Spend a ton of time with your parrot and you will notice they regurgitate on you, and repeated instances of this cause you to wonder, “why does this parrot regurgitate on me,” and the reason is because he may be too close to you.
Why Does My Parrot Regurgitate on Me? This is likely a sign your parrot is too attached to you and sees you as his mate. This is frustrating to the parrot because you cannot give a parrot what he wants, leading to the parrot being depressed.
This is one of many reasons why it is important you keep at least two parrots. Keep on reading to learn more about why parrots regurgitate on their owners and how you can help.
Reasons for Regurgitation
Chances are you have seen a video or even a real-life instance of a mother bird feeding her newly hatched babies. This, of course, is done out of necessity for the well-being of her children but also a place of caring for her little ones.
Parrots do this for the same reasons. Adult parrots regurgitate because they intend to feed their loved one.
This is absolutely normal behavior but should not be confused with throwing up or vomiting, which is a signal that your pet is sick and needs the vet right away.
Regurgitation Is Totally Normal
Regurgitation, after all, is a totally normal behavior that is mostly related to parenting instincts in birds. During the act of regurgitation, your parrot will bob his head and stretch his neck.
The food that is brought back will be undigested. Also, a bird who regurgitates will not show regular signals associated with being sick, such as lethargy, depression or loss of appetite.
Regurgitation is a great way to feed loved ones and young chicks.
After all, the babies need not risk going out of their nest for food, and the food is already warmed and easier to digest for a youngster with a new digestive system. The babies can easily absorb the food and all of its nutrients.
Regurgitation Is A Symbol of Love
Aside from being a way to keep the young alive and well-fed, this is also way for birds to show they care about one another, or that they are “interested” in the other as a mate.
It is a perfectly natural behavior associated with courting, and pet birds are known to regurgitate on other pets, toys they really love, or even their favorite people.
The act of regurgitating on you is a symbol that your parrot really loves you, perhaps a bit too much.
How to Help Your Parrot?
Firstly, this behavior shows why you should always have at least two parrots in your home. Parrots make wonderful friends and companions for humans to enjoy, and we can learn a lot from one another.
However, parrots need their own mates, and humans should discourage regurgitation behavior as we can never provide what the parrot is looking for in a mate.
If the behavior is not discouraged, the parrot’s health will be negatively affected. He will become sexually frustrated, even more hormonal than normal, and might even begin to bite.
The tips we give you below might work, but it is more likely that you need to get a second parrot to stop this behavior. Read here our article on why parrots should be kept in pairs and when to make an exception!
Having Good Communication Is Important
The way to alleviate this is to be firm but polite with your parrot. The goal is to communicate that you just want to be friends.
Begin by taking stock of what you do when you interact with your pet parrot. When it comes to parrots, remember that your interactions should always be above the neck.
Stroking or petting your parrot’s back is not encouraged. This is common behavior with cats, dogs, bunnies and other mammals, but parrots are completely different and means that you are ready to mate.
Therefore, be sure you only scratch and snuggle around your parrot’s head. When he regurgitates on you, put him back inside his home in a calm and collected manner.
Being too vocal about it-e.g. Saying out loud “No, Petey, that’s a BAD BIRD,” may only lead him on because he realizes he is getting attention and wants to do whatever it takes to keep it coming.
Proper Training is Essential
Therefore, you should teach your parrot that regurgitation means that no attention will be given and will lead to your parrot being placed in his cage until he is ready to interact with you as a friend and companion and not a mate.
He will learn that regurgitating means there will be no attention given, and that playtime with “mom” or “dad” will be limited.
You should also be sure that your parrot is getting enough rest. Longer days, including spending lots of time in artificial light, lead him to believe it is mating season.
Be sure your bird has at least 9 hours of time in a dark, quiet place to rest, recharge his batteries, and break the mating mood.
What About Vomiting?
Regurgitation is totally normal and just need some behavioral cues to stop if your bird is regurgitating on you.
On the other hand, vomiting is a behavior that can mean your parrot is sick or has parasites inside causing him to feel less than great.
Normal regurgitation is not stressful or painful for a bird. A bird that is vomiting from illness will flick the head fast and fling the partially digested meal all over the place. You may find it around his home, or even stuck inside his feathers.
The contents are spewed around randomly and very messily. Aim is better when regurgitation takes place and compared to vomiting, it is rather calculated.
Meanwhile, vomiting is random and can mean any number of things:
- Overfeeding, excess of protein, excess of vitamins A, E, D, iron
- Kidney, heart, liver disease; septicemia
- Viral/parasitic infection, infections of the bacterial variety, fungal infections, tapeworm or candida
- Dietary changes
- Allergic to food
- Reactions to a drug
- Poisoning from ingesting a household product, plant, pesticide or other food
If you suspect that your parrot is vomiting because he is sick, it is important that you call your avian vet right away to get him in for an appointment. Your vet may treat in the following ways:
- Dietary changes
- Perform surgery to remove blockage
- Use medicine to treat a disease or rid the parrot of infection
- He or she may recommend you clean your bird’s area to rid the space of any toxins
There is no absolute way to prevent your parrot from vomiting but there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of it happening.
First, be sure your bird is given the correct food for his age, size and species. Ask the vet if you are not sure about what your pet needs.
Next, be sure you always keep a close eye on your parrot while she’s out of the cage. Make sure she is not eating or picking at anything that could make her sick. It could cause an internal blockage if something dangerous is consumed.
Be sure there are no toxic chemicals or substances nearby, such as mop buckets of cleaning solution, air fresheners, scented candles or other similar objects near the places your bird plays and relaxes.
Check the cage also when you are performing regular cleanings. If you see vomit, it is best to just take your bird in for a visit to the vet.
Chances are the problem will be nothing, but it is best to check it out so that if there is a problem, it can be detected early on and removed.
A good indicator for a sick parrot is a bad smell. Is your parrot smelling bad? Here are 5 reasons for that!
Is My Bird Vomiting or Regurgitating? A bird that is regurgitating will bob its head and stretch his neck, and the food that does come up does not look digested-for instance whole seeds will come back regurgitated. Regurgitation is a normal behavior.
Are Parrot Droppings Dangerous? Salmonella lives in the droppings of many birds, mostly chickens and ducks. Infection is a real danger if you fail to wash your hands after cleaning out the cages as well as aviaries. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting and you should see a doctor.
Why Is My Bird Throwing Up Seeds? When your bird throws up seeds, it is not because he is sick. Parakeets/budgies regurgitate seeds that are slightly digested as part of everyday behavior. Vomiting is a signal your bird is sick, and birds who vomit need to see their vet.
Can Birds Flatulate? No, birds do not experience flatulence. Flatulence is eruptions from the intestine of gas. Avian intestines are rather short, and waste is expelled rather often, therefore birds do not experience any flatulence thanks to how often they expel waste.
In summary, parrots regurgitate on their keepers as a means of showing how much they love them. However, this behavior indicates that the parrot views you as a mate, which is frustrating to the parrot and owner alike.
By taking steps to ensure the behavior is curbed and a fellow parrot is introduced, the life of both the owner as well as the parrot will be better overall.