Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taming an Adult Parrotlet

Is it possible to tame an adult parrotlet? I like the idea of giving an adult a home, but I also want him to be my friend.



Dear April:

Thank you for your email. It has been my experience that parrotlets either bond with other birds or they bond with people. Nature has designed them to bond with birds and perpetuate the species. Human beings have overcome this instinct by imprinting birds to accept humans with which bond and socialize with instead of other birds. This is done by hand-feeding them from when their eyes are open at about 10 days of age. They are handled, touched, spoke to, fed and completely immersed in human interaction until they are weaned. Once they are weaned, the imprinting process continues when they are sold as pets, go to a new home and are trained and handled. Parrotlets that do not receive this further imprinting once the birds are weaned, almost always revert back to their wild natures and will not allow handling by humans. This is actually what people who work with rare and endangered species do in order to have birds breed successfully in captivity. The birds are hand-fed (but usually not handled or socialized) and once they are weaned, they are placed with other birds so they can readapt to being birds and accepting birds as mates and going onto reproduce. These make the ideal breeding birds because they are not afraid of people but they are still bonded with birds and will accept them as mates, breed and raise offspring.

While there are exceptions to every rule, in 30 years I can count on one hand all the birds that can be tamed as adults if they were not imprinted from a young age. If it were that easy, no one would spend the amount of time, energy and dedication to hand-feeding, socializing and training a baby parrotlet. People would simply handle them once they were weaned like budgies, cockatiels and lovebirds.

With all that being said, I cannot answer your question about this particular bird since all birds are individuals. It may be possible with a tremendous amount of patience and skill that you might be able to tame this bird to the point where you can handle it. I am assuming when you say you want the bird to be your 'friend' you want to be able to take it out of the cage and handle it. I can't make that determination. It may respond to training especially if it was hand-fed at one time but only time would tell. I can tell you that being handled isn't that important to the bird. Many parrotlets can live a very long and happy life in a big cage with lots of toys and interacting with the humans in their lives not in a physical manner but by chirping and responding to eye contact, treats, food and a person's voice. The only question with that would be does that work for you and only you can answer that.

Sorry I don't have a cut and dried answer for you but I hope you now have enough information to be able to determine what will work for you and this bird if you chose to bring it into your home.

Best of luck and thank you again for your email!

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.
The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner,

Join the International Parrotlet Society, – the World’s Largest and Oldest Parrotlet Organization

A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest.
Camaroonian Phrase

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