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Kakariki, Care, Breeding, Ecology, and Conservation :: View topic - Horrible habit...skin eating!! tips?
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Horrible habit...skin eating!! tips?

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Joined: Jun 26, 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:46 am    Post subject: Horrible habit...skin eating!! tips?

Hey everyone,
New kid here, so apologize for any Applause moments! And sorry for massive post.

I have been watching and reading this site for at elast 5-6 months now and finally decided I make the commitment to join, as my gorgous kak has become quite obsessed on something that very much I prefer her not to be. She is around 6-7 months old (pied red front), was handreared. I have had birds all my life, many differnent species tame and not so much, but since getting my Sora I have completly converted as I have to admit their my type of bird!

So long story short, she has always enjoyed removing anything and everything off my skin that doesnt seem to belong, attatched things included! Moles, freckles scars (which are the worst pain), she has never bit me in aggression or otherwise. She might threaten with a slight beak open if my hand looks as though its doing soemthing srtange. But then she started to remove the skin around my fingernails which I hate to admit are in shambles as I too bite the skin and so its harded and easy to bite off chunks, unfortuantly this habit started without me realizing as the skin is numb signlol emb and she began to really enjoy snipping off a bit and mungin on it. But it has now become insanly horrible as when she sees my exposed skin she nibbles off litrally a pinsized piece and sits their contently! Its statring to really get the better of me even though I wouldnt let her know that for the world.

Now I have spent so many hours with blood shot eyes searching this site through the search box thing, other resources and also other resources on other species, so I have tried the majority of things. Ignoring, which is what I think made her even more obsessed as her goal isnt to pee me off I dont think its just to get that tiny pin prick of skin to chew on. I have tried simply putting her down without a word and walking away, looking unpleased and telling her no in a deep strict voice, covering up my skin,withholding her mos beloved food stuffs for treats and rewarding for ignoring my skin,rolling my hand slowly just to distract her from it,growling,no more out play time,covering cage for 10 mintutes oh lord you name it! and well it seems to get worse, but at no point does she give me any sign at all its aggressive or territorial so on. To be honest im not well learned on the idea of dominance with birds, as Ive grown up surrounded by many animals; companion livestock wildlife birds reptiles, blah blah, and I reallly see my connections with them as partnerships. I dont have feathers and so dont feel as though its appropriate to show an animal that im "dominant". Im sure most would disagree and I bet that this issue is probs a dominance one and the tings you guys will suggest will probs work within an hour! hehe...as I said Applause for me! im just a girl signlol

So I apologize for such a long first post! But I would love some fresh suggestions on how I can change my behaviour to help her obsession. i would also like to add that I have never yelled at her, or hurt her, or punished her as such. And I found the earthquake technique to simply make her a tiny bit hand shy, which Im still tryinh to undo as of tonight. Yes Iam a soft-coc# and always has been! I was wonering if there are pple out there who are similar and have found ways that work for you when it comes to interacting with birds in general. Is this a dominance issue? or is it possible a nesting hen behaviour of always testing things for worthy material? She is in a cockatoo cage her time is spent mainly outside of it on various natural made playgyms, Im contantly putting in new games and enrichment (and I mean daily) and she has a varied diet with a extremly small portion being seed. could it be a diet defiency? signlol I dont know if mabe Im answering my own questions.
anyway thanks to anyone whose up to help out with me having retained most my skin before Im thrity. imstup
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Joined: May 15, 2010
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:46 am    Post subject:

hi lelou and w3c

not heard of this before .... the beak open thing she does is probable her wanting feeding all my chicks are doing this thru weaning ...... as for you bein eaten alive this is a new one Shocked i guess its just a bad habit ur birds picking up which u really need to nip in the butt!!
a stern telling off when she does this should do the trick over a week .. nobody wants to chastise there birds but you can't carry on bein lunch can you.
hope this helps and let u know how u get on.

thanks brucie.....
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Joined: Feb 05, 2011
Posts: 222

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:47 am    Post subject:


first of all w3c to this forum!

now, about your challenge ....
Seems to me you may have done too much in too short amount of time to try adjust her behaviour. I think you have confused her by constantly changing your aproach towards her behaviour.

Consistency is Key here.

I would suggest that you, out of all the remedies you tried so far, pick the one you felt most comfortable with, and stick to it. Even if it takes weeks in a row.
However: Never compromise your bird's health. Of all the things you tried so far, withholding food or denying out play time are not things I would advocate.

The one remedy that worked best for me so far is:
Being very expressive ( I frown and do my best too look angry)
Speaking softly, but sternly. ( I use a low voice, diff from my normal voice)
Placing the bird on his cage or perch. ( gives us both the chance to reflect :P)

And to remind myself not too hold a grudge/ not too scream/ not too show signs of fear.

good luck and keep us posted :)
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Joined: Oct 06, 2004
Posts: 4529

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:12 am    Post subject:

Picking at your skin...
Do you feed your kakariki a consistant diet of left over cooked meat and crushed bones (to get at the marrow) ?

What is nor realised by most parrot owners...in partular non grass parrots, protien and iron are a huge part of the natural diet.
Diced up..1/3 to 1/2 peas size..left over steak, chop up chickend bones, espec the cartiladge on the ends and the breast boned.

This will remove the need to eat your protein.

THEN is the next stage....retraining....as mentioned above, alpha male/ dominance is the key...
Now these sound like BIG words implying big things....
Think of it like this...
A boss who u work with 99% of the time, a good leader, but when the chips are down, a slight change of tone, bit of seriousness in body language and one knows hes in charge, has th last say...

At the other end

A bos who simply tells people what to do, throws his weight around, stamps his mark as a alpha male as if every interaction with a staff member is a chalenge to his statis.

One of those works effectivily , effiently, and smoothly.....the other achieves but not as well or effective...

The only time to with hold food is when changing diet....from a bird raised or kept only on say a seed diet and moving to a healty fruit/ veg / and meat diet.....hold back seed for a day, offer veggie as a 'treat' repeat a few days later......no compromise to health.

In fact u wil find most captive birds could do with a bit of crash diet, tend to be rather over weight when compared to those in the wild...
And in the wild can often go several days without food during droughts storms and stuff....It is quite noticable in our avaries when a storm is coming in they eat heaps, little during , and store up again after the storm......fish do the same....good time to go fishing after a storm at before/during dawn and dusk/after.....

BOTH are dominate and alpha male.

When the chips are down, as mentioned above, a growling, there and then, and mean it, and expression, frown...
He will back off ...make another part of the hand accessable...to climb on......but the action of eating you...damn good drowling.....
And get that iron and protein into him

Note: iron requires citric acid in the diet to be absorbed...bit of apple, and or kiwi fruit at the same time.......daily.

My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
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Joined: Jun 26, 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:32 am    Post subject:

Thanks guys your all right, I need to be consistant with my techniques and I also need to make sure she knows I mean it when I say no.

Oh and no I dont with hold food at all! Lord shes my baby, what I meant was that her absolute fave thing (and I mean fave) is straight from the fridge green sliced green apple, and what I meant was that If im wanting to work with her alot that day i will not give her her green apple in her morning veggies! but she gets her breakfast (porridge with some fruit, pumpkin nuts sometimes, celery etc), she gets enough food in the mroning that she is keen for her lunch time meal of heaps of veg and one or two fruits as she gets fruits for her brekkie. Then night time feed is a small amount of a budgie mix that also has herbs/nuts/grains ect in it along with a few cat biscuts a few times a week.

I have read many times that they need bones and left over steak to mung on, I have gone too a few times but I spose i get a little turned off as (myself Im vegetarian signlol I know lame) and the other is I grew up breeding wynedot chickens and our family were always careful not to feed them any meat as such, but other kinds of proteins such as legumes and things which I also give my hen Kak. Steptoe do you recommend anything to start her off on, what kinds of meat or bones to I go for? sorry to ask, but as I never have left over meat I will have to go out and buy.

Alright guys for the next few days I will be consistant with a techniqe I feel comfortable with, I will boost up her diet with some protein and also make sure she knows that when she eats me like a little trex she knows that it hurts! This behaviour I know is completly of my own doing, and although its not acceptable at all, its hard for me to repramand with consistancy as she has probably seen me doing it myself (Im a nervous finger eater signlol). thanks guys
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:49 pm    Post subject:

I also need to make sure she knows I mean it when I say no

just saying "NO" doesnt work..well not at the atart....when one watches a flock, the alpha does just give a short crip....its a string of chrips . which would translate something like this
"u sit on my perch again I will pluck every one of your feathers one by one, slowly, then cook you up and feed you to the rest of the flock"
When issues occur...
My wife and our house parrot have some hum dinger arguements back and forth at times....and one can only gess what the house parrot is saying back to her lmao
We have new avairy breed house parrot being tamed down now....

If you are going to growl/argue with your parrot, enjoy yourself, just dont let him know that Wink

My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
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Joined: Jun 26, 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:05 pm    Post subject:

signlol Thats awsoem steptoe that your wife has the kind of relationship that they are both comfortabel enough in eachothers love that they can also let eachother know where they stand! It is the very thing that I really need to work on, the fact that I shouldnt be scared to tell her off when it hurts, and be scared that she wont accept me for that. Truth is as you say; birds in a flock can be best mates, but like anything we can all step over the line whether accidental or on purpose and they can repremand oneother for such but still be best buds 10 mins after. My kak has been with me long enough now to now Im not gunna abuse her and so her wrong in any way so I really need to grow a pair and let her know that I will give her the best but in respect back for that ...."DONT EAT ME ALIVE!!" thanks again and Im still reading all the previous posts ect. in taming to get an idea on how to become a better leader for her, not just a stupid girl with opposable thumbs that can light a fire and throw rocks! sweet as guys.....my new way of thinking starts now Dancing
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Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:58 pm    Post subject:

oe oe I do have a quickie question, Does her picking at my clothes, and generally digging around in them (the ones im wearing at the time!) need to be addressed? Ive always just let her do it, I dont accomedate it as in sit still etc. But she loves to crawl around chewing on buttons,zips so on and loves ripping around in my jumpers as they are big and baggy and she really enjoys climbing into really smal spaces and being held. I actaully make her these massive caves made out of sheets as for some reason she only like climbing around in fabric! Ok so anywho do i discourage her exploring with her beak around my clothes? cheers again

Sora in Feb 2011. Chewing like usual
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:31 pm    Post subject:

That is a cool looking kakariki...

It is the very thing that I really need to work on, the fact that I shouldnt be scared to tell her off when it hurts, and be scared that she wont accept me for that. Truth is as you say; birds in a flock can be best mates, but like anything we can all step over the line whether accidental or on purpose and they can repremand oneother for such but still be best buds

Think about this...So many parant are so bloody scared of NOT being freinds with their children.....and the kids turn out right little manipulating brats.
Parents are there to be parents, not friends...the children have their own friends/peers, just as parents.
Friends with your chilfren happens when they grow up leave home, and they grop off their washing and say "hey Dad, get the guns out of the safe, lets go hunting for some boar this weekend."
But when they are growing up, its your home , your rules , you are the boss....But it doesnr mean u dont get along well, they respect and trust, come to u for advice, when at home and when left home because u are the only ppl who dont BS them... (thats how my son put it)

Dont be afraid of loosing your relationship.....just deal with those things that dont suit u...its all about trust.

My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
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Joined: Dec 14, 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:29 pm    Post subject:

You sound very tasty signlol. Try putting some lotion or something not so great tasting on your skin- nothing harmful, but something that will make your gal look else where for her lunch. A lot of skin lotions are nasty tasting. Try one yourself and see if it makes your tongue curl.

Also, I find actual growling (like a dog) works best on my birds. I think it is a combination of my tone and the fact that I am not suppose to be making those kind of noises. It throws them off. I think the regular yelling doesn't always work since they are never sure if I am yelling at them or one of the kids.

I have had a few birds become territorial with burrowing in fabric- they think of it as their "nest". Yours doesn't sound like this is a problem though. Most birds, especially young ones love to be nestled under something- reminds them of their Mommy's wings and warmth.
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