Should we try the implant again?

Meg&pip

New member
Aug 29, 2023
2
10
Parrots
Senegal parrot
Around 3-4 years ago I had gotten my hormonal, plucky senegal, Pippy, the hormone implant. She had just reached sexual maturity, which she seemed a bit early for (she is 9 in a month, she was around 5 when implanted). At the time, it was explained to us as a medication for ferrets, but recently has been experimentally used off label on parrots, and showed promise at mitigating plucking and other hormonal behaviors... This is all old news to people at this point I suppose, but at the time, it felt like a major and somewhat risky decision to implant some experimental rice grain meant for ferrets into my tiny senegal's back. But we had previously tried haloperidol (awful) and another medication (something like Prozac I think, also awful), and this was seemingly the last option our vet could offer.

Anyways, we got it done, Pippy screamed the entire time in the back of the clinic as if someone was killing her and came out wide beak panting. We brought her home and plucking and hormonal behaviour has essentially continued since.

However, I do think back now and wonder if it prevented her from egg laying, because only this year has she started to act as if she is building a nest in the places where she usually plays. My husband is extremely against getting her another implant because of how traumatizing the first experience seemed and how little we thought it did... but I'm a bit at a loss now.. we never originally had any return date for another implant like I hear people talk about now; our vet had told us that it is safe to get additional implants without removing the past one, BUT additional implants were for if we felt we needed one after 6 months (how long we were told the implant could work for, but bearing in mind, the implant has only worked at all for SOME birds).

My question is this: Is it likely that the implant actually helped more than I realized and prevented her from laying a single egg all this time? It sounds like more people are talking about implants like they get them on a schedule, do they happen to become more effective after the first implant for some birds? Also, could we have affected her negatively in any way by implanting her at such a young age?

Overall, if this were your own bird, would it feel worth it to give the implant another shot all these years later now that she is exhibiting nesting behaviours?

*so sorry if all this info is out here somewhere, i might be really bad at searching for this stuff.. I'm just struggling this hormone season!! Thank you to ANYONE who reads this!
 
I don't have a senegal but I do have an extremely hormonal crimson bellied conure. The last three years I've had her have been awful with hormonal issues and I've been at a complete loss with what to do with her. I've tried everything to no avail until a few weeks ago when I completely stopped all seeds. She now gets only chop (purely vegetables and fruit) and pellets and some oats and it's a different bird. She's friendly, has stopped attacking me constantly and today I was holding out my hand for my other conure to come to me and she flew over without me having a treat which she's never done before. A few days ago I gave her some seeds and the hormonal behaviours came back a couple of hours after, so no seeds for her at all.

Personally I wouldn't get the implant again and would look at her diet and get rid of all seeds if she's having any. You can always put them back if it makes no difference, but taking away all of the seed and upping the pellets to about 75% of her diet has helped a lot.
 
The only thing I would add that I would do different than greenhouseparrot, is I wouldn't give fruit. I would also make sure the pellet doesn't contain sugar. My ekkie was getting hormonal and I cut the fruit, seeds, and sugar out of her diet. It has made a HUGE difference not only with her but with my amazon too. This was all at the recommendation of my vet. I feed chop, sprouts, and pellets without sugar.
 
To answer your question about if the implant helped with egg-laying: yes. Looks like hormonal implants are used to decrease reproductive activity in female birds (egg-laying). Birdy birth control - didn't even know that existed.

The next part is a bit long-winded - please forgive me! I've been on a deep dive into hormones for birds since I decided to adopt a breeder parrot who is now retiring. I agree with all the comments - consult the vet, and there are things you may try to adjust if not yet done. If you can, you could request a blood panel to check birdy for any diseases they're masking that may be contributing to their plucking to start. If all clear, then you can start working on things in your physical control like engagement, environment, and diet (this is the route I'd personally take).

In my deep dive into parrot hormones, I came across a lecture from the Hagan Avicultural Research Institute (HARI) posted 7 years ago (
). It's an hour long, but the presenter gives a lot of worthwhile information. I took notes! I'm even watching it again to really absorb the information given so I can begin to analyze and plan my course of action to prevent me from triggering horror-mone's. HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO GIVE THIS A LISTEN.

In this lecture, they discuss hormonal triggers and ways to adjust OUR behavior/interactions as well as their diet to decrease hormone response. Sugar is on the list. It's my understanding that our fruits are higher in sugar too than those found in the world not cultivated by us. Depending on the response of your parrot, maybe using fruits and seeds as an occasional treat is understandable. Best to consult your Certified Vet either way when it comes to a species-related diet. But veggies = unlimited!

They also mention a good 12 hours of sleep, and mental/physical exercise is very important too.
How you interact with them may also be important.

You could also look into parrot training - speaking with reputable trainers and behaviorists in your area, or someone who does online consultations. I found a behaviorist who works in aviculture on the East Coast who does online consultations, so I think finding behaviorists/trainers in your area is possible. I did reach out to the parrot behaviorist on the East Coast and will be hopefully speaking with them soon to do some initial discussions to prepare for me bringing my new baby home. I do plan on getting some training from them in the future, especially depending on Birdy's reaction to me/mine and the vet over time. They do offer online consultations. Her name is Shiela with Heart of Feathers. I've not been able to speak with her much beyond the introduction, but she seems lovely and knowledgeable - excited to start working with them in the future.

Good luck! Keep us posted on little Pip's new big adventure. I hope they take well to the vet this time around if you go in for the implant. I apologize again for the essay.
 
I don't have a senegal but I do have an extremely hormonal crimson bellied conure. The last three years I've had her have been awful with hormonal issues and I've been at a complete loss with what to do with her. I've tried everything to no avail until a few weeks ago when I completely stopped all seeds. She now gets only chop (purely vegetables and fruit) and pellets and some oats and it's a different bird. She's friendly, has stopped attacking me constantly and today I was holding out my hand for my other conure to come to me and she flew over without me having a treat which she's never done before. A few days ago I gave her some seeds and the hormonal behaviours came back a couple of hours after, so no seeds for her at all.

Personally I wouldn't get the implant again and would look at her diet and get rid of all seeds if she's having any. You can always put them back if it makes no difference, but taking away all of the seed and upping the pellets to about 75% of her diet has helped a lot.
Is it possible that an abundance of ripe seeds in the wild is a trigger for parrots to breed? I've read that wild budgies and cockatiels fly in massive flocks until they find places where precipitation has been abundant enough for grasses to flourish and go to seed and seasonal rivers and ponds are full to provide necessary water- all essential for successful colony breeding. If so, withholding seeds in favor of vegetables and pellets would tell the birds that now is not a good time to start breeding, without withholding essential nutrients.
It sure would make an interesting research project and the resultant data would be enlightening. For now it remains an unproven theory.
As for Senegal Parrots, I don't know what their diet consist of in the wild and if there is a particular food that they prefer that is only available in abundance during their breeding season and what seeds, if any, they eat in the wild. Any thoughts?
 
Is it possible that an abundance of ripe seeds in the wild is a trigger for parrots to breed? I've read that wild budgies and cockatiels fly in massive flocks until they find places where precipitation has been abundant enough for grasses to flourish and go to seed and seasonal rivers and ponds are full to provide necessary water- all essential for successful colony breeding. If so, withholding seeds in favor of vegetables and pellets would tell the birds that now is not a good time to start breeding, without withholding essential nutrients.
It sure would make an interesting research project and the resultant data would be enlightening. For now it remains an unproven theory.
As for Senegal Parrots, I don't know what their diet consist of in the wild and if there is a particular food that they prefer that is only available in abundance during their breeding season and what seeds, if any, they eat in the wild. Any thoughts?
I just looked up Senegal Parrots on Cornell University's E-bird info website (subscription required, $50/yr) and Senegals live in open grassland and open woodlands and migrate within their range in West Africa finding areas of food abundance (the wet season) to breed. The question is whether there is a particular food they are seeking that you can withhold to discourage breeding behavior.
 
The implant doesn’t have great success with plucking et al. As noted its primary purpose is to avoid excessive egg laying. In kale ekkies, success rate for similar treatment is around 5%. Nothing has changed with the implant, so you’re better off looking elsewhere.
 
Is it possible that an abundance of ripe seeds in the wild is a trigger for parrots to breed? I've read that wild budgies and cockatiels fly in massive flocks until they find places where precipitation has been abundant enough for grasses to flourish and go to seed and seasonal rivers and ponds are full to provide necessary water- all essential for successful colony breeding. If so, withholding seeds in favor of vegetables and pellets would tell the birds that now is not a good time to start breeding, without withholding essential nutrients.
It sure would make an interesting research project and the resultant data would be enlightening. For now it remains an unproven theory.
As for Senegal Parrots, I don't know what their diet consist of in the wild and if there is a particular food that they prefer that is only available in abundance during their breeding season and what seeds, if any, they eat in the wild. Any thoughts?
I remember reading that wild conures diets can consist of up to 70% figs in some places! I don't think that's a balanced diet at all but it's definitely interesting to consider when thinking about our captive parrots diets.

I think the abundance of ripe seed is a trigger to be honest. Tequila has always had some seed in her diet in the three years I've had her as I though she should have some since she's a parrot. Even using it just in foraging toys, she's always been hormonal and I've tried everything else to stop her hormones. Even keeping her in darkness for 14 hours a day didn't stop the hormones and just made her extremely angry at me. Since doing 75% pellets and 25% chop for the first time since I've had her she seems like a happy bird. She's started playing with her toys again, she's stopped destroying her tail feathers as well (I thought they were getting frayed by her not looking after them, but new ones have grown in and she's keeping them looking really nice), and she's a lot calmer. It's a bit disgusting but her poop doesn't smell anymore either. She didn't have an infection or anything but her poop was really sour smelling and I had to use a lot of probiotics each day to reduce the smell. Luckily the pellet I have her on has probiotics in it and I haven't had to use the extra probiotics since I started feeding her more of them.

I really wish there'd be more studies on wild parrots too.
 
I remember reading that wild conures diets can consist of up to 70% figs in some places! I don't think that's a balanced diet at all but it's definitely interesting to consider when thinking about our captive parrots diets.

I think the abundance of ripe seed is a trigger to be honest. Tequila has always had some seed in her diet in the three years I've had her as I though she should have some since she's a parrot. Even using it just in foraging toys, she's always been hormonal and I've tried everything else to stop her hormones. Even keeping her in darkness for 14 hours a day didn't stop the hormones and just made her extremely angry at me. Since doing 75% pellets and 25% chop for the first time since I've had her she seems like a happy bird. She's started playing with her toys again, she's stopped destroying her tail feathers as well (I thought they were getting frayed by her not looking after them, but new ones have grown in and she's keeping them looking really nice), and she's a lot calmer. It's a bit disgusting but her poop doesn't smell anymore either. She didn't have an infection or anything but her poop was really sour smelling and I had to use a lot of probiotics each day to reduce the smell. Luckily the pellet I have her on has probiotics in it and I haven't had to use the extra probiotics since I started feeding her more of them.

I really wish there'd be more studies on wild parrots too.
I read on the Cornell U. Website that Senegal parrots are savannah birds that eat a lot of figs and other fruit plus seed when seasonally available. I agree that diet in the wild isn't talked about enough or studied enough to understand it's affect on breeding behavior. They do know that breeding seems to correlate with the rainy season. Keep in mind that birds that live near the equator don't have seasons defined by length of the day- at the equator it's 12/12 hours of light/dark year round so altering the length of the day shouldn't have any affect on breeding in captivity. It must be humidity and the presence of lots of water for bathing, and foods they prefer to feed their kids like ripe seeds. Note that Senegals' home range is within a few hundred miles north of the equator and runs east to west. The days and nights there are close to 12 hours year round.

Some people think songbirds migrate north to breed for warm weather but that's not really true. Migratory songbirds like warblers fly up to thousands of miles to breed in Spring in places like Canada and the northern US because the days in June and July when they are feeding their chicks are 18+ hours long vs 8-9 hours long where they spent the winter. That's 10 more hours each day to collect insects to feed their chicks! They must be exhausted! I read that they also migrate north because there is so much more land mass in the northern hemisphere than below the equator, allowing for better territories and nesting sites. Note that there aren't any songbirds that breed below the equator in the southern summer and migrate above the equator in the northern summer to rest. Interesting.
 
This sounds aggressive, and by no means is it meant to. There is NOTHING that just gets rid of a birds hormones. There are some suggestions/things to do that “may” help. I also have a parrot who feather plucks, and is very hormonal. It is very frustrating at times. I myself just feed the best diet that I can without causing harm (my birds think they are dying if no seed is involved). I give them attention, and care for them. It took me a long time, and a lot of research to realize that this is what parrots are like in the wild. Our parrots aren’t completely domesticated.

Again I apologize if I come off strong. I am not intending to be that way.
 
I read on the Cornell U. Website that Senegal parrots are savannah birds that eat a lot of figs and other fruit plus seed when seasonally available. I agree that diet in the wild isn't talked about enough or studied enough to understand it's affect on breeding behavior. They do know that breeding seems to correlate with the rainy season. Keep in mind that birds that live near the equator don't have seasons defined by length of the day- at the equator it's 12/12 hours of light/dark year round so altering the length of the day shouldn't have any affect on breeding in captivity. It must be humidity and the presence of lots of water for bathing, and foods they prefer to feed their kids like ripe seeds. Note that Senegals' home range is within a few hundred miles north of the equator and runs east to west. The days and nights there are close to 12 hours year round.

Some people think songbirds migrate north to breed for warm weather but that's not really true. Migratory songbirds like warblers fly up to thousands of miles to breed in Spring in places like Canada and the northern US because the days in June and July when they are feeding their chicks are 18+ hours long vs 8-9 hours long where they spent the winter. That's 10 more hours each day to collect insects to feed their chicks! They must be exhausted! I read that they also migrate north because there is so much more land mass in the northern hemisphere than below the equator, allowing for better territories and nesting sites. Note that there aren't any songbirds that breed below the equator in the southern summer and migrate above the equator in the northern summer to rest. Interesting.
It's very interesting for sure. This kind of stuff makes me wish I could finish my environmental studies degree! With the cost of living I'm having to take a higher paying job which means longer hours and more money, and unfortunately no time for the degree. Maybe in a few years I can come back to it.

Breeding season correlating with the rainy season makes sense. I hope giving my birds too many baths won't set them off!
 
This sounds aggressive, and by no means is it meant to. There is NOTHING that just gets rid of a birds hormones. There are some suggestions/things to do that “may” help. I also have a parrot who feather plucks, and is very hormonal. It is very frustrating at times. I myself just feed the best diet that I can without causing harm (my birds think they are dying if no seed is involved). I give them attention, and care for them. It took me a long time, and a lot of research to realize that this is what parrots are like in the wild. Our parrots aren’t completely domesticated.

Again I apologize if I come off strong. I am not intending to be that way.
Unfortunately the seeds were causing my conure to be overly hormonal. Three years straight being hormonal with no rest is no way to live. She was extremely unhappy. She didn't play with toys, she was aggressive towards me most of the time, she would scream excessively and her feathers were in such poor condition I thought she had some kind of disease. This is on a diet that contained about 25% pellets (expensive ones too), 25% seeds and the rest fresh vegetables and grains. As part of the seed mix she had dried vegetables too, plus different herbs and spices. I also have an outside aviary which she spends a lot of time in with access to fresh air and sunlight, plus a variety of edible foliage (all bird safe). I thought I was providing the best care for her and yet she was extremely unhappy. Since taking away the seeds (and that's all I've done except giving more pellets to make up the calories) she's finally stopped being hormonal to her own detriment.

It's not normal for a parrot to be hormonal 24/7 at all. Parrots in the wild are only hormonal during breeding season, not year round like my conure was. She was unhappy for a few days without seeds but I use the pellets in foraging toys and she's just as happy to eat them (happier I'd say since she doesn't guard her pellets like she guarded the seeds).
 
Unfortunately the seeds were causing my conure to be overly hormonal. Three years straight being hormonal with no rest is no way to live. She was extremely unhappy. She didn't play with toys, she was aggressive towards me most of the time, she would scream excessively and her feathers were in such poor condition I thought she had some kind of disease. This is on a diet that contained about 25% pellets (expensive ones too), 25% seeds and the rest fresh vegetables and grains. As part of the seed mix she had dried vegetables too, plus different herbs and spices. I also have an outside aviary which she spends a lot of time in with access to fresh air and sunlight, plus a variety of edible foliage (all bird safe). I thought I was providing the best care for her and yet she was extremely unhappy. Since taking away the seeds (and that's all I've done except giving more pellets to make up the calories) she's finally stopped being hormonal to her own detriment.

It's not normal for a parrot to be hormonal 24/7 at all. Parrots in the wild are only hormonal during breeding season, not year round like my conure was. She was unhappy for a few days without seeds but I use the pellets in foraging toys and she's just as happy to eat them (happier I'd say since she doesn't guard her pellets like she guarded the seeds).
You are 100% correct about captive birds. I do wish there was a better resolution.

Some species of bird are known to be hormonal year round, and some are known to be hormonal twice a year. All are capable of being hormonal year round.
 
You are 100% correct about captive birds. I do wish there was a better resolution.

Some species of bird are known to be hormonal year round, and some are known to be hormonal twice a year. All are capable of being hormonal year round.
Luckily I've figured out Tequila is happier not being hormonal year-round. It really was affecting her quality of life. I did wonder if she had some neurological problem too as no-one else seemed to have as many issues with their conures. And for her to sit on a perch and scream all day, ignoring toys and then trying to attack me if I so much as looked at her isn't really a life.
 
Luckily I've figured out Tequila is happier not being hormonal year-round. It really was affecting her quality of life. I did wonder if she had some neurological problem too as no-one else seemed to have as many issues with their conures. And for her to sit on a perch and scream all day, ignoring toys and then trying to attack me if I so much as looked at her isn't really a life.
I’m very sorry to hear about your conure. I have 2 of them. They are so adorable. My male tends to be more hormonal, and aggressive. If I decline his advances he can get nippy. My female try’s to crawl under my shirts, and starts clucking (unfortunately year round). Both can be aggressive when they have pin feathers coming in too. Molting is another thing at times I dread especially if all 3 of them are doing it at once. I know for sure I’m getting bit at some point during molting season. Baby parrots also seem to be more docile, cuddly, and such. Not to say they won’t do this as an adult. However once both of my conures hit puberty they were a lot more independent (my nice way of saying hormones kicked in). I too do my best to feed pellets primarily, some fresh foods, and seed (treats for training). I also do a lot of trick training because it’s a safe bet that my parrots aren’t going to try to mate with me. I removed all toys that were fuzzy, soft, or nesty. They are left with wood to chew on. I do my best to avoid triggers. I make sure they get 12 hours of sleep, and that they see the sun.

Someday I hope more research is done on parrot hormones as we do have them in captivity. It really is a challenge for me at least.
 
I’m very sorry to hear about your conure. I have 2 of them. They are so adorable. My male tends to be more hormonal, and aggressive. If I decline his advances he can get nippy. My female try’s to crawl under my shirts, and starts clucking (unfortunately year round). Both can be aggressive when they have pin feathers coming in too. Molting is another thing at times I dread especially if all 3 of them are doing it at once. I know for sure I’m getting bit at some point during molting season. Baby parrots also seem to be more docile, cuddly, and such. Not to say they won’t do this as an adult. However once both of my conures hit puberty they were a lot more independent (my nice way of saying hormones kicked in). I too do my best to feed pellets primarily, some fresh foods, and seed (treats for training). I also do a lot of trick training because it’s a safe bet that my parrots aren’t going to try to mate with me. I removed all toys that were fuzzy, soft, or nesty. They are left with wood to chew on. I do my best to avoid triggers. I make sure they get 12 hours of sleep, and that they see the sun.

Someday I hope more research is done on parrot hormones as we do have them in captivity. It really is a challenge for me at least.
I'm not looking forward to puberty with my other conure. I got her at six months and she's just over a year now so I know it must be coming! She was very nippy when I got her but now she's just sweet, although not cuddly. Tequila was sold to me at three months old supposedly but I think she was fully grown as I had problems from the start with her and she had a full red belly which they're not supposed to have as babies.

It's so difficult to know what to do with them, given the lack of research. When you look at how far cat and dog research has come in the last few years it makes you wonder how wrong we might be doing things
 
I'm not looking forward to puberty with my other conure. I got her at six months and she's just over a year now so I know it must be coming! She was very nippy when I got her but now she's just sweet, although not cuddly. Tequila was sold to me at three months old supposedly but I think she was fully grown as I had problems from the start with her and she had a full red belly which they're not supposed to have as babies.

It's so difficult to know what to do with them, given the lack of research. When you look at how far cat and dog research has come in the last few years it makes you wonder how wrong we might be doing things
I know. We make so many assumptions about companion birds about things like diet and breeding based on I-don't-know-what. Parrot foods are advertised for "parrots" with different blends of seeds and different pellets for "parrots" grouped together by size. Large parrot, medium parrot and small parrot without regard to what each species eats in the wild. They can't all need the same nutrition. Eclectus have been determined to have special dietary needs but I wish other species had their own foods. Seeds are almost universally panned even for birds like cockatiels and budgies that eat primarily seeds in the wild. We're told to feed "parrots" fruits even if they aren't known to eat fruit in the wild.
If you read the ingredients in most pellets you wonder why they are considered so much better for "parrots" than foods in their natural state.
I don't think pellets are bad for birds. I just wonder why they are so much better. How do we know how much protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals are required for a parrot's optimal health? From the poultry industry? I think lack of exercise is a big factor in pet birds getting fatty liver etc. Even parrots that get the most out of cage time still don't get the exercise their wild cousins get.
Since my education is as a biological scientist, I'm skeptical of anything that hasn't been proven by a double blinded controlled study. Anecdotal evidence is scientifically useless. All that said, we all do the best we can and for the most part our birds do fine.
 
I know. We make so many assumptions about companion birds about things like diet and breeding based on I-don't-know-what. Parrot foods are advertised for "parrots" with different blends of seeds and different pellets for "parrots" grouped together by size. Large parrot, medium parrot and small parrot without regard to what each species eats in the wild. They can't all need the same nutrition. Eclectus have been determined to have special dietary needs but I wish other species had their own foods. Seeds are almost universally panned even for birds like cockatiels and budgies that eat primarily seeds in the wild. We're told to feed "parrots" fruits even if they aren't known to eat fruit in the wild.
If you read the ingredients in most pellets you wonder why they are considered so much better for "parrots" than foods in their natural state.
I don't think pellets are bad for birds. I just wonder why they are so much better. How do we know how much protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals are required for a parrot's optimal health? From the poultry industry? I think lack of exercise is a big factor in pet birds getting fatty liver etc. Even parrots that get the most out of cage time still don't get the exercise their wild cousins get.
Since my education is as a biological scientist, I'm skeptical of anything that hasn't been proven by a double blinded controlled study. Anecdotal evidence is scientifically useless. All that said, we all do the best we can and for the most part our birds do fine.
I have an eclectus. He loves his almonds, and pine nuts just like my conures do. He walks, talks, and screams like my conures. He does tricks just like my conures can. He’s hormonal just like my conures can be. He’s not any more or less work then my conures. He will bite just like my conures.

Eclectus parrots are known to have a longer digestive tract, and their lives are shortened in captivity. It’s rather a mystery from what I’ve gathered. My Ekkie regurgitates all over the place, and wants to mate daily. He’s definitely a provider (males are well known to be this way in the wild). Other than these specific things I can’t really say there’s a “huge” difference between my Ekkie & conures. Of course there is a size difference.
 

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