How to stop an african grey parrot from biting

Written by richard morgan
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How to stop an african grey parrot from biting
African grey parrots are the most intelligent of the companion birds, but they need to have structure and boundaries put in place to prevent them from having bad behaviour issues. (African Grey Parrot image by mickkid from Fotolia.com)

Anyone who has a knowledge of birds knows that when it comes to being intelligent and sociable, few birds out there can hold a candle to the African grey parrot. Unfortunately, since African greys are so bright, they tend to think that they can rule the roost, so to speak, and they'll try to assert themselves by using their beaks as a weapon. With a little effort, however, you can make sure that your African grey will stop biting you.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • "Step Up" stick
  • Peanut (or favourite treat)
  • Chair or perch

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Instructions

    How to Stop an African Grey From Biting

  1. 1

    Make sure that the African grey has had its flight feathers clipped. You will not be able to stop it from biting you if it is able to fly to safety whenever it wants.

  2. 2

    Take the African grey out of its cage, if it is in its cage. Many times, it will feel more secure in its cage, and will tend to be more aggressive.

  3. 3

    Use a "step up stick" to remove the African grey if it is in the cage and doesn't want to come out. The stick needs to be strong enough to easily support its weight, or it will get frightened.

  4. 4

    Speak soothingly to your African grey when you have removed it from its cage.

  5. 5

    Place the African grey on a perch outside the cage. Make sure the perch is not higher than your eye-level. The higher the African grey is, the more dominant it will attempt to be.

  6. 6

    Take a peanut and gently give it to the African grey. When the parrot takes the peanut, praise it by saying, "Good bird." If your parrot does not like peanuts, use its favourite food as a treat.

  7. 7

    After the African grey has eaten the peanut, gently stroke its beak, saying "Good bird" in a soft, soothing voice.

  8. 8

    The parrot may place its beak on your finger without biting you. Take a bird toy and distract it with that. You do not want to encourage it using its beak on you at any point.

  9. 9

    Should your African grey bite you, immediately set it on the floor. Parrots are prey animals, and they feel very insecure when they are not off the ground.

  10. 10

    Repeat this any time that the African grey tries to bite you. That way, it will understand that biting you will result in its being vulnerable.

  11. 11

    Take your African grey into a room where it normally does not go. This will make it somewhat less secure, and it will also provide it with new sights and sounds. Your parrot will be less likely to bite you when it is being entertained or intellectually challenged.

  12. 12

    Put your African grey back in its cage.

  13. 13

    After an hour, take the African grey parrot out of its cage. Once again, give it a treat, and when it has finished eating the treat, gently stroke the beak and praise it.

  14. 14

    Repeat on a daily basis until the African grey has accepted the routine and has stopped biting you.

Tips and warnings

  • African grey parrots can be phobic and it's a good idea to train your bird to touch one new object a day. This allows them to experience the world in a way that doesn't overwhelm them or make them overly uncomfortable.
  • There might be days when your African grey simply does not want to be messed around with. You can spot this by the way its feathers are puffed up and by its overly aggressive nature. On a day like that, respect your bird and wait for it to come around another day.

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