Last Updated on: 27th September 2023, 08:51 am
If you have 2 bonded opposite-sex parrots in a cage, reproduction will likely occur. Vets won’t spay or neuter parrots unless a bird’s life is in danger. For example, a parrot has a reproductive disease.
A bird will experience hormonal changes that trigger the desire to mate in spring. You’ll soon observe behavioral changes as the days grow longer and the temperatures warmer.
It’ll experience hormonal shifts associated with the mating season and feel compelled to act upon them. This can lead to courtship behaviors directed toward non-bird species, toys, and inanimate objects.
Hormone-related behaviors include feather preening, nipping/biting, territoriality, vocalizations, rubbing the vent against humans or “love toys” in a cage, regurgitating food, and nesting.
If captive females have suitable environmental conditions, their bodies will produce eggs, even if there’s no male present. The eggs will be infertile and never hatch.
How Do I Know if My Parrot Wants to Mate?
Most parrots breed once or twice a year. As per Animal Behavior, parrots are socially monogamous birds that usually make excellent parents.
Parrots form pair bonds and remain together after mating to raise their chicks. They may sometimes breed with other non-bonded birds to advance the species’ survival.
When spring arrives, the avian body will acknowledge the changing seasons, resulting in a surge of hormones. Even if you don’t have a same-species bird, a sexually mature parrot will have a desire to mate.
Smaller parrots have shorter lifespans and achieve sexual maturity sooner than larger birds. This table outlines the ages at which some species of pet parrots experience puberty:
|Budgies, cockatoos, and lovebirds:||6 – 12 months|
|Conures:||1 – 2 years|
|Lorikeets:||2 – 3 years|
|Macaws and African greys:||3 – 7 years|
Male parrots reach sexual maturity later than females. If a parrot has a hormonal desire to breed, you’ll notice this in its appearance and behavior. Sudden changes include:
1/ Preening Activity
Preening is commonly observed in parrots seeking mates.
You’ll likely find the parrot puffs up its feathers, displays its plumage prominently, and regularly struts around the cage or home. Some parrots will even dance or bow.
Bright and well-maintained feathers signify fertility, good health, and strength. Females seek These attributes in males because they maximize the chances of producing healthy offspring.
If a parrot usually has a relaxed disposition but has taken to inexplicably biting without provocation, this could be a hormonal response to sexual frustration.
Biting has clear warning signs. A parrot will make itself look bigger (stand tall or fluff up), squawk or hiss, avoid interaction with your hands, and make lunging actions.
3/ Increased Verbalization
Increased vocalizations are another common hormonal reaction to a bird entering the breeding season. A parrot may squawk at a higher volume and frequency than usual.
You may also find a parrot singing, especially males, who do so to attract desirable females. Like healthy plumage, a strong singing voice signifies robust health.
4/ Swollen Cloaca
A parrot’s cloaca is where a bird releases fecal waste and lays eggs. The cloaca is under the parrot’s tail feathers and is usually covered up.
If you lift a parrot’s posterior feathers in spring, the cloaca will be swollen and more visible than usual. A parrot’s reproductive organs are inside the body, and swelling makes breeding possible.
5/ Vent Rubbing
As mentioned, when a parrot is ready to mate, its cloaca will become swollen and more sensitive. It’s common for a bird that wants to mate to rub its vent against certain objects and people.
Proceedings of the International Aviculturists Society Convention warn that parrots who show this level of intimacy with humans can become sexually attracted to their owners.
6/ Food Regurgitation
Regurgitating undigested food is common among pet parrots that want to mate.
In females, regurgitation is instinctual because it’s how a parrot feeds her hatchlings (chicks). In males, regurgitation demonstrates that the parrot will make a good provider and partner.
You may find that a parrot who lives alone regurgitates food onto your hand or elsewhere. The parrot is displaying unwanted affection to you by sharing its meals.
If a parrot regurgitates food on you, return the bird to its cage for a brief time-out. This sends a message that you’re not interested in being its mate. Accepting the action will lead to further problems.
Female parrots ready to breed will display nesting behaviors.
The parrot will find a dark corner of the cage and start lining it with nesting materials, which could include torn-up bits of paper, fabric, and feathers plucked from the body.
Feather plucking in parrots can become a compulsion with negative consequences. The Veterinary Record associates this act with high levels of corticosterone caused by environmental stress.
If you don’t want the parrot to mate, keep the cage base bare (just a cage liner) to discourage nesting. If you intend to breed parrots, create a nesting box lined with safe materials.
Should I Breed A Sexually Active Parrot?
Producing and laying eggs significantly affects a female parrot, potentially shortening her lifespan and exposing health risks like egg binding (eggs lodged in the oviduct).
Provide ample food, especially calcium-rich foods, for healthy egg production. Otherwise, calcium will be taken from the bones, with implications for skeletal (bone) health.
If a pair of parrots breed, they’ll lay fertilized eggs that the female (and sometimes the male) will incubate. They’ll sit on the eggs, incubating them for 2.5 to 4 weeks until they successfully hatch.
Unfortunately, not all parrots will care for their young, perhaps due to inexperience. You’ll need an incubator if the parents fail to care for their eggs.
How Do I Know if My Parrots Are Mating?
The mating procedure differs from mammals because male parrots don’t have a penis. Males and females have internal reproductive organs, so breeding involves pressing the vents together (the cloacal kiss).
When a male has its invitation to breed with a female accepted, it’ll mount her and start rubbing its swollen cloaca against the female (and flapping its wings to balance).
After mating between 2 fertile parrots has concluded, sperm from the male’s vent enters the female’s oviduct. A shell that hosts an embryo will form and be laid 1-2 days later.
If the embryos survive, the eggs will hatch in around 2.5 to 4 weeks.
How Long Does it Take for Parrots to Mate?
The entire process of courtship and mating in parrots lasts 1-2 weeks. If the parrot goes through this period without breeding, its hormones will calm down. At this point, the parrot’s behavior will normalize.