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Super Aggressive Lovebird Girl

birdmom3693

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I am brand new to Avian Avenue, I am desperate looking for some help with my lovebird Eleanor. I apologize for the long post.

I have had Eleanor for almost 3 years now. I rescued her from an unfortunate situation where she was used for breeding over and over at the young age of 2. Her previous owner had another female lovie as well as Eleanor's mate. He separated Ellie and her mate because he "wanted to see what color babies" he could get with the other female and Ellie was distracting his male from bonding with the other girl. Very sad, but very grateful to give Ellie a new home.

Long story short, she's been a wonderful, hilarious addition to my flock. About a year and a half after I got Ellie, I adopted Emmeline, another female lovebird who has some deformities to her beak after an injury. The two get along well, sharing toys and food, and being a little more than friendly with each other sometimes. Overall, they enjoy each other's company and get along really well. I got Emmy because Ellie appeared to be lonely and had been with other lovies previously.

In May 2018, Ellie laid 6 eggs in the course of the month. She lost weight and I was nervous for her health. I took her to my vet and it was determined that it was just her season, she was given extra food, I refed her eggs back to her etc. and she recovered nicely. Over the past 3-4 months, Ellie has gotten very aggressive. Thankfully, not too much toward Emmy, but she definitely isn't as nice as she was before toward her. She has never been comfortable with my hands in her cage. She sits in the back corner and that's her space, where she brings paper shreds and spends most of her time. This area is BARE, no nesting materials or cozy corners, just cage. For these couple of months now, when she comes out for playtime she won't let me pick her up. She used to ask for head scratches but now just flies away yelling if I try to ask her to step up. If I do have her on my finger and try to pet her she bites me, HARD. She has also gotten into the habit of banging her beak on the floor of her cage, especially when I'm cleaning the cage.

I have read that a diet change is the first step to address this issue. Silly me, I gave her corn almost every night because she's always liked it. I read though that corn isn't a good food for birds who are hormonal and aggressive. I've read that pellets are also good for birds with aggression, but the first ingredient is corn so I'm torn on that as well.

If someone could give me any advice at all I'd greatly appreciate it. I don't want my little girl to be feeling like she has to defend her space or that she can't be friendly with me anymore. I'm worried she's unhappy and I just want to give her the best things for her.

Thank you for reading!
Mary
 

BlueDoraBarry

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I think you should just wait, shes probably just hormonal. What do you usually feed her? Pellets do have corn in them but they are supplemented with many other nutrients, but I've never heard about it having any relationship with attitude/aggression/hormones. I don't have much experience with lovebirds so I can't help you with diet.
Also, :welave:
 

Zara

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Welcome to the forum :)

She sits in the back corner and that's her space, where she brings paper shreds and spends most of her time. This area is BARE, no nesting materials or cozy corners, just cage.
So which is it? Remove any shreddable items. But you must also provide toys. Wooden or plastic.

Last week I wasn´t thinking, and I had a good box which I knew Aldora would like, but once I gave it her she flipped out and started beak bashing.
Definitely hormonal behaviour.

Give your bird boiled egg (smashed) on occasion, sprouted beans lentils and seeds, dark green veg (little or no spinach), cooked sweet potato, fruits as well as her seed mix.

Also, I recommend to rearrange her cage completely. Move perches food, toys everything.

Cut her daylight to 11 hours daylight, 13 hours covered.

Provide plenty of foraging activities. You can buy foraging toys or make your own toys/activities.

 

birdmom3693

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Thanks for your reply!
The cage is bare in her favorite corner but anytime she shreds paper she brings it there. Sometimes she sneaks a piece or if one of my other bird is out she gets at the newspaper under his gym. I’ve been rearranging her cage weekly but with no luck so far.
With sweet potato I thought you weren’t supposed to give food that mimics regurgitation.
 

Teri Ray

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Thanks for your reply!
The cage is bare in her favorite corner but anytime she shreds paper she brings it there. Sometimes she sneaks a piece or if one of my other bird is out she gets at the newspaper under his gym. I’ve been rearranging her cage weekly but with no luck so far.
With sweet potato I thought you weren’t supposed to give food that mimics regurgitation.
I lost a bird to excessive egg laying. Maybe try moving the cage if you have the ability? I wish I had more to suggest. My Cooper never laid an egg for 6yrs and she started it was like I couldn't keep her out of that nesting mind frame. I wish you luck and am sending up good thoughts that you will succeed where I did not.
 

Zara

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With sweet potato I thought you weren’t supposed to give food that mimics regurgitation.
You can offer it finely diced.


I see what you mean about the corner. A problem that affects my hen and others. If rearranging the cage doesn´t help, then kick her out of the corner.
Get something and put it in the corner, be very careful what you choose. An upsidedown bowl or small plant pot.
You could try and put a shallow dish of water there.. like one of those plastic ikea picnic plates.

How much sleep does she get? And what foraging activities are avail. to her?
 

Monica

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The cage is bare in her favorite corner but anytime she shreds paper she brings it there.

My first question.... can you share a picture of her cage?
 

birdmom3693

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You can offer it finely diced.


I see what you mean about the corner. A problem that affects my hen and others. If rearranging the cage doesn´t help, then kick her out of the corner.
Get something and put it in the corner, be very careful what you choose. An upsidedown bowl or small plant pot.
You could try and put a shallow dish of water there.. like one of those plastic ikea picnic plates.

How much sleep does she get? And what foraging activities are avail. to her?
Thank you! I can give her raw sweet potato then? Dicing cooked would be interesting lol

She literally shreds anything I give her...she even puts millet spray in her tail feathers. Cardboard, wood, even her rope perch is fair game when there isn't anything else in the cage for her to shred.

I have increased her sleep time by an hour this week and I am working to keep that consistent, I'll get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom and I hear her chirping away so I'm not sure if it's helping.

I will look into things that will block off her corner though!
 

Zara

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I can give her raw sweet potato then?
No
, cooked sweet potato


My hen also takes millet in her back. And she has destroyed 2 rope perhes and only has one left, I have decided not to buy more for her :(

If you see she is about to lay an egg... like the egg is there, let her lay it before blocking off the corner.
 

birdmom3693

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No



My hen also takes millet in her back. And she has destroyed 2 rope perhes and only has one left, I have decided not to buy more for her :(

If you see she is about to lay an egg... like the egg is there, let her lay it before blocking off the corner.
Gotcha. Thank you so much for your advice, I’ll be trying all of these suggestions with Ellie.
She hasn’t laid an egg since wary January but I’m anticipating her to lay in May since she did last year.
 

Zara

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Have you looked at some foraging ideas?

Also, how big is her cage?

Also, I literally just told you about my bird AKA the destroyer ripping up her cotton perches and anything she can break... well when I checked her cage I couldn´t believe what she shredded!

IMG_20190423_001516.jpg IMG_20190423_001529.jpg
I was gone like an hour!
 

birdmom3693

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Have you looked at some foraging ideas?

Also, how big is her cage?

Also, I literally just told you about my bird AKA the destroyer ripping up her cotton perches and anything she can break... well when I checked her cage I couldn´t believe what she shredded!

View attachment 301843 View attachment 301844
I was gone like an hour!
That’s crazy! I am purchasing this foraging toy for her. Only problem is she’s never been interested in treats, I know she’d use it if I put corn in there but otherwise I’m not sure. What does your hen like as treats?

Her cage is about 28x20x30 that she shares with Emmy.
 

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Zara

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You can fill it with regular food. Foraging just means working for food. There is easy foraging, then there is more difficult foraging.

So with the wheel, you could seperate bits from your seed mix, and also use finely chopped dehydrated fruit, chopped almond, pellets. As long as it is dry.

You can do other simple things like a foraging dish. Get a shallow dish or a feeder bowl, fill it with objects, so bits of crinkle paper, chunks of balsa (or parts from old toys), cork, maybe a ball with a bell in it and add in some clusters of millet for her to dig around and find.

@Mizzely sells many foraging toys for little birds. May be worth looking into that especially as there is a sale on soon Foraging Toys
 

finchly

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Everything @Zara has suggested is right on. I wanted to add that pellet food doesn’t have to contain corn— read the ingredients. Lighting changes and rearranging the cage should help. Dietary changes can follow those.
Things like foraging and toys just help stimulate her mind, to keep it off egg laying.target training also helps them burn mental energy; to me they’re calmer after a session.

Welcome!:welave:
 

birdmom3693

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Follow up:
I have decreased Ellie’s day hours and have noticed a bit of change, she’s not as feisty. I have also taken her off her favorite snack, corn. She has taken to quinoa just today and I’m wondering if that’s okay, I know it’s technically a starch but I know how healthy it is and it is the ONLY thing she’s tried out of all the veggies and other proteins I’ve given her.

Thanks in advance!
Mary
 

Zara

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Quinoa is fine for birds :)

Glad to hear there has been a bit of improvement.
 

birdmom3693

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Quinoa is fine for birds :)

Glad to hear there has been a bit of improvement.
I know it’s fine for birds, but I’m concerned because I know I shouldn’t give her too much starch. But I think quinoa is a better option than corn.
 

Fuzzy

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Agree that quinoa is a better option than corn. Quinoa is great being a complete vegetable protein. You could also try sprouting quinoa - it sprouts almost overnight.

Raw sweet potato is fine in small quantities. My Amazons love it.
 
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