Hey Chris how do I get my bird to stop biting when I ask it to step up on my hand.
This has to be something that I hear several times a month from customers. While there is no simple answer as to why birds bite, the simple one is (in most cases) they’re not biting! We joke at the store that if there is no blood then it’s not a bite. Anyone who has been bitten by a bird knows how strong that beak can be regardless of its size. While there can be several reasons, exploratory territorial hormones to simply just I plain don’t want to right know. I thought I would offer suggestion for the last reason for biting.
The first thing to do is to learn to watch your birds body language, are the eyes pining (pupil getting smaller then growing larger). There is a reason for this, is the bird agitated excited or nervous any one of these or all of them can cause a bird to bite. Do you you offer your hand to your bird to step-up on and it leans away then don’t force the point they’re trying to tell you something. So you want your bird to step-up after seeing any of the reasons try waiting a minute or two just talking to your bird and changing its mind. Then try a second time try again, if the bird still does not step-up with out trying to bite then you have to try something different. The distraction method is one that works well. Offer it a toy or treat and when the bird is occupied with something else slip your hand in and give it a slight push to step-up, most of the time the bird won’t even know what it is doing and will just go with the flow.
If this does’t work and the bird is on a play stand or something that can be lowered down low to the floor that is great, do this most. Birds are not fans of being down low and will willing forget about biting and step-up on anything offered as they want to get to a higher place. If all else fails then there is always the perch method where you have a small perch in your hand and offer it when asking to step-up; the bird can bite away and you do lose any blood. In a second or two of it being held in front of them they will give up and step-up onto the perch, if not simply push it gently along the stomach. Remember, that when trying to correct negative behaviour that short training sessions are always better than long ones where you and the bird get into a fight no one wins; just more problems down the road. Always finish on a positive note good luck and happy training!