Eclectus parrots are one of the few species of parrots that go through a short hormonal stage. For most Eclectus parrots, it can be short and tolerable. But there are some who become very aggressive and intolerable.
The female Eclectus, when she reaches adulthood, can sometimes become moody and overprotective of her surroundings.
Male Eclectus can become stubborn during these times and both can be treated through the use of positive reinforcement, although there are some Eclectus parrots that only have a need to breed.
Both male and female Eclectus parrots can display territorial behaviors during this stage in any of their favorite places in the house. Males can lay claim to the floor of the living room, scratch, and chase feet away and females like to find dark corners anywhere they can hide and claim as a nesting place.
You can’t stop hormonal aggressive behavior, but you can lessen its severity by nipping it in the bud right away.
Understanding Hormonal Aggression In Eclectus Parrots
Hormonal aggression is a natural part of parrot life and occurs during maturity and the breeding season.
In the wild, if an Eclectus parrot has found the perfect hollow tree and a good supply of food and water nearby, it will naturally want to protect this area and this is where aggression plays a role.
A pet Eclectus parrot is no different, it is their natural instinct. You’ve provided them with a cage, toys, and an endless supply of food and water, so when breeding season comes they want to protect what they have.
When Eclectus parrots reach maturity, they can sometimes attack for no apparent reason and it happens in both sexes. If the aggression is hormonal or maturity, they are often unaware of their own actions.
At the age of approx 1-year old, the Eclectus can begin to “play role” in nesting even though they are not yet mature. Between 1.5 years (females) and 4 years (males), the Eclectus will mature. Age can differ both individually and in subspecies. The average age of maturation observed is 3 years for males and 18 months for females.
Hormones can cause undesirable behavior and it is very little we can do about them except put up with it and try to understand it a bit and not try to punish them. This will eventually ease and go away. It will ease and go much faster if you take steps to avoid this in the first place.
If you try to punish this type of behavior, your parrot may not understand why he is being punished or disciplined, and you can make things worse. You cannot force your parrot to stop being hormonal. It is a natural course of life, but you can reduce it.
This is what we did with our parrot
My Eclectus parrot used to favor being under our coffee table during hormonal periods. If we allowed this for a long enough period, he would start lunging at our feet if we got too close. He also dragged all of his favorite toys there.
His aggression was very mild, it would not go further than lunging and growling but it started to become quite frequent.
To keep things from moving further and out of control, we wrapped a towel around the bar under the coffee table where he liked to sit with his worldly possessions. With the towel in place, he couldn’t sit there, so he stopped going under the coffee table and his aggression stopped.
How To Ease Hormonal Aggression In Eclectus?
This type of hormonal aggression can be eased, or sometimes even prevented, by taking a few steps.
Spreading their toys, food, and water throughout the house, rather than having it all in a small space. By setting up more than one place for your Eclectus with food, water, toys, swings, and stands throughout the house and having your Eclectus active equally in these places, you are giving your parrot less opportunity for the need to protect the one that is ‘perfect’. place.
You can also block off small dark areas and corners if you see that your Eclectus parrot is starting to favor them and you spend a lot of time in these areas.
Some things you can do to help cope with their hormonal aggression:
- Eclectus parrots are naturally very independent birds. Allow them to be as independent as possible. This starts from a very young age and begins when you encourage them to find their own entertainment.
Eclectus are very smart, they learn fast and amuse themselves easily. Give them plenty of foraging toys, chew toys, and things to keep their minds occupied.
- It’s okay to cuddle, once in a while … but too much of this good thing can cause confusion, unwanted attachments to you, and unwanted fucking as they mature! They need to grow up knowing that there is a respectable ‘space’ between you, but you are always there for them. Eclectus as a species of parrot is not a clingy bird and you must accept this and respect it.
- Eclectus are a family bird. Giving them space and independence is natural for them and they will always let you know if you have given them too much space. An independent Eclectus will roam the house looking for you when it wants company instead of constantly clinging to you or yelling at you.
- When they are not looking for you, they are probably quite happy in their own space. And you can still spend a lot of time with them playing with their toys, talking to them, training them and teaching them tricks.
- Most Eclectus do not like to be cuddle and simply prefer the closeness of ‘cheek to beak’ from time to time. You don’t have to have a cuddler to have a wonderful companion in your home.
Cuddles, beak rubs, and back rubbing should be avoided in the maturing and mature Eclectus. As enjoyable as it may seem and as much as an Eclectus may seem to enjoy it, it will encourage unwanted hormonal behavior.
- Occasions have been observed where a juvenile male Eclectus under 1-year-old or only 1-year-old has been said to display hormonal aggression behavior. This is not natural for them and if this happens you should take a step back and find out what is causing this.
- In most cases, it is the caregiver who overindulging in cuddles, patting, and rubbing on the beak, which sends the wrong message to an Eclectus parrot that is too young to display such behaviors.
- A young Eclectus that matures for the first time and begins to display mild hormonal behaviors can be nipped quickly in the bud. They are still young and they are learning from you and quickly learning from any undesirable behavior.
If you don’t get to it the first time, the next time it might get a bit worse and each hormonal cycle worse, so nip it in the bud as soon as you see it. The best way to do this is to avoid or stay away from this type of behavior.
Most of the time it happens during interaction with you, so walking away or turning your back or putting your Eclectus on its stand and walking away will soon make them realize that the behavior is unwanted.
- If your Eclectus does not snuggle and you do not cuddle or pet it and it continues to act hormonal, nesting in strange places, laying claim to parts of the floor, humping, egg-laying, excessively regurgitating, or whatever they are doing to contribute to hormonal behavior, you need to observe their diet.
- An Eclectus in breeding condition will be eating protein-rich foods, soft mash or cooked or heated foods, and large amounts of fruit. These must be reduced or cut completely. All of these foods put your Eclectus in perfect breeding condition.
They should receive a normal maintenance pellet, a little seed, and lots of sprouts, leafy greens, vegetables of all kinds, plus dark green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables, fewer fruits, including dried nuts.
- The fruit is high in sugar and it is necessary to avoid foods that are high in sugar. Dried fruit, including homemade, has triple the sugar, so it should only be an occasional treat.
- Some people have said that they can feed mashed or cooked foods as long as they are not fed directly from your hand. Soft mash or cooked foods offered in any form can contribute to the formation of hormones.
- Overfeeding can also stimulate hormonal behavior. They have it perfect, a plentiful supply of food in one place and they never have to work to get it. That’s a perfect way to get into breeding conditions.
- Cut back or even completely cut the food plates. Make your Eclectus work for its food! Place them throughout the cage or stand and on foraging items. Don’t overfeed them. Give only what they need to eat. Encouraging the search for food will also keep their bright minds occupied.