Since parrots are prey, they are instinctively fearful of new experiences or changes in their routine. Young parrots that haven’t been socialized well or were not allowed to fledge tend to develop more anxious behaviors. Typical responses to anxiety include fight or flight behaviors. A parrot that can’t fly away from a scary situation may engage in stereotypical and obsessive behaviors to calm their nerves.
Body language that demonstrates anxiety in parrots includes tight feathers, extended necks and wide eyes. African Grey's may shiver, crouch, growl or act like they are going to lunge at you. Some anxious parrots pace back and forth, circle or shiver. We commonly see stereotypic behaviors such as feather plucking when a parrot is extremely anxious. Anxious parrots may also constantly repeat movements, such as continuously pacing back and forth or circling in their cages, or circling obsessively.
Our natural, homeopathic products are a gentle, safe alternative for most parrots. Gauge which product(s)to try based on the frequency, intensity and duration (FID) of your bird’s anxiety. You can find a simple way to track FID with this handy chart. Frequency relates to how often the bird gets anxious. Is it just during fireworks celebrations, when routines change or several times a day? Intensity can range from shivering to obsessive, self-mutilating behavior. Duration relates to the birds ability to self-soothe and get itself out of its “funk.”
Gentle Calming: Chamomile based products are the most gentle solution for parrot anxiety and are recommended for birds with low intensity anxiety. Try Loose Chamomile to make a tea or serve up UnRuffledRx Calming Herbs for Parrots.
Moderate Calming: Stereotypical behaviors such as screaming or mild feather destructive behaviors respond well to daily doses of UnRuffledRx Parrot Calming Formula. This formula is based on the active, calming component of green tea have been found to be very successful. Relaxation Drops and Shhh! And Pluck No More each combine a variety of calming plants and herbs for birds.
Intense Calming: Bird’s that self-mutilate may require intensive, pharmaceuticals to cease self-injurious behaviors. However, there is a significant amount of research that demonstrates how self-injurious behaviors actually cause changes in the brain chemistry making them very difficult to break. We recommend combining a bird collar with calming medications when a bird has obsessive feather destructive behavior.