Grinding Beaks On Cages

benjaminannas

Regular Member
Hi everyone,
I have tried to do a lot of research on this but I keep getting very mixed messages!
Every evening before bed time Mollie likes to bite the bars of her cage and move her beak backwards and forward as if she was grinding it. Its a horrible noise and I am worried she may damage her beak! Is it a normal behaivour?

I have read a few other forum posts were people say its because the parrot is bored, a few where it says she is content and sharpening / looking after her beak and a few others which said she didn't have enough things in her cage to chew on. So now I don't really know what to think!!!
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TomsMum

Administrator
Admin
Beak grinding is a sign of contentment...but that's usually done when the parrot is sitting quietly on a perch.

The pinging on the bars is something my Blue Crowned Conure does....I'm not sure whether that's contentment too, or a way of getting attention.
Let's see if other members with Greys have seen this behaviour too.

Does she like chewing toys? Have you tried different types...wood, cardboard, paper.....have you tried threading paper strips, card, or the shredders palm leaf through the cage bars? http://www.northernparrots.com/shredders-original-straight-chewable-ribbon-for-parrots-prod3990
 

Ararajuba

Regular Member
I don't know much about greys, but Dido our crimson-bellied conure likes to bite her cage bars in two situations: 1) When she is trying to get our attention, especially when she is already showing off about something and we are not looking at her (this is usually directed at me); and 2) When we have something she wants and she is showing signs of envy or demanding it (this is usually directed at the wife, especially when she is eating or drinking something). She tends to stretch her neck out straight and stand tall, with neck feathers ruffled up, when she is doing it, and often makes the same kinds of calls as she usually makes when demanding something or trying to get attention. From this I would say that for her at least, biting her cage is mainly an attention-seeking behaviour, done when over-excited or even mildly angry (ignoring her for too long or not giving her something she wants are big crimes in her eyes).

She doesn't appear to grind on the bar like yours does though - just gives it a swift but hard bite and pulls back - the objective apparently being to make a loud metallic sound by doing this. I think she has found that pulling back makes a better sound (since the bar vibrates more if she is not touching it after the bite). If she doesn't manage to get a good loud resonant sound the first time (or first couple of times) she repeats the process until she succeeds in making it really ring out at least once or twice, then usually seems satisfied for a while till she starts again (which she will after a while if the thing that originally caused her to bite the bars is still happening).

So far as I remember this behaviour started around the time our new baby was born, about seven months ago now. This is probably not coincidence, as she must have had a bit less attention than she used to get since then. She has never shown any signs of hostility towards the baby, though - the biting of bars and associated behaviour seems to be exclusively directed at us. We have been a bit worried about her beak, as she appears to bite the bar quite firmly - but I take a good look at it fairly regularly, and haven't seen any signs of damage, so it seems that it's doing her no particular harm so far.
 
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benjaminannas

Regular Member
Thanks guys, Mollie has very specific cues when it comes to her behaviour and they are all linked to timing.

A normal day runs as follows:

07:00am I get up and lift off her cover and have a little good morning chat. I then get a shower and get ready for work while my partner sits with her and has her morning tea. I then give her breakfast and we sit and eat together side by side while chatting. I leave at 08:15 and so does my partner so we leave her with a story book and a mirror. We get home at 17:30 ish and say hello, I wheel her into the kitchen and do any washing up and prepare dinner. She likes watching me so we’re trying to get her used to different rooms so that when we can have her out of the cage she’s happy to sit on a perch where every we go. We all have dinner together then, we then have play time until around 20:00 which is either some fun activity inviolving a cardboard box or a bottle and a few treats. She loves playing with cardboard and paper and she will run around her cage chasing it.

About 20:00 she calms down and starts to clean herself ready for bed and after she is done with her feathers she then rubs her beak against the bars or against her perch before doing this grinding action on the bars. She does ping the cage when she wants to come out but this is really different. She moves back and forth as if she was trying to grind down her lower beak. It doesn’t look overgrown or damaged. She does then for 10 mins odd before she goes to bed.

Any ideas would be great! There are ropes, perches and chew toys already in her cage.

Thank you for your advice!!!
 

Bradders

Parrot Power!
Staff member
Moderator
Our grey Ruby tends to wipe her beak on the bars after she's eaten but not grind the bars so not sure what it means either.

Our routine is similar to yours. Ruby is home alone all day while we're at work. We always leave the radio on for her. I also wrap bits of Tidymix in paper and hide in parrot pipes (from northern parrots). I put the parrot pipes in empty egg boxes and then maybe put in another cardboard box. When I get home, it's a mess everywhere but she loves to shred these boxes apart. I also have other toys for her to chew on and we have those foraging peanuts that you hang up and fill with treats. I thread grapes onto drinking straws and weave it into the bars of her cage. She has a dog bowl at the bottom of her cage full of wooden things to chew too. We also have the hanging treasure chest you can buy that's full of wooden blocks. She loves to dangle on this to get the blocks out.

At night, Ruby is out of her cage until around midnight, she has a java tree in the living room. As she's up quite late, I know she'll nap in the day too.

All in all, she has plenty to keep her busy and is actually quite independent. I'm sure the foraging is the thing that keeps her content.
 

benjaminannas

Regular Member
Thank you for the advice! I have ordered some new toys from northern parrots so we shall see what she enjoys!
I have been making my own toys, a lot of toilet rolls with twisted ends and a treat instead and things like that. I did try a lot with bottles but she doesn't seem to be able to get into them so i've taken them away. she still liked knocking them around on the floor but it seemed mean if she couldn't get to the treat!
 

ZaiZai

Registered
Hi, did you ever get to the bottom of this? My Alexandrine is doing the same and quite vigorously I dont want him to damage his beak, he's around 6 months
 

ZaiZai

Registered
He's got cuttlefish but goes through them like crazy, will try to see if he only grinds on the bars when he is out of cuttlefish and will look to get apple wood or willow for him too.

Thanks for your replies!!
 
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