Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 1, 2022

Hormonal female lovebird


My 2 yr old hormonal female lovebird is biting everything, me, my clothes, pillows, her towel. Is there anything I can do to deter this behavior?


Answer:

Hi Shirley,

With these females, you have to get them out of sight of their cage. But also when you have her out, you can’t let her get in or under anything, or it will instantly put her in nesting/territorial mode. It’s best to keep her on a playstand or on your hand. You can’t let her have free roam, or she will basically claim everything as hers. Only pet her head and neck – no petting her body. She should not have a towel or anything soft or snuggly. No paper to shred. These are all hormone triggers. No bird huts or tents, nothing she can get inside of or under. If she can even partially hide behind something, she will come out biting. It’s not her fault, it’s just hormones and you have to avoid the triggers. I’ll give you a list of things to avoid or change that can minimize hormones and discourage egg laying. We also have an entire playlist of webinars about pet birds and hormone issues.

Limit her light to 8-10 hours by covering the cage early each evening

Do not give her anything to use as a nest – no bird huts or tents, no box, bowl, etc. If she decides to sit in a food bowl, remove it and replace with smaller cups.

Do not give her anything to shred such as paper or cardboard.

Rearrange the toys in the cage frequently.

Move the cage to a different place in the room. Move the cage about once a week if possible. This may or may not work since female lovebirds tend to claim their entire cage as their territory.

If you feed a lot of fresh foods, stop offering any for a couple of weeks, and then only offer them in small amounts about 2 or 3 times a week. You can resume normal feeding later when she isn’tbeing hormonal.

When she is let out of the cage, do not let her get in any dark cozy places and don’t give her free roam.

When you handle her, limit any petting to only her head and neck – do not pet her on the body. Only a bonded mate is allowed to groom the body. We can’t be a mate, so touching the body is off limits.

If there is no metal floor grate, then do not use any bedding or paper in the cage tray – leave it bare and clean it daily.

Here is the webinar playlist:

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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