Unwanted breeding behavior
by Deb Tindall
Three weeks ago I took in two rescued parrots - a 14 year old green-winged macaw (male) and a 15 year old female congo african grey. The first two weeks I just talked with them, fed and cleaned cages, but did not attempt to touch or handle either bird to let them get used to me and their new surroundings. I am sure the change in light patterns from their old environment to mine has made them hormonal as well. The male does masturbate upon his perch and is wanting attention but has not been handled much, is learning how to play with toys and is being stubborn about being touched along with the hormonal swings and territorial attitude toward his tree perch. I figure time, consistency and perseverence will deal with him.
My main question is with the little grey. She is wanting attention and allows me to handle her. Loves to come out of her cage and visit, but after five minutes she is driving me nuts with her panting, regurgitating and being a "whirling dervish" trying to I am sure show she is in breeding mode. She is allowed to sit on my hand or on the arm of the chair or couch, but not on the shoulder or up around the face. When she gets too persistent I try to put her back and she will dig her claws in my hand and fight not to go back inside the cage.
How long will this last? I am keeping them on a light schedule like my other parrot - a 27 year old mealy amazon - who doesn't show these behaviors much any more - he is on a set schedule with a night cage in a dark room. Unfortunately, the macaw is tree trained and since I cannot handle him, couldn't put him in a cage if I wanted to - her, I suppose I could find a small cage and put her in another room at night if it will quicken the demise of this breeding behavior. Is this the best way to go or do I just ride it out another couple weeks?