Male budgie with an unhealthy relationship with toys, what do I do?
Hi everyone. I've had my budgie "Marvin" for almost a year now. He's been a complete sweetheart most of this time, except for now he has a very unhealthy relationship with toys and I'm not sure what to do.
Ever since I gave him his first toy (a shreddable one) he's been absolutely in love with toys. He loves all different kinds, plastic, shreddables, wood, rope, etc. Unfortunately though he's started mating with all these toys, no matter which ones.
I tried to rearrange his cage more frequently, tried only giving him one toy at a time, tried alternating the toys each day, even put him in a new cage. Always the same behavior. He will mate with them, regurgitate food to them, is always singing to them... This behavior is obsessive, it does not come and go. This is all he does all day unless he's eating or sleeping.
He's let me put my hands in his cage for a long time now and give him scritches. This last month though, he's started to bite me for the first time ever. And HARD. I put my hand in there tonight to give him some good night scritches, and he full blown attacked me. I did not back my hand out however, I kinda just shoved him off his perch. I also took the toy in his cage out. As soon as I did that though, he followed it out of the cage. I was holding him on one hand and holding the toy in another. As I held him he continued his behavior with this toy. Then, I hid the toy. I was still holding him, and he started the same behavior WITH MY HAND. The singing, the vent rubbing, and biting like my hand was the toy. Then I put him on the ground, and he went over to my desk chair and started doing the same thing TO THE CHAIR.
What do I do? I've never owned a bird with such a behavior. Only towards mirrors, and it never got this bad. I simply just took the mirrors out. I don't know if I'm supposed to take the toys out of the cage permanently or not. It feels wrong if he has no entertainment while I'm at work all day.
Shortening Marvin's daylight hours to no more than 8 hours per day and reducing the amount of protein in his diet (e.g. egg food) should help. He needs to have lots of out of cage time right now to burn off his excess energy.
However, if the behavior continues to the point where Marvin continues to be aggressive and territorial, you may need to have him examined by an Avian Vet to determine if medical intervention for the imbalance is recommended.
The fact that he's become obsessive about mating with and regurgitating food to his toys can lead to malnutrition.
As others have said, strict lighting control over a period of weeks (or more), should show some results. Not immediate, necessarily. In in many homes where a bird lives with humans (in the same room) more than 8 hours, and we add/control the lights, it may be more difficult to control this variable. Marvin seems to be a challenge, hormone wise, but so are some other pets.