Do you have a feathered friend that's being a not-so-friendly pet and biting you? It's a common problem, but not an unsolvable one. Birds, like other pets, need to be trained, and with the proper training, you should be able to stop your bird's beak from munching on you. Below we outline some of the causes of bird biting along with tips for putting an end to the nibbling.
To begin you should attempt to figure out why your bird is biting you. Birds often bite because they're scared or angry. They could be feeling territorial or even ill (yep, birds can get sick). Your bird could be feeling fine and they're biting simply because they're curious or overexcited when playing. Once you figure out the cause of the problem, you can start working on a solution.
Our first tip maybe goes without saying, but you should never allow a bird that bites to be on your shoulder or near your face. When a bird does bite, you can give the bird a stern look – birds often respond to facial expressions. You can also give them a firm "no," but do not yell at your bird or make any large, dramatic movements. If your bird bites your hand or arm, you can drop your hand or twist your arm to unbalance the bird. Be careful not to make the bird fall though – simply unbalance the bird from its perch. Birds can hold grudges so don't isolate or punish them. This will do nothing to help you fix the problem, and it could make it harder for you to forge a good relationship with your new pet. In general you should never force your bird to do anything – instead try to build trust with your pet bird.
If your bird is biting because it is afraid, try to keep your bird away from what is scaring it. If this is impossible, try exposing your bird to the scary object or noise from a distance, giving it a treat each time. Then slowly move the scary thing closer, giving your bird a treat during each step of the process. This may cause the bird to associate good things (treats) with what once made it scared. Birds, like us, can get cranky if they don't get enough sleep, and that grumpiness can make them bite. Be sure your pet has an environment where they can get plenty of uninterrupted sleep each night (most birds need 8 to 12 hours). If your bird is biting because it thinks you are encroaching on its territory, let them out of their cage when you clean it or add food or water. If you have a bird that usually doesn't bite and has suddenly become nippy, they may be ill. Birds, like cats and many other animals, can hide when they're sick, so changes in their behavior can be a sign they're not feeling well. If your bird is sick, you should wrap them in a towel to take them to the vet to avoid getting any further bites. Birds can also get aggressive during the breeding season. There isn't much a pet owner can do about this behavior, so it's best to avoid handling your bird during this time. Your vet can help you identify if your bird is dealing with these hormonal changes.
Once you know why your bird is biting, you should be able to take steps to correct it, whether it's waiting for hormonal behavior to pass, taking them to see the vet, making sure they get enough sleep, or having more focused training sessions. Be patient with your feathered friend and try to figure out what they're telling you, and soon you will earn their trust and be on the road to a great relationship.
By Jay Matthews
About the Author
Jay Matthews has been writing professionally for over a decade. He's been an animal lover for even longer. When he's not creating articles or copywriting, he's slowly chipping away at a science fiction novel. He lives with his family and their cat Koko in Los Angeles.