Donna L. asks,
What should I do for a hormonal black-headed male caique, 17 years old?
Screaming while holding a toy with his beak on the cage bottom or screaming while hanging on the cage bars, screaming at 2:30 AM.
Losing weight, killing any toy he can find, and just starting to pick at his chest and bottom of his foot.
Stopped eating his pellets (Harrisons), has combined with other pellets, not interested.
Will eat them if I soak them in water and mix them with cooked bird rice and spaghetti.
Started giving him 12 hours of darkness just yesterday, is in a room with 7 other birds but no female caiques, there is one other male.
Afraid if they collar him for the mutilating it will drive him crazier. HELP!
This has been really bad for about a week now.
I have to say that 75% of the emails we get right now are from humans with hormonal birds. This is the time of year when they are raging and little can be done for them other than to separate them from each other and us and keep them caged and under lighting to help with their hormones.
Yes, you can also get them on birdie downers but that is not a good solution and over time can create more of a monster.
This is the time of year when even our 3 boys are acting up. They don’t have girls to get them going, but they are ALL super revved up.
Today we could not even get Barney the cockatiel to go to his daytime cage in my office.
He just eagles up, snapping and snarling.
We just finally gave up and let him stay by his regular cage. But then we had to go out so we had to resort to using the (butterfly) “net” to catch Barney for lock-up. A first.
Come to the end of April and they should ease up but right now? They are miserable little creatures.
We keep a clamp-on light over the top of all our bird cages with a strong 100 w (equivalent) Daylight bulb (some larger cages get 2-3 bulb set-ups) set on timers going on at 8:30 am and 8:30 pm daily year-round.
This helps a lot. But the draw they feel in March and April every year can cause them to suffer even with our help.
That this one Caique is suffering so much is disheartening for sure. You mention no other female caiques are in the room, but another female of any species might still be affecting him.
Especially if she is being hormonal on her own. Perhaps you can move the females out for the rest of the month?
The food, you mention he is not eating his pellets, but will if they are softened and mixed with pasta, and other soft foods.
Well, soft foods can encourage broody behavior and I recommend that you stop softening them, stop giving pasta and other mushy foods at this time.
Stick to dry foods only. Fresh veggies and fruits are fine. If you must give a little seed, fine. Also, remove all food at night and give it back in the morning only.
Abundant food gives birds the idea that life is good, there is plenty to eat, let’s raise a family.
All toys should be hanging or attached to the cage sides only. Nothing that can be shredded. No balls, no loose toys he can use to masturbate on.
Bells are good, they make noise that satisfies. Give him nothing that can be turned into nesting material. No softwood, no paper, no cardboard, no fabric. NO HUTS or dark bedding areas.
Double double birdcage lighting project ~ Video
You can try a light treatment that may help.
The light that is over the cage (as close to the top as possible) can be left on for 72 hours straight which will reset the circadian rhythm within the bird’s brain and help stop the madness.
The bird would remain in the cage under the light the full three days and night. This can also be done for 7 days if the first treatment does not work at 72 hours.
Have you read any of our BLOG posts on Lighting and our birds. It may be helpful.
Scroll down and see numerous posts on the topic. You will find one for you.
Please check this all out and get back to me if you have further questions.
Also, if you decide you need a “collar” please Google this Phrase and look at the options there.
They handle them so much better than a plastic cone.