Ask Lafeber

Question:

June 24, 2020

Mango screaching conure


We just moved my 8 year old conure to a new apartment he was living with my parents he has gotten extremely vocal to the point of being incredibly annoying how do we stop this behaviour


Answer:

Hi Adrienne,

Excessive screeching is definitely annoying! The most important thing is to not react or give any type of attention for this – yelling or sweet talk, either is going to encourage more screeching. Parrots are loud, and conures are just about the loudest, as far as how much they vocalize.

You have to allow some noise. The normal time that parrots vocalize the most is in the morning and the evening – dawn and dusk. But all day screeching is a behavioral issue. This was likely brought on by the move. Was he attached to your parents? Or is there another person or animal he may be missing? Was he in a family room and now is in a less busy room? Or the other way around? Try to have his cage set up in a similar location and try to keep the schedule he was used to. If he is missing someone, it will take time for him to adjust. It’s also the time of year that birds are hormonal so he might be frustrated and calling for a mate. You are going to have to be really patient with him. Very few things with parrots are a quick fix, and stopping a noise issue can take a while. You need to be consistent as well as patient. You can’t ignore him one day and scream back at him the next. You can’t reason with him. Covering the cage works sometimes, but then you end up with a bird who is covered in isolation all of the time.

You have to ignore the screeching. At most you can quietly leave the room without looking at him or speaking to him. When he has been quiet for a couple of minutes, go back to him and reward him for being quiet. If he starts screeching again, ignore him again. If he is competing with other noises – TV, music, kids, a barking dog – turn down those noises, settle the kids & dog. Otherwise he just wants to be part of the noise and be heard over it. He would have to be loud to communicate with flock mates in the wild, so being loud is natural for him. The worst things to do is to go to him when he is screeching, yell at him, lose your temper and just start yelling at everything or turn up the TV or music to hear it over him. He will just decide you are now a flock member participating in the noise.

Again, this will not be a quick fix since you have more than one reason why he may be screeching. Give him time to adjust, get over his hormones or anything else that might have him upset and focus on ignoring the bad(noise) and rewarding the good(quiet).  And if he is simply out of control, try covering him just long enough for him to calm down. Once he is quiet, uncover his cage and try to get him interested in toys or talking or some special treats.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

 

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