Bonded pair fighting

KimG

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I have a bonded pair of Severe Macaws since about 1988. I did not have much info on them as the owners did not speak much english. They were living in a dark basement room with no windows with a couple who's daughter didn't want them anymore. When I went to see them they both ran away from the couple and huddled by the side of the cage where I was standing. At the time I had 2 Conures and was not looking for another bird but had heard about these 2 needing some help. Seeing the conditions they were in I could not leave them and 34 years later they are still part of my family.
I have a feeling they may have been wild caught. I know for sure at least one is female because there have been eggs some years back. For the most part they have gotten along great and were never handled very much as they never bonded much to any of their human family. I was always fine with that and never pushed, just let them live a good healthy life together. I do spend lots of time with them singing, talking and even hand feeding treats etc, just not much physical contact. This has worked out well as they are at the very least 34 years old and seem happy and healthy.
Lately they have been fighting now and again. The dominant one I call Fred will sometimes grab the other I call Ginger and pull her off of a food bowl or a pearch. Other times Ginger will just start grabbing at him while they are sitting on a perch together. I have seen them rumble to the cage floor fighting and it isn't always easy to stop them. The other night I heard a ruckus and she had him in the cage bottom biting his foot. She drew blood. Nothing bad and after cleaning it, he was fine and it is healing up well. This morning I noticed she has a small would above her eye. I'm not sure if it was from the same fight or another one.
Most of the time they get along fine. They sleep cuddled up next to each other and sit and spend time together and apart doing their bird type things, jabbering, playing with toys, tossing food around and standing on their heads in the food bowl lol.
Is this fighting a normal thing for an old bonded pair? I am concerned but should I be? Is there ever a time that a long time pair should be separated? They don't ever want to be without the other. I'd appreciate your thought and suggestions.
 

Terry57

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Welcome to the forum to you and your flock!
First, thank you for allowing these birds to live the life that makes them the happiest. I have also had a wild caught bird who was bonded to another, and I have had several retired breeders as well who were spoken & sung to, given treats, but were allowed to just be happy to be with their partner.

I hate the thought of separating a bonded pair, but if one is hurting the other, then perhaps giving each their own cage would help. There are also large macaw cages that come with a separator in between the 2 sides. Something like that would be nice. They would still be close, and if it seemed like they are getting along better you could remove the separator. Something like this:

https://birdcages4less.com/page/B/PROD/PA5747
 
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KimG

KimG

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Could it be that one is ill or weaker from age and the other is picking on it?
She does seem to be a little weaker with age. Perhaps a little arthritis as she does tend to sit down more than stand up straight on her legs. Though she loves to hang and still does it throughout the day. But as he has been dominant the whole time I've had them and still is, I have seen them both pick the squabbles at times.
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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I’m wondering what has changed to make their balance change so they’re getting into bloody fights.

Maybe it’s just about aging. Or a combination of less physical fitness and hormonal/ breeding behavior. So I would work to decrease breeding season-type hormonal increase. You could consider cutting back daylight hours or cutting back on rich treats. As me that maybe in combination with separating them if needed to keep them safe.
 
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KimG

KimG

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Welcome to the forum to you and your flock!
First, thank you for allowing these birds to live the life that makes them the happiest. I have also had a wild caught bird who was bonded to another, and I have had several retired breeders as well who were spoken & sung to, given treats, but were allowed to just be happy to be with their partner.

I hate the thought of separating a bonded pair, but if one is hurting the other, then perhaps giving each their own cage would help. There are also large macaw cages that come with a separator in between the 2 sides. Something like that would be nice. They would still be close, and if it seemed like they are getting along better you could remove the separator. Something like this:

https://birdcages4less.com/page/B/PROD/PA5747

I’m wondering what has changed to make their balance change so they’re getting into bloody fights.

Maybe it’s just about aging. Or a combination of less physical fitness and hormonal/ breeding behavior. You could consider cutting back daylight hours or cutting back on rich treats. As me that maybe in combination with separating them if needed to keep them safe.
Thank you, I will try your suggestions while I keep an eye on them. I really dont want to separate them if I don't have to.
 

Terry57

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Hawkhead(Darwin),YCA(Dexter),VE (Ekko),OWA(Slater),BHP(Talli),DYH(Calypso),RLA(Kimera),Alex(Xander)CBC(Phoe),IRN (Kodee,Luna,Stevie),WCP (Pisces),CAG(Justice)GCC (Jax), GSC2(Charley)
Thank you, I will try your suggestions while I keep an eye on them. I really dont want to separate them if I don't have to.
I also think separating them should be a last resort, especially after all of these years. I hope that the fighting subsides so that it isn't an issue anymore.
 
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KimG

KimG

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Welcome to the forum to you and your flock!
First, thank you for allowing these birds to live the life that makes them the happiest. I have also had a wild caught bird who was bonded to another, and I have had several retired breeders as well who were spoken & sung to, given treats, but were allowed to just be happy to be with their partner.

I hate the thought of separating a bonded pair, but if one is hurting the other, then perhaps giving each their own cage would help. There are also large macaw cages that come with a separator in between the 2 sides. Something like that would be nice. They would still be close, and if it seemed like they are getting along better you could remove the separator. Something like this:

https://birdcages4less.com/page/B/PROD/PA5747
Thank you. I hope it does not come to having to separate them. It is getting to be time for a new cage so I will check out this link
 
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KimG

KimG

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Thank you. I hope it does not come to having to separate them. It is getting to be time for a new cage so I will check out this link
Just an update. Things seem to be more peaceful with these two. I have been giving them a little less daylight as someone suggested and watching the less healthy treats. I have also been using extra bowls when feeding their fresh breakfast in the morning and treats. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
 

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