We adopted a blue male parakeet who is still jittery around my husband and has nipped his fingers more than once. He's fine with me and likes to nibble and rub my ear. Sometimes I think he's courting me. So what to do about his nipping? Is he jealous of my husband?
B.K.G., Arlington, Va Aug 15, 2011
Your bird is probably used to being around and being handled by women, since birds naturally imprint or develop strong attachments early in life. Ideally, therefore, they should be socialized with both male and female handlers and, where possible, with children. Parakeets are highly social birds that live in large flocks in the wild, and I consider it borderline cruelty to raise and keep them alone in separate cages their entire lives. While they compensate to a degree by bonding with humans (even engaging in courtship behavior, as well as social preening as they would with a mate), they generally fare better in pairs or small groups in large flight cages. With time and patience, your "rival" husband may win him over. In the interim, wear a protective glove.
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