Sudden developement of biting - help!

Hello everyone,I have a GCC who, until a few months ago, adored everyone in the family. Then, seemingly overnight, she decided that, while she still adored my husband and I, she now didn’t like either my son, daughter or my mother.My gut feeling is that she has decided that her rank in our family unit is below my husband and I but above everyone else. Her biting isn’t caused by fear as, this morning, she flew to my daughter because she had a glass of orange juice and wanted some.My daughter especially is so upset by Sparky’s (our GCC) change of attitute toward her. She loves Sparky and would love to be able to pet her again.Furthermore, she is fine with any visitors that come through our door. She shows off and likes to be held, only nipping if she isn’t quite sure of them yet and they try to pet her.Is there anything I can do to rebuild Sparky’s relationship with my mother and children? Or teach her that her rank is not above anyone else’s?Thank you in advance for any advice you have!K~

I don’t have a GCC but the same thing happens in cockatiels. Depending on the GCC’s age I would hazard a guess this is puberty settling in. If it is that, its something you are going to have to ride out. I think Marie83 and a few others on this forum would be bale to discuss this with you further.If not it could be an emerging habit but you mention this came on quickly rather than gradually. There is always the chance that your bird doesn’t want to be touched for some reason due to pain or illness but from what you described I feel this is highly unlikely.The important thing at this stage is not to react to the bites. I know that’s difficult because they really really hurt but if you simply ignore the bites as much as possible she may stop. Often birds bite because they get a reaction from it. Also don’t put her back in the cage if she bites ( I don’t know if this is something you do) because this enforces the behaviour. Everytime she wants to go back in the cage she will bite if this habit is enforced.Like I said many other people would have a better idea than me but that would be my gut feeling.

Thank you for your reply. We don’t put her back in her cage when she bites, but sometimes we do exclaim loudly that she’s ‘naughty’ or say something to that effect. It’s possible she enjoys this reaction from us, and could be one of the contributing factors. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Hi, yes sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this is indeed what green cheek conures do.Mainly this is probably to do with sexual maturity or breeding seasons but without knowing more details I cant say this is definitely it.I dont believe in ranks/height dominance etc with birds, its more to do with who is the favorite person and how people react to the bites and generally behave around the bird.Now for the good news, you can get your sweet cuddly bird back but its going to take time and patience to ride out the storm. It also means you need to show a non-reaction to any upsetting behaviours such as the biting, any reaction at all can re-inforce the biting and make a temporary problem one that never goes away.Everyone handling the bird needs to know not to yell or tell the bird “no” “bad bird” or anything elsethey need to know not to jump away from a bite, if the bird latches on though they can use their hand to remove the birds beak though. Ollie used to bite and really chomp down hard and chew…Also once the green cheeks go off on one they tend to chase anything that moves so whilst your trying to stop him/her biting one hand the other hand is suddenly the target, so if he gets super agressive like that with his tail all fanned out etc then just tip him off you gently and walk away, if he flies after you, tip him off again (do not do the tipping if he is a nervous bird, it can make things worse). Occassionally a Green cheek will bite because it doesn’t like what you are doing and wants to be left alone, its up to you to get familiar enough with his body language to identify when your green cheeks getting uncomfortable and back off before it bites.I can assure you that things will get better but like I said you need time, patience and quite possibly a bit of blood loss before things will improve. Always act confident, these guys can sense nervousness or upset. You also really need to pay close attention to body language, it takes a while to learn as these guys appear to change moods in a split second but they do give subtle warning signs and it will soon become second nature.If you have any questions feel free to ask

Oh just to add, I’m not sure how old your daughter is but it is important for her to realise its not her fault, nor is it because the bird doesn’t like her. Her pet is probably hormonal and lashing out because it is not being listened to, like I said before the warning signs are there but they are very subtle with green cheeks compared with some other species. You can make comparisons to explain to her with a toddler having a temper tantrum or a teenager having a paddy because of her hormones, explain to her the bird doesn’t have morals and a sense of right and wrong like people do so its not the birds fault either. It may be of benefit to get your daughter involved with more hands off aspect of care for the bird such as target training, it will help keep their bond whilst reducing close enough contact for her to get bitten.By the way I would also like to add that birds will always choose a favorite person, unfortunately its often the person us people dont want it to be. The good news with green cheeks is they are less of a one person bird than most species and with enough work on estabilishing a bond they will switch loyalties. My GCC has gone from me, to my partner, to 50/50 ish, back to me and then its currently around 50/50ish at the moment.

Thank you for your comprehensive reply - it’s good to know there could be light at the end of the tunnel! As for Sparky’s age, we think she is around 3 and a half.The only time she seems to get tail-fanned-out crazy is when she’s on the counter-top and I open the drawer to get out a bin liner. Then she absolutely positively has to kill it and charges along ofter it, beak open, looking like a shuttlecock with legs I’ve passed on what you suggested about behaving confidently to my daughter as, understandably, she has started to shy away, frightened, when Sparky attempts to bite her. But thank you again - it’s good to have some stratagies up our sleeves and it’s also good to have some understanding.Best wishes,K~

I will feel your pain soon! Lol my bird will be five months old on two days. I have a bit of time before hormones kick in. BUT we are having the same issues as you. I have a ten year old step son and a 19 year old step daughter. Our GCC has decided that it would rather be with my husband and I more then the kids or visitors. In fact, I got a pretty good bite the other day trying to hand off the bird to someone else. Not only did it bite the other person, but it bit me too so it could let me know it was not happy.You already got a lot of really great advice! Especially about your daughter’s feelings because that’s important too. We have had many talks with my step son about this. It’s hard when you are young. All of a sudden the bird is not your lovable friend anymore and you don’t understand why. This is the reason why I took my step son to vet with me and we talked about it. She was also able to reinforce how to approach the bird softly. He hears it from us, but it was still a nice teachable moment at the vet and I think it made him feel better and try harder to slow down his movements a touch. The vet gave me all the advice above, but she also added something I had to read about before. Every bird has its favorite treat. To get the bird more socialized, the favorite person or people should stop giving the bird’s favorite treats. People who are visitors and not the favorites at the moment, should give the favorite treats. This way the bird will think that going to strangers or the kids is a positive thing too. It’s helped a lot this week! Once our step son has given a few treats…the bird goes willingly and has even taken to jumping off my hand and walking over to my step son on the couch…not for treats…just to play and get head scratches! But this may not work if the bird is having raging hormones! There is a lot of information on that on this site. Stuff about changing the daylight hours etc. Or just waiting it out. My vet also said to come up with a command. We use “soft,” but this is mostly for play or exploration bites. It’s worked great so far. The bird totally stops what it’s doing or is more gental. But I hope you check back! I would love to see what worked for you. It will help me sometime down the road.

Khaledra wrote:The only time she seems to get tail-fanned-out crazy is when she’s on the counter-top and I open the drawer to get out a bin liner. Then she absolutely positively has to kill it and charges along ofter it, beak open, looking like a shuttlecock with legs K~Oh my god, I nearly died laughing at your description lol, shuttlecock with legs!!! your so right…

marie83 wrote:Hi, yes sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this is indeed what green cheek conures do.Mainly this is probably to do with sexual maturity or breeding seasons but without knowing more details I cant say this is definitely it.I dont believe in ranks/height dominance etc with birds, its more to do with who is the favorite person and how people react to the bites and generally behave around the bird.Now for the good news, you can get your sweet cuddly bird back but its going to take time and patience to ride out the storm. It also means you need to show a non-reaction to any upsetting behaviours such as the biting, any reaction at all can re-inforce the biting and make a temporary problem one that never goes away.Everyone handling the bird needs to know not to yell or tell the bird “no” “bad bird” or anything elsethey need to know not to jump away from a bite, if the bird latches on though they can use their hand to remove the birds beak though. Ollie used to bite and really chomp down hard and chew…Also once the green cheeks go off on one they tend to chase anything that moves so whilst your trying to stop him/her biting one hand the other hand is suddenly the target, so if he gets super agressive like that with his tail all fanned out etc then just tip him off you gently and walk away, if he flies after you, tip him off again (do not do the tipping if he is a nervous bird, it can make things worse). Occassionally a Green cheek will bite because it doesn’t like what you are doing and wants to be left alone, its up to you to get familiar enough with his body language to identify when your green cheeks getting uncomfortable and back off before it bites.I can assure you that things will get better but like I said you need time, patience and quite possibly a bit of blood loss before things will improve. Always act confident, these guys can sense nervousness or upset. You also really need to pay close attention to body language, it takes a while to learn as these guys appear to change moods in a split second but they do give subtle warning signs and it will soon become second nature.If you have any questions feel free to ask +1