Tis the Season: Working through the hormones
This is the time of year where you want to pull your hair out, and often times have no idea why your bird suddenly hates you. It is caused by a breeding season influx of hormones, and just like with Teenagers, they don’t always handle the changes well. There are many different problems that may arise when your bird is sexually mature and spring time comes. These are problems that sometimes will subside rather quickly and there are others that are much longer lasting. Here is a quick guide to how to handle some of the most popular problems and what is going on with your bird.
Screaming: Ignore bad behavior (yes, we know, easier said than done!). A large reason why your bird is screaming is to call you in. At this time, you need to ignore the screams and only react when your bird is quiet. If it gets totally out of hand you can cover your birds’ cage for a short amount of time, or (controversially) use water. What we suggest if you are using water is to have a “bad bird bottle” that does not resemble the bathing bottle. You don’t want to make your bird afraid of water, as bathing is a vital part of their overall health. For our personal birds we have just a normal spray bottle on the mist setting that we spray our birds with. We then have our “bad bird bottle”, that is more of a plant mister on the straight spray setting. It is shaped and colored differently than the bathing bottle. Our birds know that when we get this bottle out, it is time to be quiet.
Aggression: This is often times one of the most difficult aspects of this point in the birds’ life. Often times they will turn on those they love the most, and start liking someone else, or no one else. The aggression obviously varies from lunging, biting, chasing, etc. This too is something that should be ignored as much as possible. This sometimes leads to a bird who has to spend more time in the cage. Make sure to have plenty of toys to challenge them and keep them busy chewing and thinking.
Plucking: When a bird starts over preening or plucking it is important to get a full vet check to rule out any underlying issues. We do see a lot of birds that will start plucking when the surge of hormones comes. It is important to remember that if you make a big deal out of this new habit, so will they. As with the other problems, don’t acknowledge but instead be proactive in helping. Supply your birds with toys, plenty of bathing, attention when they are quiet (even if it is attention from a distance), and a healthy diet. Much like us diet plays a huge role in a healthy bird both inside and out. It can affect their moods, their feather condition, skin, etc.
Territorialism: During this time a lot of birds feel a stronger desire to protect their home. This can lead to problems interacting around the cage, cleaning, feeding, etc. While there is no quick trick to end this behavior, you just need to learn the work arounds that help for your bird. This could be simple things like changing toys around in the cage, switching up feeding times, bathing before cleaning or feeding, etc. All birds are different and react to things differently, so you’ll have to find what suits you best!
Helpful Remedies to try:
AviCalm: natural calming agent to help hormonal, aggressive, screaming, plucking birds.
FeatherIn!: Bath time spray designed to soothe, and hydrate dry itchy, and irritated skin, especially with the pluckers or over preeners.
Featheriffic!: Natural supplement that nourishes the body from the inside out. Helps to stop and/or prevent plucking, and over preening.
Water: The cheapest and easiest way to help improve the health of your bird. Bathing is vital and should be done regardless of if your bird likes it or not!