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Conure Chewing Clothes

If your conure chews and destroys things you don't want it to, deter it with these tips.

By Sally Blanchard

Many birds, like green-cheeked conures, like to chew clothes. 
By Gina Cioli/BowTie Studio
Birds have a number of natural behaviors that could clash in our homes.

Q: I have a little green-cheeked conure, and she will sometimes chew on clothes when you are not paying attention to her. Recently, she has started destroying clothes. We sometimes let her in our dresser, and she climbs down into other drawers and has chewed up jeans and other clothes. It seems like she's getting worse. Does anyone else’s pet bird do this?

A: Your pet conure is doing what comes naturally. Parrots, especially females, love to root around in anything that can be shredded and used for nesting material, and doing so can increase her breeding behavior.

My best advice is to shut the drawers so she can’t play in your drawers or keep her on a stand where she can’t reach chewables. It is also normal for parrots to chew on clothes, and many people solve this problem by having special clothes that they wear that the bird can chew on.

Can we stop these behaviors? Every time we tell the pet bird to stop the behavior, we can actually increase the problem by providing the bird with attention and drama. In situations like this, it is best to avoid or manage the situation than to try to change the pet bird’s natural behaviors.

I talked to a woman who had a conure that chewed on the kitchen cupboards. She wanted to train the bird to leave them alone. Chewing and exploring is so natural for healthy parrots that the solution was to move the cage so he couldn’t reach the cupboards and give the conure a lot more wood to chew on in the cage and on his playgym.

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Reader Comments
My sunconure wants to be on me all the time,but destroys all my clothes that i am wearing.If he cant be on me he frets.What can i do to stop this destructive habit.Desperate.
Elaine, International
Posted: 4/11/2015 3:13:20 AM
My Lorikeet passed away 1 yr. ago and I spent 3 months researching "birds that aren't too loud all the time", etc. Every web article about these birds and every "expert" said these birds aren't loud and don't expect them to talk. She is the noisiest, most talkative bird ever and they don't go through a "nippy stage" they chew on me and everything constantly and never shut up. Now she bites me and says "don't bite me". Be forewarned, these are difficult birds for even experienced bird keepers like myself.
Kevin, Santa Rosa, CA
Posted: 1/30/2015 2:50:53 AM
I have a green cheek conure that we let be free in the home all day. He is constantly chewing as well. We find shooting a small harmless pompom from a slingshot scares him away and he stops chewing for a time. He has damaged our cabinets and molding, but that is the risk of letting a conure be "free range!"
mrs carey, eureka springs, AR
Posted: 2/12/2013 6:07:11 PM
good article
n, n, TX
Posted: 11/13/2012 8:14:25 AM
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