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Old 10-31-2018, 08:35 PM
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One bird is possessive of the other...

I have two DNA-sexed Peach-faced Lovebird sisters who are now three years old. One often regurgitates for the other. In fact, Clementine will beg for it as if she were a baby where she gently flaps her wings, bends down and forward, and opens her mouth for Penelope to feed her. This behavior has been going on for a few months.

What does it mean and why are they doing it? Should it be discouraged? If so, how?

I had to separate them with the divider in their flight cage because Clementine was plucking Penelope's neck feathers in one small spot. Now that they've been separated for about a week, pin feathers have grown in.

They do get their time together when out in the room and when in the outside aviary. When out together, they remain very close and Penelope sometimes becomes possessive of Clementine and will move to get in between myself and Clem. I've never seen a bird do that before.

If I'm inadvertently doing something to affect their behavior in a negative way, please advise and please offer suggestions for how I can maintain healthy relationships with both of them.

Thank you.
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Old 10-31-2018, 08:49 PM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

I don't know what advice to give. If your relationship is good with both birds and their relationship is good ...maybe it's all good?? Maybe some love bird peeps will weigh in..I have two birds that are very attached but they are good with me and I hope bit stays that way..
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Old 11-01-2018, 02:27 AM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

It's one of the reasons that lovebirds (as a group, not individuals) do not really appeal to me - they have this "extreme sports" vibe about them- they are not just attached -> no, they are controllingly dominantly attached.
They always put something extra in. (maybe they are also extra cute to make up for that?)

Officially we do not count parrot-group-behaviour as a "pecking order" but when kept together of as a group there are always individuals that are 'the first in line" and do not hesitate to shoulder others aside.
Lovebirds- despite their size- are really good at this!


Once birds get hormonal the relationships shift anyway.

Despite being females (and sisters) they seem to 'play house' a bit. That is fine as long as nobody gets hurt. They are birds, so terms as "inappropriate" do not apply, they do what grown birds do.
You cannot be their partner or BFF, but you can be a good friend.
It is normal behaviour for the more dominant bird to shield the other from a maybe friendly/ scary situation.

I do not know if Penelope thought you were a threat to Clementine or if she thought you came to flirt with Clementine and maybe steal her away from her of maybe she was just being a drama-queen for the heck of it...
Birds...you know ... not always clear what they think

Overpreening (from affection or agression) is always a solid reason to seperate birds (imho anyway) - these things can get out of hand (just like when a bird overpreens itself and gets into selfmutilation). So you did good to keep them apart for a bit.

I do not think you do anything wrong: you enrich their social life and make their brains work a bit. They have to interact with more flockmembers (even if they are human) - that is always a good thing for a born flockbird.

Last edited by ChristaNL; 11-01-2018 at 05:30 AM. Reason: zpellink
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Old 11-01-2018, 04:33 AM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

Quote: Originally Posted by ChristaNL View Post
It's one of the reasons that lovebirds (as a group, not individuals) do not really appeal to me - they have this "extreme sports" vibe about them- they are not just attached -> no, they are controllingly dominantly attached.
I think the only reason they appeal to me is because I had one (read: singular) Lovebird, who was a neurotic, plucking, screaming mess of a bird who also happened to be extremely sweet, affectionate, and loyal. He was a hell of a bird and I miss him deeply.

I thought I might find a trace of those traits (the positive ones) when I bought these girls as handfed babies from their breeder. But as they have grown into hormonal adult females, they have changed so much...and not necessarily for the better.

Clementine really is as sweet as can be. She is not affectionate, but she is not aggressive in the slightest. She's very passive and playful.

Penelope is much more aggressive and possessive and...a real PITA. Lol! But I love her just the same. As a baby, she would curl up under my shirt and fall asleep. Now, she wants virtually nothing to do with me.

Part of the issue could be that they are fully flighted. They always have been. Their cage is very large and they have the ability to fly from perch to perch. Same thing in their aviary. When they come out of the cage, they flit around my bedroom/bathroom at will. I really love having them flighted, although I realize how much it affects their independence. My first Lovebird was flighted as well, and he would come to me from wherever he was in my house. He was a hell of a bird; have I mentioned that? *sigh*
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:35 AM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

For any lovebird "pairs" that I've ever known, regardless of their genders, if they are bonded closely to one-another, this is completely normal behavior...You've got one dominant bird in the pair, who is possessive of the other, and is protecting the other from you, and the submissive of the pair wants to be dominated by the other, begging to be fed and such. And typically once they go through puberty and this happens, they typically want little to do with their people anymore, and that typically gets worse as time goes on. It doesn't have anything to do with them being fully-flighted at all, that's good for them...It's just how a bonded pair of adult lovebirds are.
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Old 11-15-2018, 07:38 AM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

Is there any way to work on re-taming them? I know that may sound silly, but Penelope, in particular, is getting so aggressive as time goes on.

And now neither one seems to enjoy coming out of their cage. They used to love it, and would fly around the bedroom/bathroom for hours a day. I miss seeing them enjoy themselves like that. Now, they mainly stay in their preferred areas of their flight cage and occasionally play with their toys (which are rotated every couple weeks).

They have both cut way back on how much they're eating. I've tried moistening their pellets, which they used to like. I've tried offering a seed mix with pellets - both dry and moistened. I offer chop, and they don't touch it anymore.

I really don't know what else to do for them. I've only had them three years. I feel like giving up sometimes, and that's really disheartening. I made a commitment to them in 2015 and never thought I'd rehome them.

Any and all advice is welcome. If I need to clip their wings, please tell me. If I need to separate them even more (they're in a divided flight cage now), I will. If I need to be more strict about their diet, I will try it. I'm desperate.
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Old 11-15-2018, 08:58 AM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

If they are less active, they will eat less (or get morbidly obese) so I think the cutting down on chowing is a good adaptation.

Just to be sure: are they not wanting to come out of are they getting less playtime because of their anti(human)social behaviour? (No judging, just curious)

It is no fun being the third wheel- and lovebirds are a bit extreme sometimes.
But as long as they are happy...don't feel bad!
You are not failing them - you have a very content couple there.

If anything they are failing you (unintentinally of course, there are just being birds)- it seems you are feeling terribly left out and they are not even nice to you anymore.
They have each other and the one without a bird of ones own... is you.
Maybe next spring find a new love? Or adopt an nice (almost) mature bird that really really wants to be yours with all his little heart.

(Not another lovebird- because that might create more havock with the setteled couple )
I see so many passing by on (the dutch craighslist) Markplaats, looking for a new home ...
(bird + cage for free, wanting a good home because we lost interest)
-- mostly budgies atm.)
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Old 11-15-2018, 09:13 AM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

Quote: Originally Posted by ChristaNL View Post
If they are less active, they will eat less (or get morbidly obese) so I think the cutting down on chowing is a good adaptation.

Just to be sure: are they not wanting to come out of are they getting less playtime because of their anti(human)social behaviour? (No judging, just curious)

It is no fun being the third wheel- and lovebirds are a bit extreme sometimes.
But as long as they are happy...don't feel bad!
You are not failing them - you have a very content couple there.

If anything they are failing you (unintentinally of course, there are just being birds)- it seems you are feeling terribly left out and they are not even nice to you anymore.
They have each other and the one without a bird of ones own... is you.
Maybe next spring find a new love? Or adopt an nice (almost) mature bird that really really wants to be yours with all his little heart.

(Not another lovebird- because that might create more havock with the setteled couple )
I see so many passing by on (the dutch craighslist) Markplaats, looking for a new home ...
(bird + cage for free, wanting a good home because we lost interest)
-- mostly budgies atm.)
I'm so grateful for your kind and caring words! I have felt like such a failure with them ever since Penelope suddenly turned on me! Not only has she decided that I am her mortal enemy, but she has also decided that Clementine cannot be trusted and therefore, she has caused her injury twice which required CAV visits. I have separated them, but they don't seem to be happy with that either. What's strange is when they're in the outdoor aviary. They are fine outside together. But indoors, in her cage, she is noticeably more aggressive towards me and Clem. I don't understand the difference!

Clementine is very sweet, passive and easy-going. I've thought about keeping only her as a pet, but I fear the separation would be a fatal change for both of them. They are so bonded. Clem absolutely loves Penelope and does all she can to get her attention.

I did adopt the two Budgies just recently that were owned by my friend who inherited them from another person. They have been upended so many times that I fear they may never come around, but I'll keep working with them. At least, they are not aggressive!

I love these girls so very much. I just don't know what to do for them anymore.
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Old 11-15-2018, 09:17 AM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

something to remember in regards to their love is right now 'tis the season' so to speak.

Not sure how lovebirds normally are in the wild (or any hormonal parrot) they're probably a bit less up for running around playing because they would be conserving energy for the act of baby making and letting their bodies grow eggs and such. Being that they're already well and truly bonded could that be the case?
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Old 11-15-2018, 09:27 AM
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Re: One bird is possessive of the other...

Quote: Originally Posted by LordTriggs View Post
something to remember in regards to their love is right now 'tis the season' so to speak.

Not sure how lovebirds normally are in the wild (or any hormonal parrot) they're probably a bit less up for running around playing because they would be conserving energy for the act of baby making and letting their bodies grow eggs and such. Being that they're already well and truly bonded could that be the case?
Quite possibly, yes. They are both DNA-sexed females however, so I didn't think her aggression would ever be quite this bad.

Your reply certainly makes sense regarding their energy levels. So far, we haven't had any egg-laying...and I'm hoping it stays that way. *fingers crossed*
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