by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 17, 2009)
There are many uncomfortable experiences I never wish to have, and having a bird peck me is one of those experiences. When I think of pecking birds I just can't help thinking of Tippi Hedren in The Birds—and that is just downright creepy! If you have a pet bird, the experience of it pecking you to death is unlikely, but the fact that it probably will peck you a bit now and again is still something you'd rather avoid.
One of the most common times for birds to try pecking you is when you attempt to do some routine cage maintenance. Perhaps you need to change the cage liner, replace water, or add a new cuttle bone. One of the best—and definitely most well-known—tricks to help reduce pecking at these times is the simple black cloth gag. This works not only for preventing pecking, but also to help you out with particularly loud and obnoxious birds.
All you have to do is to drape a black or dark-colored cloth over the cage. This will allow you to do whatever you need to do—replace the food and water, actually remove the bird—without a big fuss. If you need to do more time-consuming activities, simply move the bird into a makeshift cage and cover that cage with a dark cloth as well. Once the bird is outside of the first cage, it will be simple to clean it and replace any necessary items without a problem.
If you're having problems with your bird pecking you just when you're holding it, the solutions available to you are limited. You can wear a hefty glove of some kind so the pecks don't harm you, or you could try a different method of handling the bird, but if your bird is just naturally aggressive like that, there's not much you can do.
Pecking birds are no fun, and so you should take every measure possible to ensure it's not a problem with your bird. Follow these simple guidelines and you and your bird should be peck-free and good to go!
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