Ask Lafeber


March 16, 2021


My green cheek conure will not stop regurgitating. It’s a constant everyday, all day thing. I’m not inclined to take my birds to the vet during these stressful times where they do not allow you inside with them. Is this something he will stop doing or is a hormonal implant completely necessary?


Hi Liz,

It depends on how long this has been going on. If it started with warm weather, or even warmer indoor temperatures due to having the heat on, then yes, it is likely hormonal. But it’s also a concern that he is doing this all day. Normally, hormonal regurgitating is done for a person or object, unless it’s for a bird mate. This is a feeding response – he might feed a mate, or even help feed his chicks. So a single bird will sometimes choose one toy or perch as the object of their affection. Some birds like to regurgitate on a cage bar, where they grip a horizontal bar while regurgitating. And some birds will do this at the sight of their owner, or during or right after being handled. Some birds will feed their foot! But if he is eating, and then sits and regurgitates everything, then he could have a health issue such as a bacterial or yeast infection. When he regurgitates, he is losing what he just ate, and it can potentially deplete his nutrients. If you can’t pinpoint a trigger for this, and he just sits and does this, then you need to consider a trip to the Vet. I know this is a scary thought – I, too, insist on being present when my pets are treated. But at some point it can be unavoidable. I would just recommend that you observe him, and determine if he seems to be normal otherwise. If any part of you feels like he isn’t quite right, then listen to your instincts. You know him best and only you can make this call. You can try some of the changes that can help reduce hormonal behavior. Limit his light to 8-10 hours by covering his cage at night. Rearrange things in his cage, and even move his cage to another place in the room. When you handle him, limit pets to his head and neck. Don’t give him free reign to come & go from his cage as he pleases. Don’t give him anything that he can get inside of, like the bird tents or huts. And don’t give him anything to shred like paper or cardboard. If he gets a lot of fresh foods daily, stop offering them for a few days, and then offer small amounts a few times a week. Try to notice if he is regurgitating after eating a specific food, and if so, eliminate that food for a while – unless of course it is his main daily diet. Large amounts and varieties of food can be a hormone trigger. But you also need to keep him nourished while he does this. So it is a difficult situation and hopefully he settles down and it resolves itself.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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