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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Paco my parrotlet has run of the house but when I leave for a couple hours he’s very angry when I come back and he flies to me and bites me very hard on the neck, face or whatever isn’t covered. He’s aggressive and loud other times too. Any suggestions?
 

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Hi there! Welcome to the forum. Paco sounds like a feisty one, that’s for sure. Parrotlets may be small in stature but they are huge personalities, often referred to as thinking of themselves as African Greys. Makes them bossy little dudes and yes, left unchecked, aggressive as well.

Tell us a bit about him. How old is he? How long have you had him? When you say he has the run of the house, does that mean he doesn’t have a cage or you have an open door policy for his cage? If he has a cage, does he spend any time in it if his own volition or because you put him in it? From your post, he is clearly full flight but has he ever been clipped? Is this behaviour new or has he always been this way - just progressively worse? What are you feeding him and what is his sleep routine like (how long, regular timing? And where does he sleep - covered/uncovered). How do you react when he flies at you like that? Are there any other people/pets in your home and if so, does he behave that way with them? Does he ever “wiggle neck” at you or regurgitate on you (meaning he might see you as a mate)?

That will seem like a lot of questions but there are things in each of those questions that will help to inform where his behaviour might be able to be corrected. It will help you if you remember he is a wild bird despite being raised in a human environment so they need to be taught how to behave in a human world. Patience, time and understanding will all help your cause and the fact that you are here seeking help is an excellent sign and bodes well for you both! It would also help if you could tell us a bit about your relationship with him - are there positive aspects, things you both enjoy? It also helps to keep the positives close in mind so you don’t feel hopeless. They can do that to your sometimes!

You are not alone! Most of us have experienced these difficult behaviours to some extent at least. Kiwi was very difficult in her youth (and she will tell you I was too…and she wouldn’t be wrong!) but we have had a beautiful relationship for many years having learned from each other. It’s by no means perfect but it is very rewarding. We will help you get there! Keep the faith!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi. Thanks so much for the reply. Paco is 2. I’m his only owner. I bought him when he was 8 weeks. He’s very bonded to me. Is on me a lot around the house and often follows me from room to room or squawks when he doesn’t see me. He has a flight cage but door is always open. He goes in there to eat, drink or beat up his few toys. He doesn’t show interest in bird toys but plays with an empty toilet paper roll. I have food for him in other places in kitchen or table. He eats mostly lafaber seed. Does eat a little broccoli, a little chicken or beef. Doesn’t like fruit much and doesn’t eat lettuce. He won’t take a bath and freaks out if I try to mist him a little. His sleep schedule is 9 to 9. The routine is that he comes to me around 8:30 pm and climbs under my long hair to sleep. After about 20-30 minutes I put him in his cage, which he doesn’t fight. I cover his cage with dark cover. He loves tickles and lets me break up the stem of his new feathers. He gives lots of kisses and talks a lot. He often talks in sentences such as “do you wanna take a bath” or “do you wanna give me a big kiss”. And he’ll look right at me and say “do you wanna kiss me?” And he’ll walk over and give me a kiss.
he has done the waggle and regurgitated but I move away from him or put him down when he starts it. His wings have never been clipped. No other pets. His attacking behavior toward me after I’ve been out of the house for a while started some months ago but his biting me and drawing blood has been goin on for a couple months. Seems like the longer I’m away from home, the madder he gets and bites harder. Also, he’s a bit of a plucker. No bald spots, but he’s only got under fluff on his belly and back, not feathers. Feathers are on his wings. What do you think?😀
 

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Great detailed response, thank you! So, if he is two, he may be going through puberty. Maybe a little late but not outside the realm of possibility. His behaviour certainly suggests it. They can be brutal during this time. My bird Kiwi was really difficult and had me in tears on more than one occasion. So I feel your pain. This passes, though, and they often revert to their former selves. However, his former self is a little aggressive so I think it would be helpful to try to get our little fella to not be so full of himself. I would suggest that you put him in his cage and close the door for awhile during the day, and especially when you go out. He will be fine in a flight cage for sure and it will allow you to control how you greet each other when you enter the house. They are very territorial and he has claimed a bit too much territory for his and your good. Not letting him have free run of the house (and you) will help to reduce his dominance, both during puberty and after.

You are right to ignore the wigglenecking and regurgitating. You should also avoid touching or petting his body - pet only his head. It is a mating thing for them when you pet their bodies and this will be heightened when he’s going through puberty.

His sleep routine sounds great. I don’t have anything to add there. One of our members (Anya) always recommends giving them an extra hour sleep during puberty and I always thought it was an excellent recommendation. Less light signals a move out of the mating season for them in the wild and it can help.

Food is always a bit tricky with these guys yet eating is such a social activity for them. He sounds like he could benefit from some more variety in his diet, which I am sure you would love. With some exceptions like avocado and chocolate, they can eat whatever it is you are eating as long as it is healthy. Kiwi, for example, typically partakes of our dinner, so she will have a small piece of chicken, a bit of mashed potato and some veggies if that is what we are having. She loves chili and pasta too. She has preferences for different veggies - only raw broccoli, only mashed carrots and lettuce only when she is sitting on my hand. You can try different ways of serving him veggies. Kiwi used to love it when I sliced the tops off broccoli and put it in a dish like a bunch of seeds. She isn’t fond of kale but she loves romaine. For his dominance, I would try putting him in his cage and eating a meal close to him so you can share. Although letting him have food in different places in the house seems like a cool foraging idea, it allows him to take over too much territory and rule the roost, so to speak. It just doesn’t work well with these guys. Having an identified space as his territory is much better for both of you. It doesn’t mean he can’t be free when you want him to be, it just means you control that, not him. It is really important to find that balance so you can both enjoy your space and time together.

Plucking is something many Parrotlet owners deal with and it’s not always clear why they pluck. I don’t have experience with plucking but I am wondering if his run of the house without his defined safe space (cage) isn’t stressing him out. Despite their brashness, they are prey and as wild creatures, they are always on the lookout for predators. When you’re gone and he’s alone, it could be quite stressful for him. The fact that he won’t bathe won’t be helping his cause. I would continue misting him even if he freaks out. It doesn’t take long to get them nice and wet and it is so good for their feathers.

I LOVE that he speaks in sentences! What a brilliant little stinker!! You sure sound like you have a lovely bond even if he is being a bossy brat right now. I am glad to know you are having positive experiences too. It helps during the rough spells. Oh, and clipping his wings, even for a bit, also helps to reduce dominance but you may want to try some time in his cage first.

I hope that helps. If this is just a puberty thing, he will calm down eventually. It is a rough patch that we all have to work through. But he does sound a bit big for his britches so hopefully some of this will help the cause.

Keep us posted! It is great For all of us to hear about what works and what doesn’t.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll try the cage before I get his wings clipped I think. He loves his flying. I’ll also keep his food in his cage and see if this helps. I’ll hope puberty gets over sooner than later. Kiwi sounds like a sweetheart. Lots of fun too- and eating well. The parrotlets are very special- and a bit sassy. But I’ll never regret getting him. He's good company. I’m sure your Kiwi is great company too. Thanks for all he help.
 

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I got a two year old right now and had a bit of this a while back. One I did increase his sleep time to 13 hours and it seemed to help. Basically we leave him caged a bit longer.
Also Rio has that anger / chew thing you describe. It drives my wife nuts but I figure that at certain times he gets excited and has to chew. When he gets that way I tend to get some toilet paper and let he chew on it. Sometimes I have to play with him on it. Today I wrapped him up like a burrito in with his head sticking out an he just sat in my hand an chewed the heck out of toilet paper making little pieces everywhere. If he does not get the chew out of his system I will put him in his room or his cage. On you time is a privilege he has too earn. Out of cage time is a privilege he has to earn.


Rio wrapped like a burrito chewing

Hand Bird Finger Beak Natural material
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for your thoughts Ozzie. Rio and Paco sound similar in several ways. Your information is help and I’ll be trying more sleep and the toilet paper chew. I also handmade a tissue paper bird with some feathers I had and I hung it in pacos cage and when he seems excited or angry he really chews on that and squawks and beats it up. Kinda funny to watch. Thanks again for the tips
Marie and Paco
 

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Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll try the cage before I get his wings clipped I think. He loves his flying. I’ll also keep his food in his cage and see if this helps. I’ll hope puberty gets over sooner than later. Kiwi sounds like a sweetheart. Lots of fun too- and eating well. The parrotlets are very special- and a bit sassy. But I’ll never regret getting him. He's good company. I’m sure your Kiwi is great company too. Thanks for all he help.
It is wonderful to hear you say you’ll never regret getting him. He is so lucky to have you. I have a lot of hope some of these things will work and it will give you a bit of space from him as well. They can be very demanding. Don’t worry if he is calling you. It will take him a bit of time to adjust to your new situation.

Ozzie’s burrito bird is so adorable! I forgot to mention the toy thing. Kiwi never took to the many, many toys I bought her, but she loves a paper towel stuffed in the bars of her cage. She rips it to pieces. When she was being really difficult and biting hard, I stuffed a tissue in my closed with a bit sticking out and she would focus all of her energy in tearing it out while she sat on my hand. It allowed us to be out together without me in tears from the biting. So the toilet paper roll isn’t that surprising! Very innovative thinking on your part!

Kiwi is a wonderful bird. We had a tough time when she went through puberty but I had not found this forum. It was so helpful to be able to connect with other Parrotlet owners around the world and learn that her behaviour was typical for parrotlets and I wasn’t a terrible birdie parent. I mean, I made a ton of mistakes, but I learned so much and was able to really improve my relationship with her as well as how I saw her - as a wild bird and not a human child. Game changing. She is an old lady now and mostly just spends time in my hair, but I love her to pieces and value the beautiful relationship I have with this wild creature. It is such a gift.
 

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I got a two year old right now and had a bit of this a while back. One I did increase his sleep time to 13 hours and it seemed to help. Basically we leave him caged a bit longer.
Also Rio has that anger / chew thing you describe. It drives my wife nuts but I figure that at certain times he gets excited and has to chew. When he gets that way I tend to get some toilet paper and let he chew on it. Sometimes I have to play with him on it. Today I wrapped him up like a burrito in with his head sticking out an he just sat in my hand an chewed the heck out of toilet paper making little pieces everywhere. If he does not get the chew out of his system I will put him in his room or his cage. On you time is a privilege he has too earn. Out of cage time is a privilege he has to earn.


Rio wrapped like a burrito chewing

View attachment 47826
Cutest photo EVAR!!! 🥰
 

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Excited/angry is a parrotlet specialty - when they get like that, anything in the way will get bit. Tumi goes nuts for crinkling plastic, tissues, and pill bottles - some birds also add running water. Redirection is the best method - give them things to kill and destroy! Tumi bashes bell toys and constantly chews tissues. He likes bullying around plastic condiment cups. Violent play is a parrotlet specialty for many of them.
My favorite parrotlet comic -
Bird White Blue Organism Beak
 

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In addition to what's been said here, I do a few more things on those, somewhat-rare occasions when Bokeh gets aggressive:

- I take a piece of paper, maybe 5"x5" and fold it a couple of times lengthwise, so that it's a fairly strong "stick". Then I use the paper stick to interact with Bokeh. We can get into little jousting matches this way, and he can get out some of that pent up energy.

- When he's flying to me, I don't let him land anywhere other than my clothed forearm. If he tries to land on my head or shoulders, I shoo him away.

I found that if I can keep him distracted in these ways, he gets back to normal pretty quickly.
 

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Hi Marie, welcome to the forum! I just wanted to add that diet does affect your bird. If Paco is getting aggressive/ hormonal, be sure to watch what you are feeding him. Avoid foods high in fat, sugar and carbs. No human snacks. Avoid giving him too much protein. Some pellets are very high in protein. High energy foods are just going to make your already "overly-active" bird more hyper.
 
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