Pet birds are naturally friendly with their owners. Most times, aggression in birds is caused by fear or a past traumatic experience. They often bite, attack, and prevent handling which makes it difficult for the owner. A concept called ‘Pair bonding’ in birds can make birds get jealous when their owner interacts with other humans or birds.
In younger birds, fear can develop if they were not hand-fed while growing up or not exposed to humans and other birds. In older birds, aggression could be primarily due to maltreatment and neglect when they were younger. At the adolescence stage, some birds can show signs of aggression due to hormonal changes, although, this would pass once the stage is over. Aggression can also be observed when a bird is trying to protect territory or when stressed.
HOW TO STOP AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR IN BIRDS
- Move the bird to a neutral location before handling it. A bird outside its territory will cooperate better than in territory it protects.
- Don’t respond with fear during handling. If your pet bird lunges at your hand, don’t snatch your hand in fear as this could make the bird more apprehensive and uncooperative.
- Don’t force contact. Give your bird enough time to get comfortable around you or to even accept a treat.
- Stick-train your bird. This involves teaching your bird to perch on a stick. This is most useful for birds that are difficult to handle due to past hurt and trauma.
- Avoid yelling at your bird. Yelling imposes fear and encourages bad behaviour rather than controlling them. Speak soothingly whenever you are with your birds.
- Approach your bird bearing treats at hand.
- Build your bird’s trust with consistency.
- Don’t overwork your bird. Training should not last beyond 15 minutes per day.
- Keep a flexible routine of feeding, playtime, or handling. Birds easily get used to a fixed routine and can act out on days with variations.
- Break the pair bond. This is achievable by allowing your visitors and family members to feed the bird, clean the cage and regularly praise the bird.