My ringneck parakeets are biting me one day after I bought them – help

A pair of Rose-ringed Parakeets perched on a bird bath on a rooftop in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
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You may have noticed the “live help” tab at the bottom of the site coming on now and then: Here’s a “fly on the wall” look

Chatting with Guest (Egypt)

Mitch: Hello, how can I help?

Visitor: I brought 2 Indian parrots 6 months old yesterday.

Visitor: Yesterday they were nice but today they tend to bite so hard.

Mitch: Birds use their beaks to communicate – unless you had them surgically sexed or DNA tested you will not know the sex until about 18 months when a male ringneck’s ring will come in feather by feather. {note by Catherine: When I had my Indian Ringneck baby his ring started to come in at about 11 months old. The first feather was bright orange against his yellow feathers and it was beautiful. It was complete by 18 months old.}

My first guess is that day one they were a little off balance by the new surroundings but the birds have bonded to each other and you are now a threat to their relationship thus the bites.

I would encourage you to work with the birds individually using clicker training and let me grab a couple of videos for you

Mitch: clicker training. 

Mitch: stick training. 

Mitch: Can I answer any other questions?

Visitor: No thanks.

Mitch: Have a remarkable day.

Speaking of ringnecks

Joy M replied:

True! The people toys or food are always best. Whenever I give Bird a blackberry or chunk of sweet potato or something, I carry it over to his cage on my plate so he thinks he’s getting some of my food.

Sometimes when my Goffin is unsure about a new toy, I’ll put it in my mouth like I’m chewing it and let him steal it while I “try” to get it back. He’ll run back to his playing spot and play with it. What was minutes ago scary becomes his treasured loot.

{Note from Catherine: Please don’t put food or toys in your mouth and then let the bird have them, our saliva is toxic to birds and they are just too precious}

Feb 14, 10:50am

Joy

Years ago my Indian Ringneck Sunshine found that if he stepped on one of the buttons on the phone that he would get a dial tone and then a recorded operator message saying to hang up and try again, well he LOVED that and it became his. It became rough after awhile as in doing that, the phone then would go dead and we would miss calls and he started to bite of you got near it.

We tried covering the phone but that didn’t fool him. I eventually had to move the phone across the room out of sight and replaced it with a toy phone. The toy phone did not interest him, but the problem went away.

Another time the same bird decided that the FAX machine was his too and bit anyone trying to get their FAX. He would stuff his toy into the feed and get it jammed too. Eventually a hunk of cardboard wedged to hide it helped.

They just want to play with our toys.

It would be easier to just take out all the electrical parts from an old remote or cell phone and let them have the shell.

LOL.

I’ll bet that would be a big hit!

Feb 13, 4:23pm

Correct – we are looking into a couple of bird safe cellphones – no electronics, glass or batteries something a toddler would be safe with.

Yes, we have a lot of discussions about, “don’t bite that. It’s not yours.” He can see it so how can it not be his? 😉

That’s really cool thank you – he bites the phone because he wants to play with your toys:-)

Feb 9, 10:55am

Here you go. Couldn’t get an action shot of him doing his over the shoulder trick because he either had his butt pointed at me or was distracted by the phone and stopped what he was doing to check it out. He bites phones. ☹

I got a bottle of assorted buttons at the fabric store. My Goffin cockatoo loves them as foot toys. He plays with them with his tongue, does over the back tricks, and on ones with big holes, he pulls my shirt through the holes as far as he can get it. Fun!

Sounds fun Joy – would love to see some pics

Java Wood BIrd Play Stand for a Cockatiel

Looking at AE Java Wood Small 500S tabletop play stand to encourage my cockatiel to not be a velcro bird when she’s out with me. Would this one be a good fit? Hesitant to purchase this one without knowing what the actual stand looks like. Appreciate any advice.

Dear Wanita

A&E does have pictures of the exact stand found here. It’s too labor intense to always keep inventory synchronized with them but if you see a particular java bird play stand you like we could verify it’s stock status and place a hold on it for you

As far as the cockatiel staying on the stand or any stand, that is between you and your bird.

Is the tiel clipped? If so, then it should be more likely to stay seated on a stand than if it is fully flighted as a flighted bird can just turn around and fly away without giving the new stand a chance.

We find it is important to have a play stand in every room that the birds goes into with or without you. (Although we never allow a bird to fly into another room alone if we are not following it and will go retrieve it).

When you carry in the bird and set it on a chair or something and they chew it up, whose fault is it? It is not the birds, as you put it there.

Even though our bird may be flighted, by having its own stand or spare cage, etc that is theirs, they are more likely to land there then on something else once they realize it is theirs.

When I would walk into another room with my bird on my shoulder I would feel the bird leaning once they see their stand because they know that is where they are going. They can play there without being told not to do something.

You may need to bribe the bird into using the stand at first. I find tying a piece of spray millet to it helps a lot.

Mitchr & Catherine,

Thank you so much for your reply and advice. I think I will go ahead and order the play stand and be surprised!

Emma is our first bird, we got her for my husband when I took a job with long hours. Well, you know how it goes, she likes my husband but she prefers me. She’s a sweetheart and we’ve bonded well. She’s pretty good at getting me to do what she wants to do, but we’ve worked out a routine that we’re both comfortable with.

Her wings aren’t clipped currently but generally I have them clipped once a year when she gets hormonal and a bit bossy. Her cage is in an area off the kitchen.

The problem we encountered in the first year or two was whenever she was out with us and something spooked her to fly, she would just take off and crash into a large window. Spent thousands of dollars in window coverings, but have more glass up high that we can’t cover.

We have a lot of open space and lots of glass. We had a couple of scary visits to the avian vet so I am hesitant to leave her out of her cage in that area.

What works now is to carry her on my arm from her cage to a smaller room with a door, and she’s quite comfortable there. She could benefit from another play area in that room, right now I’m her play gym.

Love your blog and website. You guys always have such great info.

Wanita L

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