Even though our feathered companions have a very different life from their wild relatives they still have many of their natural instincts and drives, such as foraging, exploring and many more. One of the strongest drives is to mate. While perfectly acceptable in the wild, in our homes this can lead to serious issues. Here are some ways to prevent, or lessen, unwanted effects such as self-mutilation (plucking, barbering, etc), frustration, excessive screaming, aggression, egg-binding and other issues from ever occurring. Many people wonder why their feathered companion may one day develop unwanted behaviors. In most cases they may have unintentionally caused them.
-Provide a varied diet low in high caloric foods, such as seed, some fruits, treat like foods and anything else that is high in energy.
-Ensure your companion is getting 12 or more hours of sleep a night.
-Refrain from petting below the head. Parrots have no outer genitalia so they rely on touch to initiate mating. Areas below there head such as below the wings, down the back and others give your companion the wrong idea. Your making a promise you can't keep. This also creates a strong mate bond. By sticking to head and feet your implying more of a flock bond. By flaring up your companions desire to mate this can cause them to become hostile to other members of your household, such as spouses. They'll see them as a threat and will try to protect you. They might even bite you to warn you or to get you to move away.
-Avoid mushy foods. Often birds will regurgitate as a sign of affection. If this occurs it needs to be discouraged right away. Place your companion down, have no reaction whatsoever to ensure the behavior isn't being encouraged.
-Parrot companions can also become aggressive to each other. Their have been many instances were mated birds have maimed or even killed each other. It's important if your keeping multiple birds together to offer plenty of space.
-Frequently changing toys and providing plenty of other forms of stimulation can also deter these behaviors.
-If you believe your companion is becoming a chronic egg layer it's important to contact your avian veterinarian as this can cause serious medical complications (egg binding) and if left untreated can be fatal. It's important they are getting plenty of nutrients as egg laying is nutritionally draining. In some instances fake eggs can be used to stop your companion from laying more eggs. If you have a bonded pair of birds it's important to remove the egg, replace with a pseudo-egg or sterilize the egg. By doing this it won't contribute to the number of unwanted parrots and keep your companions healthy. Our organizations policy is to not support or encourage breeding. It is located on the legally binding adoption contract at the end of our adoption process.
-One of the most important ways to not instigate these behaviors is to block your companions access to any nest like places. For example boxes, cabinets, drawers, under furniture and generally any small enclosed space. (This can also lead to territorial aggression over protecting their "nest".)
The video to the right is a perfect example of aggression in captivity. *Note it is not recommended to feed peanuts to parrots. Refer to the diet page for specific information referring to peanuts.*