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I brought a well socialized handfed cheek conure yesterday…

Hello! I brought a well...
Hello! I brought a well socialized handfed green cheek conure yesterday and he took to me very quickly (stepping up, accepting food, wanting attention, grooming me, etc.) and I wanted to get some advice. I will be having his beak and nails trimmed as they are very long at the moment. In the meantime though, as sweet as he is to try to preen me, the back of my neck and back of my hands are getting a little raw. He sometimes will bite too hard which I then discourage by shaking my hand side to side until he stops or put him down and walk away. Is there more that I can do? Am I missing something? He didn't even take an adjustment period when he got her, he was ready to interact with all of us like he knew us for a long time. I'm just having to deal with tenderness on my skin right now. Thank you!
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Answered in 2 hours by:
1/19/2018
Joan
Joan, Vet. Tech.
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 19,835
Experience: Vet Tech
Verified

Hello,

My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 35+ years and I would like to assist you.

Congratulation on your new Conure. They are great Pets. I understand that he is very loving to the point of irritating the skin.

We need to be cautious when using anything with birds, since they are highly susceptable to toxic products like creams and lotions.

There is a product that you can use that is safe for birds and will help stop the rough grooming and chewing in unwanted places. It is called Grannick's Bitter Apple. it comes in a cream and a pump spray. I would not use it on the broken skin, but where she wants to chew and the skin is not broken. THe bitter Apple as it says has a bitter flavor and once tasted he should not continue to go after the area. It the finer wave does not work, the Bitter Apple should. It is also good for wires and other items you do not want chewed up.

This is the Grannick's Bitter Apple: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/grannicks-bitter-apple

I would also like to just remind you not to use Aerosols, Teflon and Coated Fry pans and potpoirri or essential oils around your conue. All can adversely affect or kill him.

I am sure your new boy will settle in and bring you many years of happiness.

Please let me know if you have question or concerns about the information I supplied.

Joan

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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7,879
Experience: Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
Verified

My name is***** and I'm a Certified Avian Specialist and owner of N.CA Parrot Rescue&Rehab. When a new bird like your super smart conure comes into a new environment there's what's called a "honeymoon period". This is a time when the bird does a lot of observing, a lot of testing of boundaries and often decides just who is his favorite person and who he can get away with things with.

You're on the right track with discouraging the biting, but let's try less shaking (which could be construed as 'fun' by the bird) and more of the 'ignoring'. When he bites, as hard as it might be, stay calm and try not to even change the expression on your face. THAT can also be considered 'fun' for a bird. Firmly, but never with a yell or loud voice, tell him "No biting". Simple, two words. Then remove him from your area, put him somewhere he isn't familiar with and say, "Time out". Then, please set a timer and no more than 5 minutes later, go get him and in a very nice voice tell him his "Time out" is over and that he's a good bird, etc. as you return him to your world and either more one on one time or something fun for him in his cage or on his playstand, etc..

In case you didn't know, this bird has the cognitive abilities of a human 3-4 year old. He might not understand all your words, but he absolutely understands what you mean.

His 'time out' room could be the bathroom. A small, portable perch in there in a position of safety and always, always, always with the toilet seat down, no matter what (hard, steadfast rule) or a closet or back bedroom, etc..

Now, nails do need to be done regularly and if your bird has already flown and knows how to fly, a wing 'trim' (not a clip) should also be done. My rescue is inundated with 'found' birds that will never find their way back to heartsick owners and it's tragic. And once is all it takes.

A 'trim' still allows him some flight, just not any actual lift or great distance. Make sure the vet knows birds and knows what a 'trim' is.

You'll have this down in no time. It's early so don't feel bad about the little bites happening, your bird has no ill will. And given that I get bit ALLLLL the time by the frightened new birds unceremoniously surrendered to me, I recommend a nice cold pack and an antiseptic spray with a numbing agent, like Bactine and such.

Let me know how it goes ok?

August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7,879
Experience: Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
Verified
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