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Separated lovebirds/only let one out with the other in its cage after biting me

Melophile

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Laura Georgescu
So, I have two bonded female lovebirds who have been acting a bit more aggressive lately (I think they're hormonal). Every day I let them out for about 2-3 hours. They like to cuddle but have a tendency of biting any exposed skin.

I'll tell them "no" and "stop" if they bite, but let them crawl over me so they have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with/grow comfortable around me. They don't seem to understand though, because they don't stop. Today was the first day I really gave any kind of punishment beyond telling (trying to tell) them no.

When they went under my clothes, I had to force them back out again by tightening my sweater and around me and running an arm down my back; I did it slowly/gradually to not startle them as much as possible, while still being firm. When they started biting me again after that, I put them back in their cage. I let them out again after 20-30 minutes and they crawled all over me again, I assume wanting to cuddle. Lemon — my other bird — didn't bite, but Mango did, so I put her back in the cage while Lemon stayed outside.

Was separating them a bad form of punishment?
I ignored all of Mango's calls after that, would the show of favoritism affect their stress levels or cause hostility between the two birds?

I normally stop them from going under my clothes, but they surprised me this time. They've been biting me less when outside of their cage; still trying, but again, I cover up and learned to move away in time. Otherwise, I distract them with food or, as a last resort, flap my sleeves at them to nail home the message.

They'll perch on my legs or shoulders, and I don't push for head pats or anything. It should be noted that they come to me and I let them, while doing my own thing.

Gradually I began wearing thinner clothes, always with a neck collar and headphones on, and they seemed okay. But today they were really attached and came at me with a vengeance. I don't know if it was pent-up, or something else. They've been more grumpy in the morning lately, making that irritated honking sound. I thought they were bored, but I already ordered a bunch of toys in and it's just taking a while to deliver.

But I'm worried I made a mistake favouring one bird over the other, especially when they're bonded. Though, while Lemon returned to the cage soon after that, she didn't show any sign of distress being separated from Mango and actually perched on me for a bit. Lemon didn't bite me, either, so point.

I've read contradicting statements online about pet birds establishing dominance, which frankly I don't believe but someone said putting a bird in its cage after it bites doesn't do anything, because you just returned the bird to its own domain. Is that true, and was what I did counter-productive as a form of punishment? Or should I have not done it at all?

Edit; just had the toys delivered after writing this, should I give them to my birds now or tomorrow?
 

WillowQ

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Heather Gerbyshak
Well, you could place the buying bird on a chair back or playgym. The important point is that you put the bird someplace it doesn’t want to be. Honestly the cage may be a ‘punishment’ because the birds friend isn’t in the cage, nor are you.

Ignoring mango’s calls is probably effective because she wants your attention. If you can make sure she connects the bites with being ignored, that would be best.

Female lovebirds can be very bold and bitey, especially when they are mature. It’s sad because they are SO CUTE.
 

Zara

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When they went under my clothes
I assume wanting to cuddle.
When they get hormonal and do this, it is cavity seeking. They are not wanting to snuggle, they are exploring small dark spaces. Snuggly lovebirds perch on you and move up and gently sit touching you or scritching their head on you. Or run over and squeeze under your hand etc.
Here is a good article;

was what I did counter-productive as a form of punishment? Or should I have not done it at all?
Well, I personally don't return to cage. If one of the girls tries to bite me, I will just push them off me. My birds are fully flighted and good fliers, so a gently push means they have to fly, and then I take one step back in the opposite dirrection so there's a little space between us, and they often fly the other way. If they come back, I allow it and see... if they bite again they gt brushed off again and this time I won't let them back to me, I will walk away from them.
I have not had experience with a lovebird that keeps returning and attacking or biting, seeking me out, but if that happened, and I kept brushing them off an was getting nowhere, I think maybe I would also resort to caging. Even if just for a half hour or an hour to see if they calm down.

What is your cage set up like? Do you have a photo?

Edit; just had the toys delivered after writing this, should I give them to my birds now or tomorrow?
What type of toys are they? Try to avoid anything that shreds into pieces that can be used for nesting. (paper, popsicle sticks, cardboard etc) Save those things for another time.
 

Zara

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Oops, I wanted to tag @fluffypoptarts but clicked post by accident. With you having two hens together I think fluffypoptars may have some advice to give :)
 

Emma&pico

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Well your brave because I would not trust indie inside my clothes I don’t trust her on my shoulder and normally encourage her down to my hand with millet sunflower seeds or nurtiberries
Honestly if she that way out she will fly to me just to bite she bite back of my neck my ear she flown onto my back and constantly bitten me through my clothes I couldn’t get her off sometimes she acts like she’s going for treat but will quickly bite my hand or finger and I am telling you she knows what no bite means but when she that way out it doesn’t matter if she in a good mood she listens to no bite

I hate caging her I’ve done it once when she attacked my back she screamed to come out I gave her 5mins said no bites Indie be nice she made her kisses noises when she wants me then she came out she played nicely

I’ve found keeping her busy helps forgaging toys inside and out of her cage teaching her tricks recall etc I found if she just allowed to sit on me she’s worse I have to keep her busy she’s ok if she’s sat with pico on me but if he’s off and she just comes she can be a cow bag

I love her to bits but she definitely my hardest bird and not sure I would ever own a female lovebird after her

edit to add I found offering her a bath in a bowl splashing my fingers in when she over top it calms her too
 

WillowQ

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A bath is a good way to blow off steam.
 

fluffypoptarts

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Zara gives good advice, as always. When my girls try to be bitey I’ll push them off and not let them sit on me. (Definitely don’t allow nesting behavior like going in shirts.) If they get really aggressive and persistent, I eventually have to put them back, but I really do try to hold out if possible to give them more out time. I have found that keeping an object near me that they don’t like when they’re being aggressive helps. Keeps them from terrorizing me but also allows them to be out.
 
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