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what to do if a baby parrot bites you

How To Stop A Baby Parrot from Biting (in 8 Easy Steps)

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Biting is among parrots’ most common behavioral problems, sometimes leading to rehoming. Baby parrots can be trained to stop biting, carrying this vital lesson into adulthood.

Never react belligerently to a nip because it’ll consider this personal attention and may bite again. 

Learn the parrot’s body language, and don’t approach if it appears agitated. If it doesn’t fear your hand, provide a petting session. Also, offer chew toys to satisfy the urge 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 a bird that biting is wrong when young because this can stop an undesirable habit while it’s most receptive to learning.

Biting in Baby Parrots

Baby parrots are like human infants, exploring the world with their mouths. During one-on-one interactions, a parrot may lightly nibble or bite at your hands.

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. However, as the bird ages and develops, biting can become more problematic.

Pain Due To Baby Parrot Bites

Most baby parrots bite softly, which implies that their bite can’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.

Why Baby Parrots Bite

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 nibbled your hands previously.
  • The parrot is hungry, and you’ve been handling food.
  • The bird is tired of exercising and is frustrated.
  • You’re petting or playing with the parrot, which has grown overstimulated.
  • The parrot is distracting you because it doesn’t want to be returned to its cage.
  • You have a one-person parrot who grows jealous of attention bestowed upon others.

Baby parrots go through a “bluffing stage” due to their hormones, leading to biting.

why is my baby parrot biting?

How To Train Baby Parrots Not To Bite

Here’s how to stop baby parrots from biting:

Body Language Interpretation

Interpreting body language is more effective than relying on the parrot to express itself verbally. Regardless of the parrot’s age, keep a safe distance if 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. Don’t initiate forced handling.

Approach Calmly

When you approach a baby parrot, remain calm. Parrots mirror human emotion and pick up on how you’re feeling. If you’re nervous or agitated, it’ll react accordingly.

Speak to the parrot when in its vicinity. If you hold your hand out for it to hop onto, remain still. If your hand shakes, it may hold on to your hand with its beak to feel safe.

If you’re agitated, nervous, or angry, wait until you calm down before spending time together.

Chew Toys

All parrots have an urge to bite and chew things in their surroundings. Providing the bird with suitable chew toys means it can perform this instinctual behavior.

Petting Session

Petting a parrot may result in excitable nipping. However, the more time you spend petting a baby 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 a bond of trust is established. This will be magnified if you only handle the parrot when returning them to the cage.

Petting teaches 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.

Encourage Exercise

If a baby parrot isn’t permitted to exercise, it’ll feel cooped up and frustrated. This can lead to biting and pecking due to pent-up aggression that must be released.

Parrots are neophobes (an all-encompassing fear of new and unfamiliar objects or terrain). According to Ethology, exploration of the home is critical to a young parrot overcoming these fears.

The longer a bird flies free, growing comfortable with all sights, sounds, and scents around its cage, the less likely it is to bite. Provide a daily opportunity for a baby bird to stretch its wings.

do baby parrot bites hurt?

Don’t React When Bitten

If a baby parrot bites you, expressing displeasure is normal. Avoid shouting, as it’ll only make things worse. 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 with gloves.

Verbal Reprimands

Telling off a parrot should be approached with caution. We’ve mentioned that you shouldn’t react to unwanted behaviors, but a stern command can yield positive results if used sparingly.

The key to teaching a parrot that biting is unwelcome through vocal cues is to speak sternly and calmly. You must differentiate 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.

Time Outs

If a baby parrot is overstimulated, it’ll need time to cool off. If a parrot is biting you, leaving it alone for a short period will send a critical 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’s 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 without adversely affecting the human-parrot bond.