How to deal with sudden jealousy in Quaker Parrot?

ShutupandJive

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Nov 3, 2022
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Green Cheek Conure (Pineapple)
My partner and I have had our Quaker parrot Milo for 8 months, and he has just turned two. We decided to get a rehomed green cheek conure and bring her home to meet him.

His attitude has completely changed towards me though, he has become jealous and aggressive. He doesn't seem to want to let the new conure sit with or participate with me, depite him becoming extremely aggressive towards me. I gather he is feeling hurt and like he is being replaced, despite my best efforts to make him feel included and like he is more important than the new bird.

I'm not sure what to do about this behaviour as his aggression is so bad I essentially can't bring him out of his cage or train him anymore. Does anyone have any ideas to do about the jealousy issues? He was previously bonded to me and much less interested in my partner.
 
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ShutupandJive

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Green Cheek Conure (Pineapple)
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Here's a comparison of him two weeks apart, now he climbs and bites at the cage when I approach it
 

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Botsari

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You probably should consider the additional possibility that he is not so much angry with you for bringing a new bird into the picture, so much as feeling like you are competition for the attention of the new bird. How does he interact with the new one? Has he ever been around any other birds after he reached adulthood? One possibility is that once he saw the new bird he suddenly realized that another bird was just a lot more attractive to him.

Unfortunately it sounds Like a very common reaction, whatever the psychological source. Like you said, it could be jealousy towards the other bird, but seem like he would direct his aggression that way. They are highly social creatures and 1+1 doesn’t always add up to 2. Perhaps try some experiments. How does he behave when the other bird is not present - I mean like completely out of eye and ear shot? Parrot behavior is very complicated in captivity, and there is a school of though that says being alone without other birds for a long enough time might have some pretty weird effects on their psychology. I wouldn’t presume to categorize it from the birds point of view, by purely as a metaphor one might say in some cases they really aren’t sure if they are a bird or a human. Or perhaps in your case, he is sure for the first time!
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Another thing to consider: it seems like Milo is having cage aggression issues, probably because he’s freaked out by THE NEW BIRD. Is he better away from his cage? You may have to use caution near his cage as you did not have to before.

My Quaker Willow loves me but he will attack and bite at the cage bars if he’s wound up and I’m near his cage. I step him up into my hand COVERED BY A TOWEL and he’s pretty ok with that. Other people wait for their Quaker to come out onto the door or a special perch outside their cage.
 

Botsari

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ooh, that is a good one!

Did you do the “normal” thing with introducing a new bird where you put them in separate cages for a few days to scope each other out, then let each approach the other with one in their cage and the other out for a few days to see how things are going, and only then let them interact, as it were, “live” while carefully observing their behaviors? After a certain time a bird‘s cage becomes the main place where they feel safe. Introducing anything, let alone another bird, can be extremely upsetting to them, and if so they will need more gradual change with plenty of time to give every new thing the stink-eye from a good distance for a few days before deciding it is not a threat. Sometimes these reactions can be very unpredictable. For my older birds the whole room they had counted a bit as their safe space. Often new items did not bother them at all, but if they took a dislike to any new object - even a small knickknack on a shelf 10 feet away - they would growl and screech until the offending object was removed. Don’t even ask me how hard it was to put fresh perches in their cage!

With that in mind maybe go back to separated birds and proceed more slowly and methodically. Anyway, it is something to try.


Another thing to consider: it seems like Milo is having cage aggression issues, probably because he’s freaked out by THE NEW BIRD. Is he better away from his cage? You may have to use caution near his cage as you did not have to before.

My Quaker Willow loves me but he will attack and bite at the cage bars if he’s wound up and I’m near his cage. I step him up into my hand COVERED BY A TOWEL and he’s pretty ok with that. Other people wait for their Quaker to come out onto the door or a special perch outside their cage.
 
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ShutupandJive

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Thank-you for your responses. I must admit, I'm not sure exactly what the issue is, I had just suspected jealousy based on his behaviour.

When the conure is taken out of the room, he is much more tame with me and will sit with me. He does become aggressive, often taking to flying to the top of her cage and refusing to be handled from there. Once he realises she's not there, he'll fly over to me, but otherwise if she is in the room, he only wants to be on top of her cage, or near her.

When we have them both out together, he wants to be near her, if she's on a perch or near me but doesn't take all that much interest in her, in terms of interaction. He definitely displays jealous tendancies when they're both out though and will move wherever she is sitting. They might beak at each other for a few seconds, but usually calm down.

I am not expecting him to just get over a new bird being introduced immediately, and I probably need to manage my expectations a bit, it has just been difficult for me, how quickly and drastically his personality and attitude towards me has changed. Maybe they'll adjust over time when he realises that she is not a threat to him or our attention towards him.
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Remember, Quaker is a lot bigger than gcc, even though gcc has a wickedly sharp can opener beak.

If there are that much bad feelings, if they tangle, someone could get hurt.

(Of course, you didn’t think to ASK milo if he wanted a new brother or sister, did you? Hmm.)
 
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ShutupandJive

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Nov 3, 2022
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For the time being, we are not allowing them to be out of their cages together unsupervised, and will immediately seperate them if their beaking goes on for more than a few seconds. The quaker is very clearly trying to establish himself as the alpha, but doesn't appear to be more outwardly aggression towards the GCC as he is towards me.

We did ask milo if he wanted a friend. He had seemed excited about the concept, taking to any birds we displayed on computer/tv and even birds outside. We even brought him along to meet the GCC before bringing her home, in case there was any immediate aggression between them.

I do believe his anger is pointed at me, mostly. He does become jealous of any attention i or my partner give her, but I'm hoping that passes over time.
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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“(Of course, you didn’t think to ASK milo if he wanted a new brother or sister, did you? Hmm.)”

I was mostly kidding. I’m guessing that Milo will get over his hurt feelings but your relationships will change, and maybe he won’t let you be as close as before.

I think you had an extraordinary thing going, if you could get a healthy Quaker to wear a party hat. Quaker Parakeets do hold grudges. Keep assuring him that he is the #1 bird and hopefully he’ll get over it and even get some company from the gcc.
 

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Classic example of what can happen with the introduction of an additional parrot to the home. This is but one of many different outcomes that can occur. It is always like Russian roulette. You never know what the outcome will be, me personally I think the odds are better with the gun.
 

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