What to Do When Your Parakeet Won't Stop Squawking
I've had parakeets my whole life. They've always been well-tempered, social birds that I can get along very easily with. They chirp in the morning, and whistle back and forth with me. I've always found my parakeets to be absolutely delightful, a joy to have in the house.
Then again, I've never owned a male parakeet... until now.
When my last parakeet, Hedwig, passed away two years ago, I was sad. She was the third parakeet I ever owned since I was 14, and I didn't know what I was going to do without a bird in the house.
That's when my lovely boyfriend decided to bring home a couple of parakeets for me as a gift. He picked out a male and a female this time, concerned that a single parakeet might get lonely by itself while we're at work.
Things went great for the first few months. I immediately began socializing them. I noticed right from the start that the male was much harder to tame than the female. She loved to interact with me, and learned tricks right away. The male on the other hand, always acted like I was trying to kill him anytime I got too close. He would scream and throw himself around in true Drama King fashion. Still, I wasn't going to give up on him.
My Parakeet Won't Stop Squawking!
About six months after getting these birds, I began to notice a real behavior problem with the male. He squawks a lot! Actually, it's more like a scream. A really high-pitched, shrill, gut-wrenching scream.
Why does he do this? Let me tell you, after two years I still have no clue. He seems to be irritated by literally everything.
He screams if he hears someone talking. He screams if the TV is on. He screams if he sees you move. He screams at the other bird when she eats. He also screams at her when she dares to move. He screams if anything in his cage changes. If I put a new toy in there, he will scream non stop for hours. Heck, he even screams for no reason at all, all day long.
This bird has pushed me to within an inch of my limits. I've tried everything with him. I do everything I can to keep him busy and entertained. It doesn't work, he still screams. He is healthy, eats a proper diet, has plenty of toys, gets a ton time out his cage. He has everything he could ever need, and more. He still screams all day.
I've tried paying a ton of attention to him. He still screams (and he still freaks out when I get near him). I've tried ignoring him when he's loud, it doesn't help. I've tried screaming back at him. That helps for about 5 minutes. Then the screaming starts again. I've tried separating him from the other bird, that just makes it worse. I've tried moving the cage to different rooms, and even outside during the day. He still screams.
Does this sound like you? I know I can't be the only one who owns a parakeet from hell!
Nothing I've tried has solved the problem completely, but here are some things I've found that make it a little bit better.
AviCalm For Birds
I use this on my parakeet, and I'm pretty happy with it. You just mix it in with their food, and it calms them down. It's natural and totally safe.
Tips- How To Stop The Squawking
1. Try moving the cage. This is my first course of action every single day. Put it outside or in a different room. Change up the scenery a little bit.
2. Get AviCalm. This stuff was recommended to me by a friend who has an agressive bird. It's a powder that you can mix in with their food, and it calms them down. This is one of the most effective tactics I've found. I have to give it to him every single day though, as it seems to wear off after a while. And many days it only helps the situation, it doesn't make him stop entirely.
3. Get a squirt bottle. I'm serious. I know it sounds harsh, but I have to resort to this on the days when I literally contemplate killing him. I'm not kidding, this bird has irritated me to the point of tears more times than I can count. I spend 30 minutes sitting right next to the cage. When he acts like a demon, I give him a squirt with that bottle. Every time he screams, I give him a squirt. This tactic is particularly useful when he's being mean to the other bird. He likes to spend the entire day kicking her butt every time she gets near the food bowl. Every time he goes near her while she's eating, he gets a squirt. He catches on pretty quickly and cuts down on the crappy behavior... for a while.
4. Time out. When none of the other things work, I put him in time out. I have a separate cage that he goes in... alone. He has his own food and water in there, and a few toys. I cover the cage with a blanket, and put him in a room by himself. I play classical music in hopes that it will calm him down. It's usually a 50/50 chance that this will work. If he is quiet after about an hour, I will return him to his cage with the other bird. Usually he is fairly decent after that. If he continues to scream during time out, I resort to more extreme measures...
5. Extreme measures. I am well aware that this bird hates me. I have recently decided to use that to my advantage in the fight against his crappy attitude. Even though I usually don't like clipping wings, I clipped his recently so he can't fly away from me. I grab him out of his cage, walk away so he can't see it, and then I put him on my shoulder. He tries to get away a few times, but I just put him right back on my shoulder. He will scream for a good 10 minutes straight. I just let him scream. After that, he usually burrows into my hair and hides. I just let him chill there while I'm going about my business. I occasionally offer him food, which he has yet to accept. This usually gives me up to 2 hours of peace and quiet. It seems to be a huge relief for the other bird as well. She usually takes this time to eat and play in the bath... two things he never lets her do while he's around. I honestly think that this tactic only works because he's terrified, but I don't really care because it actually shuts him up for a short time.
6. Finally, when nothing else works, I have to just lock him up in a room and turn music up loud to drown out the sound of him screaming.
I work from home, so I'm at home with this bird all day long. After 2 long years of hearing him scream all day long, that really starts to weigh heavy on a person's sanity! I get a little desperate sometimes and have tried everything I can think of to resolve the issue and get him to be quiet. It would be so nice if he could just chirp all day like normal birds do, like all my other parakeets have always done! It's like he doesn't know how to communicate without squawking.
Just to give you an idea of what I go through, imagine a really shrill-sounding blow horn going off right in the next room. Now imagine that sound repeating over and over in 1 second intervals for long, drawn out periods of time.
Squawk. Squawk. Squawk. Squawk. Squawk. SQUAAAAAAWK. Squawk. SQUAWK!
That is my life every single day. I'm wondering right now how I haven't pulled my hair out yet...
Are You In The Same Boat?
Do you have a similar parakeet-from-hell situation? How do you handle it? Do you have any tips and tricks that I haven't thought of?
Please share in the comments!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2017 Kristen Haynie