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I've lived with Peachfront Conures Aratinga aurea for 30 years. I've bred 'em, trained 'em, even visited Bolivia to observe them in the wild. For more about me, click right here.

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9:32 p.m. 2012-09-04

peachfront love

So Google reads my mail. What was my first clue? How about that banner ad telling me to "Earn my Parrot's Love!" That ain't too tough in the case of the Peachfronted Conure if you start young enough and keep the bird as a single pet. They do love to be around you and on you, although they tend to conk out early and go to sleep around 8 in the evening, so I guess they're not the best pet if you have to work late every night.

The ad also continues, "Never be bitten again." Well, it's trickier than that. Peachfronted Conures have an instinct to nip their mates to drive them away from rivals. During the breeding season, they may in fact bite if 1) you didn't know about this instinct, and 2) someone comes into the room while you're playing with the bird. It doesn't mean your bird doesn't love you. Quite the opposite. It means the bird's putting the clamp of claiming on your person. It's really sort of sweet, if you look at it from your pet's point of view.

However, no one wants to get bitten, so here's what I did to cause my pet to forget all about this habit:

  • Awareness. I kept aware of where everyone was in the house, and I also shifted from keeping my Peachfront on my shoulder by the hour, to keeping him on my arm, hand, or nearby playgym, so that I could easily monitor his body language. Peachfront Conures don't bite out of nowhere. They warn with little threats and flashing eyes.
  • Distraction. I could hear that someone was about to enter the room, either from the footsteps or because he gave a knock. At that time I picked up a chew item, toy, or food (I mixed these up a bit) to slip into the Peachfront's beak just as the other person entered the room. My Peachfront would be too interested in grabbing the chew item, toy, or food to remember to bite.
  • Patience. Well, actually, I don't think it took that much patience, because I started using the technique almost right away. I was lucky enough to have heard or read something warning me of this tendency. So...it never became a bad habit, and I did not ever become fearful of a possible bite or give the bird a chance to intimidate me. He just got distracted until the attempts to bite just faded away. I think if the problem had been going on for some time, it would take longer to form the new habits though.

I realize that biting can be a very difficult problem with some species, and I would never discourage anyone from consulting a behaviorist or getting all the information they could get their hands on about parrot behavior. But I honestly believe Peachfront Conures can be one of the sweetest little parrots to manage.

Now...keep in mind that if you keep your birds in pairs, they will turn their love toward each other, which is only as it should be.

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