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Severe biting! Please help!

SnowB

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Hi, I have a 13 week old sun Conure that won’t stop biting me! I know that birds do occasionally bite for certain reasons but I don’t have this problem with my other birds! My conure has bitten my finger nails so hard that he punctured my nail bed and I had to go to the ER and the second time I had to go to an urgent care because he did it again. The doctor told me to get rid of my bird because he can’t keep biting me like that and causing that much damage. I’m not going to get rid of my bird but someone please help :( I have posted my issue on my bird Instagram and got negative comments such as “You shouldn’t have birds if you can’t handle the biting” or “Stop provoking your bird then” and “Learn your bird’s body language!” He bites me for literally no reason. He was sitting at my window and flew to my hand just to bite my nail! And the second time he was running around on my laptop and leaned over and bit my nail. He is obsessed with my nails! And I don’t have any polish or acrylic nails. He has SO many toys that he has no interest in. He’d rather go chew up my blinds or rip up my lampshade than play with chew toys. He also bites my ears when he sits on my shoulder and he punctured my ear a few weeks ago and I bled. I’ve read articles and watched YouTube videos on how to deal with biting and I use lots of positive reinforcement and give him treats (which he doesn’t seem excited by treats) when he doesn’t bite and I also do my best to not react to a bite so as not to encourage him even more. However, when your nail bed or skin is stabbed by a beak, you will definitely scream. He also has bruised my neck and shoulders with little beak marks. He is not an aggressive bird, it seems like he thinks he is playing. He has not been abused, his wings are not clipped, he is not ill, and he is being abundance weaned. I don’t know what to do :( Someone please please help me!

Also, training is extremely difficult with him because he is SUPER hyper. He does not stay still and as soon as I put him down, he quickly flies back to my shoulder or my head. I have given him nutriberries as treats and he also likes dried blueberries, he doesn’t care much for millet but he also doesn’t seem motivated by treats :( Can someone suggest other treats that he may love?
 

Mizzely

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I would keep him in a cage and work on training with him restrained for now. Start with target training.

Almond slivers, sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds can all be good small treats.

@Monica ?
 

SnowB

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I would keep him in a cage and work on training with him restrained for now. Start with target training.

Almond slivers, sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds can all be good small treats.

@Monica ?
Thank you! The last few days I’ve been trying to train him in the cage but he’s so attached to me that he screams in the cage and as soon as I open the door he flies out. I raised him since he was 3 weeks so he is extremely bonded. I feel like maybe I created a little monster :( My family keeps saying that I’ve “given him too much freedom” but I think he just plays rough because he is hyper.
 

Mizzely

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I mean if my options were between being attacked and screaming, I would probably deal with the screaming! He needs to learn boundaries. What do you do when he bites?
 

Shezbug

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I can’t offer any better advice than Shawna already gave. I certainly would not be letting the bird out till I knew it was keen to target every time it was asked to.

Got any pics of your nail bite wounds?
 

Dartman

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Pippen stays in her cage till she calms down when I first go in to hang out with her. Once she's less hyper I put on a Hoody and let her out. Usually she hangs out on the cage or like that, sometimes she wants to get on my arm and run up behind my neck to hang out and if she's pissy she can't directly bite my arm or neck and ears. I figure eventually she'll decide I'm trustworthy and be the snuggle bug she was when she was given to me after getting rescued from outside. Try to avoid the opportunity to bite and all that and protect yourself till you reach a understanding with each other, it might take a while but I'm sure she'll come around with patience and time.
 

Sparkles!

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I don’t want to be a party pooper here, but I want to be honest with you. He sounds exactly like a normal Sun Conure. A normal, boisterous, rowdy, little heck raiser. I feel sad when pet stores sell them as first time birds to people, because they can be little hellions as much as the larger parrots can be, sometimes more.
Suns will sometimes fly over to bite, just because they can. In their native environment you can observe siblings doing exactly that. They even launch sneaky attacks when they play. It’s not hormonal or them being mean or even them being spoiled. It’s just how they are. German Shepherds and Labradors shed, and Sun conures have a well earned reputation for being bitey snots sometimes. Its just how it is. They also have an earned reputation for being loud. It’s true. Suns can be the most beautifully loud shrill screamers at times. So, I think your first step is accepting that you have a Sun and that he might not ever have a soft and timid personality. Your actions can direct a lot of the behaviors. You can absolutely expect him to curb most of the biting. But you are going to still get bit during this time. I ignore biters. They don’t get my attention if they bite. I will set them down and turn my back. Flying to me to bite? Nope. You lose your free fly time. Want attention while you’re outside of your cage? Don’t be a bite monster.
I would not focus on the screaming right now. I always focus on 1 thing at a time, and priority goes to blood (theirs or mine).
 

SnowB

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I mean if my options were between being attacked and screaming, I would probably deal with the screaming! He needs to learn boundaries. What do you do when he bites?
At first I was telling him “no biting” and setting him down but then I started to say nothing and immediately put him in his cage for several minutes and not give him attention. But then I worried about creating a negative association with the cage so now I simply say nothing (if possible) and set him down or put him away in another room.
 

SnowB

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I don’t want to be a party pooper here, but I want to be honest with you. He sounds exactly like a normal Sun Conure. A normal, boisterous, rowdy, little heck raiser. I feel sad when pet stores sell them as first time birds to people, because they can be little hellions as much as the larger parrots can be, sometimes more.
Suns will sometimes fly over to bite, just because they can. In their native environment you can observe siblings doing exactly that. They even launch sneaky attacks when they play. It’s not hormonal or them being mean or even them being spoiled. It’s just how they are. German Shepherds and Labradors shed, and Sun conures have a well earned reputation for being bitey snots sometimes. Its just how it is. They also have an earned reputation for being loud. It’s true. Suns can be the most beautifully loud shrill screamers at times. So, I think your first step is accepting that you have a Sun and that he might not ever have a soft and timid personality. Your actions can direct a lot of the behaviors. You can absolutely expect him to curb most of the biting. But you are going to still get bit during this time. I ignore biters. They don’t get my attention if they bite. I will set them down and turn my back. Flying to me to bite? Nope. You lose your free fly time. Want attention while you’re outside of your cage? Don’t be a bite monster.
I would not focus on the screaming right now. I always focus on 1 thing at a time, and priority goes to blood (theirs or mine).
Thank you for your honest response :) I have other birds but I don’t have this bad of a biting problem with them. I didn’t get him from the pet store, I have hand raised him with the help of a breeder.
I figured that maybe some biting was normal behavior as I have seen other bird owners on Instagram interacting with their sun conures and they all look a bit nippy. I just need him to tone it down so that he doesn’t seriously injure me anymore :(
I agree with you. I do set him down when he bites and he usually flies right back to me so then I’ll calmly put him away for several minutes in the room every time he bites TOO hard. He understands the word “gentle” and sometimes he’ll relax his beak off my skin a little bit but I never expect him to never bite ever again. I’ve realized that it’s just parrot behavior to a certain extent.
 

Mizzely

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At first I was telling him “no biting” and setting him down but then I started to say nothing and immediately put him in his cage for several minutes and not give him attention. But then I worried about creating a negative association with the cage so now I simply say nothing (if possible) and set him down or put him away in another room.
It sounds to me like you need to be more consistent with your reaction. For him he doesn't understand why it's okay to bite sometimes but not others. Sometimes he gets a reaction, other times nothing. These inconsistencies are likely encouraging more biting while he tries to figure it out.

The moment he bites you at all, set him down on the closest available surface, say NO sternly but not loud/excited, make a super upset face, and turn your back. If you want to leave the room, that's fine too. Body language is often louder than words for birds.
 

Kenzie

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Regarding your comment stating he isnt really interested in training or treat motivated please make sure you've set his diet up for training success. The healthiest food you can feed him (pellets instead of seed, or better yet chop for morning, pellets later in the day) will set him up to love the junk foods you train with. I guarantee that helps with their motivation! I personally do food management for one of my most stubborn birds but you'll want to research what that actually means and how to use it as a training tool (your bird is not meant to starve on this method and most of the time it's not really needed anyways for basic training).
 

SnowB

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Regarding your comment stating he isnt really interested in training or treat motivated please make sure you've set his diet up for training success. The healthiest food you can feed him (pellets instead of seed, or better yet chop for morning, pellets later in the day) will set him up to love the junk foods you train with. I guarantee that helps with their motivation! I personally do food management for one of my most stubborn birds but you'll want to research what that actually means and how to use it as a training tool (your bird is not meant to starve on this method and most of the time it's not really needed anyways for basic training).
Thank you :) Yes, he only eats vegetables and then pellets towards the end of the day. He is also still weaning off hand feeding formula. I only use seeds for training. My other bird was only fed millet in the pet store and it’s been extremely difficult to get him off the seed diet.
 

Kenzie

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Thank you :) Yes, he only eats vegetables and then pellets towards the end of the day. He is also still weaning off hand feeding formula. I only use seeds for training. My other bird was only fed millet in the pet store and it’s been extremely difficult to get him off the seed diet.
Oh gosh if he is still weaning he's going to be mostly drawn to the formula. It's hard to train them at such a young age when they are still weaning - you can't exactly withhold that from them. When he weans I would start exploring favorite treats (almond, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, walnut, I mean what ever he is drawn to) and go from there.
 

Pepebirdie

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could it be the bluffing stage? personally, I do not know much about it but if it seems like he got aggressive all of the sudden then maybe it is a possibility???
 

Shezbug

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FYI- There is no bluffing stage as it seems to be put across by so many people/other sources.

There is biting because it’s either being pushed to bite because it’s earlier body language warning it is not happy with the interaction was missed or because it’s not been given the right responses when it has bitten previously and has now been encouraged (obviously accidentally) or led to believe it’s ok to bite.
The training court has heaps of information regarding this sort of thing.
I believe the best thing to do is to teach some (in cage) target training ASAP so the bird can be easily redirected to do the right things instead of come to you to bite.
 

flyzipper

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In addition to the great advice you've already been given, I'd like to point out the apparent (but not) contradiction that exists between these ideas...
He understands the word “gentle” and sometimes he’ll relax his beak off my skin a little
... and this...
I also do my best to not react to a bite so as not to encourage him even more
The thing to keep in mind about the advice we read, especially when we're told completely opposite things, is that they can both right... in the proper context.

What you're describing in the first statement is the notion of bite pressure training and it's probably the approach that is appropriate in your situation.

It's natural for our birds explore their surroundings, including us, with their beak.

I have a macaw who will gently pull at a stray hair on my face if I miss one while shaving, for example, yet he can crack a walnut with that beak.

That said... he learned what's appropriate when he preens me.

With a young bird like yours, however, they're still exploring their limits, but they will learn if we provide appropriate consistent feedback.

You still need to pay attention to what happened before, during and after the bite to minimize the potential of it happening the next time, but if you think the reason was because they were being, "hyper", I'd encourage you to consider those (admittedly painful) moments as teaching and learning opportunities, and keep giving your bird that "gentle" feedback.

It sounds like you have a great attitude toward your flock, and that's the basis of everything. Good luck.
 

Wardy

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Thank you! The last few days I’ve been trying to train him in the cage but he’s so attached to me that he screams in the cage and as soon as I open the door he flies out. I raised him since he was 3 weeks so he is extremely bonded. I feel like maybe I created a little monster :( My family keeps saying that I’ve “given him too much freedom” but I think he just plays rough because he is hyper.
Can you not open the cage and tell him to stay in there ?or open the cage door and stop him coming out by blocking the door with your putting your hand and start training him ?

I have a baby green cheek conure i know they are a different genus however Mojo doesnt fly out of the cage i am sure she would if i let her but i dont she needs to understand the boundaries before i let her out.
She screams so much when i go to work in the morning but soon calms down, she screams if i leave the room i often hear my wife telling her he has only gone upstairs he is coming back now the moment i walk back in the room she settles.

I will have had her for 3 weeks on Saturday coming and will be letting her out of the cage for the first time ever i wouldnt say you have created a little monster however you saying you think he plays rough because he is hyper is a indication of your thoughts on his behaviour.

Stop him coming out of his cage and teach him some rules i am completely new to this but imo you say you dont react to a bite so as not to not encourage him more i have been trying to get Mojo to step up during this week she has nibbled my finger thats all good thats a baby bird being curious however if she has bit me and i have felt it ( i havent made any kind of noise from the pain but she has given me some fair old bites ) i have absolutely told her biting is absolutley not accepted i remove my hand from her cage give it a wave and tell her its naughty and she can not bite i change the tone of my voice and it appears to be working.

I have only had her for 20 days and i may be being very simplistic in my approach howver the two things i had as my objectives when i got Mojo where 1. i need to gain her trust 2. i need to set the boundaries withought compromising her gaining my trust.

to sumarise Mojo dictates where this relationship go's but within the boundaries i set
 
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