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 Hormonal Behavior in Parrots

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PostSubject: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:35 pm

Hormonal Behavior in Company Parrots



Hormonal
Behavior in Birds:
All parrots will get hormonal at times. This is a normal natural
process. The challenge, however, is greater with some parrots than with
other species.
Amazons, for example, go through a stage that is difficult to
handle for many but the most experienced amazon owners. Species such as Lilac Crowns
and Mealies are
less excitable than other amazon species during the breeding season.
Females are usually calmer than males during the breeding season. An
attack by a hormonal male can be vicious and will not be limited to one
bite. The time of aggression varies with the individual bird. It
usually appears between the ages of 5 to 12 years. During this time
there will be one to two years in which they will be very aggressive.
Once they go through this, they generally settle down with little or no
aggression shown when they are not hormonal and some aggression when
they are.
Bird owners may find that their pet all of a sudden turns on them
and favors another family member. Dr. Jill Patt describes this being
similar to a wild bird leaving its parents and choosing a mate.

She suggests the following ways of dealing with your
pet bird choosing someone else as its mate ...


    1. Understand that this is a natural behavior.

    2. Have the family member the bird has picked limit their
      interaction with your bird, spend time with the bird when that family
      member is absent, and ensure that only you are the one to provide all
      favorite treats and activities.

    3. The environment can also be altered somewhat to attempt to
      reduce breeding behavior. Limiting the daylight hours to mimic a winter
      sun will often help.

    4. In some instances, the vet may prescribe drugs that balance
      out a pet's hormones.




Identify hormonal signals, such as:

  1. Birds acting overly sexual in response to being petting
    (especially on the back or wings).
  2. Hormonal feather
    plucking
    (most often occurring on the chest or between the legs)
  3. Frequent regurgitating of food, panting, crouching down with
    wings dropped.
  4. Increased shredding of paper or toys and increased chewing
  5. Nest-building or nesting; hiding in dark areas or holes and/or
    actively searching for them (potential nest sites)
  6. Aggression / protectiveness of chosen nest site
  7. Possessiveness of favorite human (or bird companion) - while
    being extra aggressive toward others.
  8. Increased vocalization
  9. Females especially may show an increased interest in cuttlebone or other
    calcium sources
    , as well as protein rich foods like egg or meat.
  10. Masturbating



Triggers of Breeding Behavior:

  1. Extended hours of light. Lengthening
    days and increased amounts of artificial light will
    cause a bird's reproductive organs to increase in size which in turn
    triggers a significant increase in hormonal activity.

  2. The availability of a suitable nest site
    and nesting materials. A suitable nest sites may, in your pet's
    eyes, include ordinary household items like cardboard boxes, areas
    behind cushions on the couch, even shoes. It is best to discourage them
    from claiming those as nests. Nesting material can be paper or a
    favorite blanket.

  3. Availability of a mate (can be you,
    another bird or an object, such as a favorite toy)

  4. Diet: Levels of fat and/or protein, as well
    as starches in the diet. Warm, wet food (nestling food) also encourages
    breeding behavior.

  5. Perceived sexual petting (i.e.,
    stroking the bird's backside or near the vent)


Hormonal behavior is perfectly normal and a pet bird
should never be punished for this natural behavior. However, there
are ways to minimize hormonal / sexual behavior in birds:


  • Stick-train your parrot. This is
    very important. You don't want to handle a hormonal parrot, as they can
    bite very hard. T-perches are great. They are difficult to find. Years
    ago I bought one over Amazon that I absolutely love -- it has a long
    handle, so I can retrieve my parrot from high-places. These perches
    look like a "T" -- with the upper "line" being the perch for the parrot
    to step on, while the lower part of the T - the vertical line - is the
    handle. This way, the parrot can't easily get to your hand. If you use
    just one simple straight perch, they can move over to your hands and
    bite. It's easy enough to make such a "T" perch yourself. Home Depot
    basically has the parts that my perch is made from. The manufacturer
    simply attached a short perch to the long one. Stick-training is a
    natural process. Simply pushing the perch against the parrot's tummy
    will prompt them to step up. Always accompany the action with the words
    "step-up" or "get up" or "up" - whatever you like. This way the parrot
    knows what is expected.

  • Decrease the amount of light your bird gets
    everyday. Ensure that your pet is getting 11-12 hours of
    darkness per night. Limiting the amount of daylight and / or artificial light the
    bird receives. If you cannot sufficiently darken the room the bird is
    in, then put a dark cover over the cage.

  • Increase level of exercise, in the way of flying or foraging activities.

  • Adjust
    the Diet: Avoid feeding foods that are high calorie or high fat when your companion
    bird is hormonal. They trigger the "abundance" cue that say it is a
    good time to provide for babies. Limit a bird's access to starchy /
    sugary and high-protein foods during its cycle.

    • Do not feed: breads, corn, sweet
      potatoes, beans, nuts, cheese, meats or grapes. If you feed a high
      potency, pelleted diet with a high protein content, cut back a bit on
      the amount.
    • Do feed less stimulating food substances,
      like wheat germ and hemp seed. Offer instead more fresh vegetables,
      and some fruits.



  • Remove access to any chosen "nest site." Deter
    your bird from actively seeking a nest or building one.

  • Refocus your pet's energy by finding
    activities that distract your pet. Often this will halt this
    behavior for the entire day.

    • Provide foraging
      opportunities
      and bird
      toys

    • Try changing the "scenery," like moving the cage to a
      different location.
    • Interrupt sexual advances by showing your pet his or her
      favorite food or toy, turning the lights off and back on again.
    • Try "packing" the cage - stuffing your pet's cage with
      sticks, twigs, branches with leaves from safe plants, pieces of balsa
      wood, paper, phone books, anything shreddable - so much so that your pet
      has to chew its way out to get anywhere. Do make sure not to block
      access to food and water. The idea is that the bird will redirect its
      energy toward chewing up the obstacles in its way.
    • It is
      important to immediately "change the subject" when sexual
      advances begin. You might try keeping a toy box or basket of
      interesting items that he likes to play with and when he tries to mate
      with your hand or arm, offer him one of the toys.
    • Exercise works wonders too. Flying in place is the
      easiest way for non-flighted birds to burn off hormonal energy. They can
      be encouraged to fly in place until they are tired. Giving a caged
      bird time on an open perch equipped with swings, cotton ropes, and a
      Boing is also effective



  • Ease up on affection as stroking and
    cuddling can be viewed by your pet as a solicitation. Petting the bird
    on the back, neck, or vent area should be avoided

  • Drugs for hormonal feather picking:
    If all these changes fail than drug therapy may be warranted. Drug
    therapy is most effective in females but has also be tried in males.
    Lupron (leuprorelin acetate) has an inhibitory effect on the pituitary
    that should reduce the hormones FSH and LH. This drug has been used in
    birds for chronic egg
    laying
    , hormonal aggression and feather picking.
    Again, this is not a perfect drug and certainly not for all situations.

  • Note: egg-laying females may need
    to have their calcium intake boosted.

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PostSubject: Re: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:30 am

All very good peices of advice. It may well be Foghorn is more agressive due to this but I think it goes a bit deeper with him.Don't get bit in the mean time I will check on a few things.. Like the way you investigate things
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PostSubject: Re: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:58 am

well im just trying to look at things around about possable reasons is all i dont like giving up on anything and im not ruleing anything out at this moment so i ben doing some reading and checking diff things tho he did show some of the signs on the list like


  1. Birds acting overly sexual in response to being petting
    (especially
    on the back or wings).
Frequent regurgitating of food, panting, crouching down with

  1. wings
    dropped.
  2. Increased shredding of paper or toys and increased
    chewing


  1. Females especially may show an increased interest in cuttlebone or other
    calcium sources
    , as well
    as protein rich foods like egg or meat.
  2. Masturbating
even tho says females go for cuttle bones i think it may an very well could be a male thing to becouse he has eaten alot of it
ive kinda just sitting back today and watching more then anything he didnt strike the cage this morning tho he did hiss but that was about it i havent offered to open the door or my hand so im just watching to see what he does today off and on of going near the cage

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PostSubject: Re: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:48 pm

Very informative. This could end up being very helpful for someone new to dealing with birds of this age and type

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PostSubject: Re: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:18 pm

well today ive mostly walked to the cage saying nothing just to see a reaction from him witch he has fluffed up at me and a few huff and puffs but not to bad i gave him a chance to come out of the cage showed him the stick and he pushed it away i didnt force him out and only said step up he just pushed the stick away and licked the end of it so i offered one more time to step up he backed away went to the bottem of the cage so i simply just shut the door said nothing and walked away leaving him confused abit i know he was expecting me to go fight trying to get him out and this time i ignored him shut the door walked away so now he was watching everything ive ben doing i sweep the floor and mop he sat there trying to get me to talk to him by saying hi hello and whatcha doing i still ignored him and finished mopping then walked over to the couch and sat down and he comes to the side of the cage doing bat bird and trying to reach his foot out to get my attention and i again ignore him i know this all may sound mean but if i give in and go to him then he gets what he wants and im not giving in if he wants to act like a huge royal rump in the bear then fine im ignoring it and not giving him my time so right now he is abit confused and trying everything to get me to react to what he is doing i just dont even look at him its driven him nuts so im playing the game back now and he isnt sure what to make of it all

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PostSubject: Re: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:39 pm

Did I forget to tell you he is a big Phatt butt,with a mind all his own. LOL. Not to worry we will fix this. Good experience for all concerned including Fog Horn. He'll come back and live in my computer room.Hope what we talked abouy works out, you will likie.
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PostSubject: Re: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:52 pm

thats cool. he is now being cival with me at the moment he is eating speg noodles and saying hi boober yeah i think it was a good experence in all and a lession learned in scarlets there such pretty birds but boy they got tudes lol

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PostSubject: Re: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:17 pm

Oh you got that right. Thats why not too many people actuall have one thats not some sort of problem. My problem is I didn't think of the emotional bond he and I have. As I told you they get their bad attitudes from nature. For ever and ever Indians gaught them for their feather colors so nature gave them a biggggggg attitude so's any one reaching in knows what can happen hahahahahahaha. Plus they can breat the strongest stufff because of the geoomitry of their beak. Lesson's learned be me!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Hormonal Behavior in Parrots   Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:45 pm

lol well it was a well learned lession for me and a good learning experence thats for sure

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