How to Stop Amazon Parrots from Biting

A very common question, especially in families who have recently acquired a bird, and more specifically an amazon parrot, is how can I stop my amazon parrot from biting? One reason why there is more concern about says an amazon, as opposed to a cockatiel, is that the bite is a lot harder.

A parrot can really do some damage! For those new bird owners with no bird experience, but plenty of experience with children, think of your amazon as you would a toddler. Your toddler will try out something, out of curiosity for the particular thing he’s trying, or just testing to see what your reaction will be.

Yes, these birds are smart and will do just as a toddler (or teenager) will do. They’ll “experiment” and see how far they can go. Because of this, it is extremely important to shape your amazon or other bird’s behavior from the very beginning.

If you let your bird do something today, and not tomorrow, not only will this type of behavior on your part be very confusing, but it will also be a lot harder to correct. You will have to “undo” before you teach something new, instead of just jumping into training mode. For negative behaviors in birds, it is recommended to replace or redirect, as opposed to punishing, and substitution and avoidance rather than corrective.

It is easy to tell your bird NO! when he is misbehaving, but unfortunately, that does not work as well and instead, it is preferable to redirect or distract. Here are a few tips that will help in addition to the redirection:

  • Don’t let your bird come out of the cage on his own; this makes your finger entering the cage a positive thing. Your finger is a friend and he should not be his friend!
  • Playing in a playpen or on top of his cage will make him more territorial about what is his. He will protect what is his by biting, and although your finger is “friendly”, it is invading his territory when it goes in. Territoriality is a big issue and problem in biting.
  • In line with the previous tip, if you allow your bird to roam around the house, it will make your home his territory which you are only allowed to visit. The floor, table, and other areas will become something he feels he must protect and defend.
  • Having a bird on your shoulder is something most bird lovers and birds enjoy. Your amazon’s bite is strong, and your face is too close to the shoulder he is perching on. Try to use your forearm instead, and if you are sitting, your thigh or knee work best. A stand is a wonderful place for your bird to perch on and one with wheels is ideal as it can move around with you.
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