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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am new to this forum. I have had my little parrotlet Hamish for about 5 weeks now and have managed to get him to hop onto my hand but he likes to try and nibble my hand aswell sometimes quite hard! Any tips on how I can stop him doing this or will he grow out of it as he is only 3 months old.
 

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He may be bored - find games to play with him, do some clicker training, etc. Parrotlets need SOOOO much TRUE interaction. They don't always want to just sit on your hand.


From my forum, a discussion about parrotlets and personality changes (biting, etc.)

From an email:
"The reason I'm undecided birds right now is because I really did want a small parrotlet, and
ended up with my linnie. Which, she is the sweetest bird I've ever seen; I'm lucky I got her!
I've done more research on parrotlets since I have gotten Bindy, the Linnie and am on one of the parrotlet yahoo groups. Which everyone loves their p'let, but most everyone has spoken of problems with them, and personality changes seem to be the worst."

I have to reply with the fact the Parrotlets are not simply tiny, adorable, fun, playful, cuddly parrots. They are HIGHLY INTELLIGENT and often do not receive the level of mental stimulation that they deserve. This happens with other species, but is largely the case with Parrotlets who go through a personality change or offer behavioral challenges. They need to be mentally and physically challenged or they will become bored. If they are not, and the novelty of being in a new home wears off they will change, and rightfully so. I feel that because they are so small, this is why their needs are so often overlooked.

We are doing some clicker training with seven Parrotlets in our shop, and two at home, as well as four breeders at home. They are responding wonderfully. They love the challenge. It makes them think, it gives them choices (which they must have!!) and it gives them physical exercise as well. It is fun for both of us and keeps them happy, content, and still retaining those pet qualities we so desire.

I actually had a three year old clicker train one yesterday. She did all the motions: got the bird accepting treats by hand, conditioned her to a clicker, conditioned her to the target stick, and then had him go through obstacle courses that she made. A ten year old girl was ecstatic at our shop to have taught on of the Parrotlets to fly to her on the "Come" command.

In any event Parrotlets can and will become either frightened and unfriendly or highly aggressive and territorial IF they are not receiving a quality life in all facets. It is a direct result of human neglect.

Point being, Parrotlets are awesome Parrots, but we have to keep their needs in first priority, just as any other bird. As long as we do that we will be more than pleased with the relationship formed with them.

I hope that this helps. And PLEASE share this with those Parrotlet people that you have read about that have some behavioral troubles with their little ones!
An idea on how quick parrots and people learn clicker training (below quote is by Ann Castro, author of "The bird school. Clicker training for parrots and other birds")

Actually, I had the coolest consultation over Christmas - a family with an aggressive (don't know what it is called in English but it is a type of conure) male and a terribly shy female - pair of little parrots, came over in the christmas holidays with their 6 yr old daughter who kept getting bitten. It was the coolest thing. We spend one day training at my place with my birds (i.e. novice trainer and expereinced pupils) and the next day i went over to their holiday place and trained with their birds and the now experience child trainer.

By the end of the second day we were up to doing flying retrieves with the birds. The change was remarkable and lasting.
The child's mother just wrote me an email again the other day - biting and aggression is totally resolved and the girl is now handling the birds much more sovereignly. Isn't that cool? I am soooo pleased with the whole family - feathered and unfeathered members.
 

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You have not had her long. Be patient, hand feed a special seed or something she likes. What is the cage and toy set up like? Does she get lots of good fresh foods and 12 hours of sleep. These are all important. It takes time to have them settle down and trust us. Talk and sing also.

Do you have a playgym? I am looking forward to some photos!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You have not had her long. Be patient, hand feed a special seed or something she likes. What is the cage and toy set up like? Does she get lots of good fresh foods and 12 hours of sleep. These are all important. It takes time to have them settle down and trust us. Talk and sing also.

Do you have a playgym? I am looking forward to some photos!
Thanks for the advice. Yes I give him his favourite seed when he comes over to me. He does have toys, but I will get some more for him. As for fresh food I have tried him with lots but as of yet he hasn't touched it and he gets a good 10-12 hours sleep every night. I talk to him all the time and when I'm not in I leave the radio on. He is a lovely little boy tho :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oscar bites too.

He shouldn't be bored. He has plenty of toys, and a huge cage.

But maybe he wants more attention from me.
:)

Hamish has a good size cage too but I guess I shall just have to persevere with him and keep him entertained, he is a smart little cookie and knows what he likes and disklikes! :)
 

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Hamish has a good size cage too but I guess I shall just have to persevere with him and keep him entertained, he is a smart little cookie and knows what he likes and disklikes! :)

Yea. Just do things and interactions with him. Right now I am in the middle of a massive search for stimulating/mind enrichment games for parrots. I came across a nice e-book, that I have not read. You may want to check it out:

http://onafricanwings.com/Parrot Enrichment and Activity Book.pdf
 

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They are so intelligent, like little children.Be patient...it's hard to out smart them. You can over power them but that is the wrong method. Put your thinking hat on and temper it with extreme kindness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks nar1122 for the e-book link, I have saved it and will read it shortly. I am not going to try and make Hamish do anything he doesn't want to, I just want a happy little parrotlet :)
 

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A technique used on bitting parrotlets. Many parrotlets might go through a bitting phase, as soon as they are comfortable in their new home. Other parrotlets are not tame or are afraid of hands. This technique is for the parrotlet owner to learn how to react to a bitting parrotlet in a positive way and at the same time teaching their parrotlet how to use their beaks gently.



When they bite, I immediately touch their beak with a very gentle
touch, very soft, very gentle, very slowly, and in a sing-song, soft
voice, I say "gentle beak". It's not long before they associate the
gentle touch of my finger to their beak with the words "gentle beak"
or you can even use just the word "gentle". It is the association
you want. The soft touch to the words "gentle (beak)".

Now that can be easier said than done, because if he has just nipped
you, and you go foward with your finger to touch his beak again, he
may just try and nip the incoming finger .... again. The trick is to
persist, and not mind a few nips in the beginning. I move my finger
really slow. Sometimes they open their beak in warning as you move
it, so just stop. Continue to say softly, "gentle beak. gentle
beak", and move ever so slowly, inching along, until he allows you to
touch. If you get to touch for even an instant, that's good enough.
If you sense him going for another bite after you touch, remove the
finger immediately, before he can bite you. You don't want the last
thing on his mind to be the (second) bite, you want the last thing on
his mind to be the word assoication of "gentle" with the gentle
touch. Believe me, it doesn't take long for them to 'get it', to
make the association.

So then they 'get' the idea that "gentle beak" means a gentle touch
to their beak. How this becomes useful in a biting situation is that
once you are sure they know the meaning of the words/actions, then if
they are biting, you can sternly say to them "!GENTLE BEAK!". In mid
bite, they will then become confused. They know what "gentle beak"
means, they hear the urgency and displeasure in your voice, they are
all set to bite you viciously, and yet they know you are expecting
them to touch gently. They 'know' that means 'touch the finger
gently with my beak'. And amazingly enough, I've seen my parrotlets,
who may have just viciously bit me, immedatiately reach out with the
beak and gently touch the finger they just bit.

Now one can argue that they have just been well trained to associate
that action with those words. And yes, they have. But it's the
timing that will eventually get them to stop biting. If after every
bite, they are made to 'apologize' with this gentle beak thing, then
soon it won't be long before you can see a bite coming, and yell "!
GENTLE BEAK!". This has the capacity to stop them. To make them
reach out gently to your finger instead. And praise is used to
reinforce this.

In the beginning, as soon as you are able to touch their beak, and as
long as they did not bite (again), you praise. If they let you touch
a little longer next time, praise more. If they bite, and then you
immediately say "!GENTLE BEAK!", and they reach out to touch your
finger gently (believe me, this looks SOOO much like an apology on
their part, it is so cute), you praise. Don't make any big deal out
of the bite other than to show your displeasure with your utterance
of "!GENTLE BEAK!" immediately after they bite. Look at them with
utter disdain. Be mad, show it in your face. They WILL pick up on
your facial expressions when you look at them as if you are utterly
disgusted and angry with them. That is all they need to know the
bite was 'not a good thing'. Don't dwell on it after that.
Immediately praise them if they allow you to touch their beak, or
later, after they are more used to the phrase, they actually touch
your finger of their own accord. Praise, praise, praise.

Gentle, soft, soothing, that's what you want. Their energy level
will drop and they will calm down as you softly sing or whisper or
chant it to them. Don't dwell on the bite. Put all the focus into
the "gentle beak" excercise, and the calming that follows a bite.
And like I said, if your bird picks up on it, at some point you can
actually thwart a bite by saying "Gentle Beak" as you can see they
are getting ready to bite.


 
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