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#261149 - 05/24/18 01:24 AM Fairly New Aggressive Behavior  
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 2
CHasner Offline
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CHasner  Offline
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Hello All! I am new to the community seeking your help desperately. My girlfriend and I have a Goffin cockatoo (originally hers) and she is 19 yrs old. She is extremely social with everyone, hopping from shoulder to shoulder at parties. I have been in her life for over 4 years now, and I’ll say we’ve coexisted well with each other until about a year now. I don’t always seek her attention because she’s a bit overwhelming but my girlfriend handles all the lovin. She is very affectionate towards me and constantly tries to sit on me and places her head in my hand so I can rub it. But within the past 3 months she has lunged at me completely randomly from across my couch and bit me hard enough to cause a lot of bleeding. There’s been about 4 occasions, the most recent was yesterday where I wasn’t even looking at her or near her. About ten minutes prior to her attack on me, she had been sitting on me for 30 minutes, persistently putting her head in my hand, in which I obliged by rubbing her head. After the 10 minutes she jumps off my girlfriend and hawk dived (for lack of a better explanation) the bridge of my nose hard enough to probably need a stitch or two. I’m trying to understand why she is behaving like this because ultimately it’s going to be intolerable.

** Full Disclosure - my girlfriend pets her inappropriately (mostly under her wings and her chest), allows her to eat out of her bowl/plate and gives her table food. She has been doing this for 19 years and has yet to be a problem. Thank you so much for your help, it may save my relationship!

#261150 - 05/24/18 11:49 AM Re: Fairly New Aggressive Behavior [Re: CHasner]  
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BE2Cassie Offline
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Welcome to Mytoos. Sounds like you have a bit of jealousy going on. My husband and I can not sit on the couch together when my girl is out. If we do it can only be a couple of minutes and we watch Cassie very closely. She will go back and forth between us for hours without issue when we are sitting in different seats. She is 14 and has always lived with us. Her aggressive behaviors increase around her hormones. Right now we are in a shortened hormone period with her. Last for about a month, the fall is her long one. We are both able to read her body language to avoid putting her or us in a situation that will bring about a bite. Watching her eyes is key for us. Squinting/eye pinning means back off and we do. We have also always been careful to not touch/pet her below the neck. If I were in your position I would sit back and look at what is going on prior to the bites. Where are you both sitting? Where is the G2 sitting? When she attacks have either of you accidently hit a blood feather, it's molting season right not. Molting will make them grumpier. Does she have somewhere else in the room she can sit besides on one of you? Do you offer her other activities to do besides snuggling when she is out with you? G2s are busy little birds that need a lot to do to keep them content. Have you tried floor games like chasing a ball or toy? Having a play stand with attached toys available in the room with you, so she has somewhere else to sit. A couple of things to look at that do increase grumpiness can be lack of enough quality sleep. 10-12 hours of complete dark and quiet sleep times. During hormone season I increase Cassie up to 14. Does she sleep in her day cage and is this in a part of the house that she is near the television or kitchen where people are passing her and being loud during the evening. If this is so you may want to try a sleep cage in a quiet room. Some folks use a small dog carrier with a perch attached and small bowl of water. Any space in the house that has a good air floor, heat and ac if needed is workable with these sleep cages. Just avoid anywhere that there are chemical odors like a laundry room. Diet is another thing to look at. High fat, high sugar diets increase activity levels also too much variety tells the bird it's a good time for breeding. Eating at the table is not a bad thing. The flock eats together. Cassie will try to eat from our plates and has not problem running through them. I got her a small cage on a stand that I pull up to the table at dinner time. She eats dinner with us every night and does get some of what we are eating. We eat a whole lot healthier now to be sure she has food to eat that is the same. Boxes, sleep tents, shredding paper on the floor of the cage that can be used for nesting helps to ramp up the hormones. Has she laid any eggs? Has she been DNA tested to be certain of sex?


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#261151 - 05/24/18 04:36 PM Re: Fairly New Aggressive Behavior [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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CHasner Offline
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Thanks for the input! Her cage is in our bedroom, she sleeps in her cage at night with a blanket over it - it’s just us two in the house so she goes to bed when we do, no issues with her going to bed unless she hears us interacting, then she screams until we invite her over. We have a perch in the living room on wheels so whenever we are in the living room we put her on her perch, but she never stays on the perch. She will always jump off the perch to the couch to get to us. Her perch and cage have toys on them for her to entertain herself (she rarely ever uses her toys though). Her cage has no nesting materials what-so-ever. I’ve given her balls and stuff but doesn’t like them really. Her attacks seem to be when we (my girlfriend and I) are sitting about 3 or 4 feet apart on the couch. I can’t even gauge when she’s going to attack to even monitor the behavior to judge when it’s apparent, she will sit on me and try to get my affection for hours on end, jumping off of her repeatedly to sit on me. And when I think she’s fine with me and everything is ok, literally dives at me. It doesn’t happen all the time, it’s extremely inconsistent. Whenever I do display effection to my girlfriend, she does try to come between us relentlessly, like if my hand is on my girlfriend anywhere, she tries to reach my hand so I pet her instead. Did I miss any other details?

#261152 - 05/25/18 12:01 AM Re: Fairly New Aggressive Behavior [Re: CHasner]  
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EchosMom Offline
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Nancy has given you great advice and it’s going to take some keen observation on your part to see the complete picture. All behavior has function, so if a behavior is being repeated, it is being reinforced. Just as important as recognizing the situation/set of circumstances that leads to the lunging/biting you must identifybwhat happens immediately after the bite, which is what is reinforcing it.

The easiest way to change a behavior is by rearranging the environment to eliminate whatever it is that triggers the behavior. This means you will have to be diligent in not only your observations of the bird but what you and your GF are doing, where are you sitting, as well as anything else going on in the surroundings. If you can identify the trigger you can then work to prevent it. If you can’t change things up then you need to focus on what the consequences she gets from biting. What happens immediately after she bites you? Behavior that is reinforced continues and increases. Behavior that serves no useful purpose stops.

It’s going to take some hard work but you and your GF can figure it out I’m sure. It’s going to take some time but she’s worth it!

Good luck and please keep us updated.


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress

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