Angry Amazon help

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by Muffinburgler, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Muffinburgler

    Muffinburgler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2012
    Watsonville, CA
    My amazon parrot PD (13 years old) HATES change. Earlier today, for example, I brought in a new printer to install. Just seeing the new object in the house threw him into a blind rage and he was determined to attack me and the printer until nothing was left. He's the same with anything. If I change my clothes at a different time than usual, if I open a drawer he's never seen me open before, anything outside of his usual routine will send him into such a rage he won't stop until I've banished him to his cage for time out or he's decapitated me. Thankfully that hasn't happened yet.

    I'm not sure how to fix this issue. It's getting to the point where he's more angry than friendly with me, and it's really killing our relationship. I'm tempted to rehome him if I can't figure out a way to change things around in the house without risking life and limb. Any ideas on how to keep him calm?
  2. Cluky

    Cluky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
    how long have you had him? you said he is 13 has he always been like this?
  3. Muffinburgler

    Muffinburgler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2012
    Watsonville, CA
    I've had him two years. I adopted him after his old owner had to move to an apartment and couldn't keep him. He's always been cranky and possessive, attacking me if I went to "his" side of the room, but I just accepted that as amazon behavior. His previous owner says he was always the same with her, attacking anything or anyone that disturbed his usual routines.
  4. Rosa moschata

    Rosa moschata Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2013
    Amazons can be big bullies -- if you let them. It sounds like "tough love" but sometimes you have to show them you're the boss. I can share my experience with my almost 23YO male DYH amazon, who came into my life when he was 7YO.

    Sammy was sold to a pet store, probably because he was at the age when he was hitting his peak sexual maturity and associated seasonal crankiness (in male amazons, they start to mellow out again around age 8-10). At the time I got him, his new-bird physical indicated he had a mild bacterial infection, and was calcium deficient. He was also a bit cranky and didn't accept being held or touched. I needed to give him liquid medicine via syringe twice a day for a couple weeks to clear his infection. He was also getting a liquid Calcium-VitD-Phosphorous supplement. To give him this, I needed to towel him. He struggled. He tried to bite. I'd hold him tight until he started to calm down, though he would still protest and struggle somewhat, before I'd give him his medicine. Doing so offered a behavioral advantage to our relationship -- he learned that I was the boss, and gradually accepted that dynamic.

    The rest of the time, I never pushed him to come to me. I kept him fed and watered, kept his cage clean, and would open his door to let him sit on the cage when I was in the room. I'd offer him treats, but only by hand -- he'd have to come and take them from me if he wanted to eat them. No treats were offered in his cage until I was content with his acceptance of me (i.e., he'd sit with me, let me pet him, and actually sought me out even when I didn't have treats). If he started getting cranky, he was returned to his cage (inside, door closed) and I'd try again later. Allowing a cranky amazon to remain out of his cage is like saying to him "ok, you're the boss, do whatever you want."

    Sammy, like most male amazons, still has aggressive moments -- the key is in recognizing when your amazon is in an excited mood. It's often said that amazons are "predictably unpredictable", and while that sounds like an oxymoron, it's actually true. They have very clear body-language displayed when in "overdrive mode". They will constrict their pupils, flashing their irises. They will fan their tails. They will fluff the feathers at the front of their heads, and at the back of their necks (different from a relaxed or "preen me" fluff, which is more relaxed generalized over their whole heads and not extended fully). They will open their beaks as though ready to lunge.

    When you see these very clear signs, speak sternly and say "No!" or "Stop it!" and get him in his cage. When you know certain things trigger these excited episodes, cage him ahead of time in anticipation for those moments. If he lunges at you, stand your ground and raise your finger up, which will be perceived as your version of reciprocating the "open beak threat". Keep saying "No!" in a stern voice, and if necessary, quickly tap him on his beak. In doing so, you are interacting with him just as would another amazon who wanted no part of his "mood and 'tude", and this will be easily understood by him as "back-off....I'm bigger than you, and I'm not in the mood for any of your crap." To get a visual, go to YouTube and search for "bickering parrot" to see how parrots interact in the way I describe. Emulate that in your own interactions.

    Amazons aren't for everyone, I'll agree. But if you have one, and get to understand how they work, you'll be able to cultivate a tight bond with an awesome and intelligent pet.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by