Friday, September 13, 2013

New Baby Parrotlet with AGY, Watery Droppings

Hi, Sandee! I've owned tame budgies for years, but now I have just one budgie and a sweet baby parrotlet, Pocket. I acquired Pocket at six weeks of age, not knowing that getting a not-quite-weaned baby is a bad idea. However, we have been doing well with that, Pocket and I - he has gradually been gaining weight and seems just about weaned - I still offer formula twice a day (sound OK?). I took him to an avian vet after the first week for a well-baby check, also because his droppings were occasionally watery, and he just didn't seem to have the same voracious appetite as my budgie. The vet gave him a clean bill of health, except she did say that a small amount of AGY showed up in his dropping. I've bought and read your handbook, but am still a bit concerned about that - do I need to worry at all, or should I not be concerned as long as he continues to thrive? Also, what in the heck do "normal" parrotlet droppings look like, anyway? He still occasionally has watery droppings (solid wormy part with watery stuff around it, otherwise his droppings are kind of a very moist tan wormy-like thing. He's pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new foods - is eating some veggies, brown and wild rice, apple, Nutriberries and lots of millet. Sound OK? Thanks for any help you can give (I feel like such a newbie) - love your blog! Mary Kinsley P.S. The budgie and Pocket are kept very separate! Dear Mary: Thank you for your message. Little Pocket sounds like a delight! Most Pacific parrotlets are weaned at six weeks; 7 at the most. It is not unusual for them to revert a bit and accept formula once they have been sold and gone to their new homes due to the stress. However, this is usually something that makes the owners feel better and usually isn’t ‘necessary’ for the bird to survive. Making sure the parrotlet is eating real food is very important at this stage and its always wise to make sure they have as much millet as they wish as well as a wide variety of fresh foods. Millet has both protein and carbohydrates, nutrients needed by baby parrotlets to both grow strong and healthy as well as insure proper nutritional support throughout this transition. The most important things to get the bird to eat are vegetables. Fruit is ok but most parrotlets are not big fruit eaters unless its apple or things that have a lot of seeds in them like kiwi or berries. Greens and cooked legumes are also very important. Feeding a parrotlet hand-feeding formula will increase the urates (watery) part of the droppings. That is perfectly normal and is what is expected. AGY is a naturally occurring yeast in all birds and is normal. Again, during periods of stress, their bodies may produce more of it which can be detected in droppings but unless the bird is clinically ill, it is not considered a problem and most vets familiar with it do not believe in medicating the bird. It generally clears up on its own. Pocket sounds like a very lucky bird to have you as an owner. Best of luck and I hope this helps! Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Parrotlet Breeder Referrals, Talking Ability, Small Children

This is Danielle lookin for a awesome breeder for my new baby ..i live in Indiana n have a 4yr old son looking for a sweet n cuddly pretty blue with lots of personality n being able to b taught to talk is important too. Dear Danielle: Here are the names of reputable breeders that I can recommend. I have no idea what they have available but they are honest, knowledgeable and will work with you to get you the bird you want. However, I must caution you that parrotlets are not birds that are known for the talking ability. While quite a few learn to talk, there are no guarantees that ANY bird will learn to talk including the world’s best talking parrots such as Amazons or African greys. I always tell people to buy a bird that is well-socialized and a good pet. IF you can teach it to talk, so much the better but please never buy any parrot with the expectation it will learn to talk unless its already learned to talk when you purchase it. Also, it is very important for the safety of the bird that anytime it is out with your child, you are supervising their interaction. A 4 year old is very young and can easily injure or kill a parrotlet quite by accident. This is not only horrible for the bird but it could traumatize your child. It takes only a second for an accident to happen so its imperative that the bird never be out with the child unless an adult is present. Good luck and be sure and tell them I gave you the referral. Hope this helps. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase

Friday, August 9, 2013

New Parrotlet

Hi Sandee, I have a blue pacific male that is about three and a half months old. I've had him for a little more than two weeks. I have been working with him every day to teach him to step up and I have had some success. My problem is he is very evasive. I know that parrotlets can be aggressive with their cages, which he is, but once I get him out of the cage he still tries to get away from me. His wings are clipped, but he still tries to fly back to his cage and get away from me. I also got him a play stand to spend time out of his cage on, but when I put him on it he just tries to fly back to his cage. I have been putting him on a towel in my lap and just tried spending time with him but he is so aggressive. He is constantly trying to bite me, though when he bites its never really painful. He opens his mouths and spreads his wings and strikes at my fingers or he will just put my finger in his mouth without biting down hard. I try to pet him but he is constantly trying to attack my fingers. My breeder told me that he was hand fed, but I'm starting to wonder if that is truly the case. Can you offer me some advice? Regards, Jon Dear Jon: Thank you for your email. Poor little guy. Sounds to me like he is very, very frightened. Two weeks is not a lot of time for a young bird to adjust (please see my page on my site entitled “Bringing Baby Home”) and get used to all the new and frightening things going on. He has a new cage, new people, new perches, new toys, no siblings and everything familiar to him is gone. You will find lots of tips on that page to deal with his behaviors and how to reassure him that everything is ok. As for him being hand-fed, he absolutely is. Remember that parrotlets are not domesticated like dogs and cats or even cockatiels. They need to be imprinted on people instead of birds. If this bird was not hand-fed, I can pretty much guarantee you would not be able to handle him at all and his biting would be as hard as he could which would break the skin. He also would not let go and would probably scream and beat himself up trying to get away from you. To me, he is simply acting like a normal parrotlet that is trying to adjust to a lot of new things. He needs patience, consistency and understanding. One thing I would do is when you are working with him, take him into an unfamiliar room. He will be much more dependent on you if you are the only thing that is familiar to him. Let him perch on your finger and jump off if he wants. Don’t try and restrain him as that will cause him to bite, usually harder and harder until you let go. Just let him jump off and pick him back up and let him do it until he gets tired. Once he is tired you can work on the Step Up command and doing ‘ladders’ and other things that would be fun for him. I think he is going to be a great pet parrotlet once he settles in, calms down and you can do a little training for him. Remember he is a 4” baby bird that needs to always be on guard to make sure he isn’t eaten or killed. Its nothing personal. Just they way Nature designed these little guys so they could exist in the wild. Best of luck and let me know how it goes! Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase Salman,

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mexican Parrotlets, Green Rump Parrotlets, Touring Your Facility, More Than One Pet Parrotlet

Hello, I am extremely interested in acquiring two parrotlets. I have previously owned a yellow napped Amazon, two sulfur crested cockatoos, and many cockatiels over the years. Now all I want are two wee parrotlets. I'm interested in both the Mexican and the Green Rump. I would like to have two so that they can be companions when I am away...though I am retired and at home a goodly amount of the time. My curiosity has to do with the advisability of housing two together. Might it be better to have two females, as I did with my cockatoos (they got along famously), or would it be better to have a mated pair? Two males just seem understandably out of the question...LOL...I have an entire room that would be their room, where they would have no fear of intruding cats or dogs. My cats are ancient and the dogs live outside. I very much miss having birds; they were such a joy in my life. I shall be in Aptos the 5th and 6th of August for some medical care and would love to come to your facility, if it is acceptable to you? I'd love to take two away with me, preferably ones that still require some hand feeding so that they would bond with me, as so many of my previous avian friends did. Might I inquire how much they cost, and have you equipment there for purchase? Or should I prepare, in advance, with purchases made up here (Santa Rosa)? Either way is acceptable to me. Do, please, advise... Its better to reach me at, as this sonic address is just too jammed with extraneous emails!!! And, I can be reached at 707-888-6064 I'm really quite excited at the prospect of bringing two babies home, but old enough to be separated from their parents! Oh, I'll need your proper address, if it's OK for me to come visit... Thank you for your time, and I do look forward to meeting you. Karen Dear Karen: Thank you for your emails. Sorry for the delay in responding. Mexican parrotlets always were extremely rare and because of that I never sold them as pets but only worked with zoos and members of the International Parrotlet Society’s cooperative breeding program in order to preserve them. Unfortunately, Mexican parrotlets were always the most difficult parrotlets to work with so even before color mutation Pacifics were introduced in the mid—1990’s, they were always rare. Now they are all but non-existent in the United States anymore and are considered ‘genetically extinct’ in this country. Unfortunately, the same fate, people dumping all of their species of parrotlets except for color mutation Pacifics, has resulted in the demise of once common species such as Green Rumps and Spectacles; even wild-type (normal) Pacifics are almost impossible to find these days. I do know two breeders of Green Rumps that I can recommend but both are on the East Coast and you would have to have them shipped. That is no issue for the birds as the airlines take excellent care of them and in 30 years I’ve never had a bird arrive with a feather out of place let alone injured or killed. I never recommend that people purchase two parrotlets to keep each other company. Parrotlets are very aggressive and territorial birds and even if you get two birds at the same time and they grow up together, in all likelihood, one will become dominant over the other and become aggressive it. “Share’ is not a word in the parrotlet vocabulary and they look at the other bird as a rival and a competitor not a companion or friend. Usually the dominant bird will not allow the other bird to eat, perch or play and can injure or sometimes kill the other bird. If you would like two parrotlets as companions for yourself, that’s fine. Just make sure each bird has their own cage and is supervised when it is out with the other bird. Otherwise, pet parrotlets do best as single birds in one household. So long as they have a large cage, lots of toys and daily interaction with their owners, they are just fine. They are not like cockatoos or other birds that need the socialization of others of their kind. They are aggressive, territorial and will defend their cage, home, even person with an intensity that is difficult to comprehend unless you’ve seen it. In 35 years, I have never sold an unweaned bird. Not even to experienced hand-feeders of parrotlets. Parrotlets do not bond with their hand-feeder but bond with the person or birds that they are placed with after weaning. Also, it is very stressful and an unnecessary health risk to the bird to place it with another hand-feeder as even if you use the same formula and keep it in the correct temperature, they often suffer from stress by simply being placed in a new environment before they are physiologically ready. I also do not let people into my breeding aviary. This is to protect my birds from stress and disease. I have worked with USDA to establish biological protocols to protect people’s birds by following the closed-aviary concept and no one goes into my breeding aviary but me. Also, these are breeding birds and it would stress them greatly to have strangers coming into their secured place looking at them so I never allow people into my aviary. Finally, I want to say that I am currently not breeding parrotlets as I have severe arthritis in my thumb from hand-feeding thousands of baby parrotlets over the decades and need surgery on it. I do not know if I will be breeding again but if I do, I will have a waiting list. In the meantime, I would be happy to recommend some breeders to you from out of state if you would like. They are extremely reputable as I only recommend people I would do business with. Best of luck with your procedures and I hope this helped! Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase

Parrotlet Mutations, Adopting Older Parrotlets, Parrotlet Behavior

Hi Sandee, I suffered a terrible blow today. I was told I would be looking at a hand fed 'halfway socialized' 8 to 9 week old parrotlet, we drove 226 miles round trip for nothing. I called a mile away from the place ( I told her that we were leaving at 930 or 10, and she answered the phone when I was a mile away like I was her best friend, and said 'oh, I'm sorry, I got the age wrong, we got to talking last night and realized he's 4 months old' I said this is a shock but we're a mile away, I'll come see him...he was beautiful, maybe they all are, but skittish, he was flying into cabinet doors to try to get away, although he did like to hide in my long hair, and let me pet him there, he was more than bitey, bitey on a continuous basis, I freed him from the net the breeder's helper used, cause his claws were caught, and he bit me at least a dozen times just for that, the breeder was named Trish, she was an IPS member, said she had 20 years experience, but he was from two blues, which my friend Colette said is not acceptable. I don't know if you know her, she's great, she owns the He was bonded with the other young parrotlets, calling to them. I was tempted, after that long drive, but I declined him. I am now thinking of shipping... Please advise which breeders you recommend, and I will contact them...I want a hand fed socialized baby, just one, as long as it's a male... THANK YOU! Wendi Dear Wendy: Although the age of the bird was older than first indicated, it seems to me that the bird was ‘halfway socialized’ or more accurately was a hand-fed baby that had not been handled in several months and probably would have come around and made a good pet with some work and some patience. The best bonded parrotlet I ever knew was a female who I had hand-fed then put in with other parrotlets until she was 8 months old at which time I gave her to my husband’s friend. Yes, she bit at first but after a couple of weeks, she settled in to her new surroundings and bonded so strongly with her owner that when I took the bird in for a year while he had his house remodeled, she immediately responded to him when she heard his voice. The behavior as you describe is completely normal for a parrotlet that had not been handled in a long time. Also, 4-6 months is when most parrotlets go through their first molt. This poor bird is scooped out of its cage, away from other parrotlets, has at least 4 people in the room with it, two of whom are complete strangers and, of course, its scared and tries to get away only to get caught in a net, which, to a bird, feels like it is going to die. I’d bite too. Also, not sure if the bird’s wings were clipped but if it were flying away, probably not and even the sweetest parrotlet can turn nippy when it is fully-flighted. This bird probably thought the end was near and was doing everything in its power to save itself. After all, these are animals guided by Nature’s instinct to survive. They are not domesticated animals like a dog or cat that has been raised for thousands of years to live with humans. The bird was acting like a completely normal, healthy parrotlet and I’m sure it was stressed and frightened as it could be. That’s why it bit you, not because its mean or hateful. It’s a baby and it was scared for its life. As for the genetics of breeding a blue to a blue, that has nothing to do with its personality nor is it an indicator of any future possible health problems. Even if it did, unfortunately, people like me who actually outcrossed to wild-types (or even have wild-types) were very, very, rare. You are lucky if you can find ANY parrotlets that don’t have some mutation in the background and most have several. So the days of being able to pick from what would be considered ‘healthier stock’ from outcrossed mutations are over for parrotlets. Just like having any other species available. While species such as Mexican and Blue Wing parrotlets were always uncommon, they are now considered genetically extinct in the US. Even once common species such as Spectacles and Green Rumps are very, very rare and all of them are related. Breeding related birds, inbreeding, will bring about the extinction of a species faster than anything. That is why humans can’t marry their relatives. Mutations contributed to this destruction of the availability of parrotlets in the US because people were greedy (after all, they cost $1000 each when first bred), they are in or linebred in order to establish them, most parrotlet breeders did not outcross to wild—types and they dumped all of their other species in order to either make more money or inflate their egos by producing new pretty colors. It’s a pretty sad state for someone like me who devoted almost 4 decades of my life to establishing self-sustaining captive populations of all species of parrotlets in the US. This is what also led to the demise of the International Parrotlet Society. People only working with mutations, thinking they can get all of their information for free online and not giving anything back to the parrotlet community. Very sad. I am working on a presentation for several organizations on the demise of bird clubs and how it will ultimately lead to the demise of aviculture. Best of luck and be sure and let them know I gave you the referral. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase ________________________________________

Parrotlet Sex Preference, Shipping, Availability

Hi there, I am interested in acquiring a pet parrotlet, hopefully a male since males seem to get along better with women when it comes to birds. I live near Sacramento and was wondering if it is feasible to ship or should I just try to make a trip down there to pick up a bird from you. I wonder if a three hour car ride would be too stressful for a new bird. What do you have available as far as young birds go? I see the cost for shipping seems to be $60? in addition to the price paid for the bird upfront. Thanks in advance for answering my questions. Lisa Dear Lisa: Thank you for your email. I've bred parrotlets for almost 40 years and it has never been my experience that a male parrotlet prefers a female owner or a female prefers a male. The best indication of pet personality is a) the bird's own individual personality and how it likes people b) how it was imprinted (handled & socialized from the nest) and c) how it was trained once it go into the new home. A bird that is a good pet would be a good pet with either women or men. Shipping is done usually out of state as the birds must be flown to their destinations. Sometimes I will ship in state to San Diego or Los Angeles but because of the type of aircraft required (must have a pressurized, climate controlled cargo area). Shipping to Sacramento would be impossible as the small regional jets do not have that capacity. Also, shipping is much more expensive than $60 as most airlines charge at least $100 or more. As for a three hour car riding being stressful, certainly not for a parrotlet. I know people that take their birds on vacation with them in their cars, RV's, boats and by plane. I even travel with unweaned babies and so long as they are not left in an overheated car, they are just fine. Unfortunately, after all these decades of hand-feeding thousands of baby parrotlets, I am no longer able to hand-feed as I have severe arthritis in my thumb. I do not know if I will be able to breed them in the future. I'm sorry. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase

Parrotlet Aviary Sounds CD

You were talking about a CD recording of a parrotlet aviary to stimulate the breeding instinct of a single pair, but I don’t see it as available on your website. Can I order that from you or do you know where I can get one? Thanks Jon Dear Jon: Sorry for the delay but you can purchase the CD off our website in two forms: audio CD or PC. Here is the URL The CD’s are listed at the end. Thanks so much! Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase

Friday, April 12, 2013

13 YO Spectacle Parrotlet Issues

Hi Sandee, I doubt you remember me, but my mother (Doreen Berg) contacted you some 13 years ago for advice on getting my little guy when I was 10. I still have my spectacled Parrotlet, Peppy, he is turning 13 this year. I am emailing you because he recently started to do some strange activity. It is becoming a frequent morning ritual where I am presented with an angry bird who, as soon as he is uncovered, will make a giant dropping. The first time I saw one of these droppings, I thought that my Amazon parrot had been in Peppy's room. I've read on many forums that this is normal for a bird first thing in the morning, but what makes this concerning is that I know he will be up for quite a while, prior to making these droppings, as he is the one who wakes me up. He also is spending a lot of time at the bottom of his cage. I feel like he thinks it is his nest... as he'll often regurgitate. I've read in many threads online that this is something to be concerned about. I took him to the vet recently, and brought up these issues along with his increased aggression to me (which again, on forums mentioned that during mating season would only last up to a week or so.. it's been more like 2 years). The vet suggested that I change his bottoms from shavings to news paper and try to take him off a seed diet (which I have tried to do many times over the 13 years). I am happy to say that I have successfully integrated wet pellets into his fresh fruit daily breakfasts. However, when I switched from shavings to newspaper, he started to chew soiled newspaper, so I switched back. Help! I am at a loss of what to do and I want to make sure everything is ok with him. Thanks, Denna Dear Denna: Thank you for your email. I'm not sure where to start except with the advice you are getting online. Please remember that a) most of these people have never seen let alone owned a Spectacled parrotlet b) most of these people have no idea what is like to have a parrotlet that is over 10 years of age and c) anyone with a keyboard and an opinion can make themselves an expert online usually by simply repeating other peoples' information with no idea whether or not it is valid information. First, it is not normal for a parrotlet to have 'giant' droppings first thing in the AM unless the bird is a hen about to lay an egg. After all, if it was normal, you would have been seeing it all along since you've had the bird for such a long time. Second, the only parrotlets that have breeding seasons are Mexican parrotlets. All of the other species, including Spectacles, have NO set breeding season and breed all year round. Now, that doesn't mean they don't have certain times of their year when either they are molting or have hormone increases or decreases but there is no such thing as a Spectacled breeding season. Also, your bird is 13 years old. Not likely the bird is exhibiting breeding behavior as it is simply too old and again, if it was, you certainly would have seen this all along in the bird's life. Being on the bottom of the cage and regurgitating, along with the changes in his behavior by being more aggressive with you, the changes in his droppings and the age of this bird indicate medical not behavioral issues. 13 years old is very old for a parrotlet these days so I'm surprised the vet didn't take blood and check to see if the bird had a geriatric medical condition. Birds are very much like people and can and do get diabetes, gout, kidney and heart failure. A 13 yo parrotlet exhibiting the kind of behavior and symptoms, especially one that has been eating primarily a seed diet all of its life, indicates to me either diabetes or kidney issues. I wish I had better information for you but you asked for my expert opinion and the is what I believe the problem is. I hope you find comfort that your parrotlet has lived a very long, happy life with you. He may have a few more years with you but 13 yo parrotlets are very rare these days. I wouldn't make a lot of changes in his diet or other stressful changes that may exacerbate his condition. 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