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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok here's my story. I have two girls age 7 and 4. The oldest has been bugging me for a bird. I heard Cockatiels are great with kids so I call a lady who hand raises baby birds. She tells me she has several Cockatiels but she has one that has a little friend who is a parrotlet. (Never heard of one before today) She said they are very close and the parrotlet rides on the back of the cockatiel. So I go over there to get the dynamic duo and when I got there, they were split up. She said she put the parrotlet in a small cage because it is harder to catch. Getting it (her I think) out was a fairly wild event as the thing was flying like crazy. I went ahead and bought both because I didn't want to split up two buddies. The lady says they are both about 3 months old.

I took them both home. The Cockatiel is very loving. She first kept trying to hop up my arm and nest in my hair. I followed the lady's instructions and now it seems to be learning to stay on my finger. This bird plays with toys and is hilarious.

The parrotlet doesnt seem scared but I'm sure she is. First she wouldn't even get on a perch. She just clung to the side bars of the cage. Within a few hours she has found her food and water. She also is perching on the sandy perch thing with her friend. And lo and behold, she jumps on the back of the cockatiel! She does it all of the time. The parrotlet seems to need the tiel more than the tiel needs her. The tiel wants out of the cage and loves to be held. It (I don't know what it is, he or she, my kids call it tweety and the parrotlet is called pookey) lets my kids pet it and you have to put it in the cage real fast because it tries to get out while closing the door.

Pookey however, wants nothing to do with any humans. It may be because it is very young, but now that I've read some it sounds like she has bonded with the tiel so much that she doesn't need love from us.

I can't bear to split them up. It would crush Pookey. But I am wondering if this relationship is messing her up. So far she doesn't bite, just gentle mouthing. She doesn't fly away as you approach the cage, doesn't seem scared of people. After letting her relax for many hours I sent the kids out of the room and gently stuck my fist in the cage hoping she would lite on my hand. No luck, she flys away. I think time will tell if she gets used to me. I won't let the kids handle her until we get this worked out. I am being careful to keep the kids from freaking her out, but the place I picked her up was much louder than my house. Big Cockatoos screaming their heads off.

What should I do? Will she ever be good with kids? With any humans? Does it just take time? Help!

Thoughts?
 

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I am a new parrotlet owner myself -- I've had my buddy now for almost a month, and she came to me just weaned. I recommend reading everything about parrotlets that you can get your hands on, and being very patient. Some parrotlets never seem to get over the panicked flying-around-the-cage bit when you want to get them out. I think they are more shy than cockatiels.

It will take a lot of patience and daily training to get results. We've been working with birdie (still haven't named the cutie as no one in the house can come to a consensus!) daily, and she's making steady progress -- she's very tame and trained once she's out of the cage, but getting her out (even when it's obvious she wants out) is still a trick (though getting easier all the time). So keep working with her. The good example your cockatiel is setting will probably be a plus.

The parrotlet probably thinks of the tiel as her flock, and needs to be made to feel that the entire family is her flock now. She will probably warm up with time. She will bond best with those who hold her and spend time with her most. Ours is very good with my 11-year-old and 13-year old.

There's a lot of good reading material online, and some good books I've been reading are: All about Parrotlets (available at parrotletranch.com -- also a lot of good info online there), and Guide to a Well-Behaved Parrot by Mattie Sue Athan. I also just bought Parrot Training: A guide to Taming and Gentling your Avian Companion by Bonnie Munro Doane, which looks like it will be a good read.

Good luck, and come back to the forums often!
 

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Hey welcome again... the sandy perch thing it doesn't look like sand paper does it. If it does you need to take that out first thing. Sometimes they will put those in manage their toenails but it real hard on their feet and actually bad for them. In reading I wondered if may be that's why it is on the others back. I' gonna check at another site with this and get back to you hang on we're coming to help..lol...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks

Thanks for your responses! Memmey to answer your question, it is called a sandy perch. The lady at the pet store where I bought the cage, food, etc, recommended it highly. Let me know if you find they are not suited for parrotlets. I will say that I don't think the perch has anything to do with riding on the other birds back. The lady who raised them told me they did it before I got them. Also I had the tiel out on my finger and Pookey flew out of the cage and landed on the tiels back. She just wants to be with the other bird.

Also I wanted to let you know that I have several perches. A swing, two long perches that span the cage, and 4 dishes that they perch on when they eat. They always end up on the sandy perch.
 

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The first response I've gotten and I think I asgree with is that your gonna have to seperate them. They are young and they can adapt..put their cages side by side and let them each have a turn out but not together right now. You need to change that behavior before you can't. I worry about the little tiel he's a baby. The p'let needs to leave him alone some so he doesn't hurt his back while he is still growing...I still searching so hang on more to come I hope...
 

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Hi Chief, my name is Candace. I am apart of the other site that Memmy is talking about, but apart of this one too. I have 2 parrotlets, a bonded pair.

I can totally understand you being hesitant to separate them. I promise you that for the betterment of both of them, it would be the best choice however. Eventually, these 2 will reach sexual maturity and then they are left with the cold realization that they cannot mate, or that nothing is happening when they do. This will make them very frustrated and could potentially make them aggressive to each other, or you. I say potentially here because that may not happen, but there is a good chance it will.

Not to mention that the MAJOR size difference between the 2 is a danger, and a big one at that. Especially to the parrotlet. But also to the tiel as well. Parrotlets may be small, but have BIG attitudes to them and while the tiel is tolerating it now, one day it may not and there goes the parrotlet, to be frank with you. It is in the best interest all around to separate them. You can keep the parrotlet off the tiel by giving them both separate out of cage time, until the parrotlet is tame enough that it can start listening to time outs and the like. When you finally start to bring them out together (and hopefully the parrotlet will just forget it did this to begin with) the parrotlet needs to be tame enough that you can tell it "no" when it gets on the tiels back, and if it goes back, give it a 5 minute (max) time out in it's cage. After awhile it will learn that by going on the tiels back, takes it away from the tiel. Which is something it won't want obviously. And thus, will EVENTUALLY learn to not do it. This will take a long while. I'm talking months and months. Not weeks probably. When you do a time out, use simple language and say something like "no backs". I know it sounds funny, but your parrotlet doesn't know proper english, so it will get the point eventually. And then all you have to say later is "no backs" and it will get off. Or know that a time out is about to happen if it does'nt get off.

Separating them will also help a bit with taming. But keep them in the same room so they can see each other all the time. You can put their cages close to each other. But not close enough that they can reach each other. You don't want the tiel to get annoyed and bite a toe or something off of the parrotlet, which, with the size difference, is a VERY real reality.

I've seen a GCC with no upper beak, due to size differences and a fight between 2 different sized birds. You don't want that to happen. That is why I am giving you this info.

And the sandy perch is a good product. I've heard it highly recommended by many. Keep it, it's good for them. But don't keep it at a high level. I would recommend keeping it at a low level in the cage, so the birds are drawn to a more suitable perch to spend their time on. While the sandy perch is a good product, and good for their feet and beak. It's not good if their standing on it day in and day out. So lowering it in the cage will help as birds like to sit high up. If it's near a food dish, move it away. Memmy is thinking about the sand perch covers you normally see at like, Walmart. Those are BAD. Do not buy them, and if you have them, throw them out. The sand is terrible for their feet and also if they eat it.
 

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I just read that if the p'let was hand raised that it is sitting on the tiel instead of a human?? Seperate seems to be the word. Also it bad for the tiel health wise
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi guys. Thanks for all the input. I did want to clarify on the issue of the parrotlet on the tiel's back. When I said this happens a lot, I meant it happens more than once a day, but it only lasts for maybe 4-5 seconds. The Cockatiel does not seem annoyed and almost seems to like it. The Tiel will preen itself while the little one is on her back. If this was painful or strenuous I think I could tell. (maybe not)

I am mostly worried about the other two issues. 1. Having a bird fight down the road. I would like to believe that I would see growing hostility as we interface with the birds all the time. If I saw that start to happen I could possibly split them up then. 2. I also worry about the "bonding with the bird and not the humans" issue.

Although it is very cute and funny for the kids, I do not want to be selfish here. I am probably most worried about the stress of seperating these two friends. That's why I bought the pair as to keep them together. But as with kids in real life, what is best long-term is often very painful at the time.

I look forward to your thoughts and appreciate all input.
 

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Hey it's Memmey again,today your little birds have caused alot of people to go Hummmm? I hope that you didn't get overwhelmed with all we are suggesting. I believe from all the input today that everyone is worried that when they become sexually mature that you may issues. The parotlet even though smaller is way more intense and aggressive by nature and the cockatiels are real laid back. I hate always telling this about my p'let but she killed her cage mate before I rescued her. That is common not uncommon. Ultimately it's your decision, they are cute and if you watch and never see any displays of domination then I guess you are lucky and that is not the norm but you need to watch. Especially since your children are young and you wouldn't want them to see something happen. The birds are babies too and you wouldn't want to see them injured either. This sure has been an interesting day. Your a member of the group now and we want to know how things go. Once again welcome....Mem
 

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Chief,

I'm of a slightly different opinion than the others. There is some risk in leaving the birds together but it may be worth the risk. I have seen it work out well. If you are cautious, you may be able to keep the birds together. It may be good for the birds, especially when the kids are at school.

The next question is: would you want to keep them together? If the birds are together, at least part of their focus and bonding will be to each other. This may reduce the strength of the bond between the birds and your kids. The extent of the bonding depends both on the birds personalities and on the amount of time you and your kids spend with them. My wife and I have two parrotlets, they have remained very sweet and attached to us over the years.

Chief - get some more input then make an executive decision!

Good luck,

Art S.
 

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Art, I have to really disagree with you here. There's not just some risk in leaving them together, there is A LOT of risk. The tiel is at least 5 times larger than the parrotlet. What is a very real reality is that the tiel will start resisting when the p'let gets on it's back, and the p'let isn't going to back off and fight back, and your going to end up with a teensy p'let and a massive tiel going at it, who's going to win? I'm afraid that this isn't 2 p'let's doing this, this is a tiel and a p'let. I dont' think that Chief should be rolling dice on this. It's like trying to get a pair of 1's when you normally get a 7, and a 7 in this case means that one or the other is going to be hurt at some point.

They may be fine now and it's all cute and all, but these are little bappies. THey are in their cute and cuddly stage right now, they like each other, they are pals. When they hit maturity and they get hormones raging and they get nippy or something, their going to go after each other. My green cheek that I had before was something fierce when he started reaching maturity. Now, that was at times, not all the time. But that DOES NOT matter here. The point is that it was that way at all. And I can pretty much guarantee that HE viewed ME as his mate. Not being able to mate with me, and me turning his advances down (for the betterment of the long run) cause him to lash out at ME. and that is what is going to happen to these 2.

They can still be pals, and they can still be together, but they SHOULD NOT be in the same cage. I have no idea why the lady you got them from let them be in the same cage in the first place. Different species that have that big of a size difference should never be housed together. Yes, there is the ODD exception of it going fine at that time. But this is not normally the case. I will find the picture of that cheekie I saw and post it here. I'll jsut have to hop over to my other forum to get it. I'm sure then you'll understand why I am so adament about this.

Please Chief, your little guys can be pals outside the cage, where you are right there to supervise and jump in should anything start. You cannot take a risk like this, for the betterment of your wee ones, please separate them. They can spend out of cage time together, and you can work on getting the parrotlet to stay off the tiel. From what you describe, it doesn't sound like it's that bad. If it's only a few times a day, for a short bit and that's it. But it is something that you will want to nip in the butt.

I'll go find that pic now. It may take me awhile to get it on here tho.
 

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Ok, here it is. Didn't actually take me that long. Thought I'd have a hard time finding it but nope. This is a direct post from Squawk and Howl at All Things Feathered. If you like, you can go over there and ask her about this little birdie. She petsits him for his parronts and knows him well. I also say this so you don't think I jsut pulled this from somewhere on the net just to post it. This was done by a larger bird who got in a fight with this guy.


CAUTION: this picture is not pretty. If you are squeemish in any way do not scroll down please.























2. birds with no or only partial beaks.
in addition to having some mobility issues (birds use their beaks as a third foot to climb, for example), these birds may have some eating issues, too. they cannot mascerate their food the way a beaked hookbill can, so small, pulverized, and/or mushy foods are key to helping these birds. The Squawk Store prides itself on carrying several foods that are made especially for beakless birds (many that are species specific, and/or organic).

here is a pic of one of my pet sitting clients, Herbie who has no beak:


Reduced: 91% of original size [ 700 x 525 ] - Click to view full image

Now you can see why I am so adament about this? I don't want to see or hear that this has happened to you p'let. Or that a toe or something else is missing. I also don't want to hear that your tiel is hurt either. I'd feel like I'd done nothing when I could have if I heard that. Your little guys are so special to you I'm sure.
 

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I appreciate Candi offering this to our forum, alot of times things happen and you just can't believe how it could have. This visual is tough but we all need to see how things can go wrong, even when you a hyper vigilent. Thanks Candi it hurts to look but we need to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks again everybody. I will reiterate: I do not plan on "rolling the dice" or jeopardizing any bird's health just for the amusement of my kids. I am only weighing the true risk against the struggles associated with seprating them. If you saw them them snuggling against each other constantly, you could appreciate how much it will bother me to seperate them. I also have another problem in that I got a large cage in order to accomodate these two birds comfortably. I do not really have room to put another cage next to the big one. That would mean one bird in one daughter's room, the other bird in my other daughter's room. Or trying to take the parrotlet back to the lady who raised her.

Just curious, is the hormonal/mating issue more relevant in males than females? I think it's a girl, but I don't even know. Actually I don't even know what kind of parrotlet I have. It's all green with an emerald green rump with a bluish tint to it. No facial markings at all.

I will post a picture in the p'let gallery for you guys to help me figure this out if you can.
 

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Looks like a green rump,the females are solid green no blue at all andthe males have blue. That's my guess see what everyone else tells you. Also please let me add that sometimes you can't tell the tone of voice someone is using when they post , your question bought out the mothering gene is some of us and never was there the intention to scold. I'm proud those little birds have someone who bothered to ask and the answers wellll thats what everyone comes here for. You can recieve info think it over and make your own choices. One last thought is the tiel a female?Lastly the cage seems big now but when they mature you may territory issues even thought they snuggle now. You'll be fine because you are aware and watching besides now you have all of us and as you can see we are not shy lol lol lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
No the cage comment was pointing out that I would have bought two small cages instead of the one big cage if I knew I would have to split them up. Anyway, I have made a decision. I'm splitting them up. :( I am going to let the parrotlet go free outside and become wild again. I am sure it will adjust to Missouri winters in no time and hang out at birdfeeders. That seems the best thing to do. :eek:

OK you know I'm only kidding! I would never do that, I just thought I would see if you guys were paying attention. (also wanted to let you all know I have a strange sense of humor.:D

I really am going to split them up though. I am going to the pet store tonight to get another cage for Pookie. She won't like it I am sure. I will put it on my daughters dresser next to Tweety's cage. Hopefully they will not squawk all night. Say a little prayer that this goes well. Both with the birds AND the kids.

This whole bird thing is driving me nuts. What started out as a little birdie for my daughter's birthday is turning into a menagerie/mini pet shop. Can anybody say ka-ching, ...ka-ching?:mad:
 

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Well I can tell your a good person... Your sense of humor fits right in. Ok with 2 cages( expensive I know) you have the option. Here it is if they play sweet then good, if not you have a place to put one of them seperate. Instead of them not playing sweet one day and you having to put one in your pocket till you find what to do. Let's look at the bright side, there is a bright side...you don't have to housebreak them...no pee on the rugs. This may one day when you had them a while(they live 20 years or more) think that this was like buying a puppy at Christmas..lol lol And for the record I believe that they are so cute, little bitty babies, they are lucky that someone like you got them. Just because your kids won't be able to afford college now remember you have your birds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
It's not going well at all! I find it interesting that as I was leaving to get the second cage the p'let starting pecking at the tiel. He wasn't attacking or anything but it was a more aggressive behavior. When I got home the p'let starting jumping on the tiel, pecking at her, doing all kinds of things. So I took the tiel out while I was putting all the toys in the new cage. The Tiel, (Tweety) was acting very stressed out and very strange. I felt so bad for her that she is being attacked by her friend.

Then I had to chase Pookey around to catch her. She bit me hard in the process. She never did that before. Then I put her in the new cage and Tweety back in the old cage. Let's just say Pookey doesn't like her new cage. Tweety seems to be enjoying the peace without Pookey, and she likes her new toys I bought her. Meanwhile Pookey is going nuts. Flying all over her new cage, flitting about, and never perching. She even started lifting the doors and sliding them up. She almost got out, so I had to put twist ties on her doors. Now she's pecking frantically and I am worried that she will hurt herself. I feel very bad for her, but I don't know what else I can do. I am about to take her back to the lady I bought her from I am so upset over this whole deal. Unfortunately I know that that would confuse her even more.

It's just so disappointing after seeing your pictures and hearing your cute little stories about how loving your birds are. Then I have this crazy bird that acts so strangely. I know you guys have worked hard to get your birds to behave like they do, but at this point she acts possesed. I am bummin. I will try to be patient, but right now I am blue.
 
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