Combative moments between male & female, mated pair

cytherian

Member
Dec 29, 2020
55
11
Near NYC
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Eclectus
The two ekkies in question are about 8 (male) and 9 (female) years old. They're a mated pair and have been together since the male was old enough to socialize. They're so "tight" that when the female is taken to the vet, the male will get very agitated (his cage is adjacent to hers, so he can see when she's not there), looking in "high alert" mode and occasional squawks, then later on when she's "not coming back" realization made he squawks in distress (taking hours for him to eventually calm down).

Very often they'll be taken out of their cages together and they'll hang out on the living room couch with a bin containing toys. Often the female will go inside it and "practice" nesting rituals. And of course, they'll periodically mate. The male is HIGHLY attentive. Wherever the female is, he's right by her side... or in front, attempting to feed her, or behind, attempting to mate. Seriously, if she ever died I think he'd totally change (from so happy/cheery to very sad/depressed).

That's the 1st phase of the back story. The next bit is that they did have a baby together. And that kicked off the female's egg laying productivity even more. One time she passed ten eggs in just one month! And then the obstruction came... she was not far off from dying. Animal hospital was able to remove the egg and the bird recovered. This inspired her owner (my roommate) to get the bird "chipped." That worked. She doesn't lay eggs any longer. However, hormonally, nothing has changed. In fact, she has become a bit more aggressive AND when she knows someone is nearby she'll let out these ear piercing loud squawks like 1~2 per minute. Generally, when looking at these 3 birds, the two males are relatively happy, but comparatively she seems unhappy & frustrated. Her nesting imperative is so strong, she has now taken to reaching below her cage grate and pulling up the liners to shred. EVERY SINGLE DAY now.

So, for the most part when the male & female have been out, they've been fine together. They'll do their "courtship" routines. But then... lately... something unfortunate happens.

The male becomes seriously hostile & combative with the female. He'll beak-spar with her, like 1 jab every 2~3 seconds for about a minute, then pause, then repeat. At times he'll spread his wings out while he's jabbing. She's bigger & stronger and no push-over. She's sort of the "matriarch," so she will stand her ground. Trying to separate them can be a real challenge.

Just the other day, this got a bit worse. The male quite literally attacked the female, flew off to perch after the tussle, then swooped back down upon her with another attack. My roommate separated them and got the female to go into her cage. But then the male stayed on top of her cage, in the normal spot he'd usually feed her, but instead he'd beak-jab at the cage, taunting her. We were watching TV and he went at this for over half-an-hour.

Mind you, this male is one of the sweetest birds. He's friendly, cheery, and generally well behaved. He very rarely bites hard, and when he does it's never strong enough to break skin. Generally speaking, He ADORES the female and gets so distressed when separated from her. But then... these periods of violence seem to be happening more often. In the past, there would be an occasional beak-sparring, but nothing too hostile, and later they'd settle down and he'd go back to calmly feeding her again.

Sorry for the lengthy monologue here. But I hope it's enough info to understand the context. This combative behavior doesn't seem normal. It's not what used to happen. And I'm wondering if this may be anything to do with the fact that she's not laying eggs. Is the male "mad" at her? And is her rather "unhappy" disposition a kind of internal exasperation that she's not laying eggs? Birds are very intelligent and I have to imagine she senses something is not quite right if eggs are no longer coming.
 

SailBoat

Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
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Western, Michigan
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DYH Amazon
The reality in life is from time to time with any couple not prefect. They will have disagreements and fights will happen. And in some cases, it can become abusive.

Companion Parrots follow a path of separation from each other whereas bonded pairs less involved with Humans.

With hope, this will bump your question back-up the board and others will respond that have greater experience with bonded pairs.
 
OP
cytherian

cytherian

Member
Dec 29, 2020
55
11
Near NYC
Parrots
Eclectus
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The reality in life is from time to time with any couple not prefect. They will have disagreements and fights will happen. And in some cases, it can become abusive.

Companion Parrots follow a path of separation from each other whereas bonded pairs less involved with Humans.

With hope, this will bump your question back-up the board and others will respond that have greater experience with bonded pairs.
Thanks for chiming in.

I do expect that "relations" between animals will have ups/downs. I've seen it happen with cats & dogs. They'll be fine, but then something happens and they're set off on each other. People do it too! :11: At least for some couples (my parents would, at times, have fights over what an outsider would consider "pretty much nothing.") So naturally birds do it too.

But this is different. They've had their scuffles in the past, but this was really magnified hostility.
 

chris-md

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2010
4,073
595
Maryland - USA
Parrots
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
This requires almost a breeders expertise with mated pairs, something nobody here has. I’ve got nothing terribly helpful for you except to say that there should always be ample room given the polyamourus nature (shouldn’t be in the same confined cage), and restricted housing can I f act engender fighting/territoriality.
 
OP
cytherian

cytherian

Member
Dec 29, 2020
55
11
Near NYC
Parrots
Eclectus
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This requires almost a breeders expertise with mated pairs, something nobody here has. I’ve got nothing terribly helpful for you except to say that there should always be ample room given the polyamourus nature (shouldn’t be in the same confined cage), and restricted housing can I f act engender fighting/territoriality.

Thanks, Chris.

This is falling in along the thoughts I've been having about the situation. The birds are not being given the amount of outside-cage time as they should be getting.

The male is generally taking it well. He's still very friendly and sociable with humans. He also goes out of his way to feed both parrots from atop their cages.

But the female... seems really miserable. I've tried to talk with my roommate about this, but she says she doesn't have many options at this point. It just continues. She "loves them too much" to ever part with them. Frankly, I think she should give the mated pair up for adoption and keep the juvenile.
 

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