Are you struggling in dealing with biting in birds? If you’re a newbie bird owner, you may get flabbergasted when a tiny feathery creature you’ve cared for suddenly bites you.
But birds aren’t inherently aggressive, so why do they nip at you out of nowhere?
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Why do birds bite, and what factors contribute to this behavior
- How to stop birds from biting and attacking you
- And how to train birds not to bite you
So, if you’re a newbie bird owner trying to figure out how to handle your avian, this can help you establish a better relationship and avoid scaring your bird.
Tips on Dealing With Biting in Birds and How to Stop Them
Here are some tips on dealing with biting in birds and how you can stop them from inflicting pain on you.
Be Confident, Don’t Panic!
Birds can detect human emotions quickly, so they can tell if you’re afraid to handle them effortlessly.
One way to discourage them from biting is stepping up, confidently without hesitation, with your hand on their body, specifically in front of their body and below their belly.
When you say the command “step up,” make sure you say it with a clear voice and the same tone and volume every time you ask. You need to stay relaxed so that they will feel relaxed.
If your bird grasps your fingers with its beak to step up, don’t pull it away or yell at your bird. Otherwise, your bird may fear stepping onto your hand and you when you scream.
Give Them a Break
When your birds feel tired or do not want to play or even move in their position, it is a sign to withdraw your hands from them.
But, if you have already gotten bitten once while your holding them, it’s better to put them back in their cage. Let them rest or have time for themselves.
Don’t Hold Them When They’re Angry
Birds are not born to bite unless they grow up in a fearful and aggressive family or environment. Baby birds are usually affectionate to all humans, even if they first meet.
But, when they grow old, they start developing emotions, whether it’s good or bad. So, to avoid being bitten, avoid touching them when angry.
Learn to Read Their Body Language
When birds don’t want to step up to your hand, they often lean forward, puff out their flashy feathers, dilate their pupils, hiss, and open their beaks.
If your bird shows those signs, you should back off and not force your pet.
What You Should Avoid When Dealing With Biting in Birds
You may be surprised when your bird bites you for the first time, but avoid doing the following because negative reinforcement can worsen its biting habit.
Don’t Yell at Them
When birds start biting, do not yell to stop them because the more you react to their behavior, the more they continuously bite.
This is so that the bird learns that by getting a reaction from you, it can manipulate the situation and you.
The best course of action is to put it down and then leave as if you were placing a toddler in timeout.
Never Hit Them
Hitting a person can be a way of disciplining their wrong actions. However, it does not apply to your feathery flock because hitting them might lead to more aggressive behavior.
Perhaps disapproval of the conduct encourages it to continue, but physical punishment may make your bird fear your hands or even you.
Losing trust will make it more difficult to halt your bird’s undesirable habits. So, before it gets worst, never try to beat them. Instead, let them calm down.
Avoid Giving Punishment
Punishing your bird can increase its sense of anxiety and cause undue stress. Most people give punishment in different forms.
Others squirt their bird with a spray bottle to address the biting, but your bird will never understand why you’d do that to them.
As a result, your bird will see you as a threat, and your bond with your bird will diminish since it’ll lose its trust in you.
Some owners put their birds inside its cage as a form of punishment. But it may think the biting is rewarded or have negative thoughts about the cage.
Their cage is supposed to be a safe haven for them. So, you better avoid making them grounded by putting them back in their cage.
Avoid Using Treats and Toys as Distractions
Many beginner bird owners think giving their birds treats and toys whenever they bite or nip solves the biting issue. However, that is quite the opposite since it’s like putting the bird back in its cage.
Your birds may think that biting will be rewarded with toys or treats, so they’ll continue their biting habit in the future.
Why Do Birds Bite?
Avian creatures bite for different reasons, and knowing the cause is crucial when dealing with biting in birds. These are the reasons why birds nip or bite you.
Baby birds like to explore their surroundings by putting everything that piques their interest into their mouth.
When they’re not raised together with other nestlings, they may not realize that biting can be painful for the owner.
Birds in the wild fly away when startled, but domesticated avian pets usually bite using their beak when in fear or startled.
It’s a normal reaction that is a part of birds’ “fight” or “flight” mechanism.
Birds can become aggressive during breeding because they become protective of their mate.
So, be careful when approaching pregnant birds since they might bite you and think of you as a threat.
Part of Their Playtime
As we all know, birds use their beak for many purposes, such as balancing, holding, and climbing during playtime.
So, when birds bite you during that time, they might want to go higher or hold or reach something.
It’s the painless bite of birds unless you try to remove your hand from their beak. Your pet’s beak will typically stop pressing against your finger if you gently support him using your other hand.
It will help him not depend entirely on it to keep himself in place. Give your pet something to grasp, such as a stick or a toy.
Birds typically guard their own space. This is because, in the wild, they defend their nest and young against predators.
No attempts should be made to alter this fundamental tendency. Instead, give in to your pet’s urge to dominate his own space.
This can entail picking a cage that enables you to change the food and water for the animals from the outside.
Birds sometimes pick their favorites and neglect those they don’t want. So, they might choose just one person who they love the most.
That could also be the reason why they bite. They might think of other people as rivals for your affection.
Being hormonal is normal behavior, even in birds, especially in parrots. At the time, they might be affectionate, and sometimes they show aggressiveness.
To avoid favoritism in your little flock, ensure that each family member spends time with them. Let each one stay close to them and give them the food and treats they want.
Aggressiveness mostly showed in the breeding season, so reducing the daylight level will help calm them down.
To Convey a Message
They might just be attempting to notify you they’re done playing at that point. The best way to differentiate between this nip and more violent biting is to pay attention to your bird’s body language.
Keep in mind that biting can be a means of communication. If your bird bites outside of play, it’s likely that it will attempt to communicate with you somehow.
Aggressive bites in parrots and other birds are frequently caused by anger.
However, it isn’t always obvious why they are furious. Birds are social creatures, so even a small difference in their routine or surroundings might make them uncomfortable.
How to Prevent Birds From Biting You
This section will discuss how to prevent your pet bird from biting you. Let’s start with the most vital step which is to determine the cause by tracking its biting habits.
1. Track Your Bird’s Biting Habits
Keeping track of when biting occurs is the first step in dealing with it. For a variety of reasons, budgies can bite.
Your initial step should be identifying the behavior’s root cause and determining how to remedy it.
Each time your bird bites you, note it down. Record the circumstances leading up to the bite.
At the time, was the budgie being handled? Was it outside or inside their cage? Was the biting in response to food or a treat being given?
The more information you can get on the incident, the better.
When your bird bites, look for recurring themes and patterns. Your bird may be biting out of fear if they frequently bite when handled by strangers or when they hear loud noises outside.
But if your birds bite at night when they’re out of the cage for a long time, they may be exhausted and want to return to their cage and rest.
2. Keep a Regular Sleeping and Feeding Schedule
Birds may nip at you when they’re not satisfied with their diet and sleeping cycle. So, feeding them regularly at the right time and giving them enough sleep on the same daily schedule can help.
Track your bird’s sleeping time and give him some space during these times, if possible. If a bird is handled while worn out, it could become irate and bite.
As an avian parent, you must acknowledge that birds require a lot of sleep to feel healthy and content.
The main components of a budgie’s diet should be seed and pet store-purchased pellets. But eating the same thing every day would bore budgies.
You can diversify your budgie’s diet by adding sprouts, vegetables, fruits, and grains to their regular bird food.
3. Be Gentle to Your Bird
Improper handling of birds by owners frequently results in anxiety, the most common cause of biting. So, don’t stress out your bird when handling it.
Let the bird come to you. and let it voluntarily perch on your hand or finger rather than grabbing them.
Avoid following your parrot wherever it goes because it would feel that you’re chasing him. Predators in the wild chase birds this way, so it can freak them out!
You surely don’t want to make your bird think of you as a threat. So, give them a chance to fly and roam around on their own.
Just make sure the area is fully enclosed. Otherwise, your bird might escape.
4. Provide Enough Bird Toys
Bored birds may resort to biting to get attention from owners and mental stimulation. But you can prevent that by providing toys suitable for their needs.
Tiny birds like budgies enjoy playing with toilet rolls and scrap papers, while large birds like macaws need durable chew toys that satisfy their desire to chew.
Your birds also need one-on-one attention with you, so it’d be better to play with them, especially if your bird is alone in its cage.
If it’s not possible with your schedule, we recommend giving your bird a fellow avian companion.
5. Get Them Used to Their New Environment
If you’ve recently moved to a new home or changed your house, give your bird some time to adjust to its new environment.
Don’t handle him often until he gets used to it and provides enough food and water.
6. Stick Training
One of the best ways to avoid biting is to train your bird to step on a perch using clicker training techniques and to reward him with tasty treats.
Stick training can help train your bird on what he’s supposed to do and is a good foundation for teaching him new skills.
Can a Bird Bite Cause Infection?
Large birds such as macaws and cockatoos have strong, powerful beaks that can tear the skin and break bones.
Even tiny birds, such as parakeets and lovebirds, can break the skin, and their claws are sharp enough to draw blood.
But, can you get a disease if a bird bites you?
Well, bird bites and scratches can spread bacterial infections and illnesses, just like dog and cat bites.
So, the National Center for Biotechnology Information warns bird owners to thoroughly clean and examine their minor abrasions and cuts for any signs of infection.
Additionally, the agency recommends seeking medical attention for larger bites that require stitching, disinfection, and antibiotics.
Common Questions When Dealing With Biting in Birds
How do you discipline a bird for biting?
If your bird bites your hand or finger, put him down and walk away like you’re giving a time-out to a child. N
ever hit or yell at your bird because it’ll lose its trust in you, and yelling can reinforce biting by rewarding it with attention.
Why is my bird aggressively biting me?
Biting is not a dominant behavior, so if your bird bites you aggressively, it might be frightened, startled, or feeling cornered or vulnerable.
Should I let my bird bite me?
You should gently put your bird down if it bites you and walks away from him. Tolerating his actions and letting him continue biting might make him think that biting you is fine.
If you want to satisfy his innate desire to chew and bite, it’s best to give him chew toys he can play with.
Why does my budgie bite me so hard?
Birds bite for different reasons, and as for budgies which are usually docile, they bite due to fear.
It may see you as a potential threat if you’re taking it too fast with the relationship, and it may become territorial with its cage.
How do I get my parakeet to stop biting me?
You can stop your parakeet from biting you by gently putting him down, walking away, and not acknowledging the behavior.
When it has calmed down and is ready to step up, you can pick it up again.
What does it mean when a parakeet bites you?
If a parakeet bites you, that could indicate that he’s afraid or feeling threatened, protective, or cornered.
And when they’re laying eggs, they may become territorial and unapproachable even to their humans.
Which pet birds bite the most?
The birds known to have the worst bites are large parrots such as Green Wing Macaws, Blue and Yellow Macaws, Hyacinth Macaws, Bare-Eyed Cockatoo, and Moluccan Cockatoo.
What pet bird is least likely to bite?
When properly, the most gentle birds less likely to bite are Doves, Pionus Parrots, Budgerigars, Finch, Eclectus Parrots, Bourke’s Parakeets, and Cockatiels tamed.
But every bird has a unique personality, and each avian can be nippy sometimes.
How painful is a bird bite?
The pain can vary depending on how your bird bites, but it does hurt when little birds bite and grind.
And it can be severe in some cases because some parrot owners sustained eye, finger, and toe injuries from their avian’s bite.
Final Tips on Dealing With Biting in Birds
Dealing with biting in birds can be tricky when you’re a first-time bird owner. But you can save yourself from stress and injuries by not panicking, giving them a break, and not handling them when they’re angry.
Reading birds’ body language can also help you determine when they’re about to bite you.
Bird bite can be painful, but yelling, hitting, and punishing your bird will only lead to more issues.
So, it’s best to study the cause, give your birds enough toys, a sleeping schedule, and quality feed, and use stick training to curb its undesirable behavior than using negative reinforcement.
But if you’re dealing with a scared avian pet, here’s an article that will help you tame your bird and establish a good relationship between you.