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Thread: Hissing for attention?

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg Snorri's Avatar
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    Hissing for attention?

    Hello, everyone!
    Manju, my pet cockatiel, is one year and a half old. She has always been the sweetest little thing, will happily perch onto strangers and sing to them. We never had problems with aggressive behavior before.

    She absolutely loves my brother, whenever he enters the room she'll run towards him, climb on his shoulder and start making her little peeps. Recently, she has been getting a little bit aggressive with him. She will hiss if he doesn't pay attention to her and sometimes lunge at his face. He has played with her in ways that made her hormonal before, so my guess is that she might see him as a potential mate. He has stopped playing with her and I advised against him letting her on his shoulder.

    We are not 100% sure that she is a female, but her overall habits and personality seem to match the female description quite well. I have seen her flirting with her veggies before and it also checks out with how female birds do it, although she has never laid eggs or attempted to build a nest before.

    So, my concerns are, first, if this is really just hormonal behavior or if there could be anything else that could be happening, and second, what can we do to avoid this aggressive behavior and how can my brother interact with her in a way that doesn't cause any more of this? Should we keep them away from each other for a while?

    Additional information to ease possible concerns:
    Both me and my brother are adults. There are no children in the house to worry about getting bit.
    We own no other pets.
    Manju has been checked by a vet very recently and is in very good health
    She spends 8 daily hours out of her cage, mostly with me, as her daytime playing space is by my desk.

  2. #2
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    Re: Hissing for attention?

    Hi, and welcome to the community. It sounds to me like this is hormonal behavior. She is at a perfect age, mature wise, to mate and lay eggs. You are correct that she most probably is considering your brother as her mate.

    Here are some suggestions for you both....never touch her in any place but the top of her head giving scritches when she is into hormones. Yes, the hissing could turn into biting, so watch carefully for her lunging toward your hands to bite, and she also might decide to fly around the room and dive bomb for your head or hair. She also will do little rituals in the cage bottom. For example my hen tiel used to line up pieces of her fresh veggies, and seeds, in a straight line along the side of the cage bottom. Her pooos will get more watery. She may spend time on the cage bottom nesting...sitting in the corner. When that happens,she may be going to lay an egg. So watch her carefully. Be sure to give her plenty of cuttlebone and fresh green veggies like kale and fresh green leaf lettuce. She needs these so that if she does lay an egg or eggs, the shells will be hard, and she can push her egg out easy. Hens do not need a mate to lay eggs. Since she has a close bond with your brother, that is all it takes for her to lay an egg when she gets hormonal.

    Give her about 12 hours of sleep at night. Do not feed soft foods like bread or cooked foods. Hormone time is stressful for her and for you adults. It usually lasts a few weeks. If she does lay an egg, do not put it. In a nest. Put any eggs in a cage corner on a paper towel. Do not throw any eggs away. Let her have her eggs for about 21 days, or until she abandons them and no longer pays attention to them. Then discard them.

    It is well known that single hens who lay eggs can become chronic egg layers, which means she can lay eggs every few weeks, rather than months. Adhering to these suggestions will help you to better understand hens and egg laying. It is just a natural happening. Some single hens will never lay eggs. Others will do so. Often times those hens who have a close bond as does your brother will be the egg layers.

    I hope this info is of help to you. We will welcome updates anytime.
    Last edited by maxollie; 12-15-2020 at 09:24 AM.

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    Chick Pipers Mom's Avatar
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    Re: Hissing for attention?

    Ellen is spot on!!! It's going to be difficult for both you and your brother refraining yourselves from petting your bird, but don't do it!! Like Ellen mentioned, this behavior could last a few weeks to well over a month. The lack of sunlight will help calm the hormones. I would just like to add that you may want to put her cage in a different area of the home. Sometimes changing the environment may help. Hormonal hens can be handful.
    Tango / White Faced Pied Male: Hatched on October 09, 2011 - Homed on April 28, 2012.

    Tiels:
    Bows / Normal Gray Hen: 1976 - 1984
    Caesar / Normal Gray Male: 1977 - 1994
    Piper / Lutino Hen: 1994 - 2010
    Woodstock / Normal Gray Male: 2004 - 2011

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    Re: Hissing for attention?

    Thank you both for the replies! That is indeed very useful information!

    So far I have never seen her on the bottom of the cage or doing these rituals, but she does have a cardboard box that she enjoys to be in. At first i left it there as a toy, she just destroys it and chills in it every now and then. Should i remove the box? I don't have experience with female birds and I'm not sure if she will try to build some sort of nest in there, maybe using paper or toys or food, or if she will just prepare to lay in the box the way it is?
    And, if this is the case, should I remove the box forever or is it okay to give it back to her during less hormonal seasons?
    By the way, the box is very open and shallow. It doesn't really provide her any additional darkness.

    Her more hormonal days have already passed, though. For a while, about two or three months ago, she was very energetic and more aggressive than usual, as well as more eager to chirp and rub her tail on things, but that has already passed.

    We always pet her on the head only! She doesn't let my brother pet her at all, but with me she'll allow me to even hold her.

    As for the food, don't worry, I am very strict with her diet, she only gets high quality bird food (that includes seeds and pellets) and daily dark green leaves with a sprinkle other veggies like pepper and carrot throughout the week, exactly like her vet recommended!

    With me she doesn't display this sort of behavior. She has masturbated on my hand before, but never had any aggressive behavior. It is a bit weird to me that she won't let my brother pet her but is still hormonal around him. Is this common?

  5. #5
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    Re: Hissing for attention?

    Yes, remove the box. The box will make your hen hormonal. Hormones just don't go away overnight. It takes a few weeks.
    Tango / White Faced Pied Male: Hatched on October 09, 2011 - Homed on April 28, 2012.

    Tiels:
    Bows / Normal Gray Hen: 1976 - 1984
    Caesar / Normal Gray Male: 1977 - 1994
    Piper / Lutino Hen: 1994 - 2010
    Woodstock / Normal Gray Male: 2004 - 2011

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    Re: Hissing for attention?

    I see! Thank you very much!! I'll remove it and then lets see if she calms down a little bit.

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