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Aggressive Or Hormonal Lovebirds

Help deter an aggressive and hormonal lovebird from attacking other pet birds by following these tips.

Diane Grindol

Q: My lovebird does not get along with my other two birds, a cockatiel and a budgie. He chases the others and always wants to nip at them. It has gotten to the point where I can’t let him out as much because of my inability to control the behavior. What can I do?

The issues with lovebirdscockatiels and budgies playing together can be serious ones. Watch for any sign of aggression that your lovebird shows toward your cockatiel and budgie. These birds might be similar size, but they have very different temperaments.

Aggressive Lovebird
If your lovebird is aggressive, it might be because of hormones.

Cockatiels are pacifists and can be bullied by most other parrots, regardless of size. Budgies are quite pugnacious, but they have more in common with cockatiels than lovebirds, originating from the same arid desert region in Australia. Lovebirds have more powerful beaks than either a cockatiel or budgie and are capable of injuring or killing these milder species.

These birds should be caged separately and should not be out of the cage together. Avoid mutilated toes/legs by making sure the cockatiel and budgie cannot land on the lovebird’s cage when the lovebird is in it, and vice versa. You might need to move the cages to separate areas of the house.

Behind Lovebird Aggression
Three factors that might strain the relationship between your parrots are: species differences, jealousy and breeding/hormonal behavior. If your lovebird likes you, it might be driving them away to defend you or is acting out of jealousy. If you think that might be the issue, your bird needs some more of your time. It also needs huge rewards, such as your verbal praise and treats, if it is not being aggressive to the other birds while they are out. It might make it tolerate the other birds more, because it’s getting things it likes when they are around. Close supervision is still needed however.

Hormonal Behavior In Parrots
When hormonal, parrots have the urge to protect a territory, nest and brood eggs. A normally docile parrot might become nippy and territorial. If you see these behaviors, cut back on showers, daylight hours and soft, warm foods for a couple weeks and don’t let it find nest spots. Give your parrot a reason to think it isn’t in a good environment in which to raise babies! If the lovebird’s actions are triggered by seasonal hormones (in mid-summer and mid-winter) it should settle down after that. 

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Posted: June 18, 2012, 12:00 a.m. PDT

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Aggressive Or Hormonal Lovebirds

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Reader Comments
I have had my two lovebirds for two weeks. They are siblings and about four months old. I noticed a few days ago that while preening each other the older of the two will suddenly start attacking the younger. I'm sure what sex they are. Older starts biting the feet and body of the younger until he screams out in pain. I'm debating separating them as I really don't know why this behavior is occurring.
Tanya, Chicago, IL
Posted: 3/4/2015 3:47:46 PM
Very interesting information that I will file in my memory bank. I don't have any issues with my bird at this time.
janet, henderson, NV
Posted: 9/3/2012 7:23:23 PM
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