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eclimber, Avian Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 1388
Experience:  Veterinarian and long time bird owner
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Just purchased what turned out to be an unsocialized jenday

Customer Question

Just purchased what turned out to be an unsocialized jenday conure. Working slowly toward touching him, and he is in a large cage with several toys. He has been normally active, but now appears to be sleeping sitting up. He also likes to bite; though his bites are getting less intense, he has laid my thumb open. His appearance is that of an adult as all his colors are in and he wears a silver leg band. He is allowed out of his cage and up on top and when he is startled and flys off he always returns to his cage. Will he ever stop biting us and be the cute and cuddly jenday we thought we were getting?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  eclimber replied 2 years ago.
Hi there, this is Dr. Elaine.
I'll do my best to help you.
If this is a young bird, he will be easier to hand tame than an older one.
That said, it is still very possible to get him used to handling, although if he was not a hand-fed baby (i.e. if his bird-parents raised him) he may not become as "cuddly" as some. Jenday and Sun conures are popular in many pet stores, and while friendly, can be a bit high strung to begin with, and often require great time and patience to gain their trust and alleviate their fear with a very gentle quiet approach.
1st of all, I would have his wings clipped by a professional, first ensuring he cannot endanger himself by flying accidentally into windows, ceiling fans, and other household hazards. Cats/dogs should be an obvious no-no as far as access.
While you can get mixed opinions about wing clipping, most professionals recommend it for non-aviary birds as both a safety and training-aid issue. See the following link:
There are many websites devoted to the taming of parrots, and others devoted to training/teaching tricks. One of the best I have seen that gives a commonsense and thorough discussion is the following, and you don't have to but anything:
I prefer not to use gloves to protect my hand, but if you have a bird that is really biting hard, then a small towel is a good tool to start with, allowing you to retrieve him from the cage without injuring him. Depending on how hard it is to get him out you may first want to remove perches and lower the lights in the room.
Take him into an area away from his cage for your sessions with him, and remember to end each session on a positive note--i.e. don't use the cage as a time-out for biting you. Feeding him AFTER you train is a good idea so that the association with going back into the cage is positive--remember, after a while he will like staying out and not want to go back in.
Stick to as consistent a schedule as possible, especially early on. Also, remember that when encouraging him to learn to step up, make sure he is well below your eye level.
Conures love to hide--I had a Patagonian conure for 20 years who loved a small paper lunch bag in the bottom of her cage. She could sleep and play in it, it was inexpensive, she could tear it up (they love to do that) and I could simply replace it when soiled. She was wild and dangerous when I got her and had a deformed leg, but over time, with patience and a gentle hand, became (to me, at least) a loving and comical friend.
Check out the sites I have suggested, and let me know if I can answer anything else. Most of all, have fun, be patient, and stay calm/positive.
Dr. Elaine