Information

How to Minimize Hormonal Aggression in a Moody Parrot


I have LOTS of pets! I love animals, art, coffee, and video games.

I have always been a fan of the more "moody" parrots. Over the years, I have lived with and cared for a green-cheek conure, Moluccan cockatoo, African grey, blue-fronted Amazon, and several cockatiels and lovebirds. Some of these belonged to flat-mates, while others were my own. Of these species, I have come to appreciate those who have required more subtle forms of non-verbal communication and interaction. As challenging as they can be, I will always have a soft spot for Amazons and lovebirds, who I consider to be as testy as they are friendly.

With drastic mood swings during breeding seasons, it seems that interacting with your bird is impossibly difficult. I was once convinced that there was nothing I could do to help my lovebird Bonnie through these swings. I had resigned myself to owning an untouchable pet during these periods of intense aggression and territorial behavior.

You Can Adjust Your Bird's Behavior

Little did I know, there was much I could do to minimize how much her hormones affected her mood and how often her body kicked into breeding mode. Here are four tips to try.

  1. Consider Diet Changes
  2. Make Sure Your Bird Gets Enough Sleep
  3. Limit Handling
  4. Learn to Identify Your Bird's Moods and Respect Them

1. Consider Diet Changes

A high-protein diet of nuts, seeds, and protein-fortified pellets are what you'd feed your bird if you wanted to encourage breeding behavior.

Warm, soft foods can trigger hormone spikes. Re-evaluate what you usually feed your bird and how often she seems to go through mood swings.

  • Introduce a staple pellet diet with a lower protein value. Roudybush, Zupreem, or Harrison's Organic pellets are good choices.
  • Provide them with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and steer clear of commercial "conditioning" foods as these trigger breeding.
  • Soft foods, such as cooked whole-wheat pasta, rice, and other lean dishes, can be shared with parrots without worry so long as they are allowed to cool. Remember, warm foods signal that conditions are right for breeding.

2. Make Sure Your Bird Gets Enough Sleep

Varying daylight hours can trigger seasonal changes in many plants and animals alike. It is consistent that a change in bedtime routine, or lack of routine for that matter, contributes to irregular hormonal spikes in your parrot. Just as poor sleep patterns cause irritability in humans, they are also the cause of general moodiness.

Because parrots are tropical and reside in regions near to the Equator, they are most biologically accustomed to a 12-hour day, with 12 hours of darkness. Increasing the amount of daylight hours your bird gets, natural or artificial, will stimulate an increase in hormones. Parrots cannot operate on human hours.

  • With my busy life, it's sometimes difficult to remember to cover Bonnie's cage at night. It helps immensely to have her in a separate room so she can be closed off with lights out at a consistent hour every day. If you are sometimes forgetful like I am, you can put some lamps in the room on a timer so that bedtime becomes worry-free.
  • If a separate room is not an option, get a dark blanket to cover the cage for her 12-hour night period. Bonnie likes to shred hers through the cage, so I make a few trips to the thrift store for replacements every now and then.

3. Limit Handling

Too much "snuggle" time with your bird during these hormonal periods will increase courting behavior.

  • Try to avoid too much physical interaction. This can not only save you from being bitten, but it can also keep their romantic mood at a quieter level.
  • This does not mean you should isolate your parrot. By all means, bring her out to enjoy her flock, but keep her in a safe place where she won't be "tempted" into snuggling or nesting behaviors. A parrot stand is ideal for moody times such as these.
  • My Bonnie will dive towards any tight space nearby and fiercely defend it. When I have her out for social time, she must be kept on a table-top play stand on an empty surface. Much of keeping parrots out of trouble is in preventing the opportunity—as you are well aware, I'm sure. While she is perfectly sweet during non-breeding times, if I let her take to my shoulder with her hormones on the run, she is suddenly possessive of the area under my hair and will attack my cheek, ear, and neck to claim her new nest site. Given the fuss she throws over it, I am convinced she is happier not having to defend these kinds of cozy spaces, so she stays on the table.

4. Learn to Identify Your Bird's Moods and Respect Them

Like people, parrot species communicate through both vocalizations and body language. Even without words, they can ask for things and tell you their state of mind if you are willing to listen. You'll be surprised by how much you already know about your bird's way of speaking to you.

Watch for signs of aversion in your parrot:

  • Flared feathers are the avian equivalent of putting your hands on your hips and sternly discouraging the impending actions of a disobedient child (that's you). When this gesture is grouped with "wild" eyes with irises flaring, you can bet your bird will not appreciate your advances. You know your parrot best, and she knows you. This warning means you'd better slow down, if not back off completely.
  • Your parrot will use what works to keep you away, so if her body language doesn't work, she'll use her beak. Some birds learn to resort to biting first after other warnings have been consistently ignored over time.

Remain considerate of your parrot's moods and you'll gain a new kind of trust between the two of you. With these tips, you should see a noticeable improvement in your bird's temperament during breeding seasons and less injuries to your fingers and hands.

Xye on May 08, 2019:

I had a great and young Senegal parrot 20 years ago but she could be moody, sullen, angry for no apparent reason, lunging and biting behavior in an ADULT bird, great diet, open cage till bedtime, since I worked from home in the medical field, jealous of new bird entire time I adopted second bird and much more. I love Senegal parrots but she was my first Senegal parrot so I had to do lots of research online, ask my avian vet, buy books and magazines and just see what worked for both of us to make our bird to human relationship work.

srsddn from Dehra Dun, India on May 11, 2013:

trainerlex, Thanks for tips for handling a parrot. I think diet changes must be a significant factor for breeding. Also a lot of perseverance may be reequired to learn a way of communicating with the parrots. Great Hub. Useful, Thumbed up.

Pamela-anne from Miller Lake on February 20, 2013:

Interesting hub parrots just like people all have their own personalities I guess if we are not paying attention to what type of mood they are in we could end up with a peck or two! Thanks for sharing the great info they are such fascinating creatures take care!


How to Minimize Hormonal Aggression in a Moody Parrot - pets

Eclectus Parrots are one of the few species parrot that go through a short hormonal stage. For majority of this species can be short and tolerable. But there are some that become very aggressive and intolerable.

The female, when coming into adulthood can sometimes become moody and over bearing, over protective of her surroundings.

The males can become stubborn during these times and both can be dealt with by using positive reinforcement, though there are some Eclectus that just want or need to breed.

Both male and female can display territorial behaviours during this stage at any of their favourite place in the home.

You cannot stop hormonal behaviour, but you can lessen the severity of it.

Hormonal aggression is a natural part of life for parrots and occurs through maturity and breeding times. In the wild if an Eclectus has found the perfect hollow tree and a good supply of food and water close by she will naturally want to protect this area and this is where the aggression plays a roll. A pet Eclectus is no different. You have supplied them with a cage, toys and endless supply of food and water, so when breeding times comes around why wouldn’t they want to protect their space from unwanted intruders?

This sort of aggression can be eased or sometimes even prevented by taking a few simple measures. Spreading their toys, food and water throughout the house, rather than having it all in one small space. By setting up more than one place for your ekkie with food, water, toys, swings and stands throughout the house and having your ekkie active equally in these spots you’re giving your parrot less opportunity for the need to protect the one 'perfect' spot. You can also block off small dark areas and corners if you see your ekkie is starting to favour them and spend a great deal of time in these areas.

My Eclectus will favour being under our coffee table during hormonal periods. If we allow this for a long enough period he would start lunging at our feet if we got too close. He would also drag all his favourite toys under there. His aggression was very mild, he wouldn’t go further than lunging and growling but it can start to become quite frequent. To prevent things going any further and getting out of hand we wrapped a t-towel around the bar under the coffee table where he liked to sit with his worldly possessions. With the t-towel in place he was unable to sit there so he stopped going under the coffee table and his would aggression stop.

When Eclectus parrots reach maturity they can sometimes lash out for no apparent reason and it happens in both sexes. If the aggression is hormonal or maturity they not usually aware of their own actions. Hormones can cause undesirable behaviours and there is very little we can do about this except ride it out and try and have some understanding of this and not attempt to discipline a bird for their behaviours through these time. This will eventually ease and go. If you attempt to discipline this sort of behaviour your parrot will not understand why it’s being disciplined and you may make things much worse. You can’t force your parrot to stop being hormonal. It’s a natural course of life.

At the age of approx. 1 year old, Eclectus start to 'play roll' in nesting even though they're not yet mature. Between the age of 1.5 years & 4 years the Eclectus will mature. The age can differ individually as well as in sub species. The average noted maturing age is 3 years old however, most are not mature enough to breed until a few years after this.

Causes for unwanted hormonal behaviour are foods high in carbohydrates, foods high in sugars, hidden dark corners or spots, being given boxes or happy huts to play in, being given news paper to shred, being fed mushy foods, being fed cooked foods, light for too long, not going to bed at appropriate times suitable to parrots, snuggling, patting, rubbing the beak. Eliminate all of these and it will make it a great deal easier to have some control over the hormones. It is also a lot easier for them. And when you think about it, all of the above is not natural for the Eclectus to have unless they are in breeding mode as they would be in the wild.


Parrot Behavior Problems and other FAQ

Please direct questions regarding avian health to an veterinarian that specializes in birds. Not sure where to find one? Visit www.aav.org (The Association of Avian Veterinarians)

My parrot is afraid of me. How can I get my parrot to trust me?

The most important tool in helping you gain trust with your parrot is a positive reinforcement approach to training. This means instead of using coercion to gain cooperation, your parrot is given the choice to participate. When he does what you ask, good things happen…like he gets his favorite treats. Positive reinforcement training usually involves identifying small steps or approximations your parrot can make towards a goal behavior. Using this process called shaping with approximations you can teach your parrot to present many behaviors and most importantly to look forward to interacting with you.

To learn more about how to train using positive reinforcement and gain your parrots trust try these resources from Good Bird Inc.

For additional insight into fear responses check out this blog on How to Address Fear in Parrots http://goodbirdinc.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-address-fear-in-parrots.html

Learn about the Fallout from Force from this video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwB46jzrgdY

Read about the Correct Way to Pet your Parrot to Help Build Trust http://goodbirdinc.blogspot.com/2014/02/how-to-touch-parrot.html also check out this video clip on how your parrot likes to be touched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QifLP03gdZg and this one on training a parrot that didnt like head scratching to allow touch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oldGrfKxUaE

NEW! Webinars on "Fixing Fear Responses and Building Trust with Companion Parrots" Check the calendar for the next scheduled live webinar.To purchase access to a recording of this webinar for $19.95 isit this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/parrottrust

My parrot bites or attacks people. How do I stop my parrot from biting?

Parrot biting and aggressive behavior can be rooted in many different causes. Some parrots bite as a way to let you know they don’t like what you are doing. Some parrots learn to bite to get a desired response. Other parrots may become highly aroused and suddenly bite without warning. Baby parrots may start mouthing gently and then gradually increase the pressure. Some parrots bite defending their territories and some bite in response to someone coming to close to their preferred human. Sometimes we can’t always determine why a parrot bites or shows aggressive behavior. But even when we don’t know the cause there are solutions to parrot biting behaviors.

In Barbara Heidenreich’s book “The Parrot Problem Solver. Finding Solutions to Aggressive Behavior” you will learn about parrot behavior in the wild and how it relates to parrot’s biting in the home. Discover different conditions that contribute to your parrot’s problem biting and aggressive behavior. You will learn how to read your parrot’s body language to recognize the signals that your parrot might be ready to bite. You will learn about outdated methods to address parrot biting and aggressive behavior and why those methods are harmful to you and your parrot. Most importantly Barbara shares with you a series of steps to help you address parrot biting behaviors. Along the way Barbara shares real life case studies and anecdotes from her career as a professional parrot trainer and zoo consultant. Please note this book is no longer being printed by the publisher. Look for used copies or a digital version on Amazon. Trust me, we are as dissapointed as you are.

Does your bird have a mate like bond with someo one in your household or appears to be "hormonal"? Is this causing your bird parrot to show aggressive behavior or attack other people in the home? Then definitely read the article by Pamela Clark in the free sample of Good Bird Magazine.


NEW! Webinars on "Solutions for Biting & Aggressive Behavior in Companion Parrots" Check the calendar for the next scheduled live webinar. To purchase access to a recording of this webinar for $19.95 visit this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/parrotbiting .

My parrot won’t step up. How can I get my parrot to step up?

Does your parrot bite your hands when you ask him to step up? Or perhaps your parrot is afraid of your hands and doesn’t seem to trust you. For years people have been told their birds must obey commands, in particular the “Step up” command. Sadly this has lead to the fear responses and aggressive behavior so many companion parrots exhibit. Fortunately there is a kind and gentle option. You don’t need to dominate your bird to get results. You can teach your parrot to eagerly look forward to stepping up on your hand using positive reinforcement. Not only will your parrot learn to step up, you will build a relationship with your parrot based on trust.

The best resource for you is the recording of the webinar Train Your Parrot to Step Up. Learn how to train your parrot to step up using techniques Barbara Heidenreich has developed traveling the world training thousands of parrots using force free methods at her workshops. This webinar goes into the extreme details that make a difference. Click Here for a sneak peak. To purchase access to a recording of this webinar for $19.95 visit this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/parrotstepup

Getting familiar with some basics of training with positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping a bird who has issues with hands learn you have value. You can learn more about training in general from these additional resources.

My parrot screams for attention. How do I stop my parrot from screaming?

Does your parrot scream whenever you leave the room? Or perhaps your parrot screams only when you talk on the phone or when someone new enters the room. Screaming parrots can try the most patient person. Some parrots scream so much they hardly seem to stop to take a breath. In many cases you find yourself running into a room to cover the parrot, or yelling at the parrot to “be quiet.” Unfortunately these actions are probably not teaching your parrot to be quiet in the long run. They may stop the screaming for a few moments, but they do not teach a parrot what to do that is acceptable.

You may have heard you should just ignore the screaming, but like the other methods mentioned simply ignoring screaming doesn’t usually work. For one it is almost impossible to ignore completely and in fact other things may be maintaining this behavior besides your attention.

Fortunately parrot screaming can be turned around. Training parrots with positive reinforcement can change a problem parrot into a pleasant companion. It doesn’t matter if your parrot has gone through many homes, has a history of abuse, or has gradually developed problem behavior. There are solutions.

In Barbara’s book “Good Bird! A Guide to Solving Behavior Problems in Companion Parrots” you will discover step by step instructions to help you address parrot behavior problems such as biting, screaming for attention, bonding to one person, afraid to leave the cage and feather picking. Each section offers an easy to follow recipe for different situations. For example how to address a parrot that screams for attention is different than how you would address a parrot that is screaming when you talk on the phone. This easy to read resource can give you the help you need to change your parrot’s problem behavior.

You can also enjoy a free article on how to address screaming for attention. Just fill out the form on the bottom of the page and it will be sent to you automatically.

NEW! Webinars on "Addressing Screaming for Attention in Companion Parrots" Check the calendar for the next scheduled live webinar. To purchase access to a recording of this webinar for $19.95 visit this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/screamingparrot

My parrot only likes one person in the family. How can I teach him to like me and others?

A parrot who only interacts with one person in the family can sometimes learn to show aggressive behavior towards other people. Take a proactive approach and nip this behavior in the bud before it happens. Here is a great blog that gives you some tips and techniques to avoid creating the one person bird.

If your parrot is already glued to one person check out the book “Good Bird! A Guide to Solving Behavior Problems in Companion Parrots” This book offers step by step instructions to help you address parrot behavior problems such as biting, screaming for attention, bonding to one person, afraid to leave the cage and feather picking. Each section offers an easy to follow recipe for different situations. This easy to read resource can give you the help you need to change your parrot’s problem behavior.

One approach to addressing the one person parrot problem is to teach your parrot simple behaviors or tricks that require no handling. People who want to develop a relationship with your parrot can cue your bird for these simple behaviors and offer a treat. This helps pair a treat with a new person and gives your parrot a behavior to focus on instead of aggressing. You can learn how to train your parrot to present some simple tricks in Parrot Behavior and Training. An Introduction to Training DVD #1.

Another comprehensive resource is this recorded webinar: Solutions for Parrot Behavior Problems Related to Hormones Territorial aggression, biting family members and excessive vocalizations have all been attributed to parrots with reproductive hormones in overdrive. Learn how to prevent hormone amplification and what to do if a parrot is presenting undesired behavior due to a drive to reproduce. Total run time is about 1 hour and 45 minutes. To purchase access to a recording of this webinar for $19.95 visit this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/parrothormones

My parrot picks his feathers. What can I do to stop this?

Feather picking is often a very frustrating problem which at times can have many different factors at work influencing the behavior. The first course of action for feather picking problems is to consult with a veterinarian who has experience treating parrots. You can find an avian veterinarian near you by visiting the website for The Association of Avian Veterinarians. I highly recommend Dr Susan Clubb. She will work with you via your existing avian veterinarian. Contact her via her website www.SusanClubb.com Susan also has a great article on feather damaging behavior here and also a very scientific one on the histopathology of feather picking parrots here.

An additional resource for more great information is this article on parrot feather picking by veterinarian Tammy Jenkins, DVM http://www.featherpicking.com/Basics_of_FP.htm

Once medical causes have been addressed, behavioral causes to feather picking can be considered. You can find more information on addressing feather picking from a behavioral perspective in the book “Good Bird! A Guide to Solving Behavior Problems in Companion Parrots” This book offers step by step instructions to help you address parrot behavior problems such as biting, screaming for attention, bonding to one person, afraid to leave the cage and feather picking. Each section offers an easy to follow recipe for different situations. This easy to read resource can give you the help you need to change your parrot’s problem behavior.

I need one on one help for a parrot behavior problem. How do I get a consultation?

Sometimes people prefer to learn with one on one coaching. Some of Barbara Heidenreich’s workshops are structured to allow one on one instruction for parrots and their caregivers. Please visit the Parrot Training Events Calendar to see if there is an upcoming event near you.

At the moment Barbara does not offer private consultations (email, phone or in home). However she has tried to prepare comprehensive teaching tools to help address the most commonly seen parrot behavior problems. These include DVDs, Books, Ebooks and the many fabulous articles featured in Good Bird Magazine.

Barbara does recommend the following parrot training and behavior consultants if a one on one consultation is the right fit for you.

Texas (Dallas area) Cathy Painter www.vbsthetrainingstudio.com
California (Southern): Rebecca K O’Connor. www.rebeccakoconnor.com/parrots
Florida (Tampa Area) Matt Edmonds www.mewondersofnature.com
Phone and Email Pamela Clark www.pamelaclarkonline.com
California (San Diego area) Hillary Hankey http://learningparrots.com/
Oregon (Portland area) Kelly Ballance www.BallanceBehavior.com
Sweden Stephanie Edlund Feathered Antics or email [email protected]

I want a talking parrot. How do I train my parrot to talk?

All parrots have the ability to copy sounds, but they don't all have the desire. There is no training strategy that will guarantee a parrot will talk. (Don’t get lured by flashy sales pitches or gimmicks) However there are some strategies you can use to increase the chances of getting your bird to talk.

In the DVD Train Your Parrot to Talk you will learn about these strategies. The DVD addresses common myths about talking parrots, which birds make ideal candidates for talking, the most effective ways to expose your parrot to sounds you want repeated, proven methods for encouraging your parrot to vocalize and most importantly how to train your parrot to talk on cue. Also included is an appearance by Einstein, the Talking Texan Parrot, plus an interview with her human companions. Bonus CD ROM includes recordings of a variety of species of parrots vocalizing to inspire your bird to talk."

Rent and view this video online right now! Visit our Video on Demand Page

To learn more about some chatty species of parrots visit our page on African Grey Parrots and our page on Amazon Parrots.

My parrot poops on me. How do I potty train my parrot?

Parrots are known for relieving themselves frequently, usually about every 20 minutes or so. For some households this can be quite a problem. Teaching your parrot to poop in certain locations and on cue is a very realistic training goal. The process to train this type of behavior is called capturing. However there are some important rules about potty training your parrot. If done incorrectly parrots can learn to “hold it” for hours until they hear their cue or are allowed access to a place for pooping. This can be very unhealthy for a parrot.

Good Bird Inc is developing resources on potty training your parrot coming soon. Sign up for our mailing list on the side of the page to be notified when it is available.

В Do you have training information for my species of parrot?

One of the really wonderful things about training with positive reinforcement is that it applies to all species of parrots. (In fact it applies to all animals.) Therefore whether you have a Macaw, an African Grey Parrot, an Amazon Parrot or a Cockatiel you can use the same techniques to train. This makes it a breeze for parrot caregivers to get started right away. There is no need to search for special tools or information suited to your parrot. Just follow the information on the basics of training provided by the resources from Good Bird Inc. You can learn more about training in general from these resources.

To learn more about different species of parrots visit our parrot profile pages.
African Grey Parrot, Amazon Parrot ,Caique, Cockatiel, Cockatoo, Conure ,Eclectus, Lovebird, Lorikeets and Lories, Macaw, Parakeet (Budgerigar), Parrotlet, Poicephalus (Senegal parrot, red bellied parrot, Meyer’s parrot, Jardine’s parrot, cape parrot, brown headed parrot), Quaker Parrot, Psittacula (Indian ringneck parakeet, Alexandrine parakeet, Plum headed parakeet, Derbyan parakeet)

В My parrot is flighted. Do you have any information on training parrots to fly?

Keeping parrots flighted is gaining in popularity. If you are not used to living with a flighted parrot it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Parrot owners are often not sure how to train their birds to come when called (recall) or how to get them to stay on certain perches and not destroy the house. The good news is these are problems that can be addressed through training with positive reinforcement.

Training your parrot to recall is a very important behavior for a flighted parrot. Training a recall is much like training any other behavior. It is about breaking it down into small achievable steps and pairing each approximation with a positive reinforcer. Over time you are able to add distance to the recall behavior. To learn about training with positive reinforcement in general try Parrot Behavior and Training. An Introduction to Training DVD #1. This DVD also has a short segment demonstrating how step up can evolve into a flighted recall.

In addition to the DVD you will also want to check out the back issues of Good Bird Magazine. Many issues feature articles on training flighted parrots. The “Learning to Fly” section is specifically on flighted parrots. It covers things like harness training, recall training, preparing your house for a flighted parrot and more. All back issues of Good Bird Magazine are available in a digital format and some are available in hard copy. Another great resource is the DVD Get Your Bird Back. This 2 disc set has information and resources to help you if your bird accidentally escapes.

NEW! Another new great resource is Barbara’s webinar on Flight Training for Companion Parrots. Good candidates for training, recall training, developing flight skills, emergency recall, harness training & more will be covered in this webinar on training parrots to fly. Note: This webinar does not cover training for outdoor flight. Visit the calendar page for the next live webinar. To purchase access to a recording of this webinar for $19.95 visit this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/parrotflight.

В My parrot flew away! How do I get my lost parrot back?

There are few things more heartbreaking than when a beloved parrot accidentally escapes. Good Bird Inc has a resource for you. The DVD Get Your Bird Back was inspired by the thousands of pleas from parrot owners desperately seeking help to recapture a lost bird. This DVD features detailed instructions to help you get your lost parrot back, as well as useful tools such as lost bird flyers, lists of people to contact and a variety of parrot calls. This DVD is a must for any parrot owner. Be prepared. Learn in advance how to prevent the heartache so many have experienced when a parrot is lost. You CAN get your bird back and this DVD can help.

No need to wait for help. You can rent this DVD online! Just visit this link to rent Get Your Bird Back

В I just acquired a new parrot, how do I begin training?

Congratulations on your new parrot! And good for you for looking information to train your parrot with positive reinforcement. Training with positive reinforcement can help you get off to a good start with your bird and help you develop a relationship with your bird based on trust. Here are some important tips to get you started.

First avoid using force with your parrot. You may be anxious for your parrot to step up, cuddle and interact with you. Some parrots may need time before they are open to this. Instead focus on pairing your presence with things you know your parrot likes. This can include treats, toys and maybe even head scratches. Before you jump in further, definitely read the article "A Good Start to a Good Bird" This free article will help you understand what to expect as your bird matures and how to avoid common behavior problems.

The very first behavior to train is targeting. You can learn more about how to train a parrot to target in Parrot Behavior and Training. An Introduction to Training DVD #1. This DVD also shows you how to train lots of easy behaviors. This can help you learn how to train and it also allows your parrot to learn how to learn. This is definitely the best teaching tool to get started with a new parrot.

Once you have some basics down you may want to try the DVD “Training Your Parrot for the Veterinary Exam". This will show you how to train behaviors that will help you take care of your parrot for the rest of his life.

To avoid future behavior problems read the books “Good Bird! A Guide to Solving Behavior Problems in Companion Parrots” and “The Parrot Problem Solver”. These books will help you understand common behavioral problems in parrots and how to avoid them. It is always much easier to prevent a parrot behavior problem than it is to deal with one after it has developed. Please note the Parrot Problem Solver is no longer being printed by the publisher. Look for used copies or digital copies online. I know! We are bummed too.

To follow the journey of some young parrots that were trained for the Kaytee Learning Center visit the Good Bird Inc Blog.
Their story and video examples will give you ideas and inspiration for training your new parrot.

If you are new to sharing your life with a parrot or interested in acquiring a parrot be sure to check out the free video Bringing Birdie Home. It will help prepare you for life with your new feathered companion.

You will also enjoy this webinar to help get you started: How to Train Your Parrot to Present Specific Behaviors
This webinar covers the step by step process for training common desired behaviors. We will use targeting, step up and recall as examples. Learn important do’s and don’ts of the training process that impact reaching your training goals. Total run time is about 1 hour and 45 minutes.To purchase access to a recording of this webinar for $19.95 visit this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/trainyourparrot

В My parrot hates having his nail trimmed. Do you have information to help me train my parrot for nail trims?

Nail trimming can be very stressful for some parrots. Training a parrot to voluntarily allow nail trims is a very realistic training goal when you train with positive reinforcement. Good Bird In has several resources for you. The DVD “Training Your Parrot for the Veterinary Exam” shares several methods to train your parrot to allow nail trims.

Another way to get access to some videos on training nail trims is to sign up for the mailing list. When you sign up for the mailing list you are automatically sent a series of three videos that show Barbara training a parrot to allow nail trims from start to finish. You get to see the process from beginning to end. This great resource is free!

I want to learn more about parrot training! Where is Barbara’s next parrot training workshop?

You can find a list of upcoming parrot training events on our calendar page. You can also sign up for the mailing list to be notified when an event will be in your area.

I am not sure what I need. Which of Barbara’s parrot training DVDs, books or ebooks are right for me?

Here is a brief description of all of the resources on parrot training available from Good Bird Inc and professional trainer Barbara Heidenreich.

Parrot Training DVDs
Parrot Behavior and Training. An Introduction to Training DVD #1
Learn the basics of training. A great DVD to get started on learning how to train parrots

Training Your Parrot for the Veterinary Exam.
Easy behaviors to train your parrot for his health care. Includes training nail trims, restraint in a towel, crate training, scale training and more.

Understanding Parrot Body Language.
Detailed explanations of parrot body language and what it means. A must for new parrot owners!

Get Your Bird Back Instructions on what to do if your parrot flies away. Also includes resources to help you get your bird back. All parrot owners should have this DVD in their collection.

The Basics of Training. A Live Workshop
Over four hours of information on parrot training, reading body language and solving behavior problems. This is an excellent resource for parrot owners who are just getting started with training.

Train Your Parrot to Talk
This DVD covers myths, ideal candidates for talking, effective ways to expose your parrot to sounds you want repeated, proven methods for encouraging your parrot to vocalize and how to train your parrot to talk on cue. Bonus CD ROM of talking parrot recordings included.

Books
Good Bird! A Guide to Solving Behavior Problems in Companion Parrots
Easy to read, follow the recipe, step by step instructions for addressing common parrot behavior problems.

The Parrot Problem Solver
Learn the ins and outs of aggressive behavior in parrots. This book includes more stories and anecdotes from Barbara’s career consulting on animal training around the world. This book is currently out of print. Look for used copies or digital version's online.

Ebooks
Train Your Parrot to Step up . Ebooks include written tutorial, video tutorial and audio tutorials. This Ebook focuses specifically on training parrots to step up. Works for parrots who are showing a fear response and/or aggressive behavior.
Motivate Your Parrot for Training This Ebook will show you how to get your parrot interested in training. It also helps you discover the many different reinforcers you can use for you parrot.
Train Your Parrot to Accept Medication Get this Ebook before your parrot gets sick. Training your parrot to accept medication in advance will help keep your great relationship with your parrot. Grabbing and restraining parrots for treatment can chip away at trust. Avoid this problem with this Ebook.

Good Bird Magazine Back Issues
Good Bird Magazine focuses on parrot behavior and training. Each issue features information on how to train behaviors, success stories, enrichment ideas, parrot behavior problem solving and in-depth articles on parrot training. This one of a kind publication will keep you inspired and motivated to continue to enjoy training your parrot. Back issues of Good Bird Magazine never go out of style. The articles in Good Bird Magazine are ones you will refer to again and again. All back issues of Good Bird Magazine are available in a digital format and some are available in hard copy.

Parrot Training Workshops
Barbara Heidenreich travels the world teaching parrot behavior and training workshops. Workshops give parrot owners a chance to ask questions, see live parrot training demonstrations, learn from Barbara’s extensive video collection and get inspired! The parrot training workshops are great for new parrot trainers and experienced ones. They are also highly recommended for veterinary and zoo professionals.

Webinars
Learn from the comfort of your own home. Barbara periodically offers live webinars on specific topics such as
Addressing Screaming for Attention in Companion Parrots
Fixing Fear and Building Trust in Companion Parrots
Solutions for Biting and Aggressive Behavior in Companion Parrots
To see the latest live webinars scheduled visit the calendar page. To purchase a recording of a webinar visit the digital media page To see a video clip of what webinars are like visit this link.

Get Additional Free Resources on Parrot Training

  1. I would like help for harness training my parrot

Harness training is a behavior many people would like to train, but can be very challenging depending on the learning history of the individual parrot in question. Barbara has additional information on harness training parrots at this blog You can also watch a YouTube clip on harness training parrots at this link. Here is an additional blog on harness training parrots which includes a different video clip. Some of the challenges with harness training are also addressed in the webinar Flight Trainning for Companion Parrots. Look for a recorded version of this webinar on the digital media page. Or check the calendar for an upcoming live webinar.


Parrot Food and the Hormone Cycle in Wild Birds

Imagine the flora, fauna, seeds, nuts and bugs available for wild birds. Seeds and nuts in particular become especially abundant in the winter and before spring rains. Seeds and nuts are nutrition power-houses. They provide the concentrated nutrition that parrots need for breeding and rearing of young. Bursting with protein, minerals and healthy fats, an abundance of seeds and nuts is a major dietary breeding stimulus for wild and pet birds alike. With the spring rains seeds and nuts become less available and parrots increase their intake of flora, fauna and bugs. The nutrients in these food items put tell a parrots body that breeding season is over. While African Grey’s and Eclectus parrots have been known to breed throughout the year, the majority of parrots that we keep as pets only go into breeding season once a year. In the wild, it would be a bird’s respective winter months when nests are dry and safe, seeds and nuts are abundant and the days are starting to get longer.


Even though pet parrots need some of the nutrients available in seeds and nuts, too much of protein, mineral and fat, parrots can get too much of a good thing. A lot of well-meaning people routinely offer their birds too much nutrient rich seed, nuts and fatty treats. It’s easy to do. Birds love them! Some birds even go on strike when it comes to eating a healthy diet But, the high nutrient status of these tasty foods induces an on-going hormonal state that is not natural and that causes hormone related aggression and anxiety. Common culprit fatty foods include some seed mixes, nuts, dried fruit, pasta, white rice, snack foods, and some table food. Always feed these foods in moderation. Instead, opt for a well-balanced pellet.

Minimize health problems and help your bird keep hormones in check by providing it with a brand name well-balanced diet such as Harrison’s Bird Food or Roudybush Bird Food. Vets recommend that about 70% of your pet birds’ dietary intake consist of a well-balanced pellet. Supplement pellets with plenty of fresh, nutrient rich green, yellow and orange vegetables and low-sugar fruits and berries, and a small amount of nuts and seeds. A widely varied Goldenfeast Blend Parrot Food like Caribbean Bounty is a good choice, too. Ask your vet about any special dietary needs for your particular species of bird. References:

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Signs of Hormonal Behavior in Parrots

Hormonal behavior in parrots is totally normal and natural. In the wild, these hormone surges are short lived however, in captivity, we humans tend to do things that trigger hormonal surges in our pet birds.Its very important to learn how to prevent hormone surges that cause our pets to be aggressive, destructive and territorial .

For the novice parrot lover, changes in parrot behavior can be upsetting. Each year in late winter and early spring, as the day light hours get longer and food becomes abundant wild adolescent and adult parrots experience a surge in hormones.

Us loving parrot parents like to keep the lights on, feed our pets abundantly and pet them in ways that cause them to get hormonal.

Sunlight or light, lower body touch and abundant nutrition make a parrot body go into a hormonal state. That means a parrot aggressively protects its perceived mate (you) from others, looks for a dark place to make a nest and gets really territorial about its cage. Hormonal parrots become increasingly irritable.If a parrot thinks that you are intruding on its mate or nest, it will attack!

In the wild, hormonal behavior lasts a few weeks. But, in captivity, lighting, lack of sleep, easy access to food and excessive petting keep our parrots in a constant, high stress hormonal state.

Parrot sexual maturity begins at different times for different species and individual parrots within a species. As a general rule, the smaller the bird, the earlier sexual maturity is reached. A cockatiel may reach sexual maturity at about nine months of age while a large cockatoo, such an Umbrella, may reach sexual maturity at 3 to 6 years of age.

Socializing your parrot and bird training are essential before your parrot reaches sexual maturity. Clicker Training for Birdsteaches proven bird training techniques. Clicker Training for Birds is an excellent way to bond well with parrots because it uses only positive techniques to induce tame bird behavior. Our Good Bird Basic Training DVD takes clicker training several steps further by actually demonstrating bird training techniques. When you teach your parrot to do tricks, you establish yourself as the flock leader.

Regular bird training will payoff huge when your parrot matures and experiences seasonal behavior changes. With a positive and respectful relationship with your parrot, you'll find that your parrot looks for positive ways to interact with you and get your attention and will be less prone to common parrot behavior problems or seasonal behavior problems.

But, more than that, learn to read signs that your parrot has reached sexual maturity. Once your parrot reaches sexual maturity, YOU must control environmental stuff that induces breeding behavior. That means you control lighting, strictly monitor your petting, especially with cockatoos, and encourage your bird to work for food and reduce protein rich diets during aggressive behavior times.


Keep a Flexible Routine

Birds need mental stimulation and many enjoy a routine, so regular time for food, play, and other interactions each day is a good idea. However, some birds may react negatively if a routine is too rigid and gets disrupted.

For example, if you get home from work at a certain time each day and immediately let your bird out for playtime, being late one day could lead the bird to act out. Try to employ some flexibility in your daily routines that involve your bird. It will help the bird better tolerate change and understand that things won't always happen in a particular order or at a certain time, but it will happen.


Watch the video: How To Tame Your Parrot and Reduce Aggression? Senegal Parrot Taming (August 2021).