How Do I Deal With Biting Problems?

Biting Article #1

Birds usually bite for a reason. We owners need to find out why and correct our actions, that way we will not get bit. The thought of punishment doesn’t really work with birds. That is negative reinforcement. What works is positive reinforcement! That is because they are prey animals.

Here are some of the reasons why birds bite:

  1. To defend territory
  2. To defend a mate or perceived mate (can be owner, or toy also)
  3. Fear
  4. Frustration/anger because warning signals were not heeded by owner.

Most budgies will try to bluff or warn you by jabbing at you with the beak to tell you to get away, before they actually bite. But if you do not heed this, then next comes the biting.

The beak can be formidable and cause severe pain, especially if it belongs to a budgie female, but it is also used to explore and check out things. Let’s say you ask budgie to step up on your finger and your budgie leans toward your finger with its beak. Don’t think it is going to bite and jerk your hand away. It may be wanting to test the solidity of this new perch to make sure it is safe first before stepping up on it.

Another hint: Don’t stick your fingers through the cage bars to pet your bird or to tease him or whatever because you are asking to get bitten this way. Fingers coming through the cage bars is an invitation to get bitten. “That thing is invading my territory!” is probably what is going through the bird’s mind then.

Budgies also fear hands or things above their heads swooping down on them. That really scares them. Better approach: direct from the front and bottom up is much better. Talking in a smooth soft voice is also soothing. Tell your budgie what you are doing before you actually do it. When you come home, say hello to your budgie, when you leave say good bye, just as you would to any good friend. If your budgie chirps to you when you are in another room, answer him to let him know you are still there and okay.

All these little things will help build a good relationship, so that you can live as a happy bird flock together.
(written by Dagmar)


Biting Article #2

Most budgies do not like to be petted or cuddled, and many otherwise affectionate birds will bite or become otherwise agitated when petted, I’m afraid. There are exceptions to the rule of course. In the 70 or so budgies that we’ve raised, I’d say about 1 in 10 enjoy being scratched. These birds are on the far end of the affectionate curve, while the other end is occupied by the mean, “I’ll never be tamed so don’t even think about it” type. The vast majority are in between, good pets that will sit on your shoulder, enjoy your company and twitter to you and maybe even learn to talk well.

My advice, especially considering this is an adult bird, is to respect his space and not pet him. You can offer occasionally to, though, and perhaps with time and trust, he may allow you this pleasure. Don’t feel bad if he never gets there, though. Again, it is not common for budgies to enjoy being petted.

If he is biting you otherwise, try the “earthquake”. If he is sitting on your finger and he tries to bite you anywhere, give your finger he is perching on a little twist or shake, just enough to throw him off balance a tiny bit (never jerk violently or throw him off your hand! This is completely unnecessary and will take away his trust in you!) The earthquake will usually take his mind completely off the bite. Be consistent with it and see if it makes a difference. If he is on your shoulder and bites your face, try keeping him on your finger more until he learns his new lesson and stops biting. Then you can allow him back on your shoulder when he decides to behave himself.


Biting Article #3

My friend uses the technique of blowing a quick puff of air into her budgies’ faces when they bite. This has also worked very effectively for her as a harmless deterrent.

I had had a hen that was quite vicious (I was the 2nd owner). Blowing at her worked very well. I aimed at her nostrils when she’d latch on.


Taming Article

First, to greatly simplify training, have your budgie’s wings clipped!

Try training him/her in a small room without a lot of distractions. I go into the hallway and shut all the doors to bedrooms. Others have recommended getting into the shower or bath stall, closing the door and working with them in there. Dim lighting helps, too.

Get him to perch on your finger and hold your other hand right in front of him so she doesn’t have a clear shot to fly. Or hold him facing the wall. The first time may take a few tries, but he should soon stay on your finger. I can almost always get budgies to perch using this method.

Talk gently to him the whole time. After a few minutes, get him to step up on your other finger by gently pushing up on her chest just above his legs. This may cause him to fly again. If so, retrieve him and try again. He will soon learn to trust you and become comfortable with you. Do this for 10 minutes several times a day, eventually increasing the time. When he is comfortable on your finger, you can try it in another room.