from flipping over when she tried to fly when she arrived at about 3 to being a friggin hawk that can maneuver around like nobody's business. BUT, during the hormonal times of the years, she tends to get out of hand (not the biting), but hormonal behavior problems can present in a wide array of evils. I do exactly as John describes... but over the years, she is so strong and capable flier, I can take most of her flight feathers and she still can fly from one end of the house to the other. So while I am not an advocate of clipping to ground a bird, I do agree with a light clip to reduce their flight abilities when behavior is a problem. For all reading - neither John nor I are suggesting clipping to punish or ground the bird, just to take the punch from Mike Tyson level to your 3 year old nephew :)

    Another great point is the target training... make all interactions productive and engaging.

    I personally would remove the blanket from the scenario for the moment. I know it's winter, but if you're chilly, throw on a sweatshirt or sweater and fuzzy socks :) Blankets can be kinda nesty in a sense. Victoria's evil Kelly sees the towels in the cabinet where I keep the ones for the birds as his 'nest' and unlike most birds, when that green turd sees a towel, he thinks you've raided his nest and he's ready to battle.

    Another thought... and I do agree this may be hormonal, but I also agree with the statement about the honeymoon period being over. It is the reason many shelters insist on a waiting period between bringing birds home - a bird needs 6 months to a year often to truly become confident in their new home and flock and you see true personality and behaviors. With that said, I think you might have a rather typical male hormonal prone cockatoo. Some of this just comes with the bad or ugly about life with a male cockatoo. But not that it is hopeless, but you are doing the right thing and looking in all directions for help and advice. So huge hugs for that.

    Next question... diet... what is Elvis eating on a daily basis. Do you prepare any warm foods? If so, stop that immediately, warm foods triggers the 'hey it's spring, it's nesting time'. Also how much in the way of seeds and nuts - including the healthy ones like safflower, pumpkin or flax? Ivory's diet changes dramatically throughout the year depending on her behavior and displays of hormones.

    And sleep... think you already know it and have touched on it. Elvis needs to have long dark and uninterrupted nights. What are you using for covering the cage and is it covered entirely so no light gets in at a corner or along the bottom of the cage? Is there any option for rolling the cage into a walk in size closet at night until you get a sleep cage? Or pick up a medium size dog crate from petsmart and set it up as the sleep cage, cheaper and easy access. The sleep cage does not need to be fancy, and a crate is a great temporary option. Also wonderful to have for travel. I have about the largest dog crate for Max for his travel home when he goes on vacations or trips with us. And the dog crates do allow for the use of most perches. Just a thought to try to help with getting the sleep cage done quick and cheap :)

    I am so sorry that Howie is having these issues with Elvis and it is wonderful for him to be committed to even going to classes! So hugs to him too!!

    If all else fails with help from everyone here, I would highly recommend Lara Joseph. She is a real animal behaviorist and true parrot person, she is not full of crap and crazy ideas, she is very down to earth and realistic about having a bird in the home. She does online sessions and even private skypes, so if all else fails, she would be my suggestion for help.

     
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  8. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    Good suggestion. Howie learned about target training at the class this week too. :)
     
  9. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    I just reread it and sent it to Howie to read. So, do you think Elvis sees me as his mate? I really would have thought Howie was........

    I'm actually relieved to think it's hormones. I can handle hormones and know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I was really thinking more along the lines of Howie and screwed something up.
     
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  10. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    Awww, thanks. :)
     
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  11. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    I hadn't even thought that the blanket might be perceived as a nest since he doesn't try to crawl under it. But you're right- they have to go. I'm removing them from the couch when I get home. Elvis doesn't eat warm foods but I do give him nuts. He's not going to be happy but I guess those should go for awhile too. (Poor bird. LOL.) And I am going to make a big push for him to get more sleep/darkness. I do leave a bit of light. So I guess that needs to go too.
     
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  12. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    He's over 25. We don't know the exact age. I guess I thought stupidly hormones wouldn't effect him so badly because of his age. Clearly, I'm wrong.
     
  13. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    Thanks everyone. I'll start making changes when I get home. Hopefully, Howie can hang in there until we can get through this...... It's a relief actually that it's likely hormonal. I so worry about screwing things up with him.....
     
  14. Jenphilly

    Jenphilly Rollerblading along the road Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award SuperHero I Can't Stop Posting!

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    Think of it as a middle age man getting married again to a beautiful woman he loves... let's just leave it at that...
     
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  15. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    :lol:
     
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  16. JLcribber

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    Howie (or you) might want to start fashioning a T stick. A “tool” to help you along the way. May not need it but you can NOT use it if you don’t have one.
     
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  17. JLcribber

    JLcribber Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    You really have to watch how you “play” with a Too. There’s a lot of things that start out innocently enough but end up becoming problems.

    I don’t ever try to rile Tika up because he’s already on overdrive. We might play a short game of fetch once in a while (you know, they throw stuff, and you fetch). I focus my interaction on communication, feeding, mind games, low key stuff. When he wants to “play” I just observe but he has a girlfriend to play with.
     
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  18. Tiel Feathers

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    Really great suggestions from everyone. I hope you can curb his behavior Michelle, and good job to Howie for trying so hard!
    :hug8:
     
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  19. Hjarta5

    Hjarta5 Sprinting down the street I Can't Stop Posting! Evil Villain

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    :toofunny:

    Yep! I know this game well :bliss::spinlol:
     
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  20. TikiMyn

    TikiMyn Rollerblading along the road I Can't Stop Posting! POSTAHOLIC Evil Villain

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    How is it that all bird people know it!:rofl: Oddly enough, I had to teach Fëanor how to play this game, Henkie taught him quickly but still.. I doubt he is a parrot:rofl:

    I hope you can manage this behavior @sunnysmom !:hug8:You and Howie are making big efforts, in the end they Will pay off I think:heart:
     
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