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Sandra November 21, 2022

Hormonal Parrots: Triggers, Signs & Tips

All parrots will get hormonal at times; this is normal and natural. A hormonal parrot seeks to mate, breed, and produce eggs.

Many parrots become hormonal during spring when the weather is warmer and there is more daylight. Although, our pet parrots can become hormonal all year round due to factors other than the weather.

Hormonal Triggers:

  • Seasons (Spring, even Fall)
  • Sexually stimulating with petting on the back, tail or anywhere other than the head, neck & feet
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Being served warm mushy foods
  • Snuggling birds
  • Sometimes blowing air at your bird
  • Certain toys (overstimulation)¬†

Identify hormonal signals, such as:

  • Birds act overly sexual in response to being petted (especially on the back or wings)
  • Hormonal feather plucking (most often occurring on the chest or between the legs)
  • Regurgitating food, panting, crouching down with wings dropped.
  • Increased shredding of paper or toys and chewing
  • Nest-building or nesting; hiding in dark areas or holes or actively searching for them - avoid cuddle huts and the like
  • Aggressive behaviour, including nipping, biting and lunging¬†
  • Territorial behaviour¬†
  • Eye pinning, wing flapping, tail fanning or bowing displays¬†
  • Possessiveness of favourite human (or bird companion)¬†
  • Increased vocalization, aka screaming
  • Females may show an increased interest in cuttlebone or other calcium sources, as well as protein-rich foods like eggs
  • Displaying nesting behaviour
  • Regurgitation¬†
  • Masturbation (parrots will rub their vent on toys, food, bowls, and other birds or "flock members"; this includes humans)
Do not encourage these behaviours because a sexually frustrated bird usually becomes aggressive.

Tips:

  • Make sure they get good quality sleep - 12 hours of dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep time
  • Provide enrichment and lots of toys - toys to keep beaks busy, foraging activities, target training, etc
  • Make sure they get enough exercise each day
  • Avoid cuddle huts, nests, etc
  • Feed a good healthy diet with fresh foods - lots of veggies and avoid warm or mushy foods
  • Avoid feeding large amounts of sugary, fatty, and starchy foods, as they can increase hormone intensity
  • ANY hormonal behaviour should be discouraged
  • Limit petting; if so, ONLY head and neck area¬†
  • You can decrease light exposure to 10 hours¬†

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