Amazon ownership generally presents multiple challenges, such as excessive chewing, biting or voicing - especially at certain stages in their life.
Even a young bird that has not been neglected and abused requires proper guidance; this becomes even more challenging when it involves a rescued bird that may require rehabilitation.
Behavioral challenges of the amazon parrots may include:
- Excessive Chewing: Any parrot will chew. In nature, they use their beak to "customize" their favorite tree, to enlarge the size of their nest in a tree hollow. Doing this keeps their beaks in good condition. The problem is excessive and undesirable chewing. Undisciplined parrots will chew on electric wiring potentially causing house fires. The owner needs to provide plenty of "healthy" chewing opportunities (ideas for Bird Toys / Entertainment, natural wood branches, etc.) and training is necessary to teach an amazon parrot what is fine to chew on and what is "off-limits."
- Dominant Behavior: Amazon Parrots, as most parrots, are likely to discover their beaks as a method of "disciplining us" once they are out of the "baby stage." It really is important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before an undesirable behavior has been established.
- Hormonal Aggression: Amazon parrots are also known for their "hormonal" aggression phase. This phase usually appears between the ages of 5 to 12 years. During this time there will be one to two years in which they are likely to be very aggressive. Fortunately, once they go through this, they generally settle down with little or no aggression shown outside the breeding season - with some aggression, but to a lesser degree, when they are in breeding condition.
Amazons going through that stage are difficult to handle for many but the most experienced amazon owners. Species such as Lilac Crowns and Mealies are less excitable than other amazon species during the breeding season. Females tend to be calmer than males during this phase. An attack by a hormonal male can be vicious and will not be limited to one bite.
Many bird owners are bewildered by the fact that their previously so cuddly pet suddenly turns on them - their primary caretakers. To add insult to injury, their pet may pick another family member as their favorite. Dr. Jill M. Patt - practicing Veterinarian in Mesa, Arizona - describes this being similar to a wild bird leaving its parents and choosing a mate.
She suggests the following ways of dealing with it:
- Understand that this is a natural behavior.
- Have the family member the bird has picked limit their interaction with your bird, spend time with the bird when that family member is absent, and ensure that only you are the one to provide all favorite treats and activities.
- The environment can also be altered somewhat to attempt to reduce breeding behavior. Limiting the daylight hours to mimic a winter sun will often help.
- In some instances, the vet may prescribe drugs that balance out a pet's hormones.
- Managing Hormonal Behavior in Birds
- Calling / Voicing / Screaming: Not everybody can tolerate the natural loud call of an amazon, and even though it can't (or should not) be entirely eliminated, there are ways to discourage screaming / screeching. Amazon parrots are excellent talkers though, and their natural loud call can be replaced with human speech with a little bit of training. Fortunately, they are quick learners.
Training is vital to stop this aggressive behavior.
Other Relevant Web Resources
- Amazon Species ... Photos of the Different Amazon Parrot Species for Identification
- Common Health Problems / Diseases of the Amazon Parrots
- Amazon Nutrition / Diet for Optimal Health
- Amazon Parrots as Pets
- Amazon Parrot Incubation Data
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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