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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, my name is Kiran

But more importantly, this is Jeffrey:

Bird african grey White Beak Mammal


This is him in the car on the way home from the seller. He was reported to be 8 weeks old at the time, so he should be about 10 weeks old now.

The seller said that he had been hand reared - but he doesn't appear to be entirely hand trained.

I should give you a little information on our set up. My mum is home all the time but she isn't very mobile. As such, she can't exactly chase around an uncooperative feathered delinquent - but she does keep him company during the days. My partner and I are home in the evenings and all day 3 days a week. The four of us spend pretty much all of our time in one large lounge which has the dining table, the TV, the computer and the cage. Ultimately, we would like to do what we did with our sadly departed budgie 'Birdie' - which is to leave his cage open all the time aside from when it is time to sleep, but at present we are only leaving it open when my partner and I are around to make sure he doesn't get into any trouble.

Bird Parrot Beak Feather Parakeet


Bird Wood Yellow Font Artifact


He really enjoys his time out of the cage - flying about and exploring the room. At first, it was difficult getting him back to the cage so we had to chase him for ages until we managed to nab him. The little bugger is like a fighter jet. Every time you're sure you've got him, he will dodge, jink, weave and dive out of your grasp.

In the hand he actually seems quite calm and will let me stroke him.

Leg Gesture Finger Thumb Foot


But I've only held him three times so far - each time at the end of a chase trying to get him back into the cage. We are trying to avoid doing this because we don't want to make him afraid of us. That being said, the last time I had to do it, he let me stroke him for a good 5 minutes before he started getting wriggly and I put him back in the cage.

After all that excitement, he almost immediately went to sleep.

Hat Gesture Fedora Building Cap


These days he will go back to his cage on his own for food when hungry. Unfortunately, if he is out late enough he will still try to sleep on the curtain rails

Bird Beak Parrot Yellow Wood


It isn't the end of the world though - we have just imposed a curfew 2 hours before bedtime 馃槄

I feel like I'm making progress in making friends with him. When I'm home, I try to keep his cage as close to me as possible. Right next to me when I'm on the computer, by the sofa when I'm watching TV etc. When I approach his cage he has started hoping over to be closer to me. Initially when I put my hand in his cage he would freak out and start flapping from side to side - but now he tolerates it. I've started trying to get my hand closer and closer to him without him flapping away and I keep hand feeding him millet. Hopefully one day soon he will step up.

He is definitely wary of my hands - but he lets my face get really close.

Plant Property Flowerpot Houseplant Botany


One of his new favourite perches is on the back of a chair by the garden. He will actually let me come over and sit on the chair - and he lets me get my face so close that I can boop his nose - but the moment he sees one of my hands move - he is off!

Anyway - this is the story of Jeffrey so far. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. I'd also like to give a shoutout to ginziputzi for being such a huge help in getting this far!

All the best,

Kiran
 

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It has been such a pleasure suggesting things to you but it seems your lovely relationship with Birdie has given you an excellent grounding for welcoming this little sweetie into your home. He鈥檚 so beautiful.

There are lots of folks on the forum with great insights and even more who just love to hear about these little spitfires. Photos are always welcome!
 

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What a handsome devil! Congrats on the lively new addition to your world.
With Luna, l spent a lot of time just doing things in her cage - like playing with her toys and moving her perches - with my hands and letting her approach, while explaining it all softly to her. Of course, the right treat will help. Luna would risk life and wing for strawberries.
This is a really great forum/family here. Welcome to the flock.
Cheers and chirps.
 

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Hello Kiran and Jeffrey! Welcome to the Wonderful World of Parrotlets!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and love the pictures! Jeffrey is beautiful and what a little character! How funny! I have always seen them as little delinquents, too! They are like nutty little people in feathered suits! They are so great. Very feisty at times, but a lot of us like them that way. :)

As you are aware already, chasing them around a room to get them back in their cage is not the best scenario. Exhausting for them and you. lol They are great fliers! And such little stinkers! That is such a sweet picture of Jeffrey sleeping! You really did tucker him out. Lol One of the best ways to get Jeffrey used to your hands is to keep millet training him in his cage. Just five minutes, 2鈥3 times a day. Hold one end of the sprig of millet and offer him the other. Slowly, over time, move your hand closer and closer. He should eventually start stepping onto your fingers. The first time he steps up you are going to love it! It is a great feeling! When he is no longer afraid of your hands, it should make things a lot easier. However, with them being stubborn little things, there still may be times when they do not want to go back in their cages. One way is to darken the room. Turn off the lights or close the blinds and curtains. They feel vulnerable in the dark and they don鈥檛 see that well, so that makes them more willing to return to the safety of their cage. Once he is hand-tamed, you can use a treat to coax him back into his cage if you need to. I always had small chopped up treats handy!

I have said it before, the first year has its challenges, but they are worth it. I think Jeffrey is a very lucky parrotlet to have someone who cares about him so much, It is wonderful having you on the forum. I love that you took the time to let us know about Jeffrey and post all those wonderful pictures! Keep us informed on how he is doing!
 

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Anya has the right of it on darkening the room. Chasing them can make them skittish or even worse they will turn it into a game. Once they decide that it is fun to have you chase them and you will be a very exhausted owner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey guys! Thanks for the warm welcome.

I've been persevering with the millet training and with trying to get him used to my hand being in the cage..but the progress doesn't seem to be very consistent. One day he might seems pretty chill about my hand being there, but then the next day he acts all fearful and backs away. I was getting a little disheartened until today - just before his bed time, he flew over to me whilst I was lying on the couch watching tv!

Leg Comfort Wood Textile Floor


He only stayed for a few moments, but it has made my day!!

In general, he still seems like a very happy boy. He loves sitting by the window and he spends pretty much the whole day singing his little head off.

Wood Beak Rectangle Electric blue Roof


The TV has become another of his favourite perches. If you ever make the mistake of pausing what he is listening to, he complains vociferously until you put it back on.

I asked on another forum for tips about hand training and someone suggested clicker training. I think I might get one - have any of you guys had any experience with this?

I'll try to include some more pictures in the next update!

All the best!
 

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Millet training gets your bird used to your hands and teaches them to step up. Stepping up is one of the first things you should train your bird. It takes time for them to trust having your hand close to them. You only move your hand up a little at a time, getting closer if he is comfortable with it. This can take weeks, It depends on Jeffrey. You need to work at his pace. Millet training is important because it builds up trust. Trust takes time. Try not to get frustrated and discouraged, They will sense it and not want to work with you. Remember everything is on their time, not ours. Patience is key.
 

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You are doing so great with him, don鈥檛 be discouraged. He is still very young and this environment is still very new to him. You are making remarkable strides with him already if he is flying to you. This is a good sign. They are very different personalities from budgies, and much more headstrong. Just remind yourself you have a beautiful wild bird in your home, despite him having been raised in a human environment, and in his wild world, you are a predator despite your kind and gentle intentions. He just still needs time. Try not to be too tentative with him either. He will be wary of your uncertainty and he will feel it and interpret it in his own way. If you鈥檙e confident around him, he will respond. Give it a try. In the meantime, allow yourself that glow of excitement at having the little guy fly to you and land in you! That is truly an awesome moment!
 

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You are doing so great with him, don鈥檛 be discouraged. He is still very young and this environment is still very new to him. You are making remarkable strides with him already if he is flying to you. This is a good sign. They are very different personalities from budgies, and much more headstrong. Just remind yourself you have a beautiful wild bird in your home, despite him having been raised in a human environment, and in his wild world, you are a predator despite your kind and gentle intentions. He just still needs time. Try not to be too tentative with him either. He will be wary of your uncertainty and he will feel it and interpret it in his own way. If you鈥檙e confident around him, he will respond. Give it a try. In the meantime, allow yourself that glow of excitement at having the little guy fly to you and land in you! That is truly an awesome moment!
the moment they fly and land on you is precious. I have now had 3 parrotlets over a decade and I never tire of it. It is alway special. Always neat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey everyone!

We are making some progress! I've managed to successfully get Jeffrey onto a pellet diet. He eats them...but quite begrudgingly. On the plus side, that means he now goes absolutely crazy over millet. I think he really enjoyed the cockatiel mix he was on previously, so millet was only a small treat back then. Now he goes ballistic the moment he catches sight of the millet! With this new millet-magnetism I've managed to lure him closer and closer to my hands.

african grey Bird Vertebrate Gesture Wood


I made a little bridge with my hand from the cage to the millet...after a few minutes of plucking up the courage, he decided it was safer to just fly over and perch on the food itself. He's a cunning little bugger.


Property Cabinetry Wood Interior design Building


My only regret is that I'm not getting to spend as much time with him as I would like, these days. Work is running late, and he really does stick to his bed time. No matter how late I let him out, by 8:30 he is always back in his cage, all puffed up with one leg tucked in, waiting to be covered up.
 

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These pics of Jeffrey are so good! And wonderfully funny! They are smart little stinkers - I like how he decided to meet you at the half way mark in the first pic. The second pic, he is holding on to the millet for dear life, isn't he? lol Oh, the wonderous power of millet! Tis truly a bird owners friend! ;) Kidding aside. You are doing really good with him. Just keep on working at his pace. Give him time and he will be stepping up before you know it. :) Just be sure to not run out of millet! ;)
 

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Huge progress!! The fact that he is eating pellets is remarkable - that transition can be difficult. It took some time and effort to convince Kiwi to make the switch but once she committed to it, my goodness, she just gobbled them up! She adores her pellets still and I really believe they contributes to her longevity.

Millet has and always will be her absolute favourite treat. It鈥檚 so great that Jeffrey has taken to it and you are using it to get him to get closer to your hands鈥ut honestly, what a clever little stinker to figure out landing on the millet gets him everything he wants. Lol! You really have a smart one there! You鈥檙e doing so great - it must be so rewarding for you as well! Don鈥檛 worry about not getting to spend the time with him you would like. Kiwi was never worse for wear with the long hours I could put in - sometimes I could just get her up before I left and put her to bed when I got home. Or worse, my husband would put her to bed because I was so late. It just made the time we spent together even more special. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! It did not affect our bond at all. I expect you just don鈥檛 want to lose the teaching time with him. I can鈥檛 wait to read that post when he finally steps up and hangs out with you!!

Thanks for the great newsy update complete with photos! Looking forward to hearing more!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hello everyone!

Progress!!

Plant Wood Flower Table Grass


I can now reliably get him onto my hand...so long as millet is part of the equation. It took quite a bit of coaxing. I'd hold millet next to his cage and he was streeeeeeeeeeetch his little neck to try to get it without having to step onto a finger. Sometimes he would overbalance and faceplant on the side of the cage. Sometimes he would be stretching so far that he was literally lying on the palm of my hand.. somehow in his little bird brain, that was safer than risking his foot on my finger. If it was out of stretching range, he would keep coming up to the finger, pause, look at the finger, look at the millet back at the millet and finally chicken out and pull back. Eventually though, he got frustrated and jumped on. A joyous moment.
Hand Bird Water Parrot Finger

If he is hungry enough, he will come along without too much coaxing now. If he's not too fussed, I have to bring the millet close to him to get his attention, and then pull it back over my hand as he chases after it.

Any idea on how to get him to do this without millet now? Do we think it will just come with time? Any strategies I can employ?

He is still very skittish. He doesn't explore too much...although he does occasionally now fly over to the punnet of grapes next to his cage for a snack. That was a nice surprise. Another concern I have is that he doesn't really play. I've tried to keep the number of toys in his cage to a small number so as not to overwhelm him...maybe I should add a load more? I've got tons in reserve..but I've never seen him play with any of the toys I've put out. I'm wondering if it is just because he's still acclimbitising? He loves being out of the cage and will hop out as soon as the door is open. He's very happy coming and going as he pleases, but he seems to spend most of the day sitting on the window ledge or by the door surveying his kingdom and singing his little heart out. He doesn't often shut up to be honest..I'm assuming that's a sign that he's a happy and contented little fellow.

Plant Window Green Wood Flowerpot



In other big news - he had his first bath today! Mum caught him splashing about in his water dish. I don't think it was hugely successful, but it is good to know that he enjoys bathing. Birdie was rather ambivalent about the whole affair. I'm thinking of getting him something like this? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fountain-H...g-Silicone/dp/B07LGTDM3J?ref_=ast_slp_dp&th=1

Hope you are all well!

Kiran
 

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Hello everyone!

Progress!!

View attachment 47471

I can now reliably get him onto my hand...so long as millet is part of the equation. It took quite a bit of coaxing. I'd hold millet next to his cage and he was streeeeeeeeeeetch his little neck to try to get it without having to step onto a finger. Sometimes he would overbalance and faceplant on the side of the cage. Sometimes he would be stretching so far that he was literally lying on the palm of my hand.. somehow in his little bird brain, that was safer than risking his foot on my finger. If it was out of stretching range, he would keep coming up to the finger, pause, look at the finger, look at the millet back at the millet and finally chicken out and pull back. Eventually though, he got frustrated and jumped on. A joyous moment.
View attachment 47472
If he is hungry enough, he will come along without too much coaxing now. If he's not too fussed, I have to bring the millet close to him to get his attention, and then pull it back over my hand as he chases after it.

Any idea on how to get him to do this without millet now? Do we think it will just come with time? Any strategies I can employ?

He is still very skittish. He doesn't explore too much...although he does occasionally now fly over to the punnet of grapes next to his cage for a snack. That was a nice surprise. Another concern I have is that he doesn't really play. I've tried to keep the number of toys in his cage to a small number so as not to overwhelm him...maybe I should add a load more? I've got tons in reserve..but I've never seen him play with any of the toys I've put out. I'm wondering if it is just because he's still acclimbitising? He loves being out of the cage and will hop out as soon as the door is open. He's very happy coming and going as he pleases, but he seems to spend most of the day sitting on the window ledge or by the door surveying his kingdom and singing his little heart out. He doesn't often shut up to be honest..I'm assuming that's a sign that he's a happy and contented little fellow.

View attachment 47473


In other big news - he had his first bath today! Mum caught him splashing about in his water dish. I don't think it was hugely successful, but it is good to know that he enjoys bathing. Birdie was rather ambivalent about the whole affair. I'm thinking of getting him something like this? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fountain-H...g-Silicone/dp/B07LGTDM3J?ref_=ast_slp_dp&th=1

Hope you are all well!

Kiran
Hi Kirin, I bought Chumley that same kitty water fountain last Christmas, it was recommended by his breeder. I put it back away because he prefers to bath in his water cup but he will perch on the fountain and take drinks from it. I may take it back out for him again when the weather warms up.馃悿馃挧馃泚
Lisa and Chumley
 

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Hi Kiran! What amazing progress!! Wow! I have to say, I laughed and laughed at the description of his streeeeeeeeetching to reach the millet without putting his foot in your hand!! I had such a great image of it in my mind 鈥. Perhaps because I have seen it before? Hmmmm鈥. This is precisely why we call them little stinkers. Haha!!

Are you telling him to 鈥渟tep up鈥 when you have the millet, then praising him for (finally) doing it? You want him to learn what 鈥渟tep up鈥 means. Kiwi automatically steps up when I say it - even if she鈥檚 eating or playing with something. It鈥檚 just ingrained now. As he is a boy, he may even start saying step up (that鈥檚 how often you should be saying it).

Also, how does he react when you put your hand in his cage? This is something you should be able to do and it could double as the next steps to get him to step up. If he is super skittish, he may not care about the millet so instead, just get you hand in there, low and flat, and work on getting him to not panic because your hand is there. If you can get your hand close to him, gently push the side of your index finger into his lower breast just above his legs to trigger him to step forward, hopefully onto your finger. Make sure to say, step up. It will come for sure. Your progress already shows it.

As for him never shutting up (hahaha!!), that鈥檚 a good sign. He is likely calling to you. He definitely wants your attention. They can be absolutely silent when they don鈥檛 want to draw attention to themselves (like when my grandsons are here - LOL). Engage with him.You can play peekaboo with him just by hiding your face behind the curtain and peeking out. Believe me, you will know if he likes it if he鈥檚 chattering excitedly. I have long since abandoned any embarrassment at my actions with Kiwi - I have a voice for her and we talk all them time! She knows when I am talking for her and gets super animated. She also used to LOVE chasing a balled up piece of paper, shredding it when she got it. This is a way you can help her to learn to play. Many of them get excited by the sound of pill bottles and Kiwi used to love to chase the dish cloth across the counter, then jump on and go for a ride. I say used to here because she doesn鈥檛 really do this now that she鈥檚 an old lady. She prefers to hand out in my hair. Sigh.

i would switch out some of the toys and see if he connects with anything. A foraging basket is typically a favourite and can be really easy to assemble. I put shredded paper towel in Kiwi鈥檚, with buttons, bells, pieces of leather I got from a pet store, and hidden treats (usually bits of millet) or pieces of plain popcorn). She (once again) used to spend ages tearing it apart. Now she usually just sleeps on it (and poops in it 鈥 馃槺). Another huge fave of Kiwi鈥檚 is just a folded piece of paper towel stuck in the bars of her cage. They love to shred and that is such a simple favourite.

i think if you can try some games with him, he might take an interest in his toys. I have spent a lot of money on toys I thought were so great only to eventually remove them untouched. Like a child, she seems to like the box better! Speaking of which, Tissue boxes are s big favourite! She likes to hide inside and play peekaboo. Oh and last thing, tuck a tissue into your clenched hand with a bit sticking out and they wlll perch on your thumb and rip that thing to shreds for ages. It鈥檚 a big mess though. And you will have to get that step up thing going!!

Oooh - also reminds me鈥nce you get him to step up, you can also do the 鈥渆scalator鈥, just putting one finger in front of the other continually telling him to step up so he鈥檚 constantly stepping up. This works really well if he has a tendency to step up and fly off instantly. It refocuses them
On the step up activity rather than the fleeing impulse.

Ok well super long post again鈥ope there鈥檚 some helpful tidbits in there! Every bird is different so it is just finding your formula. Good luck and keep us posted!! Scritches for Jeffrey!!
 
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