What can you do when your parrot won’t stop screaming?

For a sun conure Goldie is fairly quiet and doesn't scream muchMaybe you yell “shut up” or maybe you get upset and come running to the bird, taking it out of the cage to quiet it down. Perhaps you have even tried covering the bird cage to get the bird to shut up, but none of these things seem to really help and the screaming is getting on your nerves and even worse you are worried that the neighbors will start to complain.

Screaming is the most common problem that sun conure owners have and it’s the most frequent reason that sun conures are rehomed. It’s also the most frequent question that Goldie’s owner is asked on a regular basis. Follows is what works for Goldie the sun conure and her owner.

First of all stop and be calm. Parrots love attention-even negative attention. While parrots and especially sun conures will always make some amount of noise, constant screaming and squawking is not normal. So what can you do to reduce the ear splitting screeching? Ask yourself the following questions and see if the screaming problem gradually improves.

Ask yourself is the bird getting enough quality sleep every night. Parrots just like people need regular rest and good nights sleep in order to feel their best. Most parrots need 10-12 hours of quality sleep. So if your bird is not getting proper rest, screaming can be the result.

Is the parrot getting a quality diet? Pellets, fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and a only a small amount of nuts and seeds used only for foraging skills and treats will contribute to the overall well-being of the bird and help balance out any cranky moods that are leading to excess yelling.

Is your pet bird getting plenty of exercise, and playtime with toys? Parrots are active, intelligent creatures. Provide your parrot plenty of chew toys such as untreated wood blocks, and shredable toys made out of palm leaves. Rotate toys frequently to help prevent boredom also.

Does your parrot get a regular bath or misting? Parrots love to have a regular bath and love to preen and shake out their feathers afterward-it makes them feel good.

Are you interacting with your bird on a regular basis? By interaction we don’t just mean allowing the parrot to sit on your shoulder while you are on the computer. Instead talk to the parrot and play together. For example; toss a ball back and forth, sing, play peek a boo, teach your parrot basic tricks, and of course give plenty of gentle head rubs.

Is the parrot getting regular sunshine? Window glass blocks the UVA spectrum rays that many parrots need for superior feather health and overall vitality. A daily dose of full spectrum light from a lamp can help some parrots to calm down. Depending on the size and needs of your bird, just two hours of light a day can brighten up a moody parrot over time.

Have you had a yearly avian veterinarian checkup? Birds hide illness well; oftentimes you don’t realize they are sick until it’s too late. A regular checkup will help detect early signs of illness and is a great opportunity to ask the vet plenty of questions and get species specific advice.

After you have asked yourself these questions, then make sure to start using consistent, basic positive reinforcement to reduce screaming and screeching. .

Most importantly praise the bird when it is quiet and behaving well, give it a treat when it is quiet and playing independently, and interact with the parrot when it is quiet. This is actually hard for some people as we are wired to expect good and only react to bad behavior. Instead watch your parrot, observe body language, and you will learn what can triggers outbursts.

When your parrot starts to scream say to the bird softy, calmly “Quiet” and slowly walk away and wait. Wait for the parrot to calm down and then and only then offer praise and reward.

Continue positive reinforcement every day. Spend quality time with your parrot every day, praising, talking, playing, and interacting. Gradually screaming problems should ease as they did with Goldie and the rewards of a growing bond between parrot and owner should strengthen as a result.

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