Why are my 2 sun conures suddenly fighting after 15 years?

Why Are My 2 Sun Conures Suddenly Fighting After 15 Years?

Cecelia B. writes,

 

Hi, Mitch and Catherine,

 

I’ve been living with conures for thirty-five years and am seeing behavior that is new to me.

 

I have two male Sun conures who are brothers.

 

They are about fifteen years old.

 

Until a few weeks ago, they were a very happy bonded couple, mating frequently, grooming and feeding each other, sharing a cage, and getting along just fine.

 

One of them, Max, recently started pulling Min’s head feathers out, pecking Min’s head and leaving bloody spots.

 

Min now stays as far away as possible from Max and is very withdrawn and fearful.

 

I don’t blame him.

 

Max has always been the more aggressive of the two.

 

He is been friendly with my husband but lately has been dive-bombing him, though not biting.

 

He has always been a bit aggressive with me, but I’ve learned to avoid situations when he might try to bite me.

 

We tolerate each other.

 

We just started putting them in separate cages at night to protect Min. however, they are flighted birds, so it’s difficult to keep them apart during the day.  We are not leaving them alone in a room when they are out of cages until this is resolved.

 

We also have a male blue-crowned conure, Kiwi, who is very bonded to me.

 

 

Although the three birds are nearly always in the same rooms at the same time, Kiwi doesn’t interact much with Min and Max and they don’t pay much attention to him.

 

Kiwi has been with us for seven years, and that has always been the way they behave.

 

No change there.

 

I can’t think of any external changes in their lives that could have brought on this behavior change.

 

They are eating and drinking normally.

 

No new animals, people, or furniture.

 

I know this is the season of raging hormones, but for 15 years everything was just fine.

 

Any thoughts on what brought this behavior about at this stage of their lives?

 

Thanks for giving this some thought.

Cecelia

 

Dear Cecelia

Even the best of birdie friends can get annoyed during the breeding season. Right now all of the birds are terribly hormonal and it is a struggle to handle them. Our three boys are all acting up and it will be a struggle through April before they start to settle down.

 

We currently find Barney the cockatiel to be the most problematic of the bunch.

 

He won’t let us put him in his cage, instead, flying off in huge loops or just eagling up and snapping at fingers.

 

2 months ago he was fine.

 

We don’t want to have to clip him or the others (yet) so we are working around this for a while longer (into May at least).

 

Last year we posted in a Blog post that Covid is affecting our birds.

 

We are home more and are influencing them more and their hormones are showing this.

 

I saw that you have purchased light bulbs from us.

 

Do you have a light over each cage now?

 

As close as possible to the tops of their cages on timers set 12 hours on and 12 hours off? (we do 8:30 am to 8:30 pm).

 

Ringneck o n top of cage with soft rope perches and light at top

If they tend to spend much of their out-of-cage time on a stand, then there should be lighting over it as well.

 

You can try a Light Treatment on one or both of them.

 

That would be three days and nights in their cage directly under the light left ON the entire time.

 

That is 72 hours. This can help by resetting the Circadian Rhythm in their brain.

 

 

It can’t hurt. Costs nothing. The bird(s) will call out at all hours, but not harm them in any way.

 

This is a simple and easy thing to try.

 

Here is an article we wrote on it.

 

How Bird Keepers get the Lighting Thing Wrong

 

Just getting them under the lights 12 hr on and 12 hr off you should notice improvements within 30 days. Or try the Light Treatment now.

 

Let me know if it helps.

 

Regards,

Catherine

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