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Old 06-17-2019, 07:06 PM
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Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

Hi all,

A family member of mine has had an Amazon yellow naped parrot for 10 years presumed to be male (previous owner had told my family member the parrot is male, not sure how this was determined). My family member decided to find him another yellow naped parrot who we were told is female (previous owner said they did DNA testing)and we've had her "Fiona" for 10 days.

The 2 parrots get along just fine between them but both are extremely aggressive towards others (the female more so). Both are constantly fluffed up, pinwheeling eyes, biting when anyone is near. Fiona (the one that is presumed to be female) has charged/thrown herself off the cage to attack me, most recently when I adjusted a toy that's on top of the cage.

I have difficulty feeding them because they are protective of their cage. Originally, I had them step up on a stick and move them from the cage to another area while I changed their bowls but they have recently started attacking the stick and its becoming more difficult to move them.

I've read that when Amazon parrots find a mate they tend not to care for humans anymore and that many owners opt to only keep one Amazon or keep them separated for that reason. The owner of the parrots has expressed she'd rather keep them together, even if they do not really care for anyone in the house. But of course we are both trying to find ways tone down their aggressiveness.

Like I said, I am not the owner or the person who makes decisions for the parrots. But I am an animal lover so I really want to help. Plus I live in the same house and am in charge of feeding them (I took on the task when it was just one of them and he was OK with me doing that).

Is there any hope for keeping them together but getting to the point where we can do the basic things (change bowls/ adjust their toys/move them to a different room) without them attacking? I am willing to work on training, but haven't found resources on the best way to go about it when working with a couple.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:40 PM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

Well, this is pretty common (yet it is often overlooked by people trying to do their single bird a "favor"). You should get them DNA sexed (first of all) as females face a variety of health concerns when hormonal (which yours clearly are)--egg-binding and prolapse are 2 big ones....potential babies are another (and babies get SUPER complicated SUPER fast---not as easy as it looks in nature AT ALL). I am not a fan of larger birds sharing cages unless you are wanting them to mate (which I promise you, you are not). That having been said, even 2 birds of the same sex can be triggered hormonally by the other bird and start showing hormonal behavior problems or (if female) both laying eggs). That having been said, a female can be hormonal without laying an egg---laying an egg is just like the ultimate consequence (aside from behavior). Hormonal birds will defend their mate from perceived threats and they can get jealous. They tend to be more vocal and aggressive and they can even start to self-mutilate in some cases.

You probably will have to separate them into different cages if you want this to stop, but it won't be a quick fix....The bond has been established, so it will probably upset them, but it is unlikely that anything will change unless changes are made.

Also, remove any shadowy spaces from the cage-- no snuggle huts, tents, boxes, bedding etc. When out of the cage, prevent access to under furniture, blankets, in clothing, pillows, low shelves etc (anything with a low overhang). These shadowy spaces trigger nesting behaviors and hormones (which can cause behavioral problems in a single bird, let alone a pair).
Do they get any time out of their cage? Birds who are cage-bound can get super territorial (as can hormonal birds) but if they are hormonal and cage-bound that is like the perfect storm.
If you or anyone else is ever able to pet them, stick to the head and neck only. Anything else is going to be sexual to them (even if it doesn't seem that way).

Birds very commonly bond to other birds and then the human can become the "third wheel"-- this is one reason never to get a bird for your bird if you are worried about preserving your bond with the one you have.

Here is a thread about a similar issue (sort of)----EllenD has a fairly thorough summary at the end. The birds in question that the thread references are unable to reproduce, but they are behaving as though they are mates...The hormonal and health impact is their biggest issue, but in addition to that, you are also looking at the potential for offspring (which, again, can turn bloody and complicated fast)...So just keep that in mind as you read the replies to the post:
Quick question on mating...

One more thing, the "female" doesn't know you yet, so she is obviously going to bond with the most natural/familiar thing. You haven't had time to build trust and you gave her a better alternative (aka her own species)...One who is clearly interested at that!
***If she ever does lay eggs, DO NOT just yank them out of the cage. There is a whole elaborate process for what to do (depending on your desired outcome)....some of it is kind of sad, so I will spare you the details for now, but just know that pulling them out without replacing them (with dead eggs) is a bad idea. It will just trigger more laying.

Last edited by noodles123; 06-17-2019 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:06 PM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

Where to start, where to start?
Tons of should have done's etc, etc, etc's...
Well, let's start with understanding basic Amazon Body Language. Go to the top of the Amazon Forum and read the second Highlighted Thread: Understanding Amazon Body Language. Find a chair and move it fairly close to their cage and start reading it out-loud in a comforting voice. The goal is twofold; you get to learn their base language and they have you around for a non-confrontational period of time. Continue to repeat the above until you have their language understood like its your first language. Set a couple of times during the day and keep reading more, like the other Highlighted Thread: I Love Amazons - ... If you complete that huge Thread, read back into the past Threads in the Amazon Forum. The goal is that after your readings, everyone should be more comfortable with each other.
Goal: Only good things happen when Humans are around!!!
Lots more, tons in fact! But this will get you started.
Remember, the Amazons are acting out of Hard Wired responses! Hence!
- It is never the fault of the Amazons!
- It is always the fault of the Humans!
This commonly requires a change in the Human's Vantage Point! When you view near any interaction /action from this new Vantage Point, you will see what you are doing wrong quicker and change it.
Enjoy!
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:19 PM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

Thanks Noodle and Sail Boat,

I'm definitely playing the role of doing damage control, since like I mentioned I am not the owner of the parrot/ person who decided to get them a mate or person who makes decisions about the parrots.

That being said, I can do my small part to try to make them more comfortable/ educate the owner about the parrots. I am particularly concerned about the laying eggs part, since I've read that it generally does not have a good outcome. Thank you Noodles for your comments/advice on this matter. I'll read up on the subject using other resources as well. To answer your question they do spend most of their day outside of the cage. In fact the majority of the problem with their aggressiveness is when they are put away to go to bed and when I have to reach into their cage to feed them.

Thanks Sail Boat for the advice of sitting next to them and reading out loud to them I previously used this technique when I first met the male bird years ago. Also I strongly agree on your comment about "only good things should happen when humans are around" and "It is never the fault of the Amazons/- It is always the fault of the Humans". This is golden and probably applies to most animal species as well.

Last edited by chookibird; 06-17-2019 at 09:30 PM. Reason: Grammar/additional details
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:41 PM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

With the situation as is you need to have a cage that lets you remove and replace food/water bowels without opening the door and exposing yourself to serious damage.
I know from experience a yellow nape can do some serious damage.

When my YNA is in "a bad mood" and I just have to move him the trick I found best is this.
Get a towel. Get bird to grab hold of towel (you don't need to wrap the towel around him). Puck up towel with bird hanging on to the other end. Set bird down in new location (he/she will usually end up on his/her back) and wait a bit for him/her to let go and flip right side up.

I had 2 pair bonded amazons and the female remained friendly with me so it is possible but 10 days is so early you can't predict how it will work out in the long run.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:03 AM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

Thanks for the advice. I agree that having pull out bowls would make feeding less stressful for them, it was one of the things I was considering.

You're right it has only been 10 days. Chooki (the parrot which I've known for longer) is less aggressive than the new parrot.

Would anyone recommend me taking the new bird to a stand at a different location to be around me while I study for a couple of sessions or would that just aggravate the situation when she returns to the main cage? (The owner is unwilling to have them living separately).
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:10 AM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

That's a good question.
I think it could go either way. The bird left in the cage may be quite angry with the bird that was on the stand and attack when it is placed back in the cage.

My bonded pair Pacho and Plumas Pacho was the female and was friendly with me. When I took her out of the cage to spend time with her Plumas would get vocal and upset about it.
When I put her back in the cage I made a point to put her back in a place as far from the other bird as possible. This kept most aggression to a minimum.

The biggest mistake I made (before I became a member of the parrot forum) was to put a nest box in the cage when I saw them mating.
Pacho would go into the nest box and Plumas would not let her come out. Attacking her any time she tried. I removed the nest box right away and everything settled down.
Never got eggs. I don't know why, could be because they are different species. Probably for the best as I did not know what I was doing.
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:49 AM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

Quote: Originally Posted by chookibird View Post
Thanks for the advice. I agree that having pull out bowls would make feeding less stressful for them, it was one of the things I was considering.

You're right it has only been 10 days. Chooki (the parrot which I've known for longer) is less aggressive than the new parrot.

Would anyone recommend me taking the new bird to a stand at a different location to be around me while I study for a couple of sessions or would that just aggravate the situation when she returns to the main cage? (The owner is unwilling to have them living separately).
The new bird hasn't had enough time to get to know you, so picking it up and putting it on a stand will likely frighten it. I would say you would be better off taking the old bird to a stand to work with him--but that is going to be easier said than done.
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Old 06-18-2019, 03:19 PM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

Thanks all for your responses.

Pacho/Plumas Pacho are cute names, that def made me smile.

Chooki (the bird that has been around us for 10 years) is pretty good with me on his own. I'm not his owner, but I'm the one that has interacted with him the most and done the baby steps necessary so that he allows me to give him head scratches until he falls asleep & he'll step up to me without biting, etc. It's just when he's with Fiona (the new parrot), especially on their cage that he'll get in front of her and aggressive. He gets all fluffed up but will still let me touch his head. Of course if Fiona sees me petting him she gets upset, and that makes him upset. All this I know is normal for them given the situation.

Any additional tips/suggestion would be helpful. There is loads of info on working with parrots when they're alone, but not so much when they're with a mate which is why I was asking if it would be beneficial to separate them for training sessions.

I think I'll use the reading technique when they're chilling on their cage until the female is not as frightened of me. My ultimate goal with her is to tone down her fear/aggression to the point where she'll step up onto a stick/ not dive at me if I get too close. I know the 3 of us will never be best friends and Chooki will not be as tame as he used to be because he will always be protective of her, that's okay with me. I'm just trying to find a new balance for them given their new situation so they won't be as stressed.

I really really appreciate all who have taken the time to respond (I know that many of the suggestions are things that have had to be repeated time and time again in this forum and I appreciate the patience it must take to work with new/less experienced parrot owners).
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:29 PM
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Re: Obtained a mate for Amazon parrot, now both are aggressive

If I may ask??...why is the current "parront" unwilling to let them live in separate houses? Not enough room for another house? Or just doesn't understand why it "should" be done? Or just doesn't really "care"?


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