Donna L. asks:
What should I do for a hormonal 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.
Editor’s note: I suggest a magnified visual of both feet bottoms seeking any sores or irritations. Endnote
Stopped eating his pellets (Harrisons), I have combined them 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 folk 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 “net” to catch Barney to lock him back 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 boy is suffering so much is disheartening for sure.
You mention no other Caique females 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, other soft foods, or drizzle some apple juice over them.
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 should be in the cage.
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.
Please check this all out and get back to me if you have further questions.
Also, if you decide you need a “collar” please check these out first. They handle them so much better than a plastic cone.
Thank you so much for your insight and quick reply, I am about to take up a drinking habit! Armand used to rub on his swing but I don’t see him doing that now.
He seems to always be on the bottom hanging on to a foot toy with his beak and just kind of lying there with the toy in the mouth for a very long time.
He is so skinny it frightens me so I have been giving him mushy foods and he is gobbling it up. But, despite his being very thin, if you think I should stop I will.
I do have a light that a friend gave me that she probably purchased from you so I can use that.
I was under the impression they were supposed to have 12 hours of darkness so I have been putting him in a closet at night with no light.
I have read your articles on lighting and so it was confusing, whether to do the 72 hours or the 12 hours at night with no lighting.
Yes, there is another bird laying eggs, first time, she is a 17-year-old King Parrot, he can see her, there is no male with her, (she was under the impression that my female Eclectus was a giant male King Parrot!)
I blocked her view of the Eclectus but that is not working.
Everything said I will try to get him in another cage and move him out of the room to another room where I can leave that light on for 72 hours.
Editor’s note: Female Eclectus parrots will have sex in exchange for regurgitation with many birds outside their species.
I must say, I have never had this happen all at once to this extent.
If you have any other nuggets of wisdom, please enlighten me or I might start screaming and throwing my toys too!