My bird bites me
February 20, 2006 11:08 PM   Subscribe

Why does my bird always try to bite me?

I got him as a baby and played with him for a while but then stopped for a few months and now he always tries to bite me. Also he is really loud and drives me nuts.
posted by joshuak to Pets & Animals (15 answers total)
What kind of bird is it? They're all very different.
posted by Justinian at 12:09 AM on February 21, 2006

So wait, you played with him for a while and then stopped? I don't know much about birds, but I've always heard that they need lots of attention. Could his biting be a way of making you interact with him? I don't know, but I'd imagine a bored bird without human interaction might start biting.
posted by MadamM at 12:36 AM on February 21, 2006

When you stopped playing with him, you also stopped taming him. Birds aren't like dogs or cats- you can't domesticate them and expect them to maintain a love of being handled all the time- you actually have to handle them all the time.
posted by headspace at 6:12 AM on February 21, 2006

Headspace has got it - it's the same with reptiles.
posted by agregoli at 7:12 AM on February 21, 2006

Even if it was a dog -- would you play with a puppy "for a while," put it in a pen with minimal human contact for "a few months," and then expect it to be socialized? If you did, you'd be pretty disappointed. It's no different with a horse, a human, an iguana, or a bird.

What kind of bird is it? A little finch or lovebird, or a caique or African gray? It sounds like it doesn't have a companion -- is that true? Has anyone else been playing with it while you haven't? What kind of setup do you have for it?
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:26 AM on February 21, 2006

yeah, a bird is not a decoration.
posted by mikel at 9:39 AM on February 21, 2006

As everyone else has said, birds need companionship, if you can't spend time with it, and you can't get it a friend, you may want to consider getting it a television. Just make sure you don't run it 24/7 or you will make it crazy. Also, mirrors can be fun.

But the best thing to do is just make time to spend with it. Handle it as much as possible and if it's a hardbill try to provide it with things to chew on; wood, paper, peanut shells, things that it can pull apart. Birds get bored, give it some stimulation and a lot of the behavior problems will stop.
posted by quin at 11:19 AM on February 21, 2006

Birds can be jerks.
posted by jimmy at 1:27 PM on February 21, 2006

Well he's my sister's bird, which is why I don't play with him much but she doesn't play with him a lot either so I feel about him being bored all day. For some reason he likes her though. I think it's because she feeds him and I just clean his poop. But most importantly I would love to be able to get him to be quiet every now and then. I think I'll go try a mirror...
posted by joshuak at 5:10 PM on February 21, 2006

oh, he's a cockatiel
posted by joshuak at 5:11 PM on February 21, 2006

He's bonded with her, you're the intruder. I don't know how much progress you're going to make getting him to like you. Parrots and related birds tend to bond with one person. Some are more social than others, but most like their mate (which is how they view their humans) and don't like intruders. I'm not a parrot person, I just hang out on pet forums and hear a lot about the same problem with other birds.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:26 PM on February 21, 2006

so should I give up? I just want him to not be so loud.
posted by joshuak at 5:28 PM on February 21, 2006

Beyond what I said above, I do not know. Someone familiar with cockatiels would have to give you more insight into what it would take to become its buddy, if possible. I know some parrots its not going to happen, but I don't know with cockatiels.

For the noise, they are naturally loud animals, but make sure your sister gives it lots of one on one time. And make sure it has lots of toys, but don't leave them in the cage all the time. Rotating them every few weeks makes them seem new. Also look into bird treats that are a little more work to eat, giving them something to work at. Some birds like broccoli because they tear it appart and its not a simple matter of just "eating it".
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:35 PM on February 21, 2006

If the bird is being loud during times that you are trying to sleep, you may want to try covering his cage. It's a good way to get him to sleep on a schedule that is more like your own.

However if it's just general times of the day, you may want to look into different things to keep him distracted. As i mentioned above, TVs work great (and can be had at second hand stores for fairly cheap.) Otherwise consider getting him a radio. Try different stations (classical, talk, rock) and see if there is one that he responds to better than the others.

A mirror is still a good/ cheap idea, and lot's of toys to keep him busy (paper to tear up seems popular). Also, make sure your sister spends time playing with him. As long as he is getting attention, he will improve.
posted by quin at 5:40 PM on February 21, 2006

Well that's the problem. She doesn't listen to me. That's why I wanted to play with him. But I'll try the toy things. thanks :-)
posted by joshuak at 10:01 PM on February 21, 2006

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