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Regurgitating on toys?

Summzz

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Hello everyone!
I'm new here but I wanted to ask a question that has been puzzling me for a bit now. I have two conures, one Cinnamon Green Cheek (Claire, 10 year old Female) and one Sun Conure (Mango, 8 year old, presumed male). Now until about a year and a half ago we thought we had two males, until Clarie (at the time Clarence) had an egg. She sadly has had trouble ever since with egg binding (the vet said not only is one of her tubes a little tiny, she as has a smaller pelvis). She's happy and healthy now but looking bad it was terrifying not knowing and than all of a sudden having a bird that could be egg bound. I'm thankful her first egg came out normal! Anyways, looking back I probably could have figured she was female a ton sooner, she would do different female behavioral things. Now with Mango, we assume he's male as is size, shape, coloring and the fact that he's extremely loud points to him most likely being male. He's never showed any sexual behaviors but neither did Claire until she was about 9ish. For about a year Mango has been regurgitating on all his favorite toys. At first I didn't think too much about it as when I search it up it seem to be more of he just really loves his toys and want's to take care of them. He only did it once and awhile but now he seems to do it every morning after breakfast. Almost like he knows his favorite toy hasn't eaten and he needs to feed it. I'm wondering if this is something normal that some birds just do. Is it a mating behavior? Clarie has never done that, not to toys or on my self. Even after she had eggs she didn't take up this behavior. He is a completely healthy and happy bird otherwise so it would not be a medical thing but I can't seem to pin point why he's doing it behaviorally.
Thanks!
 

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Mizzely

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It's relatively normal. My Jardine's does it , too. You just have to be diligent in cleaning because if they regurgitate and eat it off a toy again, bacteria can get in their crop and make them ill.
 

Summzz

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Yes he is trying to feed the toys. It's normal. Sometimes parrots will try to feed you to!
Good to hear! That's what I assumed but wanted to make sure. Thanks for the reply.
It's relatively normal. My Jardine's does it , too. You just have to be diligent in cleaning because if they regurgitate and eat it off a toy again, bacteria can get in their crop and make them ill.
Glad to hear my bird just isn't strange and other do it as well lol! What's the safest way to clean them while still making sure they end up clean. Just warm water? Or can I add a small bit of vinegar to the water to help clean them better. Thanks for the reply.
 

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Good to hear! That's what I assumed but wanted to make sure. Thanks for the reply.

Glad to hear my bird just isn't strange and other do it as well lol! What's the safest way to clean them while still making sure they end up clean. Just warm water? Or can I add a small bit of vinegar to the water to help clean them better. Thanks for the reply.
I use F10 which is a veterinary grade disinfectant. It's a bit hard to find at the moment though :(
 

Summzz

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I use F10 which is a veterinary grade disinfectant. It's a bit hard to find at the moment though :(
Oh okay, I'll look into some options then. Thanks so much!
 

yellowfeathers

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I have a budgie that regurgitates on his toys too. I clean his toys reguarly with dialuited vinegar and heat/UV as I do not have access to F10. You have to be careful with plastic toys and heat because it can make them brittle. Hopefully that is of help to you :)
 

Shezbug

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Burt goes through stages of feeding certain toys too. I also use F10sc to clean them.
 

Summzz

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I have a budgie that regurgitates on his toys too. I clean his toys reguarly with dialuited vinegar and heat/UV as I do not have access to F10. You have to be careful with plastic toys and heat because it can make them brittle. Hopefully that is of help to you :)
That's a good idea. I went with diluted vinegar but didn't think about UV. Might have to add that in. Thanks for the reply.
Burt goes through stages of feeding certain toys too. I also use F10sc to clean them.
Their behaviors certainly can be strange! Looks like I'll have to try to find some F10 from my vet. Since he's been doing it quite a bit I'll have to be cleaning his toys a ton, would be nice to have something a little better for cleaning. Thanks for the reply!
 

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So this is a behavior that needs to be discouraged. Not only can it lead to some bacterial infections if they eat it again, if it happens frequently there is a risk of aspiration while they're regurgitating. In females reproductive behavior can lead to producing eggs (which is problematic in a whole other way) and in males it can lead to sexual frustration and prolapse in some species (usually cockatoos). In short if it's not addressed it can really mess them up in the head!

If it's a particular toy it should be removed, and if it's several try swapping out the toys and rearranging the cage. Making sure that interactions are kept to "friends only" is going to be important, meaning scratching/petting only on the head and for less than 5 minutes at a time. Finding other ways to have healthy (and fun!) interactions with your feathered kiddos would be doing some training and teaching them to forage. Not only does it help engage their minds, but it also uses up some of their time budget normally used for reproduction, gives them the illusion that food is scarce (even though it's not) and will help kick them out of reproduction mode, and it also helps them bond with you in a way that doesn't make it seem like you're reciprocating mating/pair bonding behaviors.

An overabundance of food can also put them in the baby making mood, so making sure that you're not offering a lot of high fat high energy foods is going to be important, and making sure you're only feeding them what they'll eat in a day. Generally for a green cheek that's going to be 3-4 teaspoons and for a sun conure 6-8 (ish).

I know this seems like making a big deal out of a "normal" bird behavior, but there are some real health risks that can result from increases in reproductive behaviors in companion parrots!
 

yellowfeathers

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Yikes. I didn't realise having an abundance of food could make this behavior more prominent. Although, now that you mention it, it does make sense. I normally just give my budgie a dish of seed and pellets that will last him a few days and then give him fruit/vegetables in the morning. Do you think feeding him predominantly form a foraging toy that he is familiar with could solve this issue? Or should I just stick with a small dish of seed?
Sorry, I know this isn't my thread :)
 
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Milo

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Yikes. I didn't realise having an abundance of food could make this behavior more prominent. Although, now that you mention it, it does make sense. I normally just give my budgie a dish of seed and pellets that will last him a few days and then give him fruit/vegetables in the morning. Do you think feeding him predominantly form a foraging toy that he is familiar with could solve this issue? Or should I just stick with a small dish of seed?
Sorry, I know this isn't my thread :)
Ideally you should be feeding your bird what they finish in a single day. That way you’re also alerted quickly to changes in their appetite, which can get serious quickly if you’re not on top of things.

Foraging is something that needs to be taught and then built upon. It’s not something that one toy is going to solve.

It can get tricky balancing between what they know and introducing new, more challenging things. A good setup would have multiple foragers with varying levels of difficulty. For instance, my ekkie Rosco is an accomplished forager and I split his whole diet into 30 different spots in his cage. Some of the pellets are wrapped so there’s an extra layer of challenge for him and some are manufactured foragers that he knows well and can empty quickly. There’s a lot of really fun things you can do to challenge your bird and get that mind working!
 

Summzz

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So this is a behavior that needs to be discouraged. Not only can it lead to some bacterial infections if they eat it again, if it happens frequently there is a risk of aspiration while they're regurgitating. In females reproductive behavior can lead to producing eggs (which is problematic in a whole other way) and in males it can lead to sexual frustration and prolapse in some species (usually cockatoos). In short if it's not addressed it can really mess them up in the head!

If it's a particular toy it should be removed, and if it's several try swapping out the toys and rearranging the cage. Making sure that interactions are kept to "friends only" is going to be important, meaning scratching/petting only on the head and for less than 5 minutes at a time. Finding other ways to have healthy (and fun!) interactions with your feathered kiddos would be doing some training and teaching them to forage. Not only does it help engage their minds, but it also uses up some of their time budget normally used for reproduction, gives them the illusion that food is scarce (even though it's not) and will help kick them out of reproduction mode, and it also helps them bond with you in a way that doesn't make it seem like you're reciprocating mating/pair bonding behaviors.

An overabundance of food can also put them in the baby making mood, so making sure that you're not offering a lot of high fat high energy foods is going to be important, and making sure you're only feeding them what they'll eat in a day. Generally for a green cheek that's going to be 3-4 teaspoons and for a sun conure 6-8 (ish).

I know this seems like making a big deal out of a "normal" bird behavior, but there are some real health risks that can result from increases in reproductive behaviors in companion parrots!
No, I'm glad to hear any advice, one reason I came to a forum page to ask questions as I had no clue about some questions I had. This is really good to hear. I find it weird as he has never shown ANY other sexual behaviors (other then knowing now that regurgitation can be grouped into these) and now that I think back, it started happening soon after Claire had her first egg. Now they aren't in the same cage and just are beside each other or out at the same time but never get close (I was told this would still be okay as we weren't 100% sure they were both the same sex but still wanted them to have a buddy, sure glad we did! Could that have set him off? I understand they would be "just because you don't see it, doesn't mean he doesn't feel it" when it comes to sexual frustration, but even now he really doesn't show any signs. I do occasaonly change their toys around (only because I spoil them and buy them quite a bit of toys and gifts :laugh: ) but I will now change them more often. I will also be buying foraging toys as I do believe that would be really good for both of them, might even help with Clarie. Do you have any favorites? How do you go about properly to teach them to use the toys (seems like a silly question but I also like to ask to make sure I'm doing the best for my pets).

As for interactions with people he is still really shy and skittish. I've been working with him for a really long time and he still will be nervous of hands, new objects and hardly accepts scratches (which is really sad but we are working on it). However, when I do give out scratches, it's only on the head and not for long. I try to do many actives with them both, even trying to make cleaning fun. He loves to climb around and in cages, hopping on the bed, playing on the curtains, destroying toys and dancing to music, all stuff he does without me having handling him but still being their with him. I also try to handle him more and more as he does seem to enjoy the small amount doing handling activities but gets nervous (he came from a pet store that let EVERYONE handle him, including kids and took him out to birthday party, it was really sad and he is definitely a ton better now). Is there any I could do to not encourage sexual behavior but also get him to like handling more?

As for their diet, I would say it's pretty good. Their bowls are never overfilled, the feed I give them was recommend by our vet (not high fat), greens (which they only seem to like a select few) and when they do get "junk" it's in smaller amounts and mainly things like fruit or peanuts (their favorite).
Thank you for all the helpful information. I'm opening to hearing any helpful information as I want to know all my pets are safe, happy and healthy!
 

Milo

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It's just enough for another bird to be in the room! Sometimes they're.... persistent.... in their feelings. Go figure! I would switch from peanuts to a healthier nut like an almond. They still get to feel like they're having a treat but the almonds will be a healthier food for them. This would also be a great bonding tool, if you only give him almonds (or something else fabulous he loves) from your hand that will help him to start associating good things with you.

Honestly I like the foragers you can make yourself. Slow feeder bowls meant for dogs are a great way to start introducing foraging. You can put some pellets in there and once they're comfortable fishing them out of the bowl you can move on to add things like shredded paper that they have to dig through to find the pellets. I use a lot of the junk mail I get to shred up or tear up to wrap pellets and make foragers for my birds. You can also use cardboard boxes from pasta, cereal, etc.

Foraging is definitely a learned skill! You might have to figure out what their favorites are and go from there. Then start with it almost solved and show them a couple times until they get the hang of it. With manufactured foragers you can start by just putting the food where it will come out of the toy to teach them where to look for pellets, etc. If they like loofah or bristly toys you can hide pellets in the bristles so they have to move around the toy and pick them out one by one to eat them. Anything that makes eating their food take longer is a good thing! Companion parrots have a HUGE time budget that is relatively unfilled during the day, even if we give them other toys.

If you look up "contra freeloading" there have been studies done that show parrots LIKE to work for their food and will actively choose a foraging activity over food simply presented in a bowl. Really the only limit is your imagination! And it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. If you follow Busy Beaks Academy on Facebook there are a couple foraging videos she's posted that will really help show how you can use cheap/everyday items to make toys for your little ones that they'll love (the owner is a veterinary nurse that works for Dr. Brian Speer, one of the best avian vets in the world. She's amazing and does so much with training and foraging!)
 

Summzz

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It's just enough for another bird to be in the room! Sometimes they're.... persistent.... in their feelings. Go figure! I would switch from peanuts to a healthier nut like an almond. They still get to feel like they're having a treat but the almonds will be a healthier food for them. This would also be a great bonding tool, if you only give him almonds (or something else fabulous he loves) from your hand that will help him to start associating good things with you.

Honestly I like the foragers you can make yourself. Slow feeder bowls meant for dogs are a great way to start introducing foraging. You can put some pellets in there and once they're comfortable fishing them out of the bowl you can move on to add things like shredded paper that they have to dig through to find the pellets. I use a lot of the junk mail I get to shred up or tear up to wrap pellets and make foragers for my birds. You can also use cardboard boxes from pasta, cereal, etc.

Foraging is definitely a learned skill! You might have to figure out what their favorites are and go from there. Then start with it almost solved and show them a couple times until they get the hang of it. With manufactured foragers you can start by just putting the food where it will come out of the toy to teach them where to look for pellets, etc. If they like loofah or bristly toys you can hide pellets in the bristles so they have to move around the toy and pick them out one by one to eat them. Anything that makes eating their food take longer is a good thing! Companion parrots have a HUGE time budget that is relatively unfilled during the day, even if we give them other toys.

If you look up "contra freeloading" there have been studies done that show parrots LIKE to work for their food and will actively choose a foraging activity over food simply presented in a bowl. Really the only limit is your imagination! And it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. If you follow Busy Beaks Academy on Facebook there are a couple foraging videos she's posted that will really help show how you can use cheap/everyday items to make toys for your little ones that they'll love (the owner is a veterinary nurse that works for Dr. Brian Speer, one of the best avian vets in the world. She's amazing and does so much with training and foraging!)
I honestly think that when Claire had her first egg, it might have made him start as well. I don't have the best memory but pretty sure he started not long after that. So I could totally see how that could happen.
I never thought about almonds, I just knew they both LOVED peanuts and go crazy when they get one. I will definitely be trying to give him his favorite foods by hands. I've tried a couple of things with him but always so scared I'm going to make it worse, especially since he has gotten a ton better. I will be making/ buying a foraging toys soon as not only am I excited to try it but I think it will be really good for them.
Thank you for all the information on foraging, I will be going through it all so I can get started soon.
Thank you so much, I have really appreciated all the help.
 

Milo

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Foraging is one of my favorite topics because it's so fun! I think one of the best parts is watching them figure it out and then trying to outsmart them... they really can do amazing things as long as we give them the tools to figure it out.

If his behavior is getting better then you're doing something right. Just don't push it, we have to do things on their terms even though we get SO EXCITED to be near them. Remember you have to help them get over that you're a big scary predator that might eat them. If he won't take it from your hand just put the bowl near where you're sitting (or hang it in the cage where you can sit near it) and put the treat in there, let him see that you put it there and just sit and read a book or something. It might take him a while but he'll come around.
 

Summzz

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Foraging is one of my favorite topics because it's so fun! I think one of the best parts is watching them figure it out and then trying to outsmart them... they really can do amazing things as long as we give them the tools to figure it out.

If his behavior is getting better then you're doing something right. Just don't push it, we have to do things on their terms even though we get SO EXCITED to be near them. Remember you have to help them get over that you're a big scary predator that might eat them. If he won't take it from your hand just put the bowl near where you're sitting (or hang it in the cage where you can sit near it) and put the treat in there, let him see that you put it there and just sit and read a book or something. It might take him a while but he'll come around.
I can understand that! I like to train horses for the same reason, it's a really nice feeling to watch them realize all the fun and amazing things they can do. I had tried to do similar things with my birds but Mango was always a little harder to work with. It was still nice to see him coming around.
Thank you for the encouraging words, I definitely get a little discouraged at times when he doesn't come to me or when he gets scared at little things. Especially since I can only think, "if you knew how awesome, fun and not scary all these things are", he would have so much fun. I will be trying out a bunch of new steps as I do hope to be able to get him to the point where he no longer is skittish or scared. I always worry about the process though as I'm worried he might get to scared and fly off (he has never flew into a wall, always fly's back to his cage but it's still a HUGE worry) or that his progress will go back to where he started. I do have to admit though, I think it does help when he sees Claire enjoying time doing things and spending time with people. At that time he does seem more engaged and willing.
Once again, thank you so much for all the information and help. It really means a ton and I'm sure Mango and Claire would thank you too!
 
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