Sudden change in behavior.

by Mike
(Orlando, Fl)

Bogey and Kate! - lovebirds

Bogey and Kate! - lovebirds

I have two Lovebirds, one Fischer and one Peach Faced... siblings. Given to me last Christmas as hatchlings, we hand fed them, and they've been great fun (second pair I've owned). For some reason, the Peach Faced has become instantly, overnight, very aggressive... biting (drew blood from my finger this morning), and absolutely impossible to handle.

I usually place a hand in the cage to pick them up several times a day, but this morning, this one only would bite, fluff feathers, and try to bite at me through the cage bars. I handle them multiple times daily, and they've been very, very tame and easy to hold. In fact, I held them both yesterday twice for extended periods, with no problems. Then, this sudden behavior this morning for no apparent reason... The Fischer, though more skittish than usual, is still o.k. to handle. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance...

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Jun 19, 2010
Update on sudden change in behavior
by: Mike

O.k... so after separating the two lovebirds described in my post per your suggestion, and since the avian vet finds nothing wrong with them health-wise, the peach-face lovebird continues his aggressiveness, all alone in his cage. There is no improvement in his(her?) behavior. It's curious, however, to find that if they are left with the cage door open, and are able to walk around the house on their own, they can be picked up from the floor without biting or aggressiveness. But I still can't pick them up from inside, or from on top of the cage. The peach-face is the only one that bites, the other just acts terribly afraid, not letting me approach as before. Could it be that they're just tired of being cage-bound, though I've always let them out multiple times daily? When I pick them up from the floor, I can put them on my shoulder, but I haven't tried to take them off my shoulder by hand; I just let them hop off into their respective cages. So, maybe that's all I've got with these two... no problem, though. I committed to them, and here they'll stay. Maybe they'll come around again eventually with some patience and effort. Any further suggestions would be appreciated.

Jun 08, 2010
Reply to behavior change suggestions
by: Mike

Thanks very much for the information... I will be glad to obtain a second cage, but the puzzling thing about this is simply that this was an immediate and overnight change. We've been very close, both birds get along very well, they kiss each other (and me), and we talk endlessly all day, every day, back and forth. I handled both for about an hour Sunday night (third time that day), as usual in the evening, and Monday morning the Peach-Face was, quite literally, berserk. It has remained so, fluffing up every time I even walk by the cage. They live in a very large cage, and must fly from perch to perch. They have toys, fresh food and water several times a day... they've been just great. Until now. It's bewildering, and very sad. I will also visit the vet with them and try to discover what's wrong. Thanks again. -Mike

Jun 07, 2010
Sudden change in behavior.
by: Linda

FIRST OF ALL, SEPARATE THESE TWO BIRDS IMMEDIATELY. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANOTHER CAGE, THEN GO OUT AND GET ONE. Lovebirds, of all kinds, are among some of the most aggressive in the parrot family, and it is likely that this one will turn on the other bird shortly. Not sure WHY this happens with them, but I've worked with many species of parrot for many years, and I've seen Lovebirds slay their cagemates for apparently no reason. Now, in these cases, the cages were in stores not owned by me, and way too small for two birds. Birds kept together need room to fly from one perch to another across the width of their cage. They need separate food and water and treat cups plus a set of toys for each bird. All birds need plenty of space, and lovebirds should ALWAYS be supplied with 3 to 4 times the minimum requirements if being kept together. Parrots in too small cages can and DO lose their minds and strike out at anyone at anytime. Hopefully this is NOT the case here, just giving you some background on how small cages effect parrots.

My other suggestion is to get this one to an Avian vet as soon as you can because this could be the beginning of an illness from some type of infection. Birds who do not feel well strike out at everyone near them, so please take bird in to rule out or in a physical problem. If this one has an infection, the other one will have it too, so both will need to be diagnosed and treated same time. DO NOT TAKE BIRDS TO DOG AND CAT VETS AS THEY ARE NOT LICENSED AND TRAINED TO TREAT BIRDS AND WILL USUALLY DO NOTHING RATHER THAN RISK THEIR LICENSE TO PRACTICE. On odd occasions, they will go ahead and try to diagnose and treat a bird with disastrous results, so find an Avian vet.

Most important thing at the moment is to separate these two birds, because I fear for the other one's life, and need you to be fully aware of the possibilities here. For whatever reason, whether physical or a space problem, the one is losing it, and the other bird is a very easy target for the aggression.

Let us know what the Avian vet has to say and tell us more about how you've been keeping the two of them, i.e. size of cage, diet, and so on and so forth.

Linda

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