Hormones

Is there any safe natural supplement that discourages hormonal behavior? My conure is on another hormone bender. He is almost constantly trying to climb on my hands and “rub”, and trying to feed them too. He’s not being aggressive, just obnoxious. I probably just have to let things run their course; he’s been like this off and on for a couple months. I hope it ends sometime soon! Oh, he is 2 and sexed male.

I don’t know of any natural supplement that will help. There are some environmental things that can influence hormone production. Here’s a checklist:

1. Day length. If you’re using full spectrum lights, you can decrease the photo period to no more than eight hours a day. Conversely, you can set up a sleeping cage in a small dark room, and put the bird to bed at 6:00 pm and not wake him up until between 6:00 and 7:00 am. Hormone production usually increases with increased day length.

2. Often, the more fat and protein the diet contains…the more “hormonal” the bird will act. If I want to increase breeding activity in my birds, all I have to do is feed more eggs and a higher fat diet. It might help to decrease animal protein and seed, if he gets either of those.

3. Small, dark spaces. This relates back to #1 again, and it’s probably obvious. Nevertheless, it never fails to surprise me how many people have little sleep huts for their birds, or provide them with boxes to play in, and then wonder why the bird is so hormonal. I’ve come to the conclusion that some of it has to do with visual stimulus. If either of my killer male Pionus happen to get on the floor, they will immediately go to the spot in the kitchen where there is a gap between the floor and the cabinets. Just being in that smaller space, where it is only *slightly* darker, has an impact. Tails fan out, head feathers ruffle, and the sexy whistling starts.

Pamela Clark

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