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,

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