My husband and I at 33 weeks. Photography by Daniel Kuykendall.
I've gotten a lot of questions about how my birds' behavior have changed since I've been pregnant. I even got an email the other day about a couple that has had to get someone else to look after their cockatoo while the wife is pregnant because the behavior had changed so drastically just towards the pregnant wife. Now I think it's important to consider that your bird is actually hormonal instead of reacting to your hormone change. Remember that birds become hormonal twice a year, not just in the spring but in the fall too. So if your bird is experiencing hormones, check out this downloadable Horror-Mones course to conquer it immediately! From many of the stories I hear, it really sounds like the bird is being triggered hormonally rather than reacting to a big belly in the room.
My husband and I at 33 weeks pregnant, photography by Daniel Kuykendall.
With my own birds I've not been treated any differently... my birds are still just as receptive to me and my toco toucan, Rocko, is just as snuggly and cuddly and cute as ever. My role in their lives has not changed since my pregnancy and so I'm still the one to go out and feed them and talk to them, and randomly spend time with them. Although my hubby seems to be very receptive to my more-tired-than-usual-days and takes over for me quite a bit which the birds don't mind at all! He has taken on roles that requite lots of bending over (haha) like with my toucan's giant water dish... However, I have noticed my rose breasted cockatoo, Bondi, is very attracted to pregnant women. When two of my friends were pregnant, she was all over them! I mean, she did not want to be taken away from them and was very loving towards them. She is our most social bird anyway, but this was extreme for even her and we assumed it could be caused by her knowing they were pregnant. Though most of the stories I hear of cockatoos are opposite where they've turned aggressive. If this is the case for you, consider some hands-off training. This is the type of training you would have a kid do, or the type of training you'd do day one with a new bird, or the type of training you'd do with a super scared/aggressive bird.
33 weeks along in pregnancy. Photography by Daniel Kuykendall.
This is when following the birdtricks.com courses is soooo important because everything falls back on those first basic steps of touch training and stationing and basic behaviors you should have taught your bird in the beginning that act as the foundation for your relationship. This way pregnant woman can get suddenly-mean-bird back in the cage without getting bitten or being scared. It's almost important not to immediately blame behavior on pregnancy - I think all other aspects should be looked at first like diet, overall health and nutrition and things of that nature. You'd feel awful to blame pregnancy blindly and find out your bird got some sort of yeast or bacteria infection that is actually causing the behavior change. We're pregnant for a long time so there's room for lots of NORMAL behavior changes throughout the year and you're bound to be pregnant for a fall or spring where hormones will pop up no matter what. As far as how I plan on dealing with the introduction of baby and likely not being able to be a big role for the first few weeks of birth (to the birds), my mother is coming and she helped raise one of our cockatoos - and so our birds know her. I also have a friend nearby who has taken care of our birds whenever we've taken vacation as well so lots of familiar faces for them and it's nothing new for us to disappear for a weeks time and not see our birds. Everything just sort of comes back to what we preach in our total transformation series about the "gypsy experience". If you're not familiar with that, I'd highly recommend it because it talks about how Dave and I believe in raising our own birds and why they accept change so easily and effortlessly. It also talks heavily on socialization and you'll understand why it's not a huge concern of mine (not as high on the list as you know, labor... hahaha! And other more immediate first-time-mom concerns!) to be introducing our daughter, when old enough, to our flock. They've met plenty of kiddos on the circus for two years of sitting patiently on strangers arms and getting their pictures taken. For videos of some of my flock members during my pregnancy check out the following:
- My male galah cockatoo Bandit during my pregnancy.
- My 3 female sun conures during my pregnancy.
- My camelot macaw (male) during my pregnancy.
- My male toco toucan during my pregnancy.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.