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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, I just got by first parrotlet a month ago. He was hand fed and just weaned so I assumed he would be friendly. But he will have nothing to do with me. :( He does not act scared, and is fine with me being next to him and talking to him. He is even ok when I have to mess around in his cage. But when I try to have him step up, he flies away. And on the off chance I can get him to step up, he sits there for a moment, and then flies off. He has bit me numerous times. (I do not react.) I don't want to chase him around and cause more stress, but i really want him to trust me. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Feel confident that over time if you put the work in to build trust he'll come around to you. A month is not a very long time for your baby to be in a new home. Even though he was hand fed, every bird is unique and of course breeders have different skill levels. It really takes time, so put aside time for taming and bonding every day and take things slow. Work on getting to know him and reading his body language.

In my experience, parrotlets LOVE vocalizations. Talking to them in a nice voice, singing to them, reading to them, playing music for them really helps. Offering millet from your hand is a big one too. One way to do it is make your finger an extension of a perch he is on while having millet in your hand - he may slowly move over and wind up perching on your finger to get to the millet. Once he does this comfortably, stepping up should be no problem.

Again though every bird is different, pletts are known for bitting. The upside is that they don't have super serious beaks like a cockatoo so you just have to get used to it and encourage them not to (read gentle beak technique posts.) With my birds I've learned what their triggers are for bitting, and so try and avoid those triggers.

The more time your spend with him and proceed with taming at a pace he's comfortable with the better things will get.
 

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Being hand fed does not mean hand tame. If the baby gets picked up, fed, and set back down, they won't be tame. A parent raised bird that gets cuddled and socialized will be extremely hand tame and friendly. My babies Milo and Luka are the perfect example. Milo was "hand tame because he was hand fed", but it took me 2 months to tame him. He was terrified of everything for the first week. He’s very happy and confident now, but that’s due to his awesome personality and my hard work. Luka was parent raised and is the sweetest, most cuddly bird I've ever had. He wants to cuddle all the time. Even on his first day home he was ready for scratches and snuggles.

Being okay with you near the cage is a really good sign. It means you've made progress, even if it doesn't seem like it. My first piece of advice is to get his wings clipped. That will help a lot. So much. It makes a big difference in the amount of time to tame. You are completely right in that chasing him around won’t help. Instead, you want to bribe him ;) :D Food!! All the food. Millet, nutriberries, sunflower seeds. These are my weapons of choice.

Hold the millet by one side and offer it to (what’s his name?) him. Let him nibble on the opposite side. Over a week or two, slowly move your hand closer each day. When he can eat next to your hand without startling, switch to sunflower seed and nutriberries. Nutriberries are especially great because he can take bite while you hold it between your fingers. Sunflower seeds are good for bribery because they’re like cookies or ice cream. Most birds love them. But not too many cause they’re very fatty. Keep feeding him some finger treats every day. There will be a point where he gets comfortable with your hand and is willing to step up when you offer. I can’t give you a time frame because it’s different for every bird. I can tell you it took me 3 weeks to get Milo to step up. It may take you a week or it could be 3 months. Keep talking, reading, singing to him. You’ll bond little by little.

Right now he’s biting because he’s scared. Not reacting isn’t going to stop him from biting because he’s going to be scared until you hand tame him. Once you tame him, you can ask or read previous threads on how to teach him not to bite. I’ve had 3 parrotlets and I’ve never had issues with biting beyond the baby biting phase when they’re learning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the encouragement and advice! My babies name is Watson, by the way. :) I have been reading posts about gentle beak and the millet trick. I am very excited to try both. Thanks again, i'm sure he'll get used to me eventually. Like I tell everyone, he's got 15 sum years to get used to me ;) and I am not giving up.
 

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I love the name Watson!

He also may never be super cuddly. Our first parrotlet was like velcro. Almost suffocating. Our current guy, from the same breeder, is the opposite. He will step up onto a sleeved arm, but not hands. But he will sit on my chest for his version of snuggling. I cannot pet him. But he makes me laugh. He's a clown. :)
 

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It might also help if you learn some parrot body language. It can really help build a relationship if you learn any warning signs of when he doesn't like something and what foundries can and can't be pushed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sylviankittycat, that's a good idea. I can definitely tell when he is mad. For example, he LOVES his jingle balls, and my nephew was playing with them (outside the cage). And Watson "yelled" at him. It was comical seeing him being so possessive of his toys. But I am allowed to play with them. He will also "yell" at the cat. I'm not real sure on other body language, other than when he's flying back and forth in his cage, then he is wanting something. I will definitely look into it.
 

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When Watson starts whistling and chirping, try whistling and chirping back to him. I can do Cleo's "happy" chirp pretty good... she answers me back (most of the time). lol Anyway, she seems to like it, and, who knows, it may calm Watson down before you want him to step up.

Oh, oh, you have a cat. Cats are predators to birds. Please keep Watson away from the cat. It is just not safe and it's probably stressing poor Watson out. If you were a parrotlet, would you want a cat near you? I don't think so. You love Watson, so please take steps to keep him safe. I don't want you to have any regrets later on.
 

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Honestly, a good guideline for animal body language I've dealt with so far is to treat it like a cat. Approach cautiously, try and read any signs of discomfort or anger, and be prepared in case you get attacked. Sudden movements towards an animal are stressors for most animals I've met, even dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Anya, I do have a cat, he is a mostly outdoor cat, but when he does come in he is never in the same room alone with Watson. If we are not in the room the cat is kept out of the living room, where Watson is. I also have a water bottle I spray at the cat when he starts to show an interest in Watson. That seems to detour him quite a bit. After the first couple days the cat mostly just sleeps and pays no attention to him.
 
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