The experiment

Michael Reynolds

Regular Member
As some of you know I have been helping Yav and taken on Fred and Gilbert Jnr as there mother was plucking them. well they are both weaned and although Gilbert Jnr did land badly a few weeks ago he is now using both legs being that he still has a slight limp. There Dad Gilbert a yellow napped amazon and there mother LoLa a double yellow headed amazon was quite bonded but we thought we will try a little experiment. the other week I left Fred with Yav and took Lola back home with me. first of all trying to discourage the breeding but also to see how each of them cope being apart. now the dad Gilbert was extra protective all the time Lola was there but also was missing so many feathers as Lola has a thing about plucking other birds feather, I was able to get quite close to them both when they was together but it was something they was not happy for Yav to do. Lola was the most friendly to Yav but Gilbert got very protective and will try to attack at times.

the outcome is Gilbert has now become friendly and even gave Yav a kiss (he may post a video later) and loves the company of his son Fred and Lola has been brilliant with me photo to follow. Gilbert Jnr now has his mum around him although I have to watch her as she has plucked one feather from Gilbert jnr. Lola is slightly nervous of the other birds but I am slowly introducing her to them and she is more settled. Yav is very happy as things have worked out well so we have decided that the arrangement will be permanent, As we can see the benefits all around. none of them are showing signs of missing each other.

I will carry on assisting Yav in training Fred plus support him with his green winged when she arrives .

Michael Reynolds

Regular Member
there was a few reasons that I had not mentioned and this was to see if both will settle down including the chicks, Fred was not being kind to young Gilbert once he had his injury and I was going to split them up so young Gilbert could progress as Fred was being a bully and stopping Gilbert from eating to a point that I ended up hand feeding him again, he lost interest in food and was loosing weight so I had to step in, ok my concern was splitting up Lola and Gilbert senior, but then Gilbert had lost most of his head feathers and Lola was not letting him rest. I did not just jump into splitting them up and I am and have been willing to take her back to Yav at a moments notice if either had shown any sign of stress. each day we have been in contact with each other and although we say its a permanent arrangement we both understand that the birds come first and if any of them seem unhappy then we can revert. At the moment Lola I can say has no signs of missing Gilbert and has taken to me as a friend, going by the daily videos from Yav it looks like Gilbert senior is just as happy having his son with him, some thing Lola would not allow. the alternative would of been separating them even if in the same home both with Gilbert and Lola or the chicks. Yav suggested that we see how things will be with this arrangement, I was hesitant at first but both birds seem so content at the moment.

Michael Reynolds

Regular Member
I am sorry you fill that way Tasha but something had to be done for it was heart breaking watching Gilbert senior getting his feathers pulled so badly they needed to be apart either at yav's place or at mine. this way both will not be on there own so the affects are less likely that they miss each other, can you suggest a better solution

Steve Ducks

It was an idea born out of desperation. Gilbert senior has been having his feathers stripped by Lola for years. I had got her as a companion for him, but with the misguided impression that parrots are very hard to breed. This had led to me losing both birds as pets. Lola is a beautiful gentle bird, happy to be handled and played with but Gilbert became completely unhandleable. And protective. I have not been allowed to handle Lola for years. WE didnt think we would be able to separate them. Gilbert has become extremely depressed previously when I have tried to keep them apart.

I think Gilbert has been lucky not to have contracted a blood disorder from his mutilations. It’s been heartbreaking to hear him scream in pain. I have tried every other possible solution. And the good news is the experiment has gone 10 times better than we expected. We are still ready to switch back within a day at the first sign of distress. But Gilbert Senior, after 24 hours of depression, seems over the moon about having his boy about. They are getting along extremely well and Gil has calmed right doWn - Today I got my first kisses from him in about 5-6 years!

This has been a fabulous arrangement for all four birds concerned. The babies are now each with a parent, and get twice the attention from us humans. Lola is finally getting the human contact she is desperate for - and apparently now Gilbert is too! The feather plucking that Lola does can now be contained. Neither adult bird seems to miss the other at all - they do chat over the phone sometimes tho.

It might appear at first glance that this is an extreme solution. To split up an adult bonded pair. The alternatives I had:

1. Let Lola eventually kill Gilbert.
2. Buy an unknown male Amazon as company for Gilbert to assuage the definitely necessary split up, re-siting Lola to an empty room away from him Which would probably lead to a whole host of other problems. Not least with bringing in an unknown bird which could add Issues.

So we discussed all these things at length until it occurred to me that as the babies would still be “known” (if not still bonded) to their parents, this would be the perfect exchange. This was concreted for me when I heard that baby Gil was getting bullied by his brother.

Our main concern was that Gilbert Sr would become extremely depressed. I am extremely surprised to say the opposite has occurred. Maybe he enjoys not being tortured by his female every day! He is a thousand times more relaxed and happy. Meanwhile Lola is getting along great with Mick, the babies are no longer rivalling for food and attention. This has been the best possible result for all four parrots which was the only intent. But happily Michael and I are also benefitting now from having such much happier guys.

One downside is I do miss Lola but I can visit her and I know she is very happy with M.


Staff member
What you witnessed is something called allopreening which is associated with bonded breeding proven pairs.
And Gilbert let her do it its a sign of trust and parental cooperation the times he yelled is like saying "Ouch take it steady will you" which is just like somebody combing knots out of your hair if he was really upset and didn't like it he would have really told her so and had a go back at her.
Lola would not have killed Gilbert, I have seen some birds especially cock birds totally bald from allowing their chosen hen bird to over preen them more so african greys than ammies best example we had on here were Tim and Fester the two greys that belonged to Old Cynic Tim was fully feathered and beautiful and her mate Fester errr lets just say she gave him a totally nudist hair cut on top but they were totally devoted and bonded although not proven.

Here's some light reading reference allopreening and what its all about.

Once the new macaw is there Gilbert will not be having a lot of time with you Yav as you will be trying to bond with the newbie and Gilbert will be left with time to ponder that he no longer has a partner as he'll see you bonding with the newbie.

Michael do not assume you know how I feel from one sentence I write on forum.
My soul interest is the birds and their welfare and what is best for them not the humans and their desires, especially as they were put together by a human so they could have company of each other and then hey presto that's not desired anymore by the humans lets split them up and once again and decide we humans know best. I was a registered PSUK breeder myself years ago and bred and sold birds hmm yeah think have had enough years sitting watching, studying and learning about the pairs I had and how they interacted and their ability to show affection and sadness when their mates passed away or out of sight due to the odd sick leave one or two had (two from leg ring removals that had squished too tight and had to be removed and one due to being egg bound when the weather temperature suddenly changed - all birds made a full recovery) Birds hide things well during illness we know and humans can and do misinterpret what birds are telling saying with body language etc just because a bird doesn't self mutilate and pluck itself does not mean its not stressed, and until you have owned a bird for a long time and know what its like when it is stressed and when it isn't is the only way your going to know what signs that particular bird shows.

Don't worry peeps not commenting any further on this subject as am totally peed off.

Michael Reynolds

Regular Member
I did not assume any thing, I was asking what other solution you would make, keeping both birds as happy as possible and keeping them both with company they know. as far as stress have you ever thought why are birds in the wild are not plucking feathers of there partners, it takes me about one and a half hours to reunite them and one thing we both are concerned about is when they get back in breeding mode. I wonder if @Parrot797 may give guidance please

Steve Ducks

Allopreening is not AlloPLUCKING. I didnt say Lola WOULD kill Gilbert but the assumption that she might eventually is evidenced by dint of her severely abnormal behaviour over years. The possibility of hiM contracting a blood disorder was strongly hinted at (go check) when I first asked for help here 4 years ago regarding the problem. No solution other than splitting them up was viable. Intense care and thought was taken. I put less thought into having a kid 30 years ago! If it hadnt have worked then no loss. It has worked which not only means 4 happier and healthy parrots but 2 happier humans as a by product! This has been an entirely positive experience.
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