Factors Contributing to Raging Hormones in your Parrot?

3 min read
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Welcome back to a continuation of HARI  & Parrot Life series Versatile Living Quarters and Lifestyle for Your Parrot, a study of how this can benefit a long lasting relationship with your avian companion.

Improvements in the past 20 years for the care of our feathered companions have been proven beneficial, but have we brought on a new era of problems? Could these factors, additionally to the single cage dwelling’s monotonous lifestyle, be contributing to hormonal overdrive?

  • Full spectrum lighting offered in excess, daily & throughout the year…are we overexposing –over stimulating?
  • Should the only activity center be located on the single cage dwelling’s play top, mimic once again the area guarded surrounding the nest cavity in the wild?
  • Caretakers offering an exhaustive variety of foods referred to as “cafeteria style feeding” can mimic the breeding season in the wild when abundance and variety of foods is increased … should this abundance be offered throughout the year?
  • Improved diets can provide excess in caloric energy and optimum nutrients year round compared to the variation of availability seasonally found in the wild. Is this contributing to simulate conditions found during the breeding season? Subsequently, the amount of energy expensed by the birds living in a non-stimulating, unchallenging and monotonous environment can be far less than their daily caloric intake, inevitably contributing to obesity.
  • Offering shredding or weaning material in the single dwelling cage potentially contributes to hormonal overdrive, interpreted as preparation of nesting material in the” nest cavity”. Shredding activities should be encouraged at an activity center. Our companions should not be encouraged to mark their cage as they would mark their nesting cavity. Offer novelties, distractions and versatility.
  • Captive bred, hand fed, chicks that are overly consumed by the human touch can inadvertently mistake their human caretaker as a mate when they reach adolescence. This prevents the development of a healthy relationship. The human caretaker should be viewed as a mentor or leader of the flock and not misunderstood as a sexual mate. The unfortunate outcome of petting parrots near the lower back, down the tail whilst flaring the vent, exchanging foods with a human mouth, petting the beak are inevitably communicating mating courtship. Once again potentially contributing to hormonal overdrive? Birds should experience companionship, foraging, preening with other birds at an early age.
  • Probing deeper into the probable causes of hormonal overdrive … is there a possibility that having the same caregiver bring food to the single cage dwelling routinely mimic the mating season when the male brings food to the nest cavity to feed the brooding hen? Perhaps the cycle should be broken, other members of the family should participate & foraging with flock mates (i.e. at supper time while the family is preparing the meal & eating) should be integrated more frequently in the daily activities of your feathered companion.

Read on for a list of items to prevent hormonal overdrive in parrots.

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