Conure likes being held but hates being pet?

by Jacqui
(Long Island, NY)

I have a 5 month old female green cheek conure whom I have had since weaning. She is very social, playful, and curious, and she loves to be out of her cage and held. Her curious nature causes her to unintentionally nip at times, but this is pretty well under control. However, if I go to pet her back, rub her neck or belly, or stroke her head, she makes a little angry noise and turns to bite at my hand. I try to avoid petting her, but it is hard to play without physical contact at times. The only thing she likes is when I simulate preening her head.

Is it normal for a bird to get so freaky about being pet? How do I work around this and still maintain a close and happy relationship with her? Could there be some underlying reason as to why she reacts this way that I could possibly change? Thanks.

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Mar 06, 2014
No petting!
by: Starla

I have a Mustached Parakeet (which is, in fact, a parrot, though the name is misleading) and he hates being petted. He LOVES giving and getting kisses, being picked up, dancing when I sing a song, sitting with me while I watch tv or read and nibbling on the strings of my hoodie sweatshirts, eating popcorn and french fries out of my hands and generally making me laugh and adore him. Sometimes I do wish I could pet him, but he has made it clear he does not enjoy this. I was not his first owner so I don't know what may have happened to him previously or if he just simply doesn't like it. but he is healthy, affectionate and fabulous, so I just go with it. Birds, like people, have their own distinct personalities, likes and dislikes. Phoenix (my bird) is healthy and happy so I let him be, pet free.

Sep 04, 2010
Petting conure
by: Anonymous

I'd respect her wishes and just stroke her head and let her get used to being handled and prtted very gradually. Its taken months of gently trying to be able to touch my conure's wings. To be honest stroking under wings, on tummy or down back can stimulate sexual feelings anyway so best to be aware of this.

Sep 04, 2010
Conure likes being held but hates being pet?
by: Linda

Some birds just do not like to be petted.

In this case, there may be a physical cause for her not wanting to be petted which you need to have checked out with an Avian(bird) Vet in your driving area. All new birds, even babies, have to go to an Avian Vet for a checkup to make sure they are infection free and that there are no other physical problems to cause concern. If you have not already taken her to an Avian Vet, please do so as she may have been injured, and it hurts her to be petted.

If she gets a clean bill of health from the Avian Vet, then it is that she just does not like to be petted, and there is no way to force a bird to like petting. I've had all kinds of parrots, and the Amazons usually do not like to be petted much where the Macaws and Cockatoos love to be petted. It just varies between the species.You do not HAVE to pet a bird to love a bird, so accept your little precious bird for who it is and feel fortunate to have such a creature for a friend.

Please take bird to Avian Vet, and there is a link on this site to help you if you don't have a phone book of your local area. Anytime people buy birds, they also need to find an Avian Vet, take their new bird in for a checkup and establish a relationship with them so if they have an emergency or other need of them, the bird has already been there and has a chart.

Thanks for writing,

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