Interesting parrot behavior

Feb 6, 2021
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I have a pair of wild-caught yellow-crowned Amazons that successfully raised chicks for seven years. I would pull the chicks for hand-rearing at about 2 to 3 weeks of age. On the eighth year of production, the hen decided that she was not going to stand for me pulling her babies. She was feeding three beautiful babies, and they were ready to pull from the nest. The moment she saw me open the inspection door and pull out the first of the three babies, she immediately jumped in the box and killed the other two. This was not an accident. She specifically meant to kill them. She inflicted a single puncture wound to the brain with her upper mandible in exactly the same spot on both of the remaining chicks. I never repeated my actions, and she has never again been destructive. I either pull her eggs before they hatch or let her raise and wean her babies to be used as future breeders. I am allowed to quickly look into the box, but I don’t dare touch.

Having gone over all this, I am not convinced that your severa macaws killed their firstborn. I believe that the only time that parrots kill their offspring is when they perceive a territorial intrusion. On rare occasions, the appearance of living, moving things that are crawling around where the eggs are supposed to be is interpreted this way. In infrequent cases like this, it will usually be the work of the male. If your pair of birds were prone to be affected in such negative ways, I believe that they would have most certainly killed the baby cockatiels.

Consider the possibility that the first hatchling might have been a very weak hatch. It is not uncommon for very weak hatches to die shortly after hatching. A parrot will not and cannot feed an unresponsive chick. What they will do on occassion is try to prod the chick into responding. I personally believe that dead day-old chicks that are found in the nest with the tips of their feet, wings and beak bruised and/or bloodied are the result of an overzealous attempt on the part of the parents to prod a weak and dying chick into responding. Although uncommon, it is not unusual for a chick to hatch with a red spot or bruise on the top of its head. This injury is incurred in the battle to escape from the shell. Parrots don’t usually feed and brood babies that they injure with malice. The fact that they fed and warmed the baby and showed no aggressive behavior toward the cockatiels tells me that things probably would have worked out fine. If the pair were mine, I would be willing to take the gamble that they would feed and care for the next clutch.