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Remedy Bird Aggression Due to Pair Bonding


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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In the wild, sexually mature parrots pair bond with a mate. They spend most of their time together - preening each other, reguritating food for each other, and roosting. Pet parrots will do the same, bonding with a person rather than another bird.

Why is pair bonding a problem for pet birds and their people? Pair bonding frequently occurs with parrots who are given a lot of physical attention. While pair bonding may initially seem beneficial, it can cause birds to become aggressive as they work to drive away potential competition or threats to their "mate" and/or territory. Other family members are usually the target of this aggression.

Doctors Foster and Smith Bird Cage CoverHow can pair bonding be remedied? To improve a parrot/owner relationship, the owner must decrease attention given to the bird through petting, cuddling, or similar behaviors. Correct any factors that may stimulate the reproductive system of the bird, and remove any hide boxes or nest-like areas from the cage. Provide the bird with a lower-calorie pelleted diet with veggies, 12 hours of quiet darkness each day, behavioral training, and ample opportunities to forage for food. Additionally, all family members should forage with the bird by spreading pellets on a towel (placed on a table) and "pecking" at them with their fingers as a bird would peck at them with his beak. Other family members should also take on more of the tasks of caring for the bird, providing treats for correct behaviors, etc, so the bird can ultimately see all the humans as flock members, rather than mates or threats.

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