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Biting Budgie Draws Blood

Luvliberty

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One of my budgies, Sky (or Skylar Blue when she’s being naughty), has suddenly gotten very aggressive. The first couple months I had her, she was fairly sweet. The last 4 months or so though, she has started biting all the time—both in and out of the cage. I have bite marks all over my fingers and she has actually drawn blood on a couple of occasions. I’m finding it really hard to bond with her now. I have kept her both alone and with a cage mate, and nothing seems to fix her behavior. I know female budgies are usually a little more aggressive than males, but this seems excessive. I don’t know what caused her behavior as it just seemed to happen all of a sudden.
 

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Fergus Mom

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Was she clipped when you first got her? Did she have a choice to socialize with you at that time, or if she was clipped maybe not?
Are you trying to grab her in the cage or anything? Tell us what you do when you socialize with her, that will give us an idea.
 

Lady Jane

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How old is she? Sounds like a case of hormonal surge. How much sleep is she getting? Have you tried re arranging the cage interior? Turning out lights and bed time 1 hour earlier may help. Also keep your hands where she cannot bite them.
 

Lady Jane

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In the cage of a biting bird that is small you can still use a T stick or long ladder for them to step up on.

 

Monica

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She is a gorgeous little thing!

It would help knowing exactly how you interact with her. Do you ask her to step up out of the cage? Or do you just make her step up/grab her out?


When out, how do you interact with her?
 

Luvliberty

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Was she clipped when you first got her? Did she have a choice to socialize with you at that time, or if she was clipped maybe not?
Are you trying to grab her in the cage or anything? Tell us what you do when you socialize with her, that will give us an idea.
Yes, she was clipped when I got her. I try to never grab her unless I have to clip her nails or something (I wrap her in a towel, and I don’t do it very often). When I go to pick her up, I try to have her step up onto my finger. Sometimes, even if I’m just standing next to the cage, she’ll bite in my general direction. There are times where it just seems reflexive for her, now. Now sometimes I’ll put on gloves before I go to handle her. It’s not ideal, but I don’t know what else to do.
 

Luvliberty

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How old is she? Sounds like a case of hormonal surge. How much sleep is she getting? Have you tried re arranging the cage interior? Turning out lights and bed time 1 hour earlier may help. Also keep your hands where she cannot bite them.
I’m not sure exactly how old she is, but I got her from PetSmart back in June. Her cere has not turned fully brown yet, so I’m assuming she’s still kind of a baby.
A more regular sleep schedule might be a good thing to work on. I’m a night owl, and I keep her cage in the living room (my apartment really only has a living room, bathroom, and bedroom), so if I’m up watching TV or something, I’m probably keeping her awake.
 

Mybluebird

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You might find a darker corner of your living room that is out of sight from the TV, turn the TV down as low as you can and cover her cage at night - that might help with the sleep. You might let her sleep later in the morning, don't disturb her as you get up in the morning. This is spring/summer where you are? As @Lady Jane suggests, she might be hormonal now.
 

Fergus Mom

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I’m finding it really hard to bond with her now.
Or ... hey, she's probably finding it hard to bond with you! :heart:
I would suggest not handling her at all for a while, then try offering her spray millet through the cage bars for a few days until she eats that for a while, then try feeding it IN the cage to her without chasing or anything, when she gets used to that, you can offer a finger for her to step up on while feeding millet with the other hand... this is a slow process, especially since you might have done something she didn't like at some time in the past 4 months... whether that was change your hair color, put on eyeglasses, scratch your nose, or whatever, you will have to regain her trust. Those females can be feisty! Good luck and please let us know how the progress is going okay? :awletf::pletb::awpletm:
 

Luvliberty

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You might find a darker corner of your living room that is out of sight from the TV, turn the TV down as low as you can and cover her cage at night - that might help with the sleep. You might let her sleep later in the morning, don't disturb her as you get up in the morning. This is spring/summer where you are? As @Lady Jane suggests, she might be hormonal now.
It’s actually winter where I am right now. I do cover the cage before I go to bed at night, but I’ll probably start doing it even if I’m still up and turn the TV down, like you said. I usually get up a little later in the morning, so that should be good for her, at least.
 

Mybluebird

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Its winter here as well. Sometime around 4:30-5:00pm my little girl starts giving me soft chirps which is her signal that she wants to go to bed. I put her cage in a dark corner, cover her leaving one corner open. She hops to her sleeping perch and settles in for the night. When I go to bed I pull her cage cover over the open corner saying a few soft words to her so she won't be startled. She typically will sleep until around 8:30am. I call her my little lazy bones. :loltears:
 

Lady Jane

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I am not suggesting you do this. When I had budgies for several years I always put them to bed in the living room. Then I retired to the bed room for the rest of the evening. On the rare occasion that there was a special show on TV and I would watch it I could hear my budgies awake and chatting. So yes, human noise does disturb their sleep time. In the bedroom I used Kindle Fire or Apple iPad for entertainment. Anyway think about it.
 

Fuzzy

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Do you need to handle her? Sounds like she is giving plenty of body language to say "No!" and you are ignoring it by still offering your hand and insisting she step up. If you keep ignoring her body language she is going to stop bothering to give it, and then you have a bird that bites seemingly "out of nowhere". Let her come out herself. See if you can gain her trust by offering treats like millet spray. If she takes treats from you, then you can use them to reinforce behaviour you want to see, like teaching her to step up, etc. Start pairing yourself and your hand with good experiences like treats. :)
 

Luvliberty

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Or ... hey, she's probably finding it hard to bond with you! :heart:
I would suggest not handling her at all for a while, then try offering her spray millet through the cage bars for a few days until she eats that for a while, then try feeding it IN the cage to her without chasing or anything, when she gets used to that, you can offer a finger for her to step up on while feeding millet with the other hand... this is a slow process, especially since you might have done something she didn't like at some time in the past 4 months... whether that was change your hair color, put on eyeglasses, scratch your nose, or whatever, you will have to regain her trust. Those females can be feisty! Good luck and please let us know how the progress is going okay? :awletf::pletb::awpletm:
Thank you so much! I actually thought she was male for the longest time as the ceres can be a bit confusing, but have realized she is in fact female.
I am starting to wonder if maybe it is a hormone thing. She doesn’t just bite me, she also bites the blanket when I go to cover the cage, and her cage mate if she stands too close (poor Pippa is so sweet and timid and just wants to be friends). She did the same to her old cage mate as well (who unfortunately passed away due to— I believe— an unrelated issue). If it is hormones, I don’t know how long it’s supposed to last. I can see her cere starting to turn brown. Does that signal the beginning of some kind of birdie puberty?
 
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Fergus Mom

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I can see her cere starting to turn brown. Does that signal the beginning of some kind of birdie puberty?
Yes, definitely. Her cere turning brown means she is in season.
 
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