Hormonal regurgitating conure

Chapu’s mom

New member
Feb 6, 2022
1
4
Seattle, WA
Parrots
Green cheeked conure
Background: Hi folks, I’ve got a green cheeked conure I adopted from a rescue shelter last May 2021. They didn’t know his age or previous conditions except that at one point he was found outside and in the shelter he proved to be an escape artist and was there for about a year. We have bonded wonderfully and I’ve done and continue to do lots of research on conure and parrot care. We live in a studio apartment and he gets plenty of fully flighted outside the cage time, but have learned that when he gets agitated it’s best to put him inside with plenty of things for him to engage with. I’ve learned the hard way not to give him toys and things that resemble nesting. He’s constantly on a search for dark covered nesting spot like under the fridge. Recently I was away for longer than anticipated due to flight cancellations and he was in a hospital setting and then picked up by my local avian boarder once his tests came in clear (he had some mild respiratory symptoms). I imagine being isolated in the hospital setting and then picked up by a stranger and then being in an overstimulating avian boarding place may have cause caused a lot of stress. When I finally picked him up after being gone two weeks, he was clearly stressed. Lots of trembling, shaking sometimes, very on edge flying and squeaking away from the slightest disturbance, and ever more adamant about getting to the back/underbelly of the fridge (which I deep cleaned because of all this and tried to block off). I thought he was just stressed from the experience. But I noticed he had plucked two patches of chest feathers out. Something he did at the shelter too because when I got him he had only gray down feathers on his chest. He had finally grown all his beautiful chest feathers in by this fall and has been molting ever since I got him. His behavior seemed to get better after a week or so; he was more calm in some ways (less shaky, less on edge), but hormonal behaviors have gotten worse. Recently I was probably touching him too much to try to comfort him by cupping him in my hand to stop the quaking. But I wonder if all the stress also contributed to a hormonal flare. His bites have been harder and with a lot less warning. And he’s been regurgitating on all kinds of things, something he had never done before. He’s regurgitating on a plant he loves to chew, on a pair of earrings, on a shell, on a piece of paper on the floor, cardboard, randomness. A few times a day. I’ve been able to reduce the intense bites by simply recognizing he’s hormonal and recognizing more behaviors as agitated and putting him away as soon as he shows signs. But the regurgitating and insistence on finding a “nest” have not dwindled at all.

Has anyone gotten their parrot the shots that calm hormones? I worry about adding another trauma to the situation. Just curious what folks thoughts are and if the shots are worth it. And curious what folks thoughts are about birds being stressed by boarding. So far I’ve been using avian calm daily on his food, and he’s taking a multivitamin recommended by his vet and flax seed oil recommended by his vet (he showed signs of long term stress and malnourishment when I first got him). I even infused the flaxseed oil with chamomile (I’m an herbalist) and it’s his favorite “treat”. I just don’t have any friends or folks to discuss parrot things with, which is why I’m writing my saga here.
 

HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
2,322
4,393
Poor little guy. It sounds like you are a perceptive and sensitive bird owner. Green checks can be sensitive and get upset by change. When I had a green cheek, he’d want and beg for attention but only be able to handle ten minutes or so before he got too excited and bitey. Then he gently went back to his cage for a break. Or I got bit. And it seemed he was just too high strung to deal, not like he was trying to be mean.

I would give him more time and keep doing what you are doing. I have misted plucking or barbering birds with strained chamomile tea. I have given them the same to drink as well, making sure they ARE drinking enough. I would keep shreddable nest material toys away, keep boxes huts or shadowy things away, and make sure he gets enough sleep. Try to figure out what sets him off and eliminate access to that (maybe to his exciting plant(?) or shreddable cardboard. Keep him out from under the fridge. Hardware cloth was used in my friends apartment to block her lovebird’s access to the warm space under her fridge. (Wire mesh with about 1/3 inch or 1 cm squares.)

I have known hormonal energetic boy birds to feed and screw their toys pretty indiscriminately. Poor confused little dude. Maybe reduce petting, reduce rich high protein high fat foods or hand feeding any foods. My boy green cheek needed to have his wings trimmed and cage lowered a bit or I had a lot of aggressive behavior and he got less petting and fun. That’s another option.

I had great success with Lupron shots for my broody female Quaker. But I also reduced shadowy areas and access to shreddable newspaper. I read that Lupron is also useful in reducing sexual “behaviors” or aggression in male birds. I bet it would work and would help your bird. You just need to be done trying other measures. But if he starts hurting himself over plucking then you need to do something to keep him safe.

I hope this helps. Greencheeks are fun little birds! Thank you for taking care of him.
 

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
12,496
10,320
USA
Parrots
Full house
Thanks for taking in this sweet little one.

Regurgitate can be sign of a crop yeast overgrowth, especially if was on antibiotics for a respiratory infection. Its like a passive spit up. While hormonal Regurgitate they pump and try and feed you or object .

Recommend start weight checks. More than 3% body mass loss get checked.

For hormonal. Your bird has been through a lot from before you rescued. And being boarded, might have felt abandoned by you, and it is stressful. So now that you are back together, wants to prove is a good mate and re afirm bonds.

I think everything will level out. No need to be considering hormonal shots.

The bites, go slow, re prove your trust. Feed treats by hand. It so easy for them to develop sudden fear of hands . Especially in this situations. Take time to build back bind and trust.

Get your routine going again.
 

HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
2,322
4,393
Thanks for taking in this sweet little one.

Regurgitate can be sign of a crop yeast overgrowth, especially if was on antibiotics for a respiratory infection. Its like a passive spit up. While hormonal Regurgitate they pump and try and feed you or object .

Recommend start weight checks. More than 3% body mass loss get checked.

For hormonal. Your bird has been through a lot from before you rescued. And being boarded, might have felt abandoned by you, and it is stressful. So now that you are back together, wants to prove is a good mate and re afirm bonds.

I think everything will level out. No need to be considering hormonal shots.

The bites, go slow, re prove your trust. Feed treats by hand. It so easy for them to develop sudden fear of hands . Especially in this situations. Take time to build back bind and trust.

Get your routine going again.
My boy greencheek had his favorite bell and bird buddy which he would play or snuggle with, hump, and feed. He was a busy little guy! I was worried he’d get food poisoning from regurgitate to the bird buddy and then cleaning that up, so I took away the fuzzy bird buddy and made sure to clean his favorite fetch balls.

In his case it was clear it was an excess of sexual and nervous energy. He was a high strung bird.
 

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