Are you wondering what to do if a parrot bites you? Good, you are at the right place! And trust me, punishing or yelling at your bird isn’t an option.
The truth is that even if your parrot is the sweetest companion and best-behaved on earth, there is a chance you’ll get bitten at least once.
Obviously, one thing you do not want to do is to reprimand the bird as this will only reinforce that behavior.
I know it’s a natural behavior to put the bird down or try to fling the bird down when they bite, but this can be very dangerous for you and the bird.
Yelling at the bird is also not an option as that also reinforces or encourages your bird to keep biting since it will start to think that “I am are going to get some attention if I bite”
They then see biting as an attention-grabbing tool, and that is the last thing we want to teach a pet bird. We only want to reward and reinforce their good behaviors.
So, what exactly should you do if a parrot bites you!
Here is what to do if a parrot bites you.
If a parrot bites you, it’s important to first try your best to ignore the bite by not yelling or screaming, or punishing it as that will only reinforce the behavior. Then gently put it down and the walkway. You can also try to be expressive not forgetting to speak softly to your bird in the process.
Now, please read on as I explain this in greater detail.
What do I do if my parrot bites me?
Ignore the bite!
Ignoring your parrot when it bites is as easy as it sounds.
According to The Spruce Pets, simply ignoring the unwanted behavior of your bird ensures you do not reinforce or encourage the behavior by giving it any attention, so the behavior is less likely to repeat itself.
Indeed, the internet has a lot of advice, and you can find a lot of information there.
But let me tell you what doesn’t work: punishing or yelling.
Avoid hitting, shouting, grabbing its beak, or spraying your bird with water as they do not work.
This is because even though birds are very sensitive to our emotions, they do not have a sense of right or wrong, as dogs do.
Punishment can severely damage your bond with your parrot. If you hit a bird, it will become afraid of you and refuse to interact with you again. Why would it, if it believes you’ll attack it again?
Apart from that, parrots will respond to aggression with violence and will be more likely to bite as a result.
Bird bones are fragile (they have hollow bones) and if you hit them, you run a real risk of breaking their bones and severely injuring them.
If nothing else, that’ll be expensive to deal with at the vet.
So, if your bird bites, resist the urge to pull away or react.
If you can bear the pain, gently but firmly push into the bite.
You’ll only teach your parrot that biting makes you go away if you yank your body from his beak or leave the room.
Your shouting will also be seen as a reward by your bird.
Of course, you might flinch especially if your bird is very large, or if you were simply bitten by surprise.
Nonetheless, try to make the experience as unrewarding and uninteresting as possible instead for your bird.
Avoid shouting, reprimanding, or saying “No”.
Just don’t make it any more dramatic than you can help as even a quiet, firm ‘No’ can become a reward.
Gently place the parrot down on his perch or cage
If your bird bites you, it is best to put it down gently, just like when a child cries.
When you have expressed your dissatisfaction, have your bird step off of your hand and onto its cage or perch.
Spend a few minutes allowing it to reflect on what happened, then go back and play with it.
The bird should know that you are no longer upset and that it is now being a good bird.
You can try to pick it up again only after the bird has calmed down and its body language indicates that it is ready to step up calmly.
Be very expressive
You shouldn’t be afraid to frown at your bird as parrots are sensitive to facial expressions, so they can tell if your body language expresses your displeasure with their actions.
Speaking softly when your bird bite can correct their unwanted behaviors.
So, when you tell your bird that it has done something wrong, ensure you use a tone that is low, but not loud.
Keep it short, but as a “matter of fact” as possible, and you’ll be surprised at how effective it can be!
What does it mean when a parrot bites you?
When a parrot bites you, it could mean different things; it could mean that it is feeling playful, over-stimulated, frustrated, and hungry/thirsty. It could be scared or fearful as it does not trust you. It could also mean that it is tired, stressed, injured, or ill.
Here is what it means when a parrot bites you.
It does not trust you
Fear and/or distrust of humans are common reasons for biting. Baby birds love everyone and rarely bite hard.
And, by lightly chewing on your fingers, baby parrots may teethe but this is not biting that should not be punished in any way.
When a bird grows older, she recognizes some members of her family as her “flock,” and these are the ones she can trust.
She may then bite anyone she doesn’t know or trust.
It’s also possible that your bird dislikes some members of your family, including you!
One way to try to win over the parrot is to reserve special treats, (preferably their favorite food) for the un-favored individual.
It wants your attention
Parrots are intelligent creatures with an intellectual capacity smarter than the average toddler.
They can become frustrated if they don’t get enough attention, just like an overindulged two-year-old, and may bite to demand your attention.
Many parrots were hand-reared by their owner which is a wonderful way to get them started.
But this also means that some of them have grown too comfortable being around people.
Parrots are very social animals that see their owners as flock members.
So, if they don’t get enough positive attention from you, they may try other methods to grab your attention, such as biting.
It is playing and feeling over-stimulated.
For parrots, biting may sometimes not be a negative emotion at all!
When interacting with them, and they bite, this may be their way of telling you that they want to keep playing.
Although this behavior may not be ideal it’s important not to overreact as this can make future playtime difficult for both of you.
It is frustrated
When your bird bites out of frustration, he may be trying to let you know that something is wrong.
If he’s bored or frustrated, for example, all he wants might be your attention.
Yes, parrots who are confined in a small space with little or no attention may lash out.
They may also bite if something is wrong with their environment, such as a lack of enrichment activities.
It is scared
Because parrots aren’t great at expressing their feelings, you may think that they are angry when they are scared.
Some parrot may bite when terrified, but then stops and seems to fly away normally after a few hours.
This could be due to his friendly nature and desire to avoid confrontation.
It is hungry or thirsty
Some parrots can communicate their hunger or thirst by simply biting you.
This indeed signals that they want food or water so you should offer your parrot food from his bowl or a perch.
It is tired and stressed, or sick
Birds may bite when they are tired, stressed, injured, or otherwise ill.
For parrots to be fully rested, they require 10- 12 hours of quiet, undisturbed darkness as a tired bird may be cranky and uncomfortable.
Birds that are injured will bite, so be careful when handling them.
To avoid getting bitten, it is best to wrap the bird in a towel gently. This way, you can safely transport her to a carrier and take her to the vet if necessary.
A vet’s checkup might be in order if your bird is usually not nippy but suddenly nips without apparent reason.
Take your bird to the veterinarian in a carrier that is secure and allows for air to get in.
Keep the bird warm by transporting the carrier on a hot water bottle, heating pad, or other container filled with hot water.
To minimize visual stimuli, cover the carrier with a towel on at least 3 sides.
So, to safely transport your bird, remember these three key things: carrier, warmth, and darkness.
Any change in personality including becoming nippy may indicate illness as birds instinctively hide signs of illness.
Is it normal for parrots to bite me?
It is not normal or natural for parrots to bite as parrots only learn to bite when they are taught to be afraid of human hands. This means that it is unnatural for baby parrots to bite
According to PetMD, contrary to popular belief, birds do not naturally or innately bite.
Many people believe birds bite because they are “mean” or “aggressive.”
This is simply not true. Birds begin biting when they are taught to be afraid of human hands.
When birds are young, they are not afraid of human hands and can be touched all over without biting as they have not yet learned to be afraid of human hands.
This means that a baby bird is not likely to nip at a hand when a human hand reaches out to touch its head or feet.
How to stop parrot from biting
To build a healthy, affectionate relationship with your bird, you need trust, so spend a lot of time bonding with your bird.
Start by speaking to it frequently in an upbeat and affectionate tone.
Take the time to train your bird and reinforce positive behaviors.
It is not only adorable to see your parrot do tricks, but it also helps to establish trust and keep your bird from getting bored and lonely.
Trust me when you put in the time and effort, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful, bite-free relationship with your feathered friend.
Give it things to beak on
As a strategy to ensuring that your parrot does not bite, provide it with things that he can do with his mouth to keep the mouth busy.
Parrots can’t eat and bite at the same time, and neither can they shred toys and bite at the same time.
By doing this, you can provide a distraction for your bird, so that they don’t bite.
Avoiding the entire situation is far better than punishing your bird after it bites.
Should I punish my parrot for biting me?
A biting parrot has previously indicated that he does not agree with you.
Before he bites, he will have tried everything he can to make you understand that he says ‘No.’
These signs could be rapid dilation and retraction of pupils raised feathers on the neck, open tail feathers, half-opened beak, billowing, grunting, raised crest, or receding.
The truth is, we could prevent a large majority of bites if we respected the body language of our parrots from the very beginning.
Consider how we, as humans, argue with our fellow humans.
We start with a firmer tone, then frown, and then bite our lips, look away, scream, close our fists, then we fight.
So, it’s important to learn their body language so that they don’t have to resort to extreme measures such as biting.
In other words, if the parrot bites, it’s because we don’t know how to read, analyze, and respect their body language.
Each parrot is unique, and some may learn faster than others, so don’t give up if your pet’s behavior doesn’t improve immediately.
Your bird will most likely understand you sooner rather than later if you stick to your training methods.
It’s important to remember that positive reinforcement of good behavior is more important than pointing out and correcting negative behavior.
Don’t miss the opportunity to praise and reward your bird if you find it performs extremely well.
Birds respond considerably better to training methods that emphasize the positive rather than the negative.
So, with love, patience, and some little work, your pet parrot should start acting like an angel in no time!