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Extra hormonal after vacation?

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Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby flappybird » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:18 pm

Luna (~11yr old Pionus) stayed with my mother for a week while we were out on vacation. I'll mention that she has stayed with her before. Both times when I went to collect her, she was super happy to see me, and spent the next couple of hours making all the cool noises she normally doesn't make unless she's really excited about something.

I know that she gets more fruit when she stays with my mom, and apparently this time she also got possibly too many almonds. Probably like a couple a day. Normally I give her one at a time, and not everyday.

Since returning home, she has been doing her hormonal-clucking-butt-in-the-air dance non stop. Normally she reserves this for when Michael (her favorite) comes home from work. She has never done this around me to this extent. I've been trying not to touch her too much, but she'll do it no matter where she is or what's happening. When I put her back on her cage she walks down and climbs up to my shoulder. I let her stay until she starts it up again. (I am working at a desk next to her cage)

This is maybe a silly question... but is it possible that the increase in fruit sugars and extra protein from almonds over the last week coupled with seeing me again made her extra extra horny?

She seems hormonal 80% of the time that I've had her anyways (2 years), so I've never been quite sure what is normal.

The most surprising thing about her current behavior is that she's NOT currently regurgitating, which she normally does to an extent that I think is excessive, but she's seen two vets and neither seemed to have a good answer. (when I picked her up from mom's house, I saw that she had smeared regurgitated goo all over her cage top like she normally does, and was doing it constantly while I was there, but she hasn't done it today while we've been home).

SIDE NOTE: I started a thread a year ago about her regurgitation, but still haven't quite figured things out. Everything I've read just says it's normal and a sign of affection, but no one says how much is normal, and how often. I've tried to stay away from her when she's eating, tried not playing with her immediately afterwards, I only pet her on her head/chin/neck when she wants it, keep her on proper diet and proper light schedule, although I think maybe she's getting too many hours of light, so I'm going to start covering her cage completely at night and not halfway, so I can control the 12-hr light period.
flappybird
Cockatiel
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:58 am

No, a mere week of more protein makes no difference whatsoever. It takes longer than that to effect any change in sexual hormone production.

As to the constant regurgitating, no, it's most definitely not normal. And I will go one further and state that, in my personal opinion, birds regurgitating for people is not normal. Period. The 'it's a sign of affection' is one of those disingenuous euphemisms that people use... Furthermore, I am afraid that your plan to completely cover the cage so as to control the 12 hours of light is also not going to work because blueheads evolved to breed with 12 hours of light (they are from tropical SA and CA). The only thing that will is for her to be put on a strict solar schedule and a seasonal diet - and it will be months and months before you see any improvement after 11 years.
Pajarita
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby flappybird » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:32 pm

Bummer. Thanks for the light info - I was worried about that plan anyways because I know they're also supposed to experience dawn and dusk. Although, I wonder if the effects of dawn & dusk are minimized because she's seeing it through a window anyway and not getting all the right rays..?

I don't know what else to do about her hormonal behavior. Most peoples' birds seem to go through seasonal changes, but honestly I feel like with her it's pretty regular throughout the year.

When shes bored she starts looking around for things to bite and shred, so I give her her favorite: cardboard, so she doesnt chew on things I don't want her to chew on. This in turn makes her make her cute nesting noises, and she's also very aggressive about getting the cardboard itself when she sees it. So I know that's already not a great idea, but what other outlet does she have?

Then there's the trying to keep protein under control - she gets a few pellets and seeds as snacks during the day if I'm home, and most of the time I'll put them in a foraging toy so she has to work a little. I'm worried that it's too much though. However, if I'm not giving her snacks she is CONSTANTLY climbing down outside the cage to the poop tray to pick up food that fell down. Is she actually hungry or is she just willing to eat everything all the time?

If I give her fruits as snacks instead of pellets or seeds she just regurgitates for the next handful of hours. Pellets and most of the time seeds are the only food that seem to not make her regurgitate. What's that about?
flappybird
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:36 am

Well, I can tell you without the shadow of a doubt that getting the twilight through a window works for the photoperiodism because that's what my birds get virtually all year round and each species goes into and out of breeding condition exactly when it's supposed to.

I don't think that any particular item of food is going to make her regurgitate more or less... Regurgitation is exclusively an overly hormonal breeding behavior, it doesn't even happen when the bird has actual seasons during the year and, although it is related to diet in the sense that birds will use high protein as a trigger for hormone production, it's not directly related to the type of food they actually eat. And, if you are free-feeding pellets, there's your high protein right there! Conures are all low protein birds and free-feeding pellets (which don't even tell you how much protein they actually contain) will do it for them. Have you tried feeding her gloop and raw produce for breakfast and all day and just feeding the high protein food for dinner? Because, in my personal experience and opinion, that is the easiest way of monitoring their seasonal intake.

I give my birds stuff to chew during the breeding season. I also give them 'nests'. The thing with keeping them to a circannual cycle (meaning the different seasons that happen during a year) is that birds only show breeding behaviors when they are producing sexual hormones and not all year round so giving them chewing material (which they can use to make 'nesting' material) and even nests doesn't make them more hormonal, aggressive or anything - it just makes it natural and the way it's supposed to happen.
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby flappybird » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:42 am

OK - that's good info because I was always super worried that by giving her nesting material it was making the problem worse. That makes me feel better, because that's usually the best thing to distract her from other undesirable activities - she will LUNGE for cardboard (and pellets) like NOTHING else. It's worth noting that her chewing / shredding / nesting behavior does not seem to be confined to certain times of the year. She will do this almost daily if allowed.

I do give her gloop/chop for breakfast and 80% of the time for dinner as well. I don't leave a big bowl of pellets in her cage, but she does want to snack during the day ( as evidenced by the fact that she is always climbing down to the poop tray to find old food ) so I will put pellets in her foraging wheel for her to get at. I use Harrison's coarse pellets, because they are easier to use in foraging toys, and I like that she has to hold them. It's also a bit wasteful because she explodes them and a lot of it just falls to the floor / cage but then at least she's not eating as much protein? They're about 1 cm in diameter and she usually gets around 7 of them during the day. Some days I will give her pellets/seed mix for dinner instead of more gloop/chop.

Other foraging foods include veggies on a stick but she's really not that into them in that configuration. What do you give your birds throughout the day for snacking/ foraging that's different from their main meals?

Here's a video of her clucking dance.. She does this at some point during the day, every day. Sometimes just sitting next to me while I work (like in the video) but a lot more when Michael (her favorite) comes home from work.
https://youtu.be/UHNk-yTJDxo
flappybird
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:58 pm

My birds don't really 'snack' throughout the day. They get gloop and raw produce in the morning (one fruit, one veggie, one leafy green - a different one each day of the week). They eat the produce first for the simple reason that they get it first, when they are hungriest. They all tend to like fruits better than veggies and veggies better than leafy greens but there are veggies they love -like corn on the cob, sugar snaps, tomatoes, carrots, snow peas, French green beans, yellow/orange/red peppers- and there are greens that they like a lot -like red Swiss Chard and broccoli- but it mostly depends on the species because, for example, the budgies go nuts for the tender greens (like Boston, butter, red-leaf and green-leaf lettuce) while the larger species will only eat the 'crunchy' greens (like broccoli, the very heart of the romaine and the crunchy stalks of chard or bok choy) while the conures could eat fruits all day long. Then, 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes after they get the produce, they get their gloop and, sometimes they go for it right away and sometimes they wait a bit. When they get the gloop served, they go back into their cages for 45 minutes or so (to ensure they eat a good breakfast) and then they are let out again until 1 or 1:30 pm now that the days are longer, and some of them eat more gloop then.
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby flappybird » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:16 am

I will continue in this thread because all the rest of the info is already here.

I'm still at a loss about the regurgitation. Yesterday she literally at breakfast, then stood on top of her cage regurgitating and wiping her beak on the cage for like 6 hours. Not much chirping, no hormonal dancing or wing wiggling (she does that for Michael usually, not me).

Total time playing with something or climbing down to come over to me or sitting on my shoulder to preen was probably less than an hour. The rest of the time she just sat regurgitating. I only petted her head when she was on my shoulder. I barely even talked to her, but had the radio/music on while I worked.

I'm so confused and frustrated; she does this regardless of whether I am paying attention to her or not. I wash her cage and within 2 days the top is completely crusted in regurgitated food. We've been over light schedules and diet, I don't know what else to do. The last idea I have is to feed her less food overall, and maybe make her gloop/chop have a smaller variety of ingredients. The point with this being that maybe I can make her think there are less resources around for optimal breeding conditions?

If you have any insight as to any birds you have known who regurgitate this much this constantly, I would appreciate it.

Her last vet visit was within the past month; she's healthy, and I still haven't gotten any useful information from them about the regurgitating other than essentially "it's normal, can't really do much"
flappybird
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby Pajarita » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:51 am

Well, no, it's not normal [it was the vet that said that, right?]. It's actually VERY abnormal. I don't have and never have had a single bird that regurgitated to me, a toy or anything. And they NEVER do it in the wild so, obviously, it's NOT normal. And although it's not the same as vomiting, it does cause irritation to the throat if done often and, for what you are telling us, she is in real bad shape, my dear. I mean SIX hours of regurgitating?! :shock: :shock:

Now, this abnormal behavior could be the result of a combination of things. Blueheaded pionus breeding season starts in May -with around 13 hours of light, which is also the beginning of the rainy season in their natural habitat and what we would call the fall so, in that regard, it's normal that she is showing breeding behaviors right now. What is not normal is the intensity of these behaviors BUT that could be because she was not kept at a good light schedule before and, taking into consideration that, sometimes, it takes a couple of seasons for their endocrine system to go back on track, this could very well be the last hurrah - meaning, as the days become shorter and shorter, she will, eventually, stop producing sexual hormones. The other thing could be, as you suspect, a diet too rich. The reason why they start their breeding behaviors at the beginning of the rainy season is that the dry season is DRY so there is VERY little food going around and, as soon as the rains start, they start producing sexual hormones because they evolved to 'start getting ready' as nature figured out that the rainy season will produce plants and fruits which is their main source of food and which they need for procreating. So now is not the time to restrict food as, in the wild, this is the time when they would actually get the richest and most abundant bounty. If I were you, I would continue with the strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk [I would do two hours of twilight] and be very vigilant of the fat and protein intake all year round but I would not reduce the amount of food she gets now because that is opposite what happens in nature for them.

The trick to a solar schedule is not to forget about the full exposure to dawn and dusk and to stick to it until it works. This, plus an awareness of the annual cycles of the species in the wild and the reproduction, as much as possible, of their feeding ecology does it. And this is not because I say so but because it's what evolution 'programmed' them for...
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby stevesjk » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:09 pm

Do you cover the bird's cage at night?
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Re: Extra hormonal after vacation?

Postby flappybird » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:14 am

Yeah, her cage gets covered at night. She spend all day in a room with windows for walls, so she is exposed to whatever the light is doing outside, albeit through a window. I'm thinking shouldn't cover her entirely though, because I don't usually get up with the sun. So even though her cage cover is not entirely opaque and she can tell that it's lighter outside, maybe I shouldn't cover her at all? I don't know...

I was just out of town for nearly two weeks, and she stayed home with Michael (her preferred person) looking after her morning and evening. Today is my first full day back with Luna, so we'll see how the day goes.
flappybird
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