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Taha

A very well trained and friendly AGC just started biting. Badly.

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Hi everyone. I have been quite an old member of this forum. So is my African grey congo. A bit back story. He was 4 months old when i got him. I trained him and foreaged him day and night. He got attached with me quite well and was very playful. Never bited. Never. But since my university started my time spending with him got less and less as the semesters passed with now having very little interaction per day. I do sit with him and talk with him but inside his cage. Though his cage is not a small cage its a big cage with countless amount of toys and ropes and foreaging tools to keep him busy. He is a very happy bird. Other family member spend time with him alot infact the entire day Rockey (the AGC) has someone talking to him and vocalizing with him. But to the latest case since around few months ago he started biting. I tried to discourage him as much as i can but he some how has started to bite harder. I have had really bad bleeding bites since last few interactions. But the bites are not that he is angry. He bites to pull my hand. As if he wants me to play with him and pet him. He bites as if he doesnt want my hand to go away. I want to do that i want to play with him but he is somehow showing a wrong type of affection that he bites me to stay with him. I have a lot of experience with birds. I also home a very well trained Alexandrine parakeet and a cockatiel along with Rockey the AGC. Now my question to you bird owners is that what technique or type of interaction/training should i follow for him to not bite me. He wants me to play with him and i want to as well but when ever i bring my hand close to him he bites and pulls my hand. He used to do that earlier when he was young but it was just nibbling which is a normal way of affection for african grey's but i used to discourage him of nibbling as well. I am very worried how to interact with him. He bites usually when he is on his cage (a full perched play zone outside/on top of his cage). He always comes to the cornes and then bites my hand and doesnt let go. Like playing aggressivley. Please guide me what should i do. I am very worried. I really love him but due to my university i am trying really hard to give him as much time as possible. 

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Hello Taha,

It's likely due in part to your increasing time away from him. They are very much into routine, and it sounds like your routine with him has understandably changed.

I'm not an expert in biting, other than that I try to avoid doing anything that could elicit a bite. If my birds do bite me, I yelp, give them the stink eye, and say 'no biting'. I then put them on a perch and ignore them for a bit.

Is he bonding more to someone else in your household now that you aren't around as much? Also, how old is he now? Could he be going through a hormonal stage?

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Thanks for the reply. Attachment to all family members is probably equal other than me because i used to stay with him day and night. All others react equally throughout the day. Please tell me more about the hormonal stage. He is around 2 and half years of age. Could that be the cause of biting? Because another activity of him i have been noticing since few months is that he regurgitates a lot when he is out playing. any kind of head or belly rub instantly triggers him to regurgitate. Could this be related to the biting?

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He is of the age where they do go through a stage.  It's like having a little teenager that has partially lost their mind.  My girl got really bitey and stubborn around that age.  She has settled down but still has her moments (a lot).  She's 7 years old.

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thanks for the reply. That might be the reason. Then i should slowly discourage him and let the stage pass by as he grows. 

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I agree. 2-3 years of age is a bratty age. Hang in there. He will become better with age!

Regurgitation is a sign of affection, too.

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I would think it might be a mix of hormones based on the age and change of routine.
Is he getting any time out of the cage regularly? I know you said you have family who socialise with him but do they let him out? Birds don't do well if they are cooped up all the time... despite how many toys they might have to play with. They need mental simulation and lots of it - plus they need the time and space to exercise and explore.
I went through a similar problem years back. Changes in my life meant I had less time to let Alfie out of his cage as much as he needed and that meant that some of the bond and trust broke down between us. I was wary in case he bit me and he probably bit me because he was struggling with the changes in routine and the fact he wasn't getting enough exerciseand attention. I had to make changes to my routine to improve things for him as I wasn't giving him the best life I could. I actually considered rehoming him for a while as I didn't think I was a good enough owner. I'm pleased to say that I decided to change my routine and habits and was able to make a lot of changes that revolved around Alfie's best interests and he's still living with me.

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Thanks for the reply. Yes the biting issue could be a mix of both. That's why i am rescheduling my time according to Rockey now. I am trying the give him time everyday. Hope he gets better. He has been quite friendly since yesterday. Trying to give him more time everyday out of his cage. 

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Hi everyone. Hope you all are doing great. Things are getting out of hands at my side. Due to university and such a hectic schedule i am really worried about my bird. Recently after my last post i had to leave for a university internship program for a month. Rockey was at home with all of my family members taking care of him everyday and playing with him at all times. I just returned home and went to greet Rockey but as soon as i opened the cage he came running out as if he missed me but the situation was completely different. He actually came out to bite me, a really nasty one. No matter what i do he is constantly attacking me as if he doesn't recognize me. I managed to take him out from the cage and tried to play with him but he doesn't seem to be interested to play with me. He is just roaming around the house. When i go close to him he instantly attacks me with nasty bites. I cant seem to understand if he doesn't recognize me or he is angry with me. Please help me with steps i should follow to get along with me again. He isn't acting like this with anyone else. Only me. Seems as if he's angry at me. 

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He probably is a little upset with you as you were gone for a month, some greys react to absences like that, they are trying to let you know you did a bad thing in his eyes by leaving him but it won't last. It kind of sounds like you don't have much time to spend with him and that is not good for him, he needs to know you are there for him some every day. You may be expecting too much from him right now, I think you need to work on your relationship more to earn his trust. Greys are slow to trust and it takes plenty of time and lots of patience on your part as it won't happen overnight. Don't push him for more than he is willing to give, let him make the first more toward more personal interaction with you, talk to him a lot and offer him treats. Another thing to mention, have you changed anything about your appearance lately that may be making him seem as if he doesn't recognize you,  with my grey if I put color on my fingernails she doesn't want anything to do with my hands, they notice subtle changes that you may not even be aware of.

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Sounds like he's is mad at you. When I'm gone, even for a couple of days, Timber gives me the cold shoulder. He will literally turn his head like he won't look at me. They have very long memories, so you can be assured he hasn't forgotten you.

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Thank you for the replies. Really appreciate all your efforts in helping this community. Yes he seems to be mad at me going away for a month and even before that i was unable to give him much time even though my family was always playing with him but he was attached to me the most that's why he is mad at me. I have made drastic changes to my schedule and now no matter what i will be giving time to Rockey like i used to, every day. I have started to interact with him by vocalizing but not trying to approach him as trying to bring my hand close to him immediately triggers him to snap at me. But i am now following positive reinforcements by giving him his favorite treat (almonds) if he lets me touch his beak and even let me pet him. If he tries to snap at me i say the word "no" and he doesn't get rewarded with a treat. I really hope he doesn't stay mad for long as i really miss our interactions and our close bond. He used to be a really cuddly bird around me. 

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Just take things very slowly and let him call the touching shots. I'm confident that he'll come around again. 

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There is the possibility that he bonded to someone else in your family over time as well. They can sometimes change who their 'favourite' person is.
Alfie favours my housemate. He's fine with me but he will actively seek my housemate out when he's in the room, he will check on what my housemate is doing, he learns words and phrases really quickly from my housemate but ignores most of what I say etc.

I think you're doing the right things - just by backing off and letting him come to you is probably the best bet right now. He will get over his grump and interact with you more as time goes on. they can be a little change adverse at times so it may be the changes in routine and the fact you were gone for a while has put him in a bad mood. But he will come round- just give him time and keep doing what you're doing. If he goes to bite (or does bite) just back off and leave him be. He will soon let you know when you are worthy of giving him scritches again! 😂

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the replies and restoring my confidence that i am moving in the right direction. Im seeing progress since yesterday. He is allowing me to give him a long session of scratchiess but from him being inside the cage. I am not taking fast steps and directly approaching him by opening the cage and taking my hand to him. Last time i did that, caused me a bleeding wound on both my hands. But this is progress that he is allowing me to give him scratchies by him being inside the cage. Hope to progress more, slowly. 

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Hi everyone. Hope you all are doing great. Its been almost more than a month since my last post. i have been worried recently. since then there was some progress that Rockey was allowing me to pet him through the cage and even allowing me pet him a few times when he was outside the cage playing as well (yes this was a huge success). But since a few days he has again gone mad on me for no reason. just recently i got really sad when he showed anger towards our favorite activity we used to do which was eating apples together. Just as of today i tried feeding him his favorite fruit (apple) and he showed anger towards the fruit and it seemed as if he was fighting the apple to reach my hand and bite me. i cant seem to understand what the reason might be as its been almost 2 months since the last time i posted on this forum and since then i have been giving him time and love on daily basis to make progress. Appreciating positive feedback with his favorite treat and giving him as many scratchieesss he allows me through the cage. Please guide me if i am doing something wrong or should i be more patient? I get really sad as we used to be really great buddies and i know due to me giving him less time he got mad at the first place. but since then i am making every effort to make him my buddy again. hope he forgives me and gets along with me soon. 

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Let him be your guide as to what he wants/doesn't want. Birds don't feel emotions as we do, so anger isn't what's going on. If a bird feels uncomfortable or threatened, they will show its displeasure or discomfort. 

I don't recall how old your bird is, but most of my 13 are going through hormonal stages at the moment. Oh, just read back and see that he's around 2 or 3. Let me tell you that my oldest CAG was an absolute monster during that age bracket. He did grow out of it, but I think it was around a year before harmony again! Hang in there and don't push him. Let him guide you, as it's all about them. LOL!

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Thank you soo much for the reply. Cant wait for him to be back to his playful self. I really loved taking him out in the garden and spending quality time with him. I really hope this is all due to the age bracket. Although he is quite attached to another member of my family as he plays along really well with them (though i was the one he was most attached to before). You mentioned that parrots dont feel emotions as we humans do then why is the anger only with me among all the family members at home? For some members he is quite playful. For others, he is neutral. But for me, he shows aggressiveness. 

Although now there have been quite a lot of progress that he allows me to pet him outside the cage 1 out of 5 times. Im letting him adjust on his own pace. He lovee scratchiesss from me through the cage. Trying all the positive gestures. Hoping for the best. 

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I appreciate how tough this is. I have just been through a rough spell with my 16 year old AG Alfie.

He didn't want to know me and wouldn't even come to me or sit on my knee when out of the cage. He was starting to show some signs of aggression if I put my hands in his cage (he never used to do that) and if I asked him to step up to my hand I'd more often or not get ignored or bitten. So I have given him lots of time and space to figure things out. He seems to be coming back around. Yesterday he came and sat with me on the sofa for ages. Whilst I didn't get to give him scritches this was a big step forward seeing as he would actively ignore/avoid me before that. On the other hand- he LOVES my housemate and will let him give him scritches every day. It's very difficult not to feel a little bit jealous and upset about the change in dynamic but I just had to roll with it.

They can be contrary little buggers at time but we love them anyway. 😂

Just stay calm and patient with him. He might come around eventually or he might favour someone else in your household. You can't predict it and often can't change it. they do seem to go through a lot of changes around that age where behaviours and temperament can change. Just keep going. Don't force the issue- let him lead. He'll let you know what he wants and when!

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Thank you for the reply. It is really tough to have our buddies show aggressiveness towards us. Trying my best and not giving up until rockey comes running back to me for a session full of scratchies instead of bitting. I really hope that time comes soon. 

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Yes it is tough. And it's very difficult not to take it personally. Unfortunately it is just a case of rolling with it and hoping they come round.

 

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