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Old 05-31-2015, 01:49 AM
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Default Budgie Bites Because Of Foolish Friend

Sorry I've asking so many questions today, I can't help it. My sister has a budgie, the first one in the house, and he was really good when we first got him. We could pet him and he wouldn't care. Then a friend came to our house, I said, "Don't touch the budgie until it's tame." And walked out of the room. Then I came back to see a horrifying sight. Our friend was sticking her hand in the cage and grabbed Joey and said, "Awww... He likes me." as the bird screeched in terror. Poor thing. Now, since that, Joey bites really hard. My sister is now afraid to put her hand is the cage. The biting doesn't bother me, mostly. What advice do you have?

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Old 05-31-2015, 02:24 AM
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Oh dear what a terrible thing to happen, your friend should not have done that!!
How long ago did that happen?
It is possible to reverse the behaviour but it will take time. Go back to the start and take it slow. Sit and talk to the budgie and build up the trust.
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:17 AM
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All behaviour modification starts from understanding what the problem is.

You clearly know what the root cause is, but unfortunately every single time since then that she's bitten you and made you go away has reinforced that as an acceptable method of getting what she wants - which is you to leave her alone.

Give her a different way to express her desires, and start on building a relationship where she wants to be around you, because you are the bringer of awesome treats and good experiences. We have to make ourselves interesting to them.

So, first: what does she do when a hand goes in the cage? Does she aggressively hunt you down, or is it only when you get closer to her that she bites?

If she's not already been introduced to spray millet, that would be a good place to start. Hang some up near the top perch and see whether she will eat it. Once they know what it is, this stuff is like catnip for many budgies, and it makes a great reward.

The next step is to clip it on the side of the cage, with the tail poking out. The idea is that once she's interested and eating, you can bring the hand outside the cage towards the millet, aiming to touch the millet while the bird eats. Observe. If she looks like she's going to step away, pause your hand at that distance for a few seconds, praise her and then, here's the important bit: take your hand away. Try as hard as you can not to push her past that point.

By taking your hand away while she is settled, she gets two rewards: food and your hand going away. The behaviour she does to do this is not biting, but being settled at her food.

The aim here is to over time be able to hand feed her millet from outside the cage. You want to break the cycle of negative interactions with the hand. The next step is hand feeding inside the cage.. Then I would be getting my clicker out and going from there. You could alternatively use a lure method with a view to step up.

Biting is tricky to deal with, but with good positive reinforcement and presenting alternative experiences it's possible to deal with. Thank goodness there are many rescue parrots that are evidence of this.
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:01 AM
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Massive lesson here in responsibility for our birds. I would never leave them with a stranger unsupervised, and if young children are visiting your home you need to watch them like hawks! I too have learned this from bitter experience. Tots can be a real problem, because they are fascinated by the colourful budgie toys and want to play with them. Result: if you're not there it will often be hand in the cage causing all kinds of mayhem.

Even adults sometimes can be just plain ignorant - our birds rely on us and we must protect them. We must never be too embarrassed to say "No, please get away from the cage" and physically intervene if neccessary.

I think a very tame bird will usually recover from an alien incursion and keep its trust with you - but prevention is of course far better than cure. In fact essential!!

I am sure if you follow that very good advice already posted your budgie will get back to business as usual - could take time though!
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Old 05-31-2015, 07:58 AM
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Budgies are forgiving, it is unfortunate that this has happened and you have leaned a huge lesson as well. You are responsible for your budgies safety at all times, it is a big task for younger members to keep to.
take things slowly and calmly, build the trust once more and with patience and kindness the trust will return.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niamhf View Post
Oh dear what a terrible thing to happen, your friend should not have done that!!
How long ago did that happen?
It is possible to reverse the behaviour but it will take time. Go back to the start and take it slow. Sit and talk to the budgie and build up the trust.
It happened two or three months ago. My sister was in the room with our friend. She has trouble saying no. :/
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiki View Post
So, first: what does she do when a hand goes in the cage? Does she aggressively hunt you down, or is it only when you get closer to her that she bites?
He hunts us down yes. Even when my hand is outside of the cage he tries to bite or acts like he wants to.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for all the advice everyone. I will tell my sister as soon as she wakes up.
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