Understanding Parrot Behavior: Problems & Solutions
Just like a child, parrots are intelligent, l learn how to get their wants and needs met, unless provided with loving, positive redirection, lessons and structure. And, like children, parrots a very strong need for socialization, mental stimulation, and structure. This means that they find any form of attention, whether positive or negative reinforcing.
Forewarning! If your parrot isn't getting its basic needs met, it is impossible for it to "behave." Keep in mind these basic wellness needs before attempting to resolve parrot behavior problems:
✔ Parrots need 10 - 12 hours of sleep per night
✔ Feed your parrot a nutritionally sound diet
✔ Create a safe, yet enriching environment for your parrot.
✔ Make sure that wellness needs are met before begin behavior training
When basic parrot needs are not met, parrots will develop behavior problems.
Some of the most common behavior problems we see in parrots are screaming, biting, feather picking and regurgitating. The good news is that all of these parrot problems can be addressed by educating yourself on what your parrot needs and how your pet bird thinks.
Please note that feather picking and regurgitation are not really behavior problems. Feather picking may be a sign of illness, malnutrition or boredom while regurgitation is a hormonal parrots way of saying "will you be my baby daddy?"
Use Your Parrots Socialization Needs To Solve Behavior Problems
Anytime that your parrot feels that its gaining your attention with a specific behavior, good or bad, it is likely to repeat it. And, just like a kid, your parrot will repeat a behavior over and over again as long as it gets a rise out of you. So, if your parrot does something to annoy you and then realizes that it "Gez, I got a rise out of you," (good or bad) you can count on your parrot doing it again.... and again.......and again.
Solving parrot behavior problems:
✔ Meet your parrots needs for sleep, foraging and enrichment, socialization, nutrition and exercise with safe parrot supplies.
✔ Reward the behaviors that you want your parrot to repeat
✔ Consciously decide on which behaviors that you enjoy and that are safe for your parrot.
✔ Reinforce wanted behaviors by paying lots of attention to them. Cheerful praise, a whistle, scritches, and treats go a long way toward improving parrot behavior!
✔ Ignore inappropriate or irritating behaviors as much as possible. This means pretending the bird isn't even in the room with you.
✔ Prevent:If you know your parrot behaves in an undesirable way in certain situations, prevent problems in the first place. For instance, my friend's Goffin would fly over and bite her niece every time the girl came over. She solved the problem by putting her bird in its cage when the niece came over.
✔ 5:1 Rule:Just like children, your bird needs 5 positive interactions with you for every "redirection" of misbehavior.
How to STOP the problem behavior?
- Figure out a plan to teach and reward acceptable or alternative behavior.
- Force yourself to NOT reward or reinforce inappropriate or unwanted behavior.
- Learn Behavior Modification Strategies in The Parrot Feather Plucking Workbook
- Past reinforcement for screaming
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of sleep
- Poor Diet
- Lack of Entertainment & Toys
- Insecurity or fear
- Chaotic environment
- Provide your bird more exercise by teaching it to fly and getting it out on a bird stand daily
- Make sure that your parrot gets 12 hours of sleep each night. Consider a sleep cage or a Bird Cage Cover
- Offer your bird a premium diet such as Harrison's Bird Food with nutritious fresh supplements
- Teach your bird to talk or whistle. Talking parrots scream a lot less!
- Use up excess energy. Teach your bird to fly with an Aviator Harness. Or, if you are fearful of letting your parrot fly, wing-flap the bird (hold its feet in your hand and move your arm up & down causing the bird to flap its wings) when it screams
Retrain your bird with Clicker Training for Birds. First, mark desired behavior with a clicker, then reward your pet. Reward your bird for playing with toys, whistling and talking, foraging, etc.
- UnRuffledRx Parrot Calming Formula is a safe, natural homeopathic formula that helps calm uncontrolled screaming while you re-train your bird expected behaviors..
- Insecure environment
- Poor Diet
- Copying the stress of the household
- Reacting to demands that cause anxiety
- Territorial behavior
- Feeling ill
Parrots are very in tune with the emotional tone of their environment. If there is stress in the household, address it.
- Teach your bird to step up on a stick.
- Move your birds cage to a quieter place in the home
- Feed your bird a premium diet such as Harrison's Bird Food
- Tell the bird what you want it to do rather than force it with a strong command
- Offer foraging bird toys with the bird's favorite treat or small toys inside for enrichment
- Weave Shredders about the upper portion of the birds cage. Offer Wood Bird Toys. Shredding and chewing provides a stress outlet for the bird.
- Use behavior management such as that described in Clicker Training for Birds
- Check with an avian veterinarian if your bird continues to bite
- Environmental issues that may be amiss
- Improper parrot husbandry standards that may be causing stress
- After effect of hand-rearing
- Parrot anxiety & stress
- Take your bird to an Avian Veterinarian for a full exam to rule out a medical cause
- Find out what is stressing your bird out and correct it. Could be environmental issues or improper parrot husbandry.
- Insure nutritional wellness in diet;
- Add nutrients with FeatherUp! and UnRuffledRx Multi-Vitamins for Parrots
Offer frequent baths with Aloe Vera Spray & a shower perch. Aloe Vera Spray
promotes healthy skin.
- Learn about behavior modification in The Parrot Feather Plucking Workbook
- Your parrot has formed a sexual bond with you
- Improper petting of the bird
- High Carbs/Fat Diet
- Access to an area that resembles a nest and nesting materials
- Improper sleep routines
- Observe whether the bird is vomiting as opposed to showing affection. Sickness output will be more liquid in nature. Vomiting is a sign of illness and a veterinarian should be consulted fast .
- Never pet your birds torso
- Avoid fatty, rich foods including nuts. Feed vitamin rich veggie & pellets
- Insure 10 - 12 hrs. sleep a night
- Socialize pet to everyone in the household
- Remove access to dark, confined places, paper tray liner and shredding toys