Ask Lafeber


August 3, 2020

Quaker behavior

My 14-year-old Quaker has become more stubborn than usual. He refuses to step up or come out of his cage. His physical condition has not changed, and he is on a good diet including vegetables and Harrison‘s pellets. His personality is the same only he is more stubborn. My question is should I pick him up to get Him out of the cage or should I just continue to let him be the alpha in the house. He does enjoy himself when he is with me outside the cage.


Hi Tammy,

At 14, your Quaker can be considered a senior bird, even though he may live another 14 years or longer. He may be having some early joint pain related to age? Or he could simply be acting out for some reason. While he may not have changed, the world around him has. Most people are home more than before, some are home all of the time now. This has a huge effect on pets who do have their own lives and routines while we are away. Even if this has not changed at all, you are likely feeling the stress that everyone is feeling these days, and your bird can pick up on that. I always say that birds are not always in the mood to come out and play. I think it’s a good idea to let him pass on being out sometimes, but not all of the time. A little time out of the cage each day is good for him as long as he is enjoying it. If he takes some extra coaxing to come out, but enjoys being out once he is with you, then go ahead and press the issue and make him come out. Do not leave the cage door open and let him come out on his own, or you truly are giving him the upper hand and this can escalate to more serious behavior issues. If you get him out and he just isn’t interacting, let him go back. If he is acting fearful or strangely when he is out, examine your surroundings and make sure something new isn’t affecting him. Even a scary book or magazine cover can cause alarm with some birds, so look around from his viewpoint. If this stubborn behavior continues, it might be time for a vet check just to make sure he is well. But most likely he is getting older and more set in his ways like we all do as we get older.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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