Lorikeet suddenly biting

by Karen
(Narangba Queensland Australia)

Lorikeet - beautiful girl, 4 years old found as baby runner hiding in a bush, can't fly and allowed me to pick her up. She's been my sole mate for 3 years hand fed, great companion, with me inside and outside but suddenly started biting me severely in the presence of my husband and boys (as they entered the room or came close to me, while we were sitting at the table, in the lounge with my boys etc last year, for 1 year now.

A breeder tells me that I am so unlucky to have a female and this must be devastating for me knowing how much I love her and she still appears to love me. Yes, this is devastating. My eldest son and husband know how to play with her and all that she likes as she was always with me. Scratching her on the back though is something I tell them not to do observing her reaction. She loves them too so I know she's happy. I sit and watch and enjoy seeing her play. She talks very clearly. I clean her cage daily, feed and scratch her through the bars now, but this is so upsetting.

She still appears to want to come to me when out of the cage and when the men are out, but her bite is off-putting as they take some time to heal. Is it best to let everything stay the same, with my husband and son, or should I let her breed?

Thank you

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Apr 25, 2011
by: Karen

Hi Linda, thanks for your comments about letting her breed. She so much part of the family. About 3 weeks ago, I found an egg in the bottom of my lorikeet's cage, so definitely female and really picky with who she likes in the family. As you know she was only handled by me for the first 3-4 years of her life and then suddenly started biting me, preferring my husband and my eldest son. She still lets me scratch her through the cage but I can tell she wants to come to me as she cuddles up to the wire for me to scratch her. She doesn't like my daughter or my youngest son.

Feeding her etc is fine, as long as I watch her body language. My eldest son and husband handle her now out of the cage very well and play rough and tumble. She crouches in the mating position when my son cups her in his hands or strokes her back, so he now knows how to distract her from these behaviours.

Anyway, she is so happy with everyone doing what they are doing for her, it's just amazing how their temperaments can change over time. And, you're right the bite can really do some damage. She is healthy, eats well and enjoys fruits and wild native flowers along with her dry mix. Her colours are vivid and loves being out of the cage for exercise. I have made her climbing toys and recently a hammock bed for night time. She loves it. Karen

Apr 16, 2011
Lorikeet suddenly biting
by: Linda

Not trying to burst any bubbles here, but this sounds like a male bird's behavior to me. Older, sexually mature male parrots become very possessive with the human female caregiver in the family and will begin to compete with the human males for your attention. This situation is potentially dangerous beacuse of what is called displaced aggression. This means that if your bird cannot bite the one he/she wants to bite, it will bite you, and these can become quite severe in time.

I strongly suggest you take your bird to an Avian Vet for a thorough exam including DNA testing to find out if you actually have a sexually mature male. Sudden changes in behavior are always to be looked at as possible first signs of illnesses in beginning stages, and an Avian Vet is the only one trained to diagnose and treat your bird. Dog and cat vets are not licensed or trained to care for exotic wild animals and birds like the parrots.

If you find you have a male, then have your husband and son take over some of the chores of feeding and watering and even cleaning the cage.You can go ahead and get this started. This does not have to be a permanent situation, and the feeding will go a long way towards your bird seeing husband and son in a different light. You do have to make sure this behavior is not because of illness and show them how to do the feeding, watering and cleaning, and you may see a change for the better. You do not have to breed sexually mature birds because then you lose them as pets forever. They revert back to being the wild animals they are and have no real need of you except for feeding and caring for them.

I hope this is of help. The DNA test will have to be sent to an outside lab to be done and can take several weeks to be complete, so you'll need to go ahead and start training husband and son in the care of this bird. If everyone takes care of bird equally, then this situation will most likely work itself out.

Thanks for writing and keep us posted on progress and what the avian vet has to say,

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