Eclectus male has become overly fixated on being out of his cage

cytherian

Active member
Dec 29, 2020
102
114
Near NYC
Parrots
Eclectus
Our 10 year old eclectus male is pretty happy and healthy. He is mated to a female who has her cage directly next to his (about 10" apart). He fertilized an egg and his mate hatched a chick that was raised well. All three live together in the same room.

The male is called Rollie. He's a very well adjusted bird. He very rarely bites hard. His disposition is very friendly most of the time. But he has some personality quirks. First and foremost, he is completely, 100% obsessed with his mate, Rosie. When they're both out together he wants to feed her all the time. And mate as well. Sometimes she wants to be left alone, but he won't back off... and then she gets mad and they fight--forcing separation. When Rollie is the only one out of his cage, he'll visit the other 2 birds and feed them through the bars. If he is in his cage and Rosie comes out for some stretching and space, he will be extremely antsy, wanting to come out and be with her. We do oblige. She will actually feed him, like practice for her possible chicks to hatch. And they'll usually be fine together, except lately they've been getting into fights. So while they'll have some out time, it has to be limited.

Anyway, the point of this post is one other trait -- when it's daytime or evening time, Rollie wants to be out. Anytime someone comes into the kitchen, he hears them immediately and begins his vocalization repertoire. First, he'll do a loud but tonally pleasant chirp. It's his "Hey, I'm here, can you let me out" chirp. He'll do that for a bit... up to about 8 or 10. When he's not getting a response, he then starts with his low timber exasperated squawks. His emotion is very clear. "You're not hearing me. I want out. Why aren't you letting me out?" Next, come the unpleasant squawks. He has several of them. The first is a very loud droning kind of squawk, somewhat like a crow. The emotion is "I'm mad now. Let me out. I'm getting pissed here. Hello?" Next, he'll bump it up to a very loud screeching kind of squawk. VERY loud, and VERY grating! It's nasty. Seriously unpleasant. We don't know where he came up with it. No other bird around here makes that noise. It was his own creation.

The trouble is, when my housemate and I are in the kitchen talking, Rollie will step up his vocalizations and peak at the grating loud squawks. Really nasty. We'll draw the curtain so he can't see into the kitchen. He used to back off, but now it doesn't make a difference. After a while, he'll get tired and stop, but then he'll pick up again with the first opening chirp. The "hello, I'm here -- please attend to me!" Usually by then, I'll come over and then put some new food in his cage. Something to occupy him. But that has worn thin. It now lasts just a couple of minutes. Sometimes he'll let loose his nasty squawks while he's in the middle of eating! You can hear the tonal change.

The problem is, if we cave in and let him out anytime he wants, which is what we'd done earlier on, he now seems to expect that he should be let out any time. And ignoring him? That used to work, but now it doesn't help much. We keep folded towels on the tops of their cages. So sometimes if he's being particularly stubborn with his painfully obnoxious squawks, I'll lay the towel down, draping over the sides. He will stop for a few minutes. But then, sometimes he just won't let up. Eventually he has to tire himself out to finally stop. Or, if we leave the room, in a few minutes he realizes we're no longer there and he'll cease. Yet, his hearing is so acute, it appears he'll hear movement in our rooms and then he'll start his squawks. Of course, this makes phone calls from the kitchen impossible.

I'm just wondering if there's any way to change this behavior. Some sort of technique that might coax him into curtailing his overt demands. There was a time when he wasn't like this. The behavior appears to have come about over time. One other wrinkle -- his mate Rosie is a big time egg layer. She's now at the point where 75% of the time she's sitting on eggs. And I'm wondering if part of the male's behavior is that he wants to be out and tending to his mate. Even if he's not feeding her, to be out and about on the lookout, to be sure she's protected. Could that be it?
 

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