How to Pet a Parrot
Your Bird Is Not Like A Dog Or A Cat
Parrots have a completely different anatomy than most other pets and they require special handling. Improper petting of a sexually mature bird will actually create a lot of behavior and emotional problems for your pet.
You've noticed by now that your bird doesn't have external genitalia and that it reproduces differently, too. Most bird species are genetically programmed to reproduce for only a limited amount of time each year. The rest of the year their libido goes dormant - unless it is inadvertantly stimulated. So, how do wild birds get geared up for mating? They have special places that they touch each other to put hormones into high gear. In the wild, when conditions such as food supply, sleep and weather are right, birds will begin to sexualize each other by stroking each other down their backs, around the tail region and under the wings. This type of "petting" is like foreplay. It induces strong hormones and gets a bird ready to breed. Petting your bird incorrectly will make your bird hormonal.
Hormonal Birds Are Sexually Frustrated
Pet birds that are feeling hormonal and sexually frustrated become loud, nippy, territorial and unpredictable. Cockatoo's are notorious for become egg-bound. Lots of birds take up feather picking to deal with the sexual frustration. Prevent your bird from becoming hormonal and sexually frustrated by limiting your petting to its head, feet and around its beak.
NEVER stroke your bird down its back or in its tail region and stay away from under its wings. Knowing how to pet your bird correctly will keep bird hormones in check and will help your bird manage its moods and behavior. Remember, your bird is not a dog or cat and it interprets most petting as a courting call. Keep your petting respectful and platonic.
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- Diane Burroughs