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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi ! So I'm considering consulting a behaviorist for this, because I don't really know what's going on, but I'm gonna try this forum first.

(re-using this summary from another post)
To summarize Mocha a bit, he's 3 and a half years old, he's a male cockatiel, and I got him from a good breeder so he was very tame from the moment I've had him. He adapts very well to new things, he loves scritches, is very easy to handle (by me), he's food-oriented too but I've never really trained him before. He has a good diet (Harrison's pellets + veggie chop everyday), has a normal weight ranging from 85 to 90 g, he's got a big cage, looooads of toys (in and out of the cage) and is flighted (not clipped).

In terms of behavior, he very rarely bites because I've always tried to respect his limits as much as possible, and since he's been flighted (3 years), he usually just leaves if something bothers him, which is good. He's got an attachement to my hair in terms of mating, so I never let him go on my head because otherwise he'll start doing the mating dance and make a nest or something (I wear a cap on the days he's too annoying, which makes him stop). I spend most of my free time in my room (I go to college part-time), where he has his perch, and whenever I'm home he's out with me in there, where he's his most calm self.

So Mocha has been aggressive towards me on and off because of hormones (in the spring/summer), which has never really been a huge issue, but recently (I'd say since the past summer of 2016 maybe ?), he's been flying at me to attack very viciously. The behavior happens sometimes in my room, but mostly when I get out to go in the kitchen or living room. Whenever I change rooms he 'squeaks' and follows me around everywhere, which translates to separation anxiety, but it's been very manageable (worst case scenario : screams, but we're working on that).

More on the context surrounding the attacks : it seems to me it just randomly happens, or there's a trigger that I haven't yet identified. He'll be sitting on my shoulder, and then suddenly as I'm making toast or getting coffee, a really hard bite to my ear or lip will ensue. If I don't shoo him off my shoulder, it'll continue with the lunging and biting, so I have to shoo him, and once I do, the flying attacks start, and he'll be relentless, trying to perch on my shoulder to bite me, and if I try to protect myself with my arm, trying to bite my fingers/arm mid-air.

He'll perch on his cage or the fridge to regain his breath, and go back at it once I move (or not). I've noticed, now that I panic less than before, that I can actually redirect him while doing a finger move thing that he loves and that makes him 'sing', and he won't try to attack me if I do this. My usual move is to do this and then wait for him to calm down and catch him with my hand, while holding his head with my fingers so he can't bite me, to put him in his cage. Once he's in, he's back to being super sweet and acts normal again.

More on my reaction when it happens : At first I was very scared, angry and upset, so I would try to 'push' him away in the air and sometimes even end up 'hitting' him with the palm of my hand so he'd leave me alone... Now I'm able to be more calm, especially since I think this is hormones and not him being aggressive for 'fun'. But today it happened again and he got a really good bite on one of my fingers, and in the moment I was hurt physically/emotionally and ended up 'pushing/hitting' him once more because I didn't know what else to do. It breaks my heart to have to defend myself like this, because I don't wanna hurt him, but it's getting pretty scary and maybe a bit dangerous too and I'm clueless as to what I can do to help him.

So that's a (big) summary of what happens, I know I've let out some more side details but I think my post is long enough as is, so I'll leave it like that for now. Basically I'm looking for people who've had the same sort of situation, and what they've done to help change it, or if they've had advice from specialists/behaviorists.

Thank you !
 

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Hi ! So I'm considering consulting a behaviorist for this, because I don't really know what's going on, but I'm gonna try this forum first.

(re-using this summary from another post)
To summarize Mocha a bit, he's 3 and a half years old, he's a male cockatiel, and I got him from a good breeder so he was very tame from the moment I've had him. He adapts very well to new things, he loves scritches, is very easy to handle (by me), he's food-oriented too but I've never really trained him before. He has a good diet (Harrison's pellets + veggie chop everyday), has a normal weight ranging from 85 to 90 g, he's got a big cage, looooads of toys (in and out of the cage) and is flighted (not clipped).

In terms of behavior, he very rarely bites because I've always tried to respect his limits as much as possible, and since he's been flighted (3 years), he usually just leaves if something bothers him, which is good. He's got an attachement to my hair in terms of mating, so I never let him go on my head because otherwise he'll start doing the mating dance and make a nest or something (I wear a cap on the days he's too annoying, which makes him stop). I spend most of my free time in my room (I go to college part-time), where he has his perch, and whenever I'm home he's out with me in there, where he's his most calm self.

So Mocha has been aggressive towards me on and off because of hormones (in the spring/summer), which has never really been a huge issue, but recently (I'd say since the past summer of 2016 maybe ?), he's been flying at me to attack very viciously. The behavior happens sometimes in my room, but mostly when I get out to go in the kitchen or living room. Whenever I change rooms he 'squeaks' and follows me around everywhere, which translates to separation anxiety, but it's been very manageable (worst case scenario : screams, but we're working on that).

Back to the attacks : it seems to me it just randomly happens, or there's a trigger that I haven't yet identified. He'll be sitting on my shoulder, he then suddenly as I'm making toast or getting coffee, a really hard bite to my ear or lip will ensue. If I don't shoo him off my shoulder, it'll continue with the lunging and biting, so I have to shoo him, and once I do, the flying attacks start, and he'll be relentless, trying to perch on my shoulder to bite me, and if I try to protect myself with my arm, trying to bite my fingers/arm mid-air.

He'll perch on his cage or the fridge to regain his breath, and go back at it once I move (or not). I've noticed, now that I panic less than before, that I can actually redirect him while doing a finger move thing that he loves and that makes him 'sing', and he won't try to attack me if I do this. My usual move is to do this and then wait for him to calm down and catch him with my hand, while holding his head with my fingers so he can't bite me, to put him in his cage. Once he's in, he's back to being super sweet and acts normal again.

So that's a (big) summary of what happens, I know I've let out some more side details but I think my post is long enough as is, so I'll leave it like that for now. Basically I'm looking for people who've had the same sort of situation, and what they've done to help change it, or if they've had advice from specialists/behaviorists.

Thank you !
I'm so interested to see what others say here! If you don't get help here, try the ParrotWhisperer on YouTube. You can get some help from him and his group.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

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By swatting your bird away it is showing them fighting behaviour which would only encourage the problem.

Is there anything they could want from you?
I believe you're right in saying hormones are contributing, if he is mating with your head this could be why he is attacking you.
Next time he attacks you try not to react. He has learnt it gains a reaction from you,so will carry on.

Ignore the tantrums he is throwing. Go and sit down.
Wait till he calms down/gets bored and try not to grab him to put him back in his cage.
When you are getting along ensure you keep him away from your face and try to keep him of your shoulder for the time being as he is seeing this as dominating over you. It's not always possible to have your cockatiel on your shoulder all the time.
Does he step up at all? If so try that instead of grabbing him to put him in his cage.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies, I haven't tried not reacting cause I figured he'd just land on my shoulder and bite me more, but that's an assumption, so I'll give it a try. You're right about the swatting though, I try not to react this way but sometimes it's hard.. I don't honestly know if he wants something from me, he just seems angry. :/ But thanks a lot for your input, I'll try to keep you guys updated.
 

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I don't know how easy it would be to try to throw him off balance when he's biting you so he falls off without you actually swatting at him. This way he stops. Is he on any kind of hormone control? That would definitely help with the aggression issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd have to take a video of him doing it, he's not actually on my shoulder when he's attacking, he's in the air, beak open, flying right over my head trying to bite mid-air or land to bite my hand/face. If I can get someone to film it while it's happening I'll show you guys !

I haven't thought of hormone control, I don't know anything about it :eek: I've considered taking an appointement to the vet to check if anything is wrong, they could help to at least rule out if it's a medical issue..
 

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It never hurts to see a vet but I very much doubt this is an medical issue. It sounds very hormone like to me. http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=32330 this sticky explains hormone control techniques that you can use to try to help calm him down. I have a friend whose tiel was this way and she could only get it under control with a combination of hormone control and a light wing clipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for the reference, I've read plenty of posts on hormones and how to lessen then, I already do most of those, but I'm also lacking in some areas, we can always improve ! I'll look into the vet option after I've tried some more changes.
 

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IF you have already tried the 12-14 hours of darkness a night and that's not working, try 24 hours of light instead. You have to throw off his internal clock so he doesn't think it's time to breed and some tiels are just more stubborn than others. So give that a shot and see if it helps. It does take about two weeks for any kind of hormone control to show improvement. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Yes I do the 12-14 hours a night every night actually, been doing it for a lonnnng time ! How do I do 24 hours of light, I keep a normal light in the room he sleeps in ? Thanks so much for your replies, I'm just desperate to try anything right now, he attacked me again yesterday and it's so upsetting. :/

EDIT: actually, now that I think of it, I do have a small light in the room he sleeps in, it's not as bright as a regular light, but it has the same orange-y hue and it keeps it pretty lit in there so if he panics he can get back on a perch.. you think this could be acting as if it was a regular light maybe ? The sticky talks about having a 'real' night light that imitates the moon, but this definitely doesn't. I do have one that's blue though, I could try it instead and see if it makes any difference.
 

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I feel very different from the rest of the contributors about this subject.

Cockatiels love to play fight and bicker. I would not get through a single day without a finger/beak -fight /spar with either of the birds.

Many cockatiels I have observed in aviaries or cages exhibit this behavior to some extent.

Even a lone bird will attack a cage toy and savage it to vent his aggressive streak..

My bird has items or areas that he thinks are his and he likes to defend.

Currently Matey has taken possession of a open junk draw adjacent to my computer desk which he likes to deny acess to to my self and my wife.

When he is defending it is obvious by his body language -open beak and raised wings -that the game is on.

In turn, I make a beak with my index and forefinger and make biting actions towards him. I can make the beak motion from across the room and he will fly over to attack the beak/fingers.

After I spar with the bird for a minute or two he loses his aggression and moves on to "normal" behavior. Very clearly it is a game for him and he enjoys it. Minutes later he is crawling into my cupped hands for patting and stroking where he almost goes to sleep in my hands .This happen almost on a daily basis.
Don't read too much into it.While cockatiels are affectionate and love your company now and again they like to revert to their wild side. It is just part of their nature.

The bird is frustrated that you won't engage him. Try the play fighting thing on a regular basis.It may just be the outlet he needs.What ever you do don't hit or swat him.If he bites hard,endure it .Banjo my older bird used to bite really hard but I stopped by loudly saying " No Biting " in a determined voice. Don't get me wrong Banjo still nips but not hard enough to be painful. Same bird will bite freckles and skin tags but he is preening me and I know theres no intention to hurt me-just to improve my appearance- as far a cockatiel is concerned.

Oz
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thank you for taking the time to reply !

I had never heard of 'aggression-play' in pet parrots before, I understand parrots can think it's a game to bite, but I've never taught Mocha to play like this, so I doubt it's his case. It really comes all of a sudden and it doesn't seem like play at all.. I'll try to get a video to post it here.
 
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