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Answers from Green Cheek Owners on Whether Their Bird is Nippy or Not

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Are Green Cheeks Nippy? You have read our take on it, but we are bird people with lots of experience. So, I decided to poll Green Cheek owners.

 

Here is Tom from Texas! Tom's CAG has quite the life riding shotgun with him in his semi truck!

Hello Beth, and the rest of you.....

In answer to your questions on the Yellow Sided Green Cheek Conures we purchased from you about a year ago.

Both of these Green Cheeks are great.  They are by no means nippy toward most people.  They have never "drawn blood" that I am aware of.  They crave personal attention and handling all of the time just as the other four birds around the house.  (2 Sun Conures & 2 African Greys)

I have noticed that these two Green Cheeks are very perceptive of people and their "fear" of them.  It seems that if given the chance they will
make a game of playing on that fear or excitement.  If given this chance, they may nip a bit, but more as a defense of being brushed off
by the person that is scared of them.  I've seen this happen several times.  Now, we just avoid the possibility of it and have them in their cage if strange people to them are close by.  This same situation applies to the Sun Conures.  The African Greys are cool.  They will simply avoid anyone they are not sure about.

The only time any of these six birds might gently nip is when they are wanting the attention another bird at the time is getting.  But even then, this never happens with the Green Cheek Conures.  They simply nip the bird getting the attention so it will jump aside and they can get up front.  All these birds have to do to the African Greys now days is lunge toward them.  The Greys will give up with out a fight.  Both Sun Conures however are a bit more bull headed.  If allowed, there may be a minor bird fight to see who deserves the human attention.  So, in short, the only issue around here is too many birds and not enough time to spoil all of them as they think they deserve.

I might add that there are times when these Green Cheeks, as well as the rest of these birds just want to be left alone.  I guess just as we people do.  When this is the case, sometimes a warning nip may come into play.  If this happens, I will leave them alone, give another bird the attention and eventually the one that wanted left alone will come on its own avail wanting to make up.  Kind of like having six little spoiled kids in the house.....  Never a dull moment.

I would and have highly recommend Beth and her family at Pampered Peeps in any of the birds they raise.  I've never seen any bird as gentle and
well behaved as their birds are.  As I am typing this, I have Scooter,  the African grey from Pampered Peeps on my shoulder.  This grey has
determined that I am its human no matter what.  If Scooter had her way, she would be with me 24/7 no matter what the situation.

The Green Cheeks from pampered peeps are great around most people, but they have each other as well.  Even though they spend a large amount of time together in the same large cage, they are always easy to handle. At this moment, both of them are playing their hide and seek game with themselves in the curtains.  (Kind of comical to watch.)

I hope this helps in some of what you are looking for.  As always, you have my permission to use anything I send along on your website.  I
would appreciate you just using my first name only though.  Hope that is OK.

As Always

Tom

 

Here is Kylie from Flagstaff, AZ:

Did you have experience with parrots prior to owning your Green Cheek? I have previously owned cockatiels and budgies, but not parrots.

 
How often do you get bitten by your Green Cheek? Every day
 
Does your Green Cheek draw blood? Very rarely
 
Do you know why your Green Cheek bites? I often know the cause, but sometimes she seems to bite for no reason, such as while we are playing and having a good time.
Would you recommend a Green Cheek to others? Yes, they are wonderful birds and companions. Every animal has the potential to bite and it doesn't mean they aren't worth it.
 
What do you do when your Green Cheek bites? Say 'no' in a firm voice, put her down and walk away.

 

 

And Mitch from Kansas:

*Did you have experience with parrots prior to owning your Green Cheek?*
No, not really.  Only experienced a never bites 'loaner'  Tiel for 2 months.

*How often do you get bitten by your Green Cheek?*

I get a non-skin removal nip about once every 2 weeks.

*Does your Green Cheek draw blood?*

Rarely.  Last time was maybe 3 months ago.

*Do you know why your Green Cheek bites?*
After the fact it's pretty easy to figure out why:

1 attacking my finger instead of the toy.
2. food possessiveness when she was 4-5 months old.

*Would you recommend a Green Cheek to others?*

Whole heartedly!  But you must be willing to pay attention  to and interact with your feathered friend for life. Greencheeksaren't cats and can be very needy if they don't feel  that they are getting the attention they deserve.  Libby is a   Pamperedpeeps Green Cheek, and with that good a start and she has become the joy of my life.

*What do you do when your Green Cheek bites?*

If it is minor I immediately set her down and move away from her.  I will stand with my back to her. She always comes right back to me, and I set her down, and move away again.  Usually after 2 or 3 attempts to return she will stop, and start to preen and 'pip' quietly.  After no more than 2 minutes I call her back to me and give her lots of love. If she really hurts me I am always so surprised that I yell 'Oww!'
very loudly :(  I then do the same as for a minor bite.

 

Here is Deb in Michigan:

Our family had no prior experience with owning birds prior to getting our Green Cheek.  I'll admit that during the first few months of getting her I thought I had made a mistake getting one because she was very nippy.  Things definitely got better as time went on.  I think my biggest mistake was not respecting the bird or understanding her body language.  She hardly ever bites me now and when she does I KNOW it's coming.  Those are times when she is in danger and I have to grab her unexpectedly.  Even then, she doesn't draw blood.  I don't think she wants to bite me. 

 
On another note, I do have a six year old daughter that loves to play with the bird.  She gets bitten whenever she takes the bird out of her cage or tries to put her back in.  She bites hard and draws blood. She is fine handling her any other time.   This was a pattern that had been established without my knowledge.  Now that I am aware of the situation I am working with my daughter to break this pattern.  I have noticed that my daughter hesitates and tends to pull away when the bird tries to step-up and the bird does not feel safe and bites to hold on.  I don't think this problem is unique to Green Cheeks as any bird would do the same thing.
 
Our Green Cheek is almost a year old and she is a very sweet and playful bird.   My advice for inexperienced bird owners is to take things slow and pay attention to the bird's body language.  When you have a large parrot I think you naturally give them some respect because their beaks are so intimidating, but because Green Cheeks are small I don't think they get the respect they deserve and get a bad rap.
 
 
Would you recommend a Green Cheek to others? Yes
 
What do you do when your Green Cheek bites? Use your technique...holding her in hand on her back and saying "no biting."

 

Here is Shellie in Peoria:

Hi Beth!

Kaida is funny. She can be completely sweet and mellow enjoying my petting her on her head etc. one second and then the next turn & try to bite me. I know her body language now though so I can avoid it most of the time.

Other times she tries to bite are: when I put her back in her cage (she avoids "step down", hangs on and refuses to go into her cage),  when I'm wearing something different like a hat etc., or when she gets over-excited by a favorite toy. She also went through a phase last fall for a month or so when she was "bitey" but then around Christmas was back to her old self.  She's also really testy when she has a lot of pin feathers and she won't let me help her with that at all!

On the other hand she continues to get sweeter and sweeter in other ways. Burrowing into my shirt, giving kisses etc., and she loves to just hang out with me - she would live on my shoulder if she could...but she is a high spirited little bird!  I do think the more I am able to avoid the bites etc. the less she wants to bite if that makes sense...maybe because it's not successful. So it seems to me that it will continue to get less and less. I think a lot of it is not Kaida's fault but due to my learning curve.  I had never had a bird that bit and they move so fast! So it's taken me time to really learn how to deal with this behavior.

Thanks Beth!
Shellie (& Kaida!)

 

 

This is from Karen in Northern AZ. She is the talented, young artist who painted the Cinnamon and Yellow Sided Green cheeks. (her art is on their pages)
Did you have experience with parrots prior to owning your Green Cheek? minimal, a cockatiel and 2 parakeets.
 
 
How often do you get bitten by your Green Cheek?
i have only been bitten about 5 times in the last year.
 

Does your Green Cheek draw blood? she has a bite, and that hurts, but doesn't draw blood. then she has a nip, like a pinch. the nip is more common.
 
 
Do you know why your Green Cheek bites? she usually bites when she is very excited. she nips if she has been in her cage all day or wants something you have.
 
 
Would you recommend a Green Cheek to others? yes. they are a good size and have tons of personality and spunk.
 
 
What do you do when your Green Cheek bites? i lay her on her back and stroke her beak while telling her "no bite" until she calms down. 
 
Thank you for the time you give to us :) I know how valuable time is! hope all is well with you all. Booka is doing fine, she has discovered just how fun (and messy) shredder toys are. :)
-Karen

 

From Andra in Phoenix:

Hi Beth,

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I have been thinking about this quite a bit over the last several days and hope my answers will help. You are welcome to use it on your site if you feel it will help.

I have owned several parrots in the past including a scarlet macaw, an African grey, a love bird and several cockatiels before we purchased our GC. I don't feel our GC is any more "nippy" than most birds. Almost all birds have a favorite person they prefer to spend time with, and they will let you know under no uncertain terms who it is, and whether they will "put up with" the other person at any given time. It is no different with the GC's. Our GC is extremely cuddly when he chooses to be, but will nip at you when you reach for him if he wants to be left alone.

There are things that you can do to minimize (or stop) the nippy behavior. I think it's important to watch your bird's body language and behavior as you approach him. He will give subtle cues that let you know how he is feeling. When our GC wants to be with us he paces back and forth, bobs his head and will do the occasional twirl - which just cracks us up. If he wants to be left alone, he will stay back and sit in a fluffed up position, not making any effort to move toward us. At night they may want to be left alone to sleep and will nip when you try to give loves. They will love you, but most often it is on their terms.

You need to be careful in your approach, something that can be difficult for young children to understand (but they can be taught!) Birds worry about being preyed upon, and appreciate it when you approach then slowly, and definitively. Firmly placing your finger under their breast and saying "Up" can be more reassuring than starting by reaching over their head to give a scratch. Do that after they have had a chance to step up and feel comfortable with you. Give them a little bit of time, and you will have your GC snuggling under your neck or preening your hair. A good preen is the best compliment they can give . . . you are definitely one of the flock at that point :o)

Andra

 

And this is from Jennifer, who does not own one of our babies, but is very attached to her Rocky. He is mature and not a baby.

Did you have experience with parrots prior to owning your Green Cheek?  Not really.
 
How often do you get bitten by your Green Cheek? Rarely, if ever anymore.  As a youngster, he went through a biting phase at about 8 mos., but I worked with him and he rarely bites now.  He is such a sweet affectionate bird and very smart, but they are like children in some ways.  He needed to learn it was not acceptable.  I am sure the flock would not accept it either.
 

Does your Green Cheek draw blood?  When he did bite, yes.
 
Do you know why your Green Cheek bites?  Yes.  I had a toy that he wanted, or he was mad as I was on the cell phone and ignoring him while on my shoulder.  He loves shiny objects and I think he is territorial about them.  He used to bite me if I was holding a pair of keys or fingernail clippers.  Now he just attacks the objects.
 
Would you recommend a Green Cheek to others?   Yes, but only if they have time.  These are flock animals and therefore need a lot of social interaction.  My rocky is the best thing I ever spent money on.  He issweet, affectionate, and very attached to me. 
 
What do you do when your Green Cheek bites?   I used to let him flutter to the ground or counter, turn off the light and walk away for a minute or usually less.  He is so scared of being alone out of the cage that he quickly learned not to bite.
 

Do I have your permission to put your answer on our website?  Yes.
 

 

Maranda was a sweet mother-to-be who took home a Cinnamon Green Cheek in 2006. Here is how her Green cheek is doing:
Hello Beth here are my responses to your questionaire: 

 

1. Did you have experience with parrots prior to owning your Green Cheek?
Yes. I have had a green-cheek conure and a peach-faced lovebird before my cinnamon green-cheek.
 
2. How often do you get bitten by your Green Cheek?
Not very often, and it is only nips when she is naughty and being put back in her cage. Or when she is getting groomed by us she sometimes nips back.
 
3. Does your Green Cheek draw blood?
She has never drawn blood.
 

4. Do you know why your Green Cheek bites?

I think it is out of annoyance when we are preening her, or it might hurt when twisting the pin feather casing off. And also she bites at our roomate but I think that she is establishing dominance
 
5. Would you recommend a Green Cheek to others?
Yes, green-cheeks are amazing birds. They are so fun, and loving, and the perfect size when just starting out with birds.
 
6. What do you do when your Green Cheek bites?
I firmly say no and put her back in her cage or on her playstand.
 
7. Do I have your permission to put your answer on our website?
Yes, go right ahead.
 Thank you,
 Maranda G.

 

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