bird hormonal behavior

Practical Tips For Getting Ready For Parrot Hormone Season That You Should Start Right Now

Discover how to prepare for bird hormone season and manage bird hormonal behavior more effectively. It's important to recognize that nature doesn't intend for most bird species to be hormonal year-round. By taking proper care of your bird, you can help regulate its hormonal season, leading to a happier and healthier pet.
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Revised 02/17/2024

There's a lot of talk about getting ready for parrot hormonal season. But, what about being wary of the common culprits that throw parrot hormones out of whack in the first place? 

We know that hormones can be the cause of many behavioral problems in birds from mood swings and aggression, to furniture destruction, to health issues. But, keep in mind, when hormones are in balance, they keep your bird's body functioning properly.

Parrot hormonal season

Springtime is bird hormonal season for most birds.

Why do parrots get hormonal?

Parrots have completely different sexual hormone cycles than mammals. Most caretakers don't realize that wild parrots become hormonal and capable of rearing young only once or twice a year. In the wild, parrot hormonal season happens in Spring when food is abundant, the weather is more temperate, and days are a little longer. 

Most parrot species are from tropical areas near the equator where there is very little difference between temperature and daylight throughout the year. However, a parrot's body has become highly attuned to the small changes in food availability, lighting, nesting site availability, and weather. Their bodies respond accordingly when the conditions are just right for mating and rearing young.

Otherwise, a wild parrot's sexual hormones go into a dormant stage for the remainder of the year allowing their body to recuperate from the taxing experience of mating, feeding chicks, and teaching their chicks how to survive before winter sets in. Simply put, a parrot’s body is not designed to withstand being in a year-round sexual hormonal state.

How can I help my hormonal parrot?

Domestic parrots tend to have completely different environmental and lifestyle experiences than their wild cousins, resulting in physical and behavioral problems.  

Caretakers innocently make decisions that mess with the birds’ sexual hormones. Case in point: expecting your parrot to adapt to your sleep cycle when parrots actually need 10-12 hours of sleep.

Combine a sleep disturbance with other lifestyle and environmental stressors like poor diet, improper petting, and a sedentary lifestyle, and you can imagine the toll that takes on your bird’s physical health.  We call this a chronically hormonal state and it can have deadly consequences for your pet.

The good news is you can reset your bird’s body from the inside out by improving certain environmental factors and incorporating the right supplements to help you balance their hormones.  So let>'s take a deep dive into learning why parrot hormones become so imbalanced resulting in health and behavioral issues.

Parrot Hormonal Season


How long does parrot hormonal season last?

Parrot hormonal season typically lasts for a few weeks to a few months, usually during the springtime when days get longer. During this time, parrots may show behaviors like increased vocalization, restlessness, or aggression. However, the exact duration can vary depending on factors such as species, environment, and individual bird health. It's essential for parrot owners to understand these seasonal changes and provide appropriate care and attention to their feathered friends during this period.

Strategies to Minimize Parrot Hormonal Effects

  1. Maintain a consistent daily routine for your parrot, including regular feeding times and ample opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation.
  2. Provide plenty of enrichment activities, such as toys, puzzles, and foraging opportunities, to keep your parrot engaged and distracted from hormonal behaviors.
  3. Ensure your parrot's environment is conducive to relaxation by minimizing stressors, such as loud noises or sudden changes, and providing a quiet, secure space for rest.

2. What time of year are parrots hormonal?

As described above, parrot hormonal season kicks off as Spring approaches. Typically, the days are getting longer and longer, fresh, new growth protein and fatty foods become more available, and the weather gets a little warmer. A number of factors come into play causing hormonal surges that result in the sexual organs enlarging, nest seeking and territorial behavior and the like.

3. How do you stop hormonal behavior in parrots?

Your birds’ endocrine system makes and releases hormones within the brain itself and releases them throughout the body. This includes the brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and skin.

Hormones are the messengers of the body—they send chemical messages to all body systems, like the metabolism, circadian rhythms , digestion, and reproduction.

When I’m talking about the parrot hormonal season, I’m, of course, referring to hormones related to sexual function and reproduction, but keep in mind that the entire endocrine system is synchronized.

3.  What are the most common causes of hormone imbalances in birds?

The most common causes of hormone imbalances in parrots include the following: 

  • Diet, changes in the balance of nutrient-rich foods
  • Mate availability (or a perceived mate in the birds' human companion)
  • Physical contact of the erogenous zones
  • Access to nesting sites and nesting materials
  • Longer daylight hours
  • Less sleep

  • Learn more here: 

    4.  How can I tell if my bird is in a "chronic hormonal state?

    Recognizing when a parrot is in a persistently hormonal state involves noticing various symptoms. Essentially, this means the bird consistently displays hormonal behavior throughout the year. Here are some signs indicating that your feathered friend may be feeling particularly romantic:

    • Strutting with feathers fanned
    • Flat backing
    • Displaying feathers
    • Increase in territorial behavior
    • Nest making and shredding
    • Feather picking
    • Regurgitation of food in your presence
    • Panting
    • Masturbation
    • Louder and more frequent vocalizations
    • Increase in biting & lunging
    • More aggressive play

    5.  Why is my bird always hormonal?

    To understand why your bird is always hormonal, it's important to consider how their surroundings and natural instincts play a role. As a caring owner, making some changes in your bird's environment is crucial to help calm their hormones and keep them healthy and happy.

    Make sure that your bird gets 10-12 hours of total darkness and quiet sleep per night.

    Shredding.  Take away shredding toys and cage lining paper. When your parrot shreds things, it can make them feel like they're preparing a nest, which can ramp up their hormones. Pay attention to what your parrot is shredding and take those objects away. Instead, give lots of praise and rewards for other natural parrot behaviors like chewing wood, grooming properly, taking baths, foraging, singing, and more.

    Cavity Seeking.  When a parrot is feeling hormonal, they have a strong urge to find small, dark spaces to make a nest. In your home, this could be anything from a shoe for smaller birds, a dark closet, or even under furniture and cushions.

    This behavior might seem adorable at first, but it's serious business. When your bird pretends to nest, it can lead to them feeling overly amorous. If they can't fulfill these instincts, they might lash out with aggression or harm themselves by plucking feathers. To prevent this, take away hiding spots and praise your bird for natural behaviors. Encourage them to exercise and search for food, and make training sessions enjoyable and upbeat.

    Heavy Petting.  Touching your parrot anywhere other than its head or feet can be quite stimulating because most of its body is sensitive. While your bird might seem to enjoy heavy petting, similar to a teenage boy, it can lead to issues down the road. Instead, show your affection in different ways. Spend time with your bird outside of its cage, engage in training sessions, or encourage exercise and foraging activities. This way, you're still showing love while avoiding potential problems.

    Feeding.  Limit high calorie, high sugar, and high-fat foods that trigger hormone production. Avoid grapes, corn, meats, and sweet potatoes.  Also, avoid feeding soft, warm foods that remind your bird of the mating ritual of regurgitating into their mate’s mouth.  Instead, supplement your bird's diet with more fresh veggies and lower sugar content fruits.

    6.  What health supplements do you recommend to balance parrot hormones?

    Probiotics.There is a link between gut health and hormone balance. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can improve the production and regulation of key hormonea reputable parrot probiotic and feed it as directed. Unfortunately, there are few natural dietary options in the form of grains, fruits, or vegetables that will deliver probiotics.

    Magnesium.  Many parrots are magnesium-deficient. The trouble is that stress can increase the amount of magnesium that is dumped from the body leading to a magnesium deficiency. Consider a good Supplement such as UnRuffledRx Calcium, Magnesium +D3. Your bird needs to replenish magnesium to keep its central nervous system calm and prevent an oversupply of cortisol. When these nutrients are regulated, other hormones will also be better regulated. Magnesium also improves sleep and reduces inflammation, both of which are needed for hormone balance.

    Omega-3s.  One function of omega-3s  is the construction of hormones which is why Omega - 3 are recommended to ease hormone disorders. Omega-3s also reduce the inflammatory damage that interferes with hormone balance. 

    Adaptogen Herbs:   Adaptogens are herbs that help the body handle stress and support the adrenals.  They are healthy and natural ways to help birds experience hormone balance

    Not all adaptogen herbs are the same.  Always opt for fresh, organic herbs when looking for a way to support your parrots’ elevated mood. Safe, nutritious and healthy adaptogens for parrots include:

  • Chamomile
  •  Lavender
  •  Lemon Balm
  •  Red Clover
  •  Rose Petals
  •  Kava Kava Root
  •  Passionflower
  •  Valerian

  • Try UnRuffledRx Bird Calming Tea to help curb hormone-related screaming, aggression, anxiety, and feather plucking in parrots. 

    Coconut Oil:   Nourishing coconut oil has been used for centuries due to its numerous health benefits. But, it's not just for humans. Coconut oil has great health benefits for parrots, as well.  Here are just a few of the health benefits that you're hormonal parrot may experience:

  • Moisturizes and nourishes skin: Coconut oil is great for the skin. Its natural antioxidant properties help soothe dry, itchy and irritated skin. 

  • Digestive help: Coconut oil’s concentration of beneficial fats helps it support the digestion process. Its antimicrobial properties can help fight irritation and infection in the gut from candida.  

  • Great source of healthy fats: Over 50% of the fat in coconut oil is from lauric acid, a healthy fat.  Lauric acid has a ton of health benefits including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties which help induce a” feel good” state. Lauric acid is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid that is rich in MCTs. 

  • Hormone support: Getting the wrong kinds of fats can create havoc on parrot hormones and induce a chronic hormone state. Coconut oil is a healthy oil that contains specific fats that support the body’s natural hormone production.

  • Immune support: The MCTs (including lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid) have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that make it beneficial for immune support. 

  • For these reasons, Coconut Oil is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, can assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and it even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

    Vitamin D3. Research shows that when taken, vitamin D3 acts like a hormone inside the body and can help to reduce inflammation levels. Sunshine is the best way to supplement this, but we can’t always take our birds outside. If you can't, taking a vitamin D3 supplement daily is a general recommendation.

    7. In addition to feeding supplements what routines will help my hormonal bird?

    Get good sleep. Without adequate sleep, hormonal balance doesn't stand a chance. Your parrot needs between 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night to cleanse its body, recharge, and balance hormones.  

    Obviously, parrot sleep needs don't fit in well with our work schedule, but nevertheless, the consequences of lack of sleep can adversely affect your birds overall health. Using a bird sleep cage will provide a quiet, dark place for your bird to get much needed rest. 

    Feed for hormone balance.  If your bird doesn't eat nutrient-dense foods, it's body simply cannot do its job properly—that includes producing the right hormones at the right time to maintain balance.  If your parrots’ diet is contributing to hormone imbalance, change it. Your bird needs a balance of premium pellets, leafy green vegetables, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. 

    8 Foods That Can Help Your Hormonal Parrot

    Exercise is amazing for balancing hormones.  It reduces inflammation, lowers stress, and aids in sleep. So, make it a point to get your parrot out of the cage on a daily basis. A play stand is a necessity, not a luxury when it comes to your parrots’ health. 

    A lot of people think that the best way to show their parrot love is to let it ride about on their shoulder or to pet their bird and give it a nice massage. But, these activities can actually induce hormonal states in our birds.  Show your parrot “the love” by allowing it to vigorously exercise every day.


    In the wild, parrot hormonal season starts when the environmental conditions are just right and ends after the eggs are laid. This process only lasts a few weeks at most.

    In our pet birds, parrot hormonal season lasts as long as the bird is exposed to a high protein and fat diet, long days and short nights, and it is petted on its erogenous zones.  

    In conclusion,

    understanding and managing parrot hormonal behavior is essential for fostering a harmonious relationship with your feathered friend. By recognizing the signs of hormonal imbalance and implementing proactive strategies such as environmental enrichment, proper diet, and positive reinforcement training, you can help regulate your parrot's hormonal cycle and promote their overall well-being. Remember, a balanced and nurturing environment is key to ensuring a happy and healthy life for your beloved companion.


    Related Posts:

    The Ultimate Guide To Hormonal Bird Behavior

    8 Foods That Help Balance Bird Hormones

    How To Pet A Bird


    Spoon, T. R. (2006). Parrot reproductive behavior, or who associates, who mates, and who cares. In J. Wright (Ed.), Manual of Parrot Behavior (pp. 64-79). Publisher.

    Oakley, S. (2022). Parrot Hormones: A Complete Guide to Stopping Reproductive Hormones & Supporting. Birds In Moult. Kindle Books.