Living with a sexed animal
A sexed animal is an animal with all its options. We humans have lost the habit of living with a “whole” domestic animal. Our dogs and our pets are, for the most part, sterilized animals, that is to say animals which have undergone an ovario-hysterectomy ( removal of the ovaries and uterus ) in females or a castration ( removal of the testes ) in males, which has the effect of inhibiting any sexual behavior.
This kind of surgery is neither routine nor desirable in our parrots because it is too risky for the birds ( we sometimes practice sterilization in cases of chronic layers and again, only if the female is really putting her life in danger by expressing a morbid need to lay eggs ).
So our parrot comes to us with an intact and functioning sexual instinct and it’s up to us humans to learn to deal with this condition.
Naturally, if we speak of sexual instinct, we also speak of sexual behavior ( search for a mate, courtship, vocalizations, regurgitation, allotoilettage, nesting ), hormonal changes as much physical ( swelling of the testes and production of testosterone in the male , swelling of the ovaries in the female, protrusion of the cloaca ) and psychological ( sensitivity and sensuality on edge, possessiveness, acute pot-de-collitis, territoriality, etc. ). Nothing maddening or terrifying, but you better be wise!
Make your choices
The parrot is one of the rare evolved animals to choose their “loving” partner and to remain faithful to it throughout life. This is called “preferential association”. This kind of association with a partner implies the freedom to choose whoever you want, according to the criteria that define you personally. Obviously, in its natural environment, the parrot usually makes this choice within its own species and usually stops at a companion of the opposite sex, since the reproduction and survival of the species are at the center of the concerns of n ‘any animal species.
In a “domestic” context ( without predators or social group of the same species).e), sexual needs remain the same; it is the purpose that is different. Indeed, the “domestic” parrot chooses its partner, is faithful to him, has expectations and responsibilities towards him, but ensuring his descendants or the survival of the species does not always come into account when it comes time to choose. the perfect companion. The parrot being an evolved animal, which has the possibility of making its choices, will quite simply choose what seems to him the most attractive and which will give him the most satisfaction and emotional security. So his choice “in love” can relate to any being sharing its territory and with which it will have the same affective and sexual behavior as if it were coupled with a parrot of its species and of a different sex. Let’s say that the inability to reproduce is not at all an obstacle to “love feelings” or affectivity in the domestic parrot.
Does Coco absolutely need a “lover”?
Absolutely, the parrot needs to share its life with a stable and constant companion. This state is part of the sexual instinct of the species ( which is, as we know, unalterable ). Most species of parrots evolve in tandem within their community ( with some exceptions ). The parrot needs the security and stability that living as a couple provides. That being said, the fact that he needs a life companion does absolutely not mean that he needs to be inserted into a breeding program and that he absolutely wants to start a family… Between affection , sex and family responsibility, there is still a margin!
The parrot born in captivity has of course, at certain times of the year, hormonal surges which almost entirely occupy his mind and which also make him react physically and psychologically to the slightest sexual stimuli. Let’s say he’s ripe for a lot of feathers in the air. During these “special” periods, the parrot will ipso facto turn to its life companion, the one it has chosen, to give free rein to its desires. Now, the question is, who fulfills the role of the lover? A parrot of the same species and of different sex? A parrot of another species and of the opposite sex? A parrot of the same species and of the same sex, a parrot of another species and of the same sex, you, Roger, Francine, the neighbor, your son, the dog or the cat of the house? The possibilities are endless, but it’s only in the first proposition (sometimes in the second too ) that fertilization is possible. Therefore, in a domestic context, in a hormonal period, the parrot seeks sexual connections with his “lover” above all for the affection and the feeling of security that this relationship provides. If this relationship results in the conception of a family, the parrot will be satisfied and take their parenting responsibilities very seriously. On the other hand, if the relationship is at a level where procreation is impossible, the parrot will still be satisfied because the latter will still have provided him with the emotional satisfaction sought with the loved one.
In a context of captivity, attachment and security are the driving forces of the relationship with a companion… the affection devoted to his human darling is not intended to be reproduction but rather the feeling of belonging and reassurance. The openness and availability of the partner ( human) only tighten the bonds between him and the bird. Keep in mind that instinctively, the parrot needs to develop this kind of very close close relationship with a partner. If you have a lot of time to spend with your parrot, you can fill this role very well without any inconvenience for Coco; on the other hand, if you are naturally social and have an overloaded schedule and if the time allotted to Coco is very limited to you, it is better to consider providing him with a parrot companion ( taking into account the type of group to which his species belongs while respecting the size of your moujingue … the budgerigar may not be the desirable companion for your Amazon), while keeping in mind that we are talking about companionship here. The two birds can develop a “friendly” relationship without necessarily forming an emotional bond between them. Additionally, it should be remembered that in the worst-case scenario, it is possible that no friendship or status quo will develop and be possible between the two birds.
The emotional bond
The parrot is a very social animal that will form many bonds with different people, other parrots or animals throughout its life. These bonds will be of varying degrees, just as we humans forge different bonds and friendships throughout our lives. These bonds range from simple acquaintance, from friendship to a very strong attachment. On the other hand, the parrot will form only one very strong emotional bond with a single “lover of the heart”, and this, until the death or the involuntary separation of one or the other of the partners. He will show him a limitless dedication until developing a totally fused relationship with him.
The emotional bond that the pet parrot creates with its human is not just a substitute bond that replaces the natural bond that it should have had in nature with a companion of its species, it is a real bond of emotional affectivity that forms between the bird and the one he or she has chosen. Some would argue that the parrot often does not have much choice in a captive context where its only option is a single available human companion. That’s right, but he could also choose not to accept this human as a mate. There is all the nuance …
On the other hand, if this companion presents himself to the eyes of the bird as quite amiable, that he has attitudes towards him which are usually reserved only for intimacy ( caresses all over the body and the beak, grooming feathers and above all, almost constant presence ), there is a good chance that the parrot will immediately choose this human companion as its… “spouse”!
I have shared my life for many years with many parrots, several of the same species and of the opposite sex, which did not prevent some of them from choosing to create their emotional bond with me or with my husband. or with other parrots of different species.
It should be understood here that in a “domestic” context, the parrot has a very heterogeneous range of potential prospects placed at its disposal as regards the choice of the companion. It only evolves within a social group composed exclusively of individuals of its species, but rather, artificially, in a multispecies community that it would be inconceivable to imagine in its natural environment.
Who here can claim that this is not normal?
Shhh… I can hear you screaming at anthropomorphism… I know full well that I’m breaking the species barrier, but I’m not talking about reproduction or offspring here, I’m talking about feelings and emotional ties. That an African gray is infatuated with a cockatoo is just as sterile in conception and procreation as the affection it might develop towards a human and yet … this kind of emotional bond exists in our “domestic” parrots. …!
For those who would like to provide a companion for their birds in order to make them happier, and sincerely believing that an emotional bond will automatically be created between them, I would like you to think for two seconds in the following eventuality: there is a risk ( not insignificant ) that the two parrots decide to choose you, the attentive and reassuring human, as a partner, especially if they have undergone a human impregnation ( EAM). Let’s say the data is in the range of 50/50… So if you want another parrot for yourself because you’re an enthusiast… go ahead and go for it. If it is to provide your bird with a companion so that it does not remain alone during the long hours you spend in the office away from it… go for it again ( you know the risks… )! On the other hand, if it is to get your parrot a sexual partner because you have been told that he would be happier if he could start a family… slow down and think carefully, you could be very disappointed.
Exclusivity is linked to insecurity. It seems natural to us humans that our pet is completely dedicated to us and that we are its only “master”. Since we are the ones who “bought” it and take care of it, it is normal ( in our eyes ) that this animal “belongs” to us and that it should love us more than any other human living around us. Since the best possible relationship with your parrot is that of the affective relationship ( preferential association), we demand that our parrot be “in love” with us from the start and not look over the fence. That may be true for dog stories, but certainly not parrots! We don’t have a parrot, we live with it. Live in the sense of respectful cohabitation.
How many times have I felt the disappointment in the voice of Madame “who had made herself a gift” by adopting HIS parrot, when the latter was madly “in love” with the husband who however did not even give a look at the ‘bird? How many times have I also heard stories of disappointment and heartbreak because the darling bird bit the poor lady, completely distraught, because of a guest passing through the house, so that the parrot had decided to prefer the guest to herself, “his mistress”!
You cannot demand emotional exclusivity in an “arranged marriage”. The fact that your parrot lives with you absolutely does not mean that he should choose you as his life companion ( he has chosen absolutely nothing for him ) and the fact that he “falls” for another person or a stranger does not. It also doesn’t mean that he rejects any kind of relationship with you. Where you need to ask yourself is the nature of the relationship your bird has developed with you. Perhaps you are just your bird’s best friend without claiming to be a “spouse”. Best friend is a very enviable place in the eyes of your bird …
For Quita, my 12 year old female ara ararauna, I am the best friend and, occasionally, “the lover” ( when there is no more interesting “client” around ). I represent stability and security conducive to its development and this relationship is more than enough for both of us. If there is only me available, I’m a good second choice for a little flirtatious show, but how many times have I seen Quita have gallant infatuation with friends passing through the house or a pure stranger during a show or a conference ( even for an itinerant salesperson who has come to break the family’s peace of mind in the middle of mealtime). At such times, I know how to make room for the new prospect, also to avoid the mood swings of Quita who is completely absorbed in her new flame of the moment.
Quita is a very sociable parrot who loves to see people and I am proud of that. I’m not his “lover” and then after ??? We have a great relationship and an extraordinary bond. I don’t want exclusivity with Quita, especially not sexual. I learned to be discreet during these “crushes” by looking at the stranger and saying to myself quite simply and with philosophy, “you my good man, you are not the first and certainly not the last” then, we let’s go back to the house or to our occupations together, let’s get back to our daily routine … both forgetting this “passing fop”. The stability of the couple that Quita and I form is undeniable, but for Quita, our relationship is not at the sexual level.
You have to learn to accept the choices of others, without taking anything personal. Once again, it is only a matter of respect!