Photo by Dave
Location: In the RV
Pictured playing with his ball: Toco Toucan “Rocko”
When our baby toucan Rocko started showing signs of aggression every once in a while, most of all when he appeared to be bored, Dave and I looked at each other like, “What do we do to stop a toucan from biting? This isn’t a parrot we’re dealing with…”
Rocko’s bite is a completely different type of “bite”. He has two different ways of hurting someone or something. In the wild, toucans will raid other bird nests and eat their young by grabbing them by the neck and shaking very hard. This breaks their necks and kills them fairly quickly. The other way is by jabbing into something, much like you’d use a knife to hurt someone. Their beaks eventually become serrated as they get older making both of these very painful encounters.
Just like any other baby, Rocko is going around testing his strength and doing things that come naturally to him. He’ll grab blankets of pieces of clothing you’re wearing and shake them and eventually he had a couple episodes where he was showing aggression towards us and we were not wanting to encourage it.
Photo by Dave
Location: Everett, WA
Pictured mouth open: Toco Toucan “Rocko”
Instead of yelling at him and saying, “No!” or grabbing his beak (good luck with that one) like many people instinctually do with their pets… we went out and bought some round balls you see for cats (but the non-cat nip ones) and every time he would start to get aggressive with us we’d remove ourselves from the situation and replace us with a ball for him to play with.
So in turn we were not telling him he can’t get some aggression out – we merely are giving him something, and providing him with a situation in which he CAN get aggression out. This has made it so that he plays with more toys, and actually goes to the toys when he’s feeling the need to play too rough for us. It has made it so that he has learned that he doesn’t do that with us, he does that with toys instead and now he already rarely shows any signs of aggression with us.
If your kid has a bunch of excess energy you don’t just tell him “no” and make him get over it. You enroll him in karate or kick boxing, or let him play outside to get the energy out so he’s ready for bed that night.
Let me tell ya, Rocko has been sleeping so well he hardly wakes for anything! Which is great, as we want him to be able to sleep in any environment so he’s never stressed staying at someone else’s house or in a new room to sleep over somewhere. It’s bound to happen with our lifestyle.
So instead of discipline with your bird, think of ways you can enable your bird to show what it needs to show… in a controlled environment that’s best for you and your bird.
Yep! Always be prepared with ‘distractions’ of all kinds. My flock of 3 are a male Umbrella Cockatoo, male yellow-crested Amazon and female African grey – all rescues, and with their own agendas! It’s a challenge. Especially in south Florida, in August and early Sep when the hormones are raging. Thanks for all the great info.
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