Last Updated on: 14th June 2023, 05:37 pm
Biting is among parrots’ most common behavioral problems, frequently leading to rehoming. However, baby parrots can be trained to stop biting, carrying this vital lesson into adulthood.
Owners must know what to do if a baby parrot bites them. Never react belligerently to a nip from a baby parrot, as it’ll consider this personal attention and may bite again in the future.
Learn the parrot’s body language, not approaching if it appears agitated. If it doesn’t fear your hand, provide a short petting session. Also, provide chew toys to satisfy the parrot’s urges to use its beak.
You can issue verbal reprimands if the parrot continues to nip and bite. Use a stern, unmistakable command. A time-out that denies attention can also be effective, but this strategy shouldn’t be overused.
Bites from a baby parrot are easy to ignore, but apathy carries risk. Teach the bird that biting is inappropriate when young, as this can stop an undesirable habit while a bird is most receptive to learning.
Do Baby Parrots Bite?
Baby parrots are like human infants, exploring the world with their mouths. A parrot may lightly nibble or bite at your hands during all physical interactions.
Most baby parrots will nip and bite to show affection, which is part of the bonding process.
Initially, this may seem harmless because the strength of a baby bird’s beak isn’t sufficient to cause damage. As the bird ages and develops, biting can become more problematic.
Do Baby Parrot Bites Hurt?
Most baby parrots bite softly, which implies that their bite shouldn’t harm a healthy person. It’s rare for a bite from a still-developing parrot to break the skin and draw blood.
Parrots grow up and mature much faster than we realize. A bite can turn from harmless to harmful seemingly overnight if you allow the behavior to continue unabated.
Why Is My Baby Parrot Biting?
Consider if a baby parrot is biting for one of these reasons:
- Your actions and behavior frighten it, or something in the environment makes it skittish.
- You laughed and petted a parrot that gently nibbled your hands previously.
- The parrot is hungry, and you’ve been handling strong-scented food.
- The bird is tired of exercising and is frustrated.
- You’re petting or playing with the parrot, which has grown overstimulated. For example, avoid petting a baby parrot against the grain of its feather because this is irritating and uncomfortable.
- The parrot is distracting you because it doesn’t want to be returned to its cage yet.
- You have a one-person parrot who grows jealous of attention bestowed upon another human or pet.
The older a parrot grows, the harder its beak and the stronger its bite force, especially if it’s a larger bird like a macaw, African gray, or cockatoo.
Baby parrots go through a “bluffing stage” in the first few months of their lives, which includes hissing, lunging, nipping, and biting. Experts are unsure why bluffing happens, but the behavior subsides.
How To Train Baby Parrots Not To Bite
Biting is common, especially in baby birds. Here’s how to stop baby parrots from biting:
1) Body Language Interpretation
Interpreting avian body language is more effective than relying on a parrot to express itself verbally. No matter the parrot’s age, keep a safe distance if one or more of the following apply:
These are signs a baby parrot is contemplating biting, likely because it’s agitated. It’s warning you that it doesn’t want to be approached. If you force handling, it’ll assume you’re ignoring its warnings.
2) Approach Calmly
When you approach a parrot, remain calm. Parrots mirror human emotion and pick up on how you’re feeling. If you’re nervous or agitated, the bird will react accordingly.
Speak to the parrot the entire time you’re in its vicinity, and if you hold out your hand for it to hop onto, remain still. If your hand shakes, it’ll feel unstable and may bite to hold on to your hand to feel safe.
If you’re agitated, nervous, or angry, wait until you calm down before approaching the parrot’s cage.
3) Chew Toys
All parrots share a natural urge to bite and chew things in their surroundings. Providing the bird with the right chew toys means it can chew and nibble on the right things.
Most pet stores stock chew toys for baby parrots made from wood, plastic, and other materials.
4) Petting Session
Petting a parrot may initially lead to some excitable nipping and bluffing. However, the more time you spend petting a bird, the less it’ll associate handling with unwelcome activity.
When a baby parrot enters the home, it’ll be reluctant to be handled until you’ve bonded. This will be magnified if you only handle the parrot when forcing it to return to its cage post-exercise.
Petting will teach the parrot that handling is a source of pleasure, not something to be feared or tolerated. This will make the bird less likely to respond with reflexive biting.
5) Encourage Exercise
Parrots must spend 2-4 hours outside their cage daily. This applies to baby birds, although you may want to monitor a curious young parrot who could have an accident.
If a parrot can come and go from its cage whenever it likes, it may refuse to return. A baby parrot should rely on its owner to accommodate exercise and consider free time a privilege.
However, If a baby parrot isn’t permitted to exercise, it’ll feel cooped up and frustrated. This can lead to biting and pecking when approaching the cage due to pent-up aggression that must be released.
Parrots are neophobes (an all-encompassing fear of new and unfamiliar objects or terrain). As per Ethology, exploration of the home will be critical to a young parrot overcoming these concerns.
The longer a bird spends flying free, growing comfortable with all sights, sounds, and scents surrounding its cage, the less likely it is to bite. Provide this daily opportunity for a bird to stretch its wings.
6) Don’t React When Bitten
If a baby parrot bites you, expressing significant displeasure is normal.
Avoid this because shouting at the parrot will be unhelpful. Any interaction, even yelling, will be deemed attention and encourage more biting.
If you attempt to wrench the parrot off your skin, it’ll clamp down harder. If you let the bite unfold, the bird will realize it’s getting no reaction and cease its aggression.
A gentle nip or bite from a baby parrot shouldn’t hurt, but you can protect yourself by wearing gloves.
7) Verbal Reprimands
Verbally reprimanding a parrot should be approached with caution. We have stated that you shouldn’t react to unwanted behaviors, but a stern command can yield results if used sparingly.
The key to teaching a parrot that biting is unwelcome through vocal cues is to speak sternly and calmly, differentiating from your speaking voice while avoiding histrionics.
Immediately use a short, sharp command if you feel a parrot’s beak on your fingers or hands. This should be a word that you don’t use in conversation, so consider “stop” or “halt” rather than a simple “no.”
Blow in the parrot’s face if it doesn’t react to your verbal cue. This will snap the parrot out of any trance-like state it’s experiencing, making it more receptive to the words you use.
8) Time Outs
If a baby parrot’s overstimulated, it’ll need time to cool off. If a parrot is biting you, leaving it alone for a short period will send an important message.
A time-out for a parrot should last a maximum of 15 minutes, although you may wish to reduce this for a baby parrot. Walk away and refuse attention, approaching again when it appears calm and relaxed.
If the bird sees time in its cage as a punishment, it’ll make them reluctant to spend time there.
Baby parrots rarely bite out of aggression once they’ve passed the bluffing stage. You can stop this habit with training and patience without harming the human-parrot bond you’ve established.