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What To Do With An Aggressive Parrot

Aggression shouldn't be met with aggression. If your parrot is being aggressive, teach her positive behaviors so she learns how to communicate in a way you'll both like.

Sally Blanchard

Sometimes birds can get along and share their toys.

Q) I’ve had my Senegal parrot, Frankie, for just over a year. We've been best buds ever since I was hand-feeding her, she is well socialized and nice to all, but I am her person. I know this and took it into account when I got my new Meyer’s parrot, Milton. He is 31/2 months old and a doll. I fully expected them not to love one another at first sight and know there will definitely be a time of adjustment for all of us.
 
Frankie has become very cage aggressive, but only sometimes. (The cages are in the same room, on the same wall, which I would like to maintain if I can, as space is limited.) She will most often just let me get her out but, once in a while, I can be just adding some yummy treat to her bowl and she will pounce and bite, often drawing blood and scaring the heck out of me. I show her I am displeased by gently but loudly swooping her off her perch to the floor, and ignoring her for a few minutes. This has worked well so far, and we have generally made up and been fine right after that. Yesterday she was a doll all day, this morning she’s a rattlesnake-fast meanie and has vigorously attacked me twice.

Birds that are cross with one another turn their backs to each other. When I do this to her (as she has been doing to me too!) how long do I stay mad? Am I going about this the right way?

Senegal parrot
If you have a parrot, like this Senegal parrot, teach her positive behaviors so she doesn't turn to aggressive behaviors to communicate with you.
A) With the vast majority of parrots, aggression is met with aggression. Loudly swooping Frankie off of her perch to the floor is aggression. This is trust-destroying punishment that will not teach her anything about behaving in a positive manner, and it will most like cause her to be more aggressive with you. She already is confused by the fact that there is a new bird in the household.

Turning your back on her may communicate immediate disapproval but anything for more than a few seconds will not matter. She will not understand that any more time means that you are really mad. Your job with her is not to be her boss; it is to be her teacher and guide her to positive behaviors. You will never be the boss by punishment; you will only lose more trust until she doesn't trust you at all.

The best way to deal with biting is to work with her where she can’t see her cage or the other bird. This is a time for gentle and calm interaction. Slowly have her step from one had to another using the word "Up” and praise her when she does. The more time you spend gently teaching Frankie positive behaviors, the less likely she will be to be aggressive toward you. The same thing will be true of your new Meyer’s too.

Want to learn more about bird aggression?

Know The Different Types Of Bird Bites
Aggressive Parrot Play


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Posted: April 22, 2014, 1:00 a.m. PDT

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