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Hello all,
My name is Jennifer and yesterday I became the proud owner of a Pacific Blue Mutation Parrotlet. My mother has owned Quaker Parrots and currently has a Sun Conure and it wasn't long before I, too, wanted to own these interesting things called parrots. Because I have never owned a parrot before, and saw all the mess and work involved, I was happy to find the Parrotlet, while requiring as much attention as any other parrot, tends to have smaller messes and are much quieter :) I adopted Tuki (11 months old) from a woman on Craigslist. She owned LOTS of birds and when I called to inquire about him was told he did need lots of outside cage time and was not yet trained to step up. My mother agreed to help me train him and we went and picked him up yesterday. First, Tuki was in a cage that was about 12 inches tall (for a small finch or other small bird) and I found that he had lived most of his life in it :( He had only been handled a few times and I am going to assume (since she said Mama bird was in the other room and never mentioned anything different) that he was not hand fed. I took him home, put him in his new BIG cage, added lots of toys, a bed and things to do and waited. Now, transferring him to this new cage was quite amusing as whenever any person came near his cage he flailed about. I let him adjust to being in the new cage for a little while and he started eating, drinking, making noises and playing with his new toys. All over the place. I took that as a good sign. Then it was time to hold him for a few minutes to see how he was with handling while he was calm. As soon as I put my hand in the cage it was like chasing a wild bird. I moved slow and finally was able to get him in my hand, which he proceeded to bite over and over again. I didn't flinch, or put him back, but placed him cupped in my hand on my chest and just talked to him and pet his head. Eventually he let up on the biting and fell asleep. I put him back in his cage and left him be for the rest of the night (this was about 6 pm). At 8pm I covered his cage and let him sleep. This morning at 9 am he was still sleeping, but I uncovered his cage and left him be to wake up and move about until around noon. At noon I decided we'd try some more handling. He still flailed about, but I picked him up anyway. This time I only was bitten once. I placed him on my chest again and he explored my shirt a little bit. Pecking, licking, looking. I talked to him and pet him. He was a little bit scared. He tried to run into the nape of my neck, under my hair, a couple of times but I redirected him to my chest because he is still pretty "wild" and I wanted to have complete control over the situation, if he became spooked, for his safety. I had him out for about 20 minutes and then put him back in the cage. He took a little nap, ate a little, drank a little, explored a little and played. Now he's napping again. My mom has given wonderful advice as far as socializing and training him, and just general care, but I'm worried that I may be doing things the wrong way. I want him to learn to trust human beings, so don't want to over-do it. He won't accept treats from my hand, but will eat them, eventually, if I place them in his food dish. Does anyone have any good advice? Will he be impossible to tame? Should I only bring him outside of his cage once a day until he warms up to me? I've heard conflicting advice on the internet. My mom says to just bring him out for a few minutes a few times a day, but not to interrupt his eating, sleeping, etc. She said even if he bites me it's important NOT to flinch or let go, but just to say positive things to him in a positive tone. And if he gets too upset, of course, to let him be. Any advice is greatly appreciated! I hope he's not a lost cause! After seeing how he was living I just couldn't walk away without him. I am a stay at home Mom and my kids are all in school so its just him and me all day long. I have the time and patience, I just need to know that I'm doing things the right way.
 

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First off congrats on your new birdie. Secondly.. he isn't a lost cause it might just take some more work and patience. Hopefully we can see some photos of him soon. Roxy was 8 months when I got her and sounds a lot like how Tuki but I have had her for 2 months and she is really doing great and now rarely bites me. Your doing the right thing by not reacting to his bites and being positive. If he gets overwhelmed just leave him be for a bit and try again, I agree with your mom. It sounds like you have been doin the right thing take it slow and sounds like so far he is responding which is great! A few short sessions throughout the day will def help you two bond and Tuki to learn that he can trust you. Don't give up on offering him treats from your hand.. millet is one of their favs. Once again congrats and I think you did a great thing by adopting him.
 

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Thank you so much for responding! That makes me feel much better. I did take him out one more time after posting this and...NO BITES! He still tried (not very hard) to get away from me IN the cage, but once out was much calmer. He still tried to escape from me once (to jump onto my desk) but I'm not sure if it was curiosity or fear since he didn't seem scared at all when he was on my chest. I will continue doing what I'm doing and hopefully soon Tuki will be doing much better! Once again, thank you so much for the reassurance!
 

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I usually don't like grabbing birds to get them out of the cage, since it tends to be traumatic and they tend to learn that hands in the cage is scary. Of course, I've heard the opposite too. But I also hear that they do fine outside of the cage, just not inside the cage and/or does not want to come out when trained this way.

When I was younger, my brother actually trained a cockatiel the way you mentioned, he was a good bird, but didn't really want to be out with us. My cockatiel on the other hand was eager to be with me and would come out willingly and in fact, would demand to come out when I was around. But it differs between individual birds, something might work for one bird, may not work for another bird.

I would encourage millet training, there's a nice video on youtube with budgies regarding that. I would also say 11 months is not too old. I took in a 3 year old male that was never handled and got him eating millet from my hand within a 1 month and stepping up on his own too, though took a couple more months for him to step up when I asked. He progressed to doing tricks too. I was patient and worked him only as far as he'll let me without being stressed, I usually did about 3 training sessions per day, each lasting 5-10 minutes each and tried to end on a positive note before he got bored and stopped doing what I asked.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the feedback! He isn't taking treats from me just yet, but I keep trying. I will definitely go get the millets. Maybe he'd be more willing to take that! Either way, a couple times a day I do put my hands in the cage, slowly, and he now lets me approach him with them (as long as I'm not trying to grab him) and rub his belly. Anything NOT to traumatize him more! Lol.
 

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He Lets You Rub His Belly?? Wow, you are making great progress. That's amazing!! Will he let you rub his head and neck? My guy loves that. He leans his head against the cage every time I walk by trying to get a rub. I just recently started rubbing his belly a little (I've had him almost 5 mos.) and tell him "I'm going to tickle your belly. Tickle, tickle. Of course, now one of his favorite things to say is tickle,tickle. To the original subject tho, I've just started to rub this belly because he didn't like it and that's why I was surprised yours lets you do that already... Don'cha love it?
 

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Wow, touching his belly already! That's great. If he lets you touch his belly, you can try slowly pushing on his belly with a finger and see if he steps up and then lightly rest your finger on the perch, so that he doesn't even know that he's not sitting on the perch until he's comfortable and you try moving away from the perch. I did that with my parakeets when I was a kid and that worked great (my p'lets didn't grasp that concept so much when I trained them).
 

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AW see you are making progress its slow but steady and thats what counts.. along millet sprays they sell packs of individual millet buds. Once you get him to take millet spray from you try offering an individual millet bud so they have to come even closer to you to get a treat.
 
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