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My lovebird is now aggressive??

Aya&Ponzu

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I've had Ponzu and Aya for about 3 months now (they're both about 7 months old) and I was recently surprised by the sudden change in Aya's behavior. Aya is a female presumably and all of a sudden, when I take her out of her cage, she flies to my shoulder and lands there and instead of just sitting there, she starts biting at my neck, chin and ear. If i try to get her to step up from my shoulder, she bites my hand as well. She used to be really calm and rarely ever bit me, only when I startled her. But recently she has been like this for about a few weeks now and I can't think of any obvious reason why she would act this way. I don't have a new person, or a new pet, etc. Usually, she bites me so hard that she actually leaves bruises/cuts. Ponzu on the other hand, is a male and one month older than Aya. Nothings changed about his behaviour and he never bites me or expresses anger jn any way towards me. I try not to move away or anger Aya even more when she bites me but it's usually really hard since it takes me by surprise every time she bites me as she's on my blind spot. Any tips to discourage/prevent this behaviour or is there something I should change?? Could it be hormonal changes or territorial feelings...? Any advice would be helpful thanks
 

Aya&Ponzu

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Edit: I usually try to tilt my head to the other side when I can sense she might be about to bite my ear but then she just goes for my neck instead
 

Zara

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Hello,

She isn't biting because she is "angry".

Any tips to discourage/prevent this behaviour or is there something I should change??
Yes. No more shoulder sitting!
This is a really important time in a lovebirds life, they are maturing and are learning. By allowing her to sit on your shoulder, she is able to bite and then it is becoming learned behaviour. You want to avoid giving biting opportunities so that she does not learn that biting is ok.
The biting could be something as simple as she is exploring her beak. The other possibility is she is giving signals something is wrong and a bite is gonna come, but on your shoulder you can't see her to remove her.
Have stands or play areas set up for your birds, be it floor stands, or something on the cage top. Have toys and treats there, and direct her there.

If she does bite, remove her from you, and place her down on the nearest safe spot. Don't go looking, you have do do it the same second, and then ignore her for a minute or so.

Could it be hormonal changes or territorial feelings...?
It could be hormonal. She is in the process of sexually maturing. Territorial would seem unlikely as she is biting you whilst on you.
Territorial would be more, biting your hands when you try to remove her from the shoulder, or attacking your other bird if he tries to join her on your shoulder. Both should be discouraged, again, the solution is removing her from your shoulder.

For the foreseeable future, just redirect her elsewhere. In a few months you can see how things are going and reassess.

edit; I forgot to add. In the future when you allow shoulder sitting again, have a little compact mirror, or your phone handy to spy, so you can see what she's doing up there. Mirrors work better for me over phones.
Interestingly, the other week I had one of my more "nippy, less tame" birds sitting on my shoulder, so I checked on her in my phone and caught her open beaking near my earring. So I removed the earrings quickly and then she sat there for a long time. About half an hour later, out of the blue, she bit my ear. I haven't been bitten by her in years, so I won't lie, I was a bit disappointed in myself. I should have checked in on her, but she was sitting so still and peacefully that I forgot. She was probably sitting there open beaking my ear as a warning before the bite but I missed it because I couldn't see her.
It happens to the best of us, so try not to be too upset about bites. :)
 
Last edited:

Aya&Ponzu

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T
Hello,

She isn't biting because she is "angry".


Yes. No more shoulder sitting!
This is a really important time in a lovebirds life, they are maturing and are learning. By allowing her to sit on your shoulder, she is able to bite and then it is becoming learned behaviour. You want to avoid giving biting opportunities so that she does not learn that biting is ok.
The biting could be something as simple as she is exploring her beak. The other possibility is she is giving signals something is wrong and a bite is gonna come, but on your shoulder you can't see her to remove her.
Have stands or play areas set up for your birds, be it floor stands, or something on the cage top. Have toys and treats there, and direct her there.

If she does bite, remove her from you, and place her down on the nearest safe spot. Don't go looking, you have do do it the same second, and then ignore her for a minute or so.


It could be hormonal. She is in the process of sexually maturing. Territorial would seem unlikely as she is biting you whilst on you.
Territorial would be more, biting your hands when you try to remove her from the shoulder, or attacking your other bird if he tries to join her on your shoulder. Both should be discouraged, again, the solution is removing her from your shoulder.

For the foreseeable future, just redirect her elsewhere. In a few months you can see how things are going and reassess.

edit; I forgot to add. In the future when you allow shoulder sitting again, have a little compact mirror, or your phone handy to spy, so you can see what she's doing up there. Mirrors work better for me over phones.
Interestingly, the other week I had one of my more "nippy, less tame" birds sitting on my shoulder, so I checked on her in my phone and caught her open beaking near my earring. So I removed the earrings quickly and then she sat there for a long time. About half an hour later, out of the blue, she bit my ear. I haven't been bitten by her in years, so I won't lie, I was a bit disappointed in myself. I should have checked in on her, but she was sitting so still and peacefully that I forgot. She was probably sitting there open beaking my ear as a warning before the bite but I missed it because I couldn't see her.
It happens to the best of us, so try not to be too upset about bites. :)
Thank you sm for ur advice!!
 

Zara

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You're welcome :)

You may find that increasing foraging opportunities can help keep her beak occupied. She can also explore her beak when foraging in a much more positive way.

 

Aya&Ponzu

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Hello,

She isn't biting because she is "angry".


Yes. No more shoulder sitting!
This is a really important time in a lovebirds life, they are maturing and are learning. By allowing her to sit on your shoulder, she is able to bite and then it is becoming learned behaviour. You want to avoid giving biting opportunities so that she does not learn that biting is ok.
The biting could be something as simple as she is exploring her beak. The other possibility is she is giving signals something is wrong and a bite is gonna come, but on your shoulder you can't see her to remove her.
Have stands or play areas set up for your birds, be it floor stands, or something on the cage top. Have toys and treats there, and direct her there.

If she does bite, remove her from you, and place her down on the nearest safe spot. Don't go looking, you have do do it the same second, and then ignore her for a minute or so.


It could be hormonal. She is in the process of sexually maturing. Territorial would seem unlikely as she is biting you whilst on you.
Territorial would be more, biting your hands when you try to remove her from the shoulder, or attacking your other bird if he tries to join her on your shoulder. Both should be discouraged, again, the solution is removing her from your shoulder.

For the foreseeable future, just redirect her elsewhere. In a few months you can see how things are going and reassess.

edit; I forgot to add. In the future when you allow shoulder sitting again, have a little compact mirror, or your phone handy to spy, so you can see what she's doing up there. Mirrors work better for me over phones.
Interestingly, the other week I had one of my more "nippy, less tame" birds sitting on my shoulder, so I checked on her in my phone and caught her open beaking near my earring. So I removed the earrings quickly and then she sat there for a long time. About half an hour later, out of the blue, she bit my ear. I haven't been bitten by her in years, so I won't lie, I was a bit disappointed in myself. I should have checked in on her, but she was sitting so still and peacefully that I forgot. She was probably sitting there open beaking my ear as a warning before the bite but I missed it because I couldn't see her.
It happens to the best of us, so try not to be too upset about bites. :)
Also, I was wondering if you had any tips on how to get her off my shoulder without getting bitten when she lands there?? She knows the recall trick but I'm not sure if she would prefer to bite me or go for the millet seeds.
 

Zara

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I find that it's not too difficult to use a perch and lower my shoulder by it for them to step off onto. I have perches on the inners of the cage doors so I just open one and use that. Or use the top of the cage and they usually step up.
You may find that having an unattached perch and using it like a T perch helps to get the birds off you with no risk of being bitten. You can get them onto the perch then use your other hand to offer a reward for stepping onto the perch.
 

Aya&Ponzu

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Hello,

She isn't biting because she is "angry".


Yes. No more shoulder sitting!
This is a really important time in a lovebirds life, they are maturing and are learning. By allowing her to sit on your shoulder, she is able to bite and then it is becoming learned behaviour. You want to avoid giving biting opportunities so that she does not learn that biting is ok.
The biting could be something as simple as she is exploring her beak. The other possibility is she is giving signals something is wrong and a bite is gonna come, but on your shoulder you can't see her to remove her.
Have stands or play areas set up for your birds, be it floor stands, or something on the cage top. Have toys and treats there, and direct her there.

If she does bite, remove her from you, and place her down on the nearest safe spot. Don't go looking, you have do do it the same second, and then ignore her for a minute or so.


It could be hormonal. She is in the process of sexually maturing. Territorial would seem unlikely as she is biting you whilst on you.
Territorial would be more, biting your hands when you try to remove her from the shoulder, or attacking your other bird if he tries to join her on your shoulder. Both should be discouraged, again, the solution is removing her from your shoulder.

For the foreseeable future, just redirect her elsewhere. In a few months you can see how things are going and reassess.

edit; I forgot to add. In the future when you allow shoulder sitting again, have a little compact mirror, or your phone handy to spy, so you can see what she's doing up there. Mirrors work better for me over phones.
Interestingly, the other week I had one of my more "nippy, less tame" birds sitting on my shoulder, so I checked on her in my phone and caught her open beaking near my earring. So I removed the earrings quickly and then she sat there for a long time. About half an hour later, out of the blue, she bit my ear. I haven't been bitten by her in years, so I won't lie, I was a bit disappointed in myself. I should have checked in on her, but she was sitting so still and peacefully that I forgot. She was probably sitting there open beaking my ear as a warning before the bite but I missed it because I couldn't see her.
It happens to the best of us, so try not to be too upset about bites. :)
Thank you so much for your help, I think she's beginning to learn that it's not ok to bite (i put her in her cage and ignore her for about 5 mins when she does bite) but I had to clean her cage out today and I also needed to wash her snuggle hut. She seemed fine whilst i was disassembling the cage but as soon as I touched her snuggle hut, she flew to my shoulder and started biting me again. I obviously took her off but she still continued and I backed away from her snuggle. She seemed to calm down after that and I was wondering if I should remove the snuggle hut altogether if it promotes her biting behaviour or if I should just continue washing it every 2 days (she wouldn't get it back until the day after it's been washed) the other lovebird is completely fine with me touching the hut and cleaning out the cage, but it's just her.
Just thought that this might be a possible link to her behaviour? Thanks!
 

Zara

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as soon as I touched her snuggle hut, she flew to my shoulder and started biting me again
It's gotta go!
Anytime that happens, if it's not eggs, get rid. Snuggle huts are controversial as some birds ingest the fibres, so I would just remove it. If it ever happens with a toy or something in the cage, you can remove and store and try putting in rotation at later dates.

You may want to shuffle the cage when you take the hut. Move all the perches and toys around, move th water and food bowls too. If both birds live together, add a second food bowl.

(i put her in her cage and ignore her for about 5 mins when she does bite)
Going forward, don't cage her when she bites. Just get her off of you and ignore her for a few minutes.
 
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