The display of reproductive behaviors in captivity can lead to a variety of behavioral and potentially life-threatening medical problems in pet birds, including aggression toward human flock members, excessive egg laying, and egg binding/impaction. The following guidelines will assist in deterring reproductive behaviors in pet birds.
-Remove any toys or objects of which your bird is particularly fond or toward which your pet shows amorous behavior. Remove all mirrors or reflective surfaces in which your bird may see his/her reflection.
-Rearrange the cage, including toys, perches, etc. Changing the cage location in the house may also be worthwhile.
-Isolate an egg-laying bird from any other birds in the household. Separate cages, and even different locations in the house, may be helpful.
-Remove any substrate your bird can use as nesting material, including papers that may be shred, branches, towels/blankets, etc. Also be sure to remove hiding huts, tunnels, or anything else that might mimic a nest environment.
-Decrease the daylight your bird receives to 8-10 hours per day by turning off lights and/or covering the cage.
-Restrict petting of your bird to the head and neck. Never pet down the back, as this mimics mating behaviors. It is also helpful to avoid cuddling or feeding your bird warm foods by hand.
-If your bird shows amorous or protective behavior toward you, such as regurgitation, rubbing of the cloaca/vent, or aggression toward other human flock members when you’re around, calmly put your pet away in its cage or other quiet location by itself to discourage the behavior. You can also try redirecting your pet’s attentions to healthy behaviors, such as trick training or exploring foraging toys.
***If your bird continues to show reproductive behaviors after making the above changes, please see your avian veterinarian to discuss other solutions and possible medical management.