PET TALK: Birds of a feather flock together: Social behaviors of birds

Pet homeowners usually kind shut bonds with their animal companions. House owners of feathered mates is perhaps happy to study that this relationship is reciprocal, as birds can kind robust bonds with their homeowners and different non-human members of their family.

Debra Turner, aviary supervisor of the Schubot Middle for Avian Well being on the Texas A&M Faculty of Veterinary Medication & Biomedical Sciences, says that completely different species of birds exhibit completely different social behaviors.

“Parrots, chickens, canaries, and pigeons are all very flock oriented. Raptors, like hawks and owls, will not be as social or flock oriented,” added Dr. Sharman Hoppes, a professor emerita affiliated with the Schubot Middle.

Since most birds are prey animals, they are typically extra alert and nervous round new individuals and parts of their setting. Nonetheless, Hoppes says that pet birds hand-raised by people will usually develop into imprinted on their proprietor and behave in another way.

“Birds see their homeowners as a part of the flock. This could result in a really shut bonding relationship that’s enjoyable and entertaining in our houses,” Hoppes mentioned. “However in some instances, birds might even see their proprietor as a mate; this stimulates irregular reproductive conduct affecting nesting, persistent egg-laying, and territorial behaviors.

“In some instances, an unhealthy relationship with the proprietor can result in well being points akin to cloacal prolapse (a protrusion of the reproductive tract) and hypocalcemia (calcium deficiency) from laying too many eggs,” she mentioned.

One other potential situation which will come up from the bond between hen and proprietor is that they could develop into protecting of and chew people who get too near their imprinted human. They could additionally develop into protecting of their cage or develop into defensive in the event that they really feel threatened, additionally resulting in biting.

Flock-oriented birds have developed to dwell with different members of their species and kind social relationships with their fellow feathered mates. If just one hen is adopted, being alone all day in a cage might develop into traumatic.

“Fortunately, our birds will usually see individuals and different pets, akin to canine and cats, as a part of their flock, so having different animals within the residence and plenty of actions for them to do (akin to enrichment, toys, foraging for meals, and many others.) will assist hold them busy when alone,” mentioned Hoppes.

Though our feathered mates could seem very completely different from the furry pets most individuals are accustomed to, the relationships they kind with their homeowners are robust and rewarding bonds that final a lifetime.

Pet Speak is a service of the Faculty of Veterinary Medication & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M College. Tales could be seen on the internet at

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