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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please say yes...

Bean will be 4 months old as of May 9th. He still loves attention, but the problem is putting him back :eek: whenever I try to get him off of my shoulder, his favorite spot, he will bite my finger HARD :( it's frustrating because sometimes I have things I need to get to that he can't be around (like when I'm making dinner in the kitchen) but he isn't being nice about it. He was also very bitey today when he was on me after work, he started off snuggling but then was biting at my neck and chine (and not just trying to bit off my freckles like he usually does). Just not used to this as I never had this issue with the others as babies. I know lovebirds are an entirely different species, but if anyone could tell me if they went through the same thing when their lovies were young, and around when they started to calm down the the biting (hopefully they did!) I would love to hear about it :)
 

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There really is a steeper curve in the learning process when it comes to a first time lovebird owner. They may be smallish birds but they do possess the brains and attitude of the bigger parrots.
To me it seems Bean is testing the boundaries and figuring out whether he can get away with his mischievousness or not. It's also clear he loves to spend time with you.
There are a few things you can do to correct the behaviour. Communication is important. When you are about to put him back in the cage or place him in his play area verbalize in a very calm and soothing way what you are going to do, soon he will pick up the meaning and be okay with it.
Also when you see he is about to lunge at you with his beak, you can also say a firm and authoritative "NO" or "Stop it". Lovebirds pick up and understand quite well the intonation in our voices, so we can play with that to our advantage.

When it comes to baby lovebirds, I have only had two clutches, so my experience is limited. The first time I had 3 parent raised chicks of which I only kept one, my boy Lotas.
Like with most pet birds, Lotas sometimes does bite to prove his point or to let me know he is not happy with something. It wouldn't be realistic to think a bird would never bite, even budgies bite occasionally.

Young lovebirds do go through a little biting phase and it does get better with time if we are able to deal with the issue the right way.
I wouldn't say Lotas and his clutch siblings were difficult to deal with when they bit me. In fact they hardly did so when they were small chicks.
I'd say for Lotas the biting stage started at about 4 - 5 months old and it was short lived.

On the second time around, I only had one egg out of seven to hatch out and most likely the parent's frustration over this fact lead to a premature abandonment/attack of their sole chick.
With Khaleesi it was completely different, I raised him with a lot of love and never actually had any of the typical issues associated with biting while he grew up.
There is only one occasion where he feels the need to bite (and it's not a hard bite) and that is out of sheer excitement over a new toy and he wants me to give it to him so he can play with it alone for a while. He also has a way to let me know when I'm not giving him attention, for example when I'm focused while working on my laptop. He would proceed by nibbling (not biting) my hands and fingers and try to perch/walk all over them on them while I'm typing.
When I'm writing he actually perches on my pen or pencil sideways and rides along while I write, it's quite funny really. He also bites on the pen at times.


I'm sorry for the long post, I got carried away. Long story short, just like with young budgies, lovebirds also go through a biting phase when they are about to go through birdie puberty.


EDIT: I forgot to mention that just like with training, when disciplining we must do so from a place of love and not in an aggressive manner, we must show we're in charge when they go beyond the boundaries we set for them and use our words in an authoritative way.
With my Lotas I say "Lotas, Stop!" and he snaps out of the unwanted behaviour and goes back to being calm and gentle. The moment he starts to preen me, then I use the praised words in a positive, loving and encouraging way and it works like a charm and if he keeps on being loving then I will respond by giving him a couple of kisses on his chest.
 

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I agree with Ana, he is testing the boundaries and also letting you know he doesn't want to get off your shoulder. Birds respond to positive reinforcement so it's always best to reward them for what they do right rather than a negative response to the not so favourable behaviour.
I understand it sounds easier said than done however if you really tune into his body language you can take steps to prevent him going as far as biting. So we know he likes your shoulder and it's no fun going back to his house when he's already in his favourite spot. So what you can try is turn his house into a more fun environment where he will really enjoy hanging out in. Provide a variety of fresh leafy clippings from trees in the area (non poisonous of course) and hang them around the inside of his cage. Also a foraging pit such as a tray filled with cat litter (again the safe gravel/pellet kind) sprinkled with some budgie mix just to make it interesting, and plenty if shredding toys. Also, reward him with his favourite treat just for stepping off your shoulder and another for going into his house. I had a behavioural specialist in to help me with Noah my kakariki for similar behaviour and all these small tricks helped tremendously. She also advised us to always keep one perch right next to the door of the cage to assist with this learning curve and forever more. Now Noah knows to sit and wait on his perch next to the door before I open it and he is rewarded with a seed the second he steps out onto my hand. The same going back in. Whereas Noah does not enjoy going back into his house (and makes it known) he is such a good boy and always without fail comes when I stand at the door of his cage with a seed and he flies over and jumps onto his perch and waits for his seed. Once I close the door he starts foraging or chewing or bathing or whatever and forgets all about how he didn't really want to go back in.
I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both! :) I have been saying "Ow" firmly, like a "no" command when he bites my finger like that and I try not to take my finger away because I don't want him learning that if he bites he can get his way. I have a shorter perch attached to the large door of his cage that swings out so one time yesterday I was able to kind of duck my shoulder under the perch and have him step onto that, then shut the cage door. I am going to start incorporating treats into his commands and see how well he responds to that as well. I have been praising him with a "good boy!" When he does step on my finger nicely. It's funny how they can go from being so snuggly to "in a mood" very quickly! He does like when I talk to him, but he also likes to preen my lips so I'm trying to discourage that as well, I don't want him getting in my mouth at all lol it's definitely a learning curve over here!
 
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