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Nippy baby conure, best training method?

Discussion in 'Behavior Byway' started by Ally_Tally, 5/12/19.

  1. Ally_Tally

    Ally_Tally Moving in

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    I have a very new baby conure named Tiki, almost 3 months old. I've had her for a month now, and while she is SUCH a sweet bird who loves cuddles, and pets, and obnoxious amounts of attention...it's difficult to give it to her sometimes. She's becoming increasingly more nippy the braver and more curious she gets, and that means a few new very small scars here and there, and lots of frustration. I am talking on the face, the fingers, the arms, back of the neck, toes. Anything goes. The breeder told me to push into her instead of yank away, and sternly tell her no. However, what that seems to do is just stress her out, make her frustrated from the amount of times I have to do it (because she nips that often), and make her bite more or panic and get upset. And then she bites more. Which leads to me eventually having to put her away and walk away to let her calm down and not get overwhelmed. I try not to do it too often, as I don't want her to learn to bite me constantly if she wants back in the cage, but sometimes I feel kinda stuck. And obviously I'm making no progress with this method. I've read and watched so many videos and articles about bite training, but it's almost crazy how many methods people have. Blowing in their face, shaking so they get unsteady, setting them down, putting them back in the cage, saying no and pushing, putting them somewhere and putting your back to them and ignoring them, and tons more. What are some of the methods you've had with success for a VERY nippy conure baby? Or is it me that's the problem? Tiki is my first "real parrot", and I wanna do right by her.
     
  2. expressmailtome

    expressmailtome Ripping up the road Administrator Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Bump.
     
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  3. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Welcome to the forum. I wouldn't push her away, blow on her face or do anything that is a type of "punishment". I guess the first thing is to try to figure out why she's biting. And the answer could just be that she's a baby and testing boundaries etc. I usually either ignore the bite, if possible or set the bird off of me or put him back in the cage. It just depends. But I've never dealt with a baby.

    @webchirp ?
     
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  4. webchirp

    webchirp Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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  5. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    Also make sure that you recognize that this is a process and not a quick fix. I worked with my GCC for about a month, which is average, to get her to stop biting.

    I’ve heard all kinds of crazy methods but mine worked for me. I didn’t post it on YouTube or instagram or FB but I did post it on AA several times. I have exactly Zero scars from my GCCs

    Best Wishes :)
     
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  6. Ally_Tally

    Ally_Tally Moving in

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    Thank you for the advice! The breeder had told me that she was doing what most babies do, and learning things by putting everything in her mouth, and I had read that conures were sort of nippy birds to begin with, but I'm not sure how accurate all the info is or if it applies to her. I'm trying to find a common cause for her bites like if she's spooked herself or getting frustrated I haven't quite learned her body language yet. We'll get there! :heart:
     
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  7. Ally_Tally

    Ally_Tally Moving in

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    Awwww they're GCCs? So is Tiki! She's a high red pineapple! She's been nippy since I brought her home, and so I've been working with her for about 3 weeks with it. I knew it'd be a process, but since it has been 3 weeks, and no progress--in fact it becoming more frequent-- I thought I'd give some other things a try and get some good advice! I entered this with the expectation of it to be a couple months before it's not a reoccurring issue anymore, and maybe even longer lol. I'll have to check out your posts and methods if I can find them!
     
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  8. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    I think each GCC is a royal unto their own party. Going back and reading how I worked with Isen (Pineapple High Red) didn’t work as with Pippin (Turquoise).

    So being the person I am I went back and re-read your post and...This first piece of advice goes for any species and any age - Do not let them bite you. If you can see that they are headed in that direction, have a distraction ready or a plan of action.

    Leaning into a bite with a GCC is like having a staring contest with a cat - if you think you’ll ever outlast them you are dead wrong lol. Pippin can have more selective hearing than a teenager ;)

    So what worked with Isen will not work with her. With Pippin I have to be more demonstrative. I have actually go with a loud “Ow!” It gets her attention and it gives her time to reassess if this is really the road she wants to go down. 9/10 Pippin will stop with the Ow. Number 10 though, we not only go with Ow - we get moved away.

    Since Pippin only comes to me when she wants me, it’s very effective to even just take her and move her across the room so she gets the message.

    Isen, I used different method for her. A mix of phrase and time out. This thread I am posting has a lot of suggestions along with what I did for Isen.

    I wish you & your birb the best of luck. Being constantly bitten is not the point of having a GCC for a companion. Sweetness, clown, joyful and engaging are reasons that we do.

    How did you stop birdy bites? :( | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum
     
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  9. Monica

    Monica Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Birds bite for many reasons. Youngsters most often through curiosity, but as they age, it can turn into biting due to miscommunication. That is, a bird is trying to tell you "No", "I don't like this" or "I'm scared" through body language, but when we fail to ignore that language, it can lead to lunging behaviors and/or outright biting. When we continue to ignore this behavior, we can then end up with "bites out of no-where". That is, the bird has simply learned that you refuse to "listen" to their body language so there's no point in warning you, they'll just go straight for the bite!

    Imagine a German Shepherd for instance.... you know that that dog will bite because the hackles are raised, the dog is growling, teeth are showing, wide stance, etc. Birds can have some of the same or similar behaviors and yet we humans often ignore them... and get bitten. Ignoring that dog's behavior could quite easily result in a very dangerous dog! Birds however? They get off easy! But even a bird that attacks people can be taught to not attack people! Just takes training!


    Not recommended...


    She's obviously either being curious or trying to tell you something... and your behavior is just making her frustrated, which in turn makes you frustrated... yeah, it's causing her to learn to bite.


    Sadly, all these methods mentioned have one big flaw. None of them deal with why the bird is biting in the first place.

    An odd analogy... imagine trying to cross a road as a pedestrian with traffic. Each time you step onto the pavement, a car goes by, making it unsafe to cross. It's a very busy road, so even dashing across would be dangerous. You could.... use a bat at an oncoming vehicle in an attempt to get it to stop... you could attempt to use a shield to get it to stop... you could use a gun and shoot at the tires to try and get the car to stop... you could attempt to turn the car over... simply ignore the car... making funny faces at the car... etc

    Or you could press the crosswalk button that would turn the green light at the traffic lights to red so you can safely cross.


    So to speak, if we can change how we approach our behavior towards biting, then we may be able to change the bird's reaction. If we learn to read their body language and understand what results in them biting, then avoid or redirect before they start biting, we can teach them not to bite by not getting bitten in the first place. By "allowing" them to bite, we are reinforcing their need to bite. Therefore, the only bite that can't be rewarded is the bite that never occurs.

    Free Training Resources | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum


    Define "real parrot"... :what:
     
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  10. Kodigirl210

    Kodigirl210 Rollerblading along the road

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    Tiels are real parrots too. If you want to get down to the nitty gritty conures are often labeled parakeets = 1/2 or tiny parrots.

    In a lot of cases a Tiel can be more musically inclined, better at learning words and more relaxed. :sleeping4:

    Had I realized how many varieties they came in, I might have chosen that instead of the conures. :shrug:

    Every fid in our life deserves respect. :heart:

    The only fake parrot I know is a silky chicken with an eye patch :rofl:
     
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  11. Ally_Tally

    Ally_Tally Moving in

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    "Real parrot" is in quotations because I understand there's not an actual difference. Both of my birds are parrots. It's more along the lines of the general "Cockatiels are beginner birds" and I've never heard a conure be recommended as such. Like my first "big girl bird", I guess. She's just a bird with a bigger attitude than my cockatiel.

    As for a reason for biting, Im putting together some reasons as I spend more time with her. I understand this is the first step. She does it when she's over excited, or when she's spooked by a loud noise in the house, or when I do something she doesn't like. Which I'm still learning what she is and isn't okay with. I feel like that's with any bird. Especially one I've only had for a few weeks lol. But I also don't want to contribute to the idea that biting is how we solve our problems. Thankfully it isn't lunging, or aggressive in any circumstances that she bites. Maybe biting isn't even the right word for it. Nipping, maybe? The only time she's ever broken skin has been when she got tangled in my hair and I had to try and help get her out. Which she didn't like, understandably. But I don't want to get to the point where it DOES become aggressive and she's aiming to break skin, I can't handle her, and I put myself farther back than square one. I'm just now trying to see what kind of methods have been successful should the bite happen. It sounds like I'm gonna have to figure out what distracts her and catches her attention. And like I've gotta stop asking the breeder what to do:shifty::roflmao:

    We start training here soon now that she's fully weaned and growing up. Touch training is my first big goal, and I'm hoping that maybe the training will help with the issue, or even just give us some better one on one time to learn each other. She has plenty of toys, and spends at the VERY minimum 2 hours at a time out of the cage on days I work longer, but maybe she just needs some more stimulation. Hopefully the training gives that to her!

    I appreciate everyone's advice!! :heart:
     
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  12. Monica

    Monica Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Honestly, conures are more "true parrots" than cockatiels are! ;) Cockatiels belong to the cockatoo [super] family which is separate from superfamily that conures belong to... Psittacoidea.

    Still, people often say they've owned budgies/parakeets before, but this [insert species... usually conures] is their first parrot. It's sad that these guys are considered "beginner birds", like, if you are ready for a more advanced bird, the first one is no longer important. With good care, budgies may be able to live for 12-18+ years, cockatiels up to 36 years... and neither species are really anything like some of the bigger species.

    I no longer keep budgies, but I still have my first cockatiel. She'll be 18 in a little over a month!


    In all honestly though, I think you'll do fine! :) It really is learning how to communicate with them in a way that can be understood by both and figuring out what makes them 'tick'! ;)


    PS, it's target training, not "touch training".
     
  13. Ally_Tally

    Ally_Tally Moving in

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    Ahhh, target training! That's what I meant, thank you! I knew touch training didnt sound right but I really couldn't think of the word :laugh-bounce: I didn't do it with my cockatiel, but I wanted to start with my conure, and watched tons of videos from people like Animal Wonders and Bird Tricks to help.

    My cockatiel will forever be my spoiled baby, no matter how old she gets, and no matter how many "real parrots" I get. And congrats on 18!! I hope Patchy will be with me for as long as possible.


    As an update for everyone though, even in just this short time all of your guys' advice has really helped, and Tiki is now on her way to being nip free! Kind of calmly telling her "Ah, ah" and letting her get the memo, instead of just pushing her away has been tremendously helpful in conjunction with finding her favorite toy or giving pets as a distraction. Hopefully I can get these picture uploads to work so you can see!
    20190521_204153.jpg 20190521_204226.jpg
     
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  14. Monica

    Monica Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Tiki is quite colorful! :)

    I don't recommend Bird Tricks at all. They refer to it as "touch training", which is actually a part of their sales gimmick to, well, trick people into buying their products, saying it's a "well kept secret" by experts in the business... if you look it up by the correct term, target training, you can find plenty of information from all walks of life about the topic!
     
  15. Rajah

    Rajah Moving in

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    Rani was a 4-month old Sun Conure when arrived from breeder. Immediately he started nipping on thin skin and draw blood. Had all these divots on hands and upper arms. Got some bandaid spots to cover them. What to do. Nothing more except get to know the bird intimately which only took about a 2-weeks for total acceptance and connection. It was evident the nipping was curiosity and not aggressive. If there was an incident would turn the arm, finger or other body part away and act appropriately with a loud “ouch” sometimes flapping my arms depending on the pain. Figured if the bird bit a neighbor it react just as much. This went on for a few weeks but eventually settled down to occasional nipping. He is now 7-months and thriving. He attempts “bites” in aggression if I am messing with his toys or taking something he doesn’t need. Now he cuddles under my shirt and loves to get around my neck and of course taste but never has blood been drawn. He will grab the ear but can pull away and he doesn’t hold. More of a game.
    He only spends a few minutes during the day in has cage. To bath every third day (his schedule) or chow on nutri-berries other times he spends on me or one of his play stands.
     

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