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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I had been kicking around the idea of getting a parrotlet for awhile and decided to buy one for my wife for her birthday. Our local bird store had a few and my wife simply loved an 8-month old hand-fed female they had. She didn't like coming out of the cage at the store (had to be chased around and taken out, rather than coming out on your finger), but she seemed nice enough when out and enjoyed having her head/neck scratched and didn't seem to be a particularly large biter so we bought her a little over two weeks ago. When we got her home we put her in an extra cage we had and put her near our canary and parakeet. My wife named her Ellie.

Since we have gotten her her behavior hasn't significantly changed for the better, unfortunately. Just recently we bought her a nice large cage (Kings Cage model ELF-3221). She has only been in this cage for a few days now and we're still in the process of filling it with an adequate amount of toys and perches. Hopefully it'll look a little less spartan by this coming Friday.


Anyway, on to the problems:

She's still very afraid to come out of the cage. I have managed to get her out of the cage twice while she was sitting on my finger, though mostly you need to catch her in your hand to get her out. Usually she bites the living heck out of my fingers and hands, and I have the marks to prove it. When out of the cage she still enjoys having her head and neck scratched and feathers ruffled, but invariably she gets mad and bites the crud out of us (even if she's just sitting there). Sometimes she goes into full fledged attack mode, other times she just doesn't like to be standing on your hand so she bites. She's like Doctor Jekyl and Mrs. Hyde, really. She will sit there on your finger and preen herself for five minutes straight, but then might reach down and bit you hard on your hand. Our parakeet presses himself against his cage bars in an effort to get to us, but the parrotlet could care less. When she bites we say no firmly and ladder step-ups. So far she hasn't learned the step-up command despite having done hundreds of them, heh!

She doesn't seem to eat ANYTHING other than sunflower seeds, and maybe some safflower seeds and oats. She ignores pellets, treat dishes filled with various seed treats/egg foods, nutriberries, veggies, fruits, and even millet. I can't believe she won't eat millet. She will only "try" these foods when she's out of the cage and you hand it to her. I've even put the millet spray directly in her food dish and she just knocks it out of the way and digs into the seed mix looking for her favorite seed. I'm worried that she's going to eventually become sick because of malnutrition.

She mostly ignores her toys and sits in the same spot in the cage for most of the day and doesn't move much. Aren't parrotlets supposed to be active, intelligent, and playful. She doesn't seem to care for toys much at all. At a few points throughout the day she gets noisy and chirps up a storm while pacing back and forth a few inches and turning around on whatever perch she happens to be on. We have this big nice cage for her and while initially she seemed very happy, she hardly uses the entire cage. Mostly she's at her food dish, her usual perching spot, and where she sleeps. That's it. We try to make sure she gets 12-hours of uninterrupted sleep, but regardless of how much she sleeps she spends a very large portion of the day inactive. Her cage is placed in the family room where we spend most of our time so she's not alone, but she doesn't get much direct natural light.


I realize that we've only had her for a bit over two weeks, but I really want a good relationship with this bird and want her to become what a parrolet should be, not an unhappy bump on a perch.

Any help, guidance, advice, or commiseration would be appreciated. Thanks in advance and my wife and I both are glad to be here (and I suppose our parrotlet Ellie is glad, too)!
 

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hey to you and welcome, I guess I'm gonna reply but don't worry the others will help you too, First were are glad you here and we will help you all we can and don't get discouraged...it will all work out. Here what I know from experience and from reading the others post here and else where....you have to go slow, these are very intelligent birds and they are finicky about change. Go over your baby birds history..lived at the pet store ...came home...new cage ..new cage next to other birds..another new cage..new foods new people ...being handled by new people new house routine differentfrom pet store which was different frim breeder. You get the picture. When you introduce a single new toy to a p'let the recommendation is to leave it where they can see it for a few days then introduce it to the cage. They are scarey by nature...having said that is is not the rule but if you read these post you will see a common thread of skiddish behavior. If you slow the whole "get to know us" proceedure down your bird may have time to process the change...put yourself in it's shoes. For me and this is my advise for now remove all but one toy and cover a corner of the cage with a cloth that makes a cozy corner( you cover the cage at night?) and let it start to find it's security in the new cage. Art here bought it to our attention that the females are very quiet and that is true, we really didn't have a point of reference till enough people came to the site and he saw the pattern. Just let it adjust to the cage and then go slow ...remember they live 20 years with good care.
 

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Hi and welcome!

From reading your post its apparent you have experience with bird care - you have hit on the important elements - 12hr sleep, cage size and diet etc. Very nice cage you have - perfect for a Parrotlet :)

And believe me you’re not alone in wanting to make friends faster and wanting her to settle in - I think we’ve all been there or are there :D

Sounds like you have set the stage very nicely for her - you have everything in place for her to begin.

Everything - Memmey said is correct. Follow that to the tee and you will see her flourish.

Parrotlets are true parrots and have all their quirks - what you’ve said about her so far sounds perfectly normal for how they react when first brought home. Don’t be discouraged they do take a while to settle in. The rule of thumb I’ve been told is it will be two months before you will see the true Parrotlet. This may not apply to the ones worked with constantly but the ones in a store for a length of time or ones not worked with daily it applies.

My male settled in very quickly but my female is taking a bit longer - I’ve had her a month tomorrow. And only now will she come up to me at the bars when I talk to her - I still don’t have her were she will get on my finger but she will step onto a towel. So it takes a while. The females are much more cautious than the males and really think things through.

As Memmey said - cover part of her cage and remove all but one or two unintrusive toys. Leave a swing in there - My female took to the swing first and uses it for endless fun. That took about two or three weeks to see.

My recommendation is to stop forcing her out of her cage - IMO every time you have to chase her and grab her you will set yourself back in your training. I would leave her in her cage and not try to take her out for at least a week - just sit by her everyday and talk or sing to her. She will need this time to adjust to her change.

She seems to be a step ahead of my female as you said she is okay once out of the cage - So after she settles in for a bit let her come out of the cage on her own - if she doesn’t come out leave her until she is ready to. Keep talking to her everyday and she will come around - when you notice her coming up to you at the bars then she is warming up to you and is interested in you.
As I said, the coming up to the bars to see me took my female about a month.

I know it is hard but it is going to take time - if you try to rush it you could set yourself back. Seeing as she is tame already she may come around much faster than this. But this is a good place to start and see how it goes.

Good Luck - keep posting how she is doing ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the help, I do appreciate it. She has a swing in her cage but doesn't use it, and also has a "Cozy Corner" toy which is a little perch with a soft fuzzy blanket alcove around it. She doesn't use that, either. Just about the only toy that she messes with right now is a long piece of dried woven palm. She also has a dried palm straw hat filled with paper bits and a string of finger cuffs. She used to play with those in her old cage, but now doesn't really mess with them in her new cage. We should be ordering her more perches tonight as right now she only has the three dowel type perches the cage came with and the one Y-shaped manzanita perch from her old cage. She'll be getting a selection of rope perches, another manzanita or two, a sandy-type perch and even a Y-shaped cholla perch (which I think is awesome looking). I think I'll have an extra perch or two as well for outside the cage mounting and for switching things up inside every now and again.

I'll have to take and post pictures.
 

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The others said some good things. Take your time. We are SO big and they do not know if we are good or bad. I love rope perches. Chipper has several LONG ones curled up and down in her cage. I like grooming perches and other kinds too. We have a nice selection and she sits on all of them! I put toys all the way down in the cage and she uses all of the space. She loves her big atom, and I wanted to also show you the tiki hut and several other favorite toys. See the big perch with wooden hearts? She loves that more that her small swings. See the wooden toys with beads on the left? I have four of them now in that space. She crawls inside and it is like a forest to hide in and chew. She loves her shaggy swing, you can see a part of it in the same pic. SHE LOVES STRING and rope. Loves to chew on it.

Oh, BELLS! Chipper loves to play with her bells. Your baby will get used to her home and toys soon.

Do you give her millet? That makes them happy. Right now, that is what you want. It is kind of comfort food. Warm oatmeal is good too. Don't worry about veggies etc. yet. I worried and Chipper now eats great food. You have LOTS of time for that.

Just put yourself in her place. New home, nice, but still new. New people, sounds etc.

My Chipper was a wild child for several months. Please understand that is normal. Do not ever take it personally, like she does not like you. It is not true. Parrots are not like little puppies that love us and follow us right away. I have always had little doggies and they are SO diff.

I sing and talk and coo to Chipper. Try singing softly every single night. Have a nice ritual. Chipper loves that. Also, tell her what you are going to do next. "I am giving you some food," " Gonna go night night and sing a song" etc... Chipper loves that.

SO happy you are here. Please show us your new birdie! Everything will be just fine!! Stay here and we will help you and soon you will be helping everyone else also!

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
She won't eat millet unless you feed it to her bit by bit outside of the cage. Inside the cage she completely and utterly ignores it even if you cover her food dish with it. She'll just knock it off and go about digging for her food.

One of the toys we're picking up is that same exact atom thing you have, Sally. I thought it looked great and hopefully Ellie will enjoy it.

I'm trying to be patient but so far this is a very different experience from our parakeet. It took him mere days to want to be with us and he was never bite-y when coming out of the cage or anything. I think the big difference is he was much younger and more recently hand-fed than the parrotlet. Hopefully she'll warm up to us like you all say, it's just difficult waiting!
 

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My male isn’t big on millet either - I guess its an individual thing - he’ll eat it when my female is eating it but in his own cage he just ignores it. But he loves any human food [healthy of course – well, mostly :eek: ]

As for perches – the manzanita and rope are favorites of my guys.

Just don’t overwhelm her with too many toys right now – since she enjoys head scratches when out of her cage it sounds like she will come around quickly – just give her time to settle in and absorb her new situation.

Keep us posted on how she gets on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just an update on Ellie. She's been with us for around a month or so now and things have gotten better. She plays in her cage, has a favorite toy, has a sleepy spot, and eats a bigger variety of food (although nowhere near the variety I'd like her to eat). She bites less often and less hard now, but still doesn't like the process of coming out of the cage. Most of her bites I would now classify as either "warning" bites or light/moderate bites. She hasn't bit me HARD in a week or so. She will come out on your finger, but only after a big production of flapping around the cage and some light biting. Once out of the cage she continues to let us give her scritches and enjoys sitting on our shoulders. We praise her and give her treats and things to play with (she likes to rip up tissues and paper towels) when she comes out so that hopefully she associates being out of the cage with positive things. She still hasn't quite "mastered" the step-up command, but we continue to keep at it and she shows much improvement.

We still have a way to go before I would consider her very friendly. At this point she seems to "tolerate" me best, my wife second best, and doesn't seem to like anyone else at all. Hopefully she'll begin to love my wife and I soon.

I'll keep everyone updated! Thanks again for the help :)
 

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It really does take time. Some birds more that others. Keep up the good work. Be patient. Sounds like things are going well. One month is not long. Chipper took a WHILE to calm down.
 

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That’s great you are having such progress –

Slowly but surely really applies to them, huh :p

My female is coming along like yours – I’ve noticed her being much more relaxed now – she’s not tense or wary at all anymore when stuff is happening around her – last night I was vacuuming with the hand vac the seed from their play stand [with them on the play stand] and she continued grooming herself as I was doing it – :cool:

She will walk onto my hand now if its placed flat on the floor [she was pretty terrified of hands] so that’s a huge step for me.

Slowly but surely :D
 
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