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Old 12-28-2018, 05:19 PM
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"Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

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Hi,

I am sorry I am making a new thread on a question I guess I could read a lot about in previous posts.

I don't have any amazons, but I do train a lot of other peoples parrots and I am frequently being asked what to do with the attacking and biting mature (bf) amazon males. As I have no first hand experience with living with amazons, I can't really help them. I advise them to train them every day, but often at this point, they can't even be in the same room without being bitten.

The solution more often than other is the bird being put down or sold on to the next unsuspecting victim.

I know neutering of birds is more used on your side of the pond than ours. We do have vets, who has the expertise to do the procedure (we don't have the CAV, ... certifications as you have, but some of the vets from the larger zoos often have that sort of expertise)

Is neutering a solution for those non-stop-attacking males? Or should the neutering have been done before they reached maturity?

Is there any other way to help those poor sexually frustrated males (other than giving them a female and making even more of the same problem)?
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Old 12-28-2018, 05:44 PM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

By “hormones”, are you referring to annual hormones which only last a few weeks and disappears, or are you talking about puberty which last significantly longer?

The answer comes down to what you mean by “hormones”. And whether it’s amazons, ekkies, macaws, it’s all the same.

If they’ve past puberty, and they are nonstop attacking for months on end, hormones aren’t the problem, it’s behvaioral.

If it’s puberty (or even just the temporary annual hormones) - you can’t train the aggression out, you just have to avoid making it worse by way of them learning aggression gets them their way. They usually learn this outside of hormones but They can still learn this even in hormonal fits.

There are things you can do to POSSIBLY even out the hormones a bit and you’ve seen them recommended: don’t serve warm mushy food, ensure 12 hours of darkness, etc. And they are valid, and may take the edge off in some birds, But the truth is you can’t stop hormones, and can’t train the aggression out. These tips and tricks are the equivalent of taking an aspirin for child birth. And not all birds will respond the same to these tips.

What do you do? You hunker down and wait it out, doing the best you can. Because hormones are temporary. YOU adapt to the hormones, not the other way around.

Last edited by chris-md; 12-28-2018 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 12-28-2018, 05:52 PM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

As an example of adaptation, I’ve heard plenty of accounts where amazon owners were only able to hold and transport their hormonal amazon with a stick or t perch until the hormones calmed down. Then hands can be reintroduced.

If they are doing the flying attack, wing clipping is a must for the safety of everyone, including the bird.

This can’t be restated enough, as it really highlights what the humans headspace should be: hormones are temporary and not much you can do about it but wait them out. Adapt as needed. Much of parrot ownership is us adapting to the birds proclivities; this is one example where we just have to accept what comes with the territory.

Last edited by chris-md; 12-28-2018 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:20 PM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

So well stated above! And, lets us not forget the lady's in this discussion as they can also be effected.

I have been around for a while, but I have not heard of Vets on this side of the Pond neutering in vast numbers. Not saying that it hasn't or doesn't happen, but it isn't common.

With the exception of those few Amazons that have a true excess of hormones and are non-responsive to medication, or are living in a 24 /7 Human lifestyle home. The vast majority of Amazon can live happy lives with their Humans if they are on a Sun Hour Day Life Style or one that is at a 12 /12 hours split.

One of the really big problems is the amount of Sugar Amazons are getting from Human fast foods, Fruits and Sugar Loaded Pellets. A less understood issue is the effects of Salt, which is also found in high levels in most Pellets (still being studied).
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Last edited by SailBoat; 12-28-2018 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:28 PM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

Steven, I’m curious, as you know my knowledge base excessive sugar in the diet (day, from too much fruit) Is a definite hormone trigger in ekkies, a species we know lack seasonality in breeding season. How does the sugar play into amazon hormones? Simply exacerbating them when they do come around?
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:46 PM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

Quote: Originally Posted by chris-md View Post
Steven, I’m curious, as you know my knowledge base excessive sugar in the diet (day, from too much fruit) Is a definite hormone trigger in ekkies, a species we know lack seasonality in breeding season. How does the sugar play into amazon hormones? Simply exacerbating them when they do come around?
Amazons are very easy to excite (wind-up) even when outside normal 'seasonal' effect. Actively playing with an Amazon you can see them spin-up into a rage. The combination of Seasonal Hormones and a Sugar High and one is faced with real nightmare. Outside the normal season, add Sugar and an easy to spin-up Amazon and you have a raging Amazon outside of season effect.
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Last edited by SailBoat; 12-29-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:49 PM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

Ok so you’re actually pointing out two things in one: excitability separately, and sugar high induced excitability at hormonal time. I see
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:14 AM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

Neutering is one of the things that comes up A LOT-- the last parrot-day again:
the CAVs from the university showed us (once again) the anatomie of the birds and how this (the physical "snip") is almost impossible because of the likely damage to other nearby/ almost envelopping organs.
Males and females alike btw.

Since the bird hormones are very closely linked to the molt and feather-renewal in general... is has some serious drawbacks there as well...

I am glad this hormonal implant exists for chronic egglayers (and sometimes pluckers) but... since I am one of the humans that cannot really tolerate any birthcontroll/ added hormones withou some serious (physical and psycological) side-effects, I feel just plunking them in parrots "because it is convenient" is a bit oversimplifying things.
Many human females would rather do without, apes have been know to get rid of IUD's because they anoyed them to the point of selfmutilation. Great cats went bonkers etc.etc..
Is it still chosing albout the lesser evil, not the ideal solution.


So as far a birds go...
first change the envorinment ( sleep/rest hours), the amount of activity (a bored bird is a potential agressive bird), the food (rich food -> family-expansion-time!), toys (too many? not enough?) and cage (too small, to big?), train the human! (cringe, not cringe, how to reward)
just like most problem dogs actually just have clumsy/ problem owners..
and only then (as a very last resort) start in at modifying the bird.

I do not feel it is very fair to a bird to put it on mindaltering drugs/ meds just because the human is not there for 18 hours each day and it is all alone.
It is not the birds fault it is freaking out.

Is is also not fair to waltz into someones personal space (room/ house/ yard/ cage) and expect to be warmly welcomed each and every time...
and yet that is what we expect of birds!


sorry Sille, I know it is not directly an answer to the question.
But most of the time it is not about the parrot... it has everything to do about the humans controll about its situation and the humans expectation of it.

Humans do not want to play by the rules, get bitten and the bird gets blamed (and suffers).

Last edited by ChristaNL; 12-29-2018 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:15 AM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

Well stated by everyone above...

Neutering of male birds and especially Spaying of female birds isn't done unless it's a life or death situation, such as cancer or uncontrollable bleeding, and even then it's very rarely done because it's nearly impossible to do...If you think about it, Spaying of female birds would be done all the time on a regular basis to stop chronic egg-laying/egg-binding, but instead they are using hormonal implants to basically chemically-castrate the female. Their organs are just way too small to remove. The end-result is typically either damage to other organs/structures, after-surgery bleeding, and in a very, very high-percentage of females and males who are neutered or spayed, they are still extremely hormonal, and they also often develop cancers such as "ovarian" or "testicular" cancer...how? Because these organs are so tiny in birds that most of the time the surgeon doesn't remove all of the ovaries or all of the testes, and the remaining tissue and/or entire remaining organs develop cancer, and keep producing the same amounts of hormones as before the procedure...So until better procedures are developed, it's just not worth it. Especially with how many birds die under general-anesthesia...
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:10 AM
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Re: "Solving" mature (BF) amazon male hormones?

As mentioned I don't have any amazons, so I am not speaking out of personal experience, only what people tell me/show me via video or short visits to their homes/facilities.

I mainly have different species of macaws and some other species and I have all my birds trained to a point, where all can be handled even during the worst hormonal phase. But I also have species who by nature is more prone to cooperate for the flocks greater good. The times I have worked with amazons, they are just more "stubborn" than the toos, macaws and eckies I have.

The birds I am talking about are the 5+ years (ie. birds, who has passed the puberty stage) and they are all year attacking, not just during regular hormonal phases. I have only seen this with amazon males. Normally other species will just not want to interact and keep to themselves. These attack any time they get the chance. This means they can't get out of their cages. Then they try to build them aviaries, but even here, they attacked non-stop.

I have seen this happen now more than 5 times and have asked in a larger forum if anybody had a mature amazon male, that does not attack. Out of about 15 responses only 1 had a non attacking mature male amazon. Every body else could only have the bird out of it's cage when only one person was in the room/house. For this reason the birds only get to come out a few hours a day (if even that long). In my mind that is not a long time solution and basically a recipe for disaster.

I have said yes to such an amazon male from this spring on. He gets to share an aviary with some toos, but only if he does not attack the toos and I would think it was better for him, if there could be found a solution, so he could stay in his current home instead.
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