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Biting budgie

BalloonyDino

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Right now I have 3 budgies, Sky, Forest, and North. Sky is tame and a sweet boy who knows how to shake hands. Since I have free time, I've been trying to tame Forest and North. I chose North to tame first, and she was very timid on the 1st day. By the 4th day, she (North is a lutino so we don't know for certain what gender he/she is) stood on my finger and chirped to Sky and mostly didn't mind my intervention. But on the 5th day, they where on the mat and Sky was regurgitating to North a little bit and they chased each other around a bit. I picked up Sky to say hi but when tried to do the same thin to North she started chewing my hand! After that she repeatedly pinned down Sky and I had to grab her to get her off of him. Later when I brought her back to her cage she chewed on my hand all the way there. I've never had to deal with anything like this before and I don't really know what to do. I realize that this is probably caused by hormones.
What can I do?
 

Gribouille

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I'd suggest having only one bird out at the time of training, so you avoid the distraction and fighting. Her behavior doesn't have anything to do with hormones, you say you grabbed her, that would probably be why she bites, your hands are now seen as a potential danger.
You'll have to train her to step up again and to not bite. If she does, put her down and ignore her for a short time before you ask her to step up again.
 

Fuzzy

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You can't train her not to bite, it is up to you to interact with her in a way that she doesn't feel she has to bite.

Well done for training her to step up on your hand by the 4th day. Sounds like the behaviour had only just been learned and so of course hasn't had time to be generalized (which takes time)... ie. she will step up on your hand where you taught her, but she was in a different location (on the floor) when you went after her. As Gribouille noticed, you said you grabbed her... which certainly sounds like an aversive experience. So now you have to start again and pair your hands with good experiences instead. What are you using for reinforcement? Treats like millet? If you reinforce her stepping up with something that is precious to her (like a favourite treat) she'll be more likely to step up in the future.
 

Lady Jane

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Are they all in one cage?
 

BalloonyDino

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Thank you! Unfortunately she only accepts treats from Sky.
I only grabbed her because Sky was screeching and I couldn't find any other way out of the situation at the time. What should I do instead?
(Also Forest, North, and Sky are cage-mates)
 

Gribouille

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Thank you! Unfortunately she only accepts treats from Sky.
I only grabbed her because Sky was screeching and I couldn't find any other way out of the situation at the time. What should I do instead?
(Also Forest, North, and Sky are cage-mates)
It doesn't matter why you did it, sometimes we just have to, but the fact is that she now associates your hands with a bad experience so you'll have to change that.
It takes time to build trust, but only the blink of an eye to ruin it.

You'll have to take her (alone) out of the cage for training, preferably in another room so she won't be distracted by the other birds. Then your first task would be to have her accepting treats from you :)
 
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Lady Jane

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Instead of grabbing a budgie you can train it to step up on a perch or ladder held in your hand. I did both of those things. Trust has been broken and birds do remember for a long time. Just go with the flow and let your budgie learn the step up on perch.
 

BalloonyDino

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What does it mean when a budgie pins down another budgie?
I don't grab my birds to get them out of the cage/move them around and North understands how to step up on a perch as well as a finger but thank you for your suggestion.
Also what exactly do you mean by 'some times we just have to'?
And also what should I do if the situation arises again? I understand that I should train North away form other birds but there will still be times where they are outside of the cage together (like cage cleaning).
 
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Lady Jane

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You may have to separate them if they are not being nice to eachother. Three budgies in a Vision cage can be crowded.
 

Monica

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If North is a lutino and adult, then pink cere means male.

If cere is white, tan, brown or even has a bit of blue to it, then North is a female.


I usually found it easier to gain a bird's trust if I already had one bird that was friendly/willing to trust me around to show the other bird that I'm not so scary.
 

Gribouille

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Also what exactly do you mean by 'some times we just have to'?
Sometimes, when a situation is dangerous like one is biting the other hard, we have to intervene and we might be scared and not act the proper way, like, we grab or scare the birds but it was an emergency so we have to... Our birds can understand why we did it and not be bothered by it, or they can learn that we/our hands are scary then we'll have to train them again to regain their trust.

If one of your budgies is aggressive toward the others and wounds them, then you'll have to separate them, first with separate cages and common fly time, but if they attack each other during their free time outside the cage you might have to give the separate fly time too.
Usually budgies are very social and should be able to stay together but 3 is not a good number, 2 could ally and bully the last one. It could also be that their cage is crowded as Lady Jane said, that would trigger aggression.
 

BalloonyDino

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My large vison cage is 29.5 x 15 x 36.5 inches so I'm pretty sure my budgies aren't crowded.
Thank you for the information Monica!
I understand that 3 isn't the best number but my 1st budgie Rio (he is my profile picture) passed away a couple months ago and I haven't gotten a new budgie since
Why I originally said that North biting me was triggered by hormones is because they where regurgitating and pin pointing and unpin pointing their eyes and at one point North tried to climb on Sky's back as if North was trying to mate. (Sky would not put up with it which is why it probably turned into getting pinned down)
They have not pulled another argument yet! (Forest probably wouldn't allow it anyway)
 

Gribouille

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how old are they and how have you had them? When you said on the 1st, 4th, 5th day I thought you just had gotten them..
 

BalloonyDino

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Rio was about 3 when he passed, Forest and Sky are 4, and North is properly 2.5 to 3.
Rio was 1st adopted and we tamed him, Sky and Forest were not tamed when we got them (we had friends who couldn't take care of them any more), and North was to even the number.
It was the middle of the school year when we got them and I had tons of homework so I just hung out with Rio. I spent a long time finding the right approach and nothing was working. When Rio passed, Sky actually would step up on my hand, even though I never tamed him.
That got me thinking with North and Forest when I had summer break so I started with North.
When we got Forest and North they where in a standard medium Petco cage. I felt bad and thought it was too small and then bought the large vison one so now they are happier!
I've owned budgies for 4 years now :)
Wow there are tons of bird emojis on this site!
 
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