Veteran Parrot v. Adopted Parrot

by Jennifer

I have had my blue front amazon (Crackers) for 35 years. He was 1 year when I got him. We had become friends finally and he trusted me and always played with me and seemed happy. He only bonded with me, and tolerated everyone else including my husband (very typical for amazons).

About 2 years ago, thinking my blue front was lonely (since he is by himself during most of the weekdays), I brought in another amazon bird (Phoenix) in our house in the hopes the two would bond. Instead, my doing this seems to have led Crackers to really hating the adopted bird and then hating me for bringing her to our home. Crackers no longer trusts me -- he doesn't seem to want to come out of his cage much, he barely speaks to me -- he seems to always be on guard -- he never seems to be at peace which is not the case previously, and bites me every chance he gets (which he didn't do before Phoenix came to live with us) -- especially if Phoenix is around in Crackers' site, which is every night.

It's been nearly 2 years and Crackers still seems to really hate Phoenix being in our home -- evidenced by the night Crackers got off his cage, hoisted himself up a flight of stairs (because he can't fly upwards) and landed in the room with Phoenix who flew down to the floor where the two proceeded to fight. Fortunately, my husband heard the ruckus and pulled them apart in time.

My husband and I have come to love Phoenix who has now bonded with us, especially my husband. I realize my first priority is to my blue front, but my husband and I are very torn about what we might have to do. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on what can be done -- or are we doomed to having to take Phoenix back to the shelter? Really need someone's guidance. Thanks.

Comments for Veteran Parrot v. Adopted Parrot

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Jan 18, 2012
Veteran Parrot v. Adopted Parrot
by: Linda

As Tracie said, you can make use of some of the training ideas on this site. You may also think about getting more professional help in the form of a parrot behaviorist because I think you need to keep both birds. The shelters are sometimes horrible places, and you won't find an individual to take the older bird because he's older and more set in his ways.

So, I think there is further information on the training pages Tracie gave you a link to, and a behaviorist will have some concrete ideas on how to get these two to at least tolerate each other. Birds, like humans, do not like all others, and still we can learn to tolerate others we don't care for much, so your older bird can also do this with the right person to help you. Your 35 year old has been alone for so long, he is less tolerant of the newcomer than he would otherwise be. Lonliness creates strange mental properties, and I feel your older bird has become very narrow in his acceptance of change of any kind.This can be worked on.

Before any training with them, both need to be examined and cleared or treated by an Avian Vet in your driving area. The 35 year old may have some physical issues that need addressing because sudden changes in behavior point to a physical cause in some cases. You'll need to have both birds thoroughly checked for infections with some basic bloodwork done to see how organs are functioning. For the older bird, these checks need to be done at least once a year. Hopefully, diet is 80-85% organic pellets with small amounts of fruit or veggies a few times a week. Any dietary changes have to be done after visit to Avian Vet. Here is a link about how to go about getting birds off seeds and onto high quality organic pellets. It takes time, so follow the instructions and don't be in a hurry.
Switching Birds To Pellets article

I think you need to keep both birds and try and work through this with the help of a behaviorist. They will not be emotionally involved with either bird and can show you how to deal with this situation. You and husband are too close to this emotionally, and you will be ineffective without bringing someone else into it to help you.

Your birds need a stable home where love and acceptance is available to them. Rehoming your older bird will be very bad for him, and the younger one will also suffer. All shelters are not good and all are overcrowded where one on one is not going to happen. Work with these birds to get them to at least accept each other. They don't have to be friends, just accepting of each other so life can once again be peaceful.


Jan 17, 2012
Which parrot to keep
by: Tracie

Actually, I don't think your obligation is more for one bird over the other. Both birds need to be happy, so let that be your guide. The birds will not be happy if you are not happy.

It would be wonderful if you could find a way to keep both birds, but realizing you wrote because you don't feel this is possible means you need to evaluate how to make both birds happy.

If you could find an Amazon breeder or someone with lots of experience with Amazon parrots, you might be able to work with the older bird and keep both birds.

We have some parrot training material on our Parrot Training page that might help some. I would read this material and concentrate on the older bird, and see if you can help this bird have a relationship with one of you. If not, then this bird needs to be with someone it can be happy with, in my opinion.

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