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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oliver is approx. 14 mo. old and we have had him since January. Until a couple months (or so) ago, he was always so much fun; smart; and, eager to interact, etc. Now, he is mean, mean, mean! We cannot go near his cage or he gets puffed, screeches, runs all over the cage, and if we are very close he gets as close to the cage as he can and tries to bite. He will often act like this and stay in his cage for days at a time. Most of the time if he does decide to come out he will appear to be his old self and all of a sudden he will bite - really, really hard.

He has not had any traumatic events and we have no explanation for this total change in character/personalty. Most of the time he is not much fun to have around. All the "sweet talking & coaxing" doesn't do any good. He is constantly in an attack mode.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we can do to get him back on track? Is there a particular book that deals with this type behavior that we should buy?

As I said - we are at our wit's end - HELP!

Paula
 

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Are Oliver's basic needs met?

Species appropriate mate - opposite gender parrotlet mate?
large flight cage (minimum 21" x 32" wide)
Fully flighted?
out of cage for at least a couple of hours?
natural diet consisting heavily of organic, fresh produce, nuts, legumes, etc?
humidity of 60%-75%?
Temperature not outside of 69-90 F?
Full night's sleep? (10-12 hours undisturbed)

http://www.bonsaibirds.com/Documents/aviancareguide.pdf

He is probably just absolutely frustrated and has given up if his basic needs as a bird are not being met.

This is a bird that is HIGHLY stressed!!! Do not do anything to push his limits, but rather figure out how you can make modifications to meet HIS needs NOT yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Having a mate for Oliver is not an option, buying a larger cage is. When he is out, it is sometimes for 4 or 5 hours either interacting with us or playing in his play gym. The temperature in our house is as it should be. He has never eaten anything other than seed. This is his choice. We have tried every fruit/vegetable/nut and he works with whatever it is until he has it through the bottom of his cage or outside the cage/play gym. He won't even eat millet. He does have a bedtime routine that he wants to do most of the time. He begins chirping about 6:30 p.m. and wants out to perform his routine and then is in bed by 7:00. He always has 11 - 12 hours undisturbed sleep.

How am I supposed to figure out what his needs are? I have no idea where to start.

Paula
 

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Andrea just listed some of his needs....

how big is his current cage??
How hard and how often did you try the different foods?
What exactly did you try to offer him? (foods)
Does he have unfiltered natural lighting or supplemental full spectrum lighting?
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?dept_id=0&aid=1015

Note that windows block out the spectrum...
 

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four or five hours out of a cage does NOT make up for a parrot's INSTINCTUAL need for a mate. It is highly stressful to be left alone so many hours during the day and to be left to sleep all alone at night. Those things alone could be causing his behavior to be "mean" as you have labeled it. he is not being mean. Our companion birds rely on us - if we neglect to care properly then the effect will be unwanted behavior - a direct result of our actions or lack there of.

Seed will cause MAJOR nutrional problems. He could very well be sick and have an unstable body. Have you even had a thorough vet check with a board certified avian vet? Seeds are notorious for not only causing major nutritional deficiencies, but also causing aspergillous contamination. Oliver could have a fungal / bacterial infection.

Give a four year old a choice: brussel sprouts or skittles. What do you suppose he would choose. It is HUMAN responsibility to provide a healthy diet and to TEACH them to eat a healthy diet.

And exactly as Nick said - I listed the basic list of parrot needs and EVEN attached a basic avian care guide!!! If you can't even utilize the information being handed straight to you (bear in mind this is free advice that I otherswise charge $75 an hour for) then how in the world are we suppsed to help you? Please read the information that has already been provided. Once you fulfill all of Oliver's basic needs as a parrot, then we can discuss further if the issues still exist, which I highly doubt they would.
 

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Paula - by being on here I can see you are trying to help Oliver. Some of us get rather over stimulated like our little Parrotlets do - don't worry we are really trying to help. Just read as much of the posts on the site that you can - believe me you are not the only person having or to have had this issue ;) - so you are not alone :D There isn't a quick solution but keep asking questions and reading and you will begin to see the light so to speak.
 

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Okay I have quaker that is taking forever to convert to foods. All birds that have not been weaned onto different foods will behave like young children. The best way to get any bird to try new foods is to continue to provide it to them with the foods they are used to.

By it appearing in the cage over and over again, they will begin to get used to it and realize it will not kill them. I also sample the foods in front of them and show them how GREAT it is (even if I don't like them... like cauliflower). It's just about repitition so they get used to it.

Once they get used to new foods, the seed will take a back seat and they will wait for their favorite fresh foods. Mine do at least... well all but my quaker General Tso. She's stubborn and we've been working on new foods for months now. She's a big green chicken.
 

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I'm glad you are here! It is wonderful to come and learn about Parrotlets. I hope you show a photo soon! :D

I don't know how large your cage is. First start with that. You can just do things one at a time, well two... ha. I would try birdie bread with veggies. I can give you Chipper's fav. cookie recipe too!

Look at the cage and toys first. I am going to show Chipper's cage and favorite toys. They are large toys, so a large cage is best. They really love big cages. Chipper really got sweeter after we got the big cage.

 

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Andrea, no biting... Olliver has that covered :D .


Paula,

Can you explain what triggers the bites that occur when he is out of the cage and being good? The reason I ask is that my wife and I brought in a bird shrink (actually a very knowledgeable bird behaviorist - I just like the term bird shrink ;) ) and she said that birds do not bite without warning, the problem is that we usually don't percieve the warning signs.

Also, do you cover Olliver's cage at night and does he have a 'cozy corner' to go and hide during the day? These, together with a big cage (one the size of Sally's or Pados or bigger) may help in calming him.

I know that Andrea is a proponent of mates, but while there are many definate benefits, there are also issues with mates so, even though I went this route, I'm not certain that it is the ultimate answer - my birds are presently separated due to my males physical condition :( .

Good Luck,

Art S.
 

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Look sometimes Ican understand feeding issues. I have Bitsey Jo for 8 years and she has NEVER eaten one drop of anything good for her, In fact if she had a gun she would shoot me for offering it to her. I have tried EVERTHING. Look through old posts, some I am almost crying from frustration. She will dive for white bread. I don't even eat white bread. When we quit eating white bread she was at a loss. I started giving her whole wheat...she barely eats it. NO FRIUT...none ever. Birdie bread won't eat it. Ask Art he's been here forever or Kathy they will tell you I have wanted to scream.
When you used the word overstimulated it made me think if maybe that is the little p'lets issue. I have told this here before but I had a Noble Macaw that they caught with welding gloves and put in a cage at an aviary and I bought her and brought her home. I was young and had no clue. It took me about a year to finally win that little bird over. I sat by the cage with just the tip of my finger in the cage with her dive bombing it and gradually I could put my whole finger in then my hand. It took extreme patience. When I changed her water and seed it was a bloody nightmare..literaly.
Finally she was wonderful and sleep under a little blanket on top of the cage and called my name and drank orange juice and ate EVERYTHING.
Don't give up you have to wear them down with kindness, No matter how had it bites or how hateful it is....it will come around.
 

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Ya'll really forgive me but you have to stop saying to every new member that the answer to every behavior problem is a BIG cage. If that was the answer then you could just put them in BIG cages and life would be perfect. Were any of you aware that some p'lets feel insecure in large cages and THAT can cause behavior problems. I know that everyone are proud of their cages but the new people need more support than just the BIG cage answer.
 

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I do agree with Memmy in many ways. General may never switch over to the healthy foods, but I keep trying. I'm not going to give up, heck I'm eating the food I offer and it's also the food I give the others, so it's not like it's an issue.

Now on the cage, I think the majority of birds appreciate a large cage, BUT there are those that do not. People know their birds best, and it's up to them to decide what their bird can handle. You also need to look at the age. Some birds like the larger cage b/c of all the toys that can be fit in there, some will NEVER play with all the toys and feel overwhelmed. One of my quakers doesn't like being in my living room, even though we have been going in there for months now. She is always next to me because she feels safer. She likes more enclosed areas (This is when it is one on one time, w/ crabby she is more adventurous).

Gelato is almost a year old and loves the big open cage and hates his travel cage, but when he was younger he did not like the extra room and sat hidden in a corner. Hpnotiq is the same way. I had her in his old 18 x 18 and she really only went to the food and back to her spot... only venturing out when she saw me (the spot was where she got her head stuck). I moved her into a smaller travel cage and now she is moving every where and playing more with her toys. ALl the times she did play were in the smaller travel cage, like when she was spinning on the dangle toy.... in the larger cage she just sat on the ladder next to the cuddle toy.

The nice things about the smaller cages is they can be moved from room room much easier than the larger cages, and this way they can be moved from room to room and kept with the family. You have to know your bird's personality before deciding if a larger cage is better or not.

oh and a routine can sometimes help them. Like at certain times you give them this food and another time you clean this area, and at this time they go to bed. It doesn't have to be exact, but it might help.
 

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I just know what I have heard from many Parrotlet owners. I would not want to be in a small room with a few tiny toys. SO many people have the smallest cages just because they are a small bird.

They are wild birds and we need to give them lots of room and out of cage time. I have seen what wonders it did for Chipper and heard wonderful stories from others. It is such an easy and fun way to make thier life good. So easy to check off that need and go on to any others after that.

I just know they would be flying miles and we need to let them have lots of room and stimulation with toys, foraging items physical exercise. They need the best toys, it is not a choice, it is manditory for their mental health.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We will buy Oliver a larger cage! Right now, his cage is in front of the window - I will move it. Whatever food or nut you can name, we have tried time and time again. He is rarely "alone" as Andrea seems to think he is. Whether he is in his cage or out, we talk to him all the time. He has a very good life with lots of positive reinforcement, personal interaction, clean cage, fresh water everyday and always plenty of fresh seed. We love Oliver and truly want him to be happy. Andrea, I truly appreciate your input; however, I am not stupid! If I weren't a concerned owner/parent, I wouldn't be trying to find out how we can make him happier. It is not a question of "HIM meeting OUR needs" simply trying to determine his exact needs so he will be healthy and happy.

Thanks Pado -

Paula
 
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