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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I don't currently have parrotlets, but I've been interested in them for a while. I love research and want to do it thoroughly before getting pets. Hence, I have tons of questions. :)
  • Is it better to have one or two parrotlets?
  • I know diet is controversial but... what, in your opinion, is the best and safest diet plan to follow?
  • Would this cage work or is it too small/the bar spacing too large (bar spacing is 1/2 inch)? (Prevue Pet Products Flight Bird Cage | bird Cages | PetSmart) I actually own this cage already and have had my pet sugar gliders in it, but I'm upgrading their cage and this one will be empty.
  • What are common illnesses and how can they be prevented?
  • What are the cons of having parrotlets?
  • What advice do you wish you had had/what things do you wish you had known before getting yours?
  • Do you know any good breeders/places to get them in GA?
  • What colors are there? And do the different colors have different personalities or is it pretty similar no matter what color?
-Do you recommend male or female? If getting a pair, what gender pairing do you think is best?
-What age do you typically get them at?
-Are they high maintenance pets? Do they do well with travel?

Sorry for the wall of text! Thanks everyone. :)
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum! This is definitely the place to ask your parrotlet questions, and we LOVE people who are doing their research first!

Would this be your first parrot? There are some general things that you will need to learn to keep parrots in general, particularly regarding aerosols (they are all potentially deadly) and non-stick pans. Any of the introduction to parrots can give you the safety list, including keeping toilet lids closed and other general household safety things.

To answer your questions:
I personally have a single parrotlet, and I enjoy the bond that I can have with a single bird. With two birds, a couple different things could possibly happen. First, the birds could bond to each other and then ignore you, or they could hate each other and demand separate attention time, or, rarely, they can bond to each other and also include you. Especially if you are hoping to build a strong bond, a single parrotlet will be your best bet. Parrotlets often do not enjoy having a second bird in their life anyway, so those with multiple parrotlets have a bunch of "only children."

If you are getting a young bird, you will start off with whatever the bird has been weaned on. There are some good quality seeds or pellets, but much depends on you (and also you budget - bird food isn't cheap and they eat or destroy more in a day than you'd think). Veggies are important, and fruit as well, so no matter what you have as the base diet you should plan on preparing fresh foods. If you have a prepared diet, make sure it is for a cockatiel/conure and not a parakeet - parrotlets are tiny, but have the nutritional needs of a full parrot.

Edited: Half inch bar spacing can be okay, but if you start with a young bird you should also have a smaller cage when they are young and clumsy to keep them safe. Smaller bar spacing is nice if you have it, and definitely not any bigger!

The best way to prevent illnesses is the annual avian vet check. I see you live in my area (I'm in the Atlanta area) - For Pet's Sake in Decatur is the BEST place around here to take your parrotlet for their annual exam. Unfortunately, birds hide illness until they are pretty much deathly ill, so having a professional check them every year and then as needed is the best thing you can do to treat illness.

Cons: They are WORK. Parrotlets are messy, can be very aggressive, will not trust you initially and can take months to even get them to step on to your hand. They are also noisy (not compared to other parrots, but if you aren't used to bird noise then they will seem loud), and the person at the other end of the phone call will hear them loud and clear. You have to give up things like scented candles and air fresheners, normal cleaning products, and non-stick pans. They are a factor in all of your decisions. Today I had a problem with ants coming in a door and my mom with trying to tell me what spray to buy to stop it, and I had to firmly tell her (we don't live together, so it isn't a real risk) that I can't use any spray because it risks killing my bird. They are a long term commitment, and as they are very fragile and hide illness very well, you are unlikely to get warning that the end is coming. HOWEVER, I love my parrotlet and do not regret a single one of the cons!

Advice: Every single parrotlet is different. We can give some species generalities, but they like to defy that and be independent birds. I do wish I had realized about the color mutations and looked for a normal green one - we take for granted that they should come in every color under the rainbow, but they only naturally exist in green, and sometimes breeders (not all breeders, but it is always a risk) will engage in practices like inbreeding to get some of the mutations and it can lead to health issues. Green Pacific Parrotlets are the normal color and unlikely to have any inbreeding as it is a dominant trait. Color had no affect on personality, as it is like hair color, but it can indicate potential health and longevity.

I didn't get my parrotlet down here in Georgia, so I have no breeder contacts to Private Message you. We don't openly discuss breeders on the forum, so if someone knows of one they can send you a Conversation (previously called a Private Message or PM) with the information.

I got a male for one reason - no risk of egg laying. My last parrot was a chronic egg layer, and I just didn't want to have to think about that. However, girls are awesome too! Birds do not get neutered, so mixed gender pairings are always about mating, and I don't really recommend that as a pet situation. Honestly, parrotlets don't like to share cages or toys or food or attention or anything. There are some successful situations, but for every successful situation there are a bunch that turned dangerous (parrotlets that don't want to share a cage anymore often turn violent on each other and can injure or kill each other).

THEY MUST BE WEANED BEFORE THEY COME HOME TO YOU. Normally they wean around 6-8 weeks, but do NOT accept a breeder giving you an unweaned bird. There are no laws protecting them or regulating them, and just like with any animals there are breeders that do not always prioritize animal welfare. You do not want to handfeed your own parrotlet - leave that to the professionals.

I have been owned by a parrot for too many years to know if they would be considered high maintenance, but probably yes. On the one hand, Tumi has everything he physically needs when I am away from home. On the other hand, I had to pause in the middle of writing this because he was asking to come help and soon he would like to be served his dinner.

Travel is individual to the bird, but Tumi has done a TON of traveling and loves it. From the time he was 12 weeks onwards he has done long trips with regularity. It takes planning and thoughtful cage setup, but it can definitely be done. In a couple weeks we will be traveling again (for the third time) in a tiny RV for a couple weeks, and he loves it.
 

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Hello and welcome to the forum! :)
Having just one bird is best to avoid hormonal behaviors and also because parrotlets do not make the best cage mates because of their aggressive and territorial behavior. Besides that, parrotlets do not need another bird for company – they can get along fine on their own, but you must be sure to spend quality time with your bird as often as you can. Parrotlets are not domesticated animals, they still have one foot in the jungle, meaning that even if you get a hand tamed bird, if you do not handle it every day, your bird will go back to being wild again in a matter of weeks. I would suggest that you get a hand tamed bird – it will make the transition so much easier if they are used to being handled by people already. Do not get hand tamed confused with handfed which is when a baby bird is hand fed by the breeder instead of the parents. That does not necessary mean they will be tame. Talk to the breeder about hand taming your bird. I like the cage you picked out – A bigger cage allows them to stretch their wings and get some exercise when you are not home. I have a fight cage and Cleopatra loves flying in it. Just be sure to provide a selection of different kinds of perches with different diameters because it helps birds distribute pressure to different areas on the bottom of their feet. I have more natural wood perches than any other kind in my birds cage - she especially loves chewing on them to sharpen her beak. One of the most common diseases is fatty liver disease. It is mostly caused by birds being fed mainly on a high fat seed diet. Make sure to give your bird a variety of foods (fresh veggies and fruit, nuts, grains) to help provide them with good health. The cons? Avian vet bills can be expensive, and parrotlets are known biters. All birds bite, even tame ones, but if you gain their trust, the biting will subside mostly. People do buy untamed birds, which is fine. It just depends on if you are willing to put the time in to tame them. I personally liked being able to bring my bird home and after a few hours, seeing how comfortable she was, being able to take her out her cage for short periods. It was nice to be able to start bonding right away. My other advice would be to search for the best breeder you can find – one that is knowledgeable. Ask about the genetics of their birds. Unfortunately there are breeders out there that are breeding siblings to siblings and siblings to parents which is inbreeding that leads to sick short-lived birds. A reputable breeder should know the history of their birds. Ask them lots of questions! Parrotlets are wonderful and amazing birds, but they are not for everyone, so I am glad that you are doing research before purchasing one. Good for you! (y)
 

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Welcome to the forum! You came to the best forum around for parrotlets! Te advice you have received so far is excellent! Please make a copy of all this this advice and study it! The forum members have been around a long time and we have become very good at giving advice that will help you and your bird out! We have answered thousands of questions and have heard of just about everything about a parrotlet!

If you want to have a really close bond with a parrotlet, then a single parrotlet is the way to go! A strong bond with a p'lett is about the best thing you will ever experience! I have had many, many pets of all kinds and have lost a few, but when I lost a parrotlet to old age or disease or accident, it was different, somehow. I became so attached to the p'lett, that when they crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge, I was absolutely devastated! It was hard on me...very hard!

You will love the parrotlet. Make sure the cage has enough room so your p'lett can fly a little bit. Three feet wide by 18 inches deep by 24 inches tall is the minimum. Narrow but tall cages are not good at all! They need width ! If you let your bird out a lot during the day so he can fly and get plenty of exercise, then a slightly smaller cage will do. Parrots need to fly more than just about any bird out there. They need different sized perches in the cages. This is good for foot health. They need foraging toys and chewing type toys.

Never get a bird who is not weaned! Never buy a bird from a Broker!...Only a breeder! Never buy bird foods that are color dyed! Dyes causes cancers. Too many sunflower or safflower seeds cause fatty cysts and tumors.

Never buy a p'lett who is not human hand friendly. You should prefer that the breeder makes sure your baby cn step up onto your finger. This will save you a lot of time. Your p'lett may experience human hand fear when he in in his cage, so be prepared for this. Never grab your bird unless it is absolutely necessary, like giving medications. Never throw or put a towel on your bird so you can control it or catch it, unless absolutely necessary!

Boy or girl? Boys and girls are about the same to have, but girls may develop an egg laying habit and this will take its toll on their health, plus they can get egg bound and die a horrible death. Girls most likely will not talk...boys will.

There are a million ' rules ' to follow. Keep asking questions and we will try to help. Do not worry if you ask the same question twice. It is okay!

David and Vicki
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi and welcome to the forum! This is definitely the place to ask your parrotlet questions, and we LOVE people who are doing their research first!

Would this be your first parrot? There are some general things that you will need to learn to keep parrots in general, particularly regarding aerosols (they are all potentially deadly) and non-stick pans. Any of the introduction to parrots can give you the safety list, including keeping toilet lids closed and other general household safety things.

To answer your questions:
I personally have a single parrotlet, and I enjoy the bond that I can have with a single bird. With two birds, a couple different things could possibly happen. First, the birds could bond to each other and then ignore you, or they could hate each other and demand separate attention time, or, rarely, they can bond to each other and also include you. Especially if you are hoping to build a strong bond, a single parrotlet will be your best bet. Parrotlets often do not enjoy having a second bird in their life anyway, so those with multiple parrotlets have a bunch of "only children."

If you are getting a young bird, you will start off with whatever the bird has been weaned on. There are some good quality seeds or pellets, but much depends on you (and also you budget - bird food isn't cheap and they eat or destroy more in a day than you'd think). Veggies are important, and fruit as well, so no matter what you have as the base diet you should plan on preparing fresh foods. If you have a prepared diet, make sure it is for a cockatiel/conure and not a parakeet - parrotlets are tiny, but have the nutritional needs of a full parrot.

Edited: Half inch bar spacing can be okay, but if you start with a young bird you should also have a smaller cage when they are young and clumsy to keep them safe. Smaller bar spacing is nice if you have it, and definitely not any bigger!

The best way to prevent illnesses is the annual avian vet check. I see you live in my area (I'm in the Atlanta area) - For Pet's Sake in Decatur is the BEST place around here to take your parrotlet for their annual exam. Unfortunately, birds hide illness until they are pretty much deathly ill, so having a professional check them every year and then as needed is the best thing you can do to treat illness.

Cons: They are WORK. Parrotlets are messy, can be very aggressive, will not trust you initially and can take months to even get them to step on to your hand. They are also noisy (not compared to other parrots, but if you aren't used to bird noise then they will seem loud), and the person at the other end of the phone call will hear them loud and clear. You have to give up things like scented candles and air fresheners, normal cleaning products, and non-stick pans. They are a factor in all of your decisions. Today I had a problem with ants coming in a door and my mom with trying to tell me what spray to buy to stop it, and I had to firmly tell her (we don't live together, so it isn't a real risk) that I can't use any spray because it risks killing my bird. They are a long term commitment, and as they are very fragile and hide illness very well, you are unlikely to get warning that the end is coming. HOWEVER, I love my parrotlet and do not regret a single one of the cons!

Advice: Every single parrotlet is different. We can give some species generalities, but they like to defy that and be independent birds. I do wish I had realized about the color mutations and looked for a normal green one - we take for granted that they should come in every color under the rainbow, but they only naturally exist in green, and sometimes breeders (not all breeders, but it is always a risk) will engage in practices like inbreeding to get some of the mutations and it can lead to health issues. Green Pacific Parrotlets are the normal color and unlikely to have any inbreeding as it is a dominant trait. Color had no affect on personality, as it is like hair color, but it can indicate potential health and longevity.

I didn't get my parrotlet down here in Georgia, so I have no breeder contacts to Private Message you. We don't openly discuss breeders on the forum, so if someone knows of one they can send you a Conversation (previously called a Private Message or PM) with the information.

I got a male for one reason - no risk of egg laying. My last parrot was a chronic egg layer, and I just didn't want to have to think about that. However, girls are awesome too! Birds do not get neutered, so mixed gender pairings are always about mating, and I don't really recommend that as a pet situation. Honestly, parrotlets don't like to share cages or toys or food or attention or anything. There are some successful situations, but for every successful situation there are a bunch that turned dangerous (parrotlets that don't want to share a cage anymore often turn violent on each other and can injure or kill each other).

THEY MUST BE WEANED BEFORE THEY COME HOME TO YOU. Normally they wean around 6-8 weeks, but do NOT accept a breeder giving you an unweaned bird. There are no laws protecting them or regulating them, and just like with any animals there are breeders that do not always prioritize animal welfare. You do not want to handfeed your own parrotlet - leave that to the professionals.

I have been owned by a parrot for too many years to know if they would be considered high maintenance, but probably yes. On the one hand, Tumi has everything he physically needs when I am away from home. On the other hand, I had to pause in the middle of writing this because he was asking to come help and soon he would like to be served his dinner.

Travel is individual to the bird, but Tumi has done a TON of traveling and loves it. From the time he was 12 weeks onwards he has done long trips with regularity. It takes planning and thoughtful cage setup, but it can definitely be done. In a couple weeks we will be traveling again (for the third time) in a tiny RV for a couple weeks, and he loves it.

Thank you SO MUCH for all of this information! It's super helpful. Researching is my happy place, lol. Yes, I'm completely new to parrots.
What cages do you recommend?
What types of things do parrotlets require when traveling? I travel a lot.
 

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Cages take all shapes and sizes. Normally the advice is the biggest cage you can afford, but it does depend on how much time your bird will be in the cage. They require at least an hour of out of cage/attention time a day. I honestly have a number of cages of various sizes throughout my place so Tumi can have his own space and be with me wherever I go. Baby birds are clumsy, so they do best in smaller cages to start, and then you can move to the larger cage.

When I travel by car with Tumi, I simply buckle his sleeping/travel cage into the front passenger seat. (So you get an idea - this is what I have for his sleeping cage Amazon.com : Vision S01 Wire Bird Cage, Bird Home for Budgies, Finches and Canaries, Small : Birdcages : Pet Supplies) My passenger side airbag weight sensor doesn't trigger for him, so I don't have to worry about the airbag. I cover the cage with a blanket except for the side that faces me, and we just drive down the road. The biggest challenge here in the south is that in the summer time you don't want to have the car turned off for more than a couple minutes because of the danger of overheating, but as long as you stick to drive-throughs you will be fine. I pack his food, his favorite things, and sometimes a small carrier that allows him to come on "walks" with me. As long as wherever you are staying is bird-safe, it is not hard to travel with them at all, at least by car. Unfortunately, most airlines do not allow you to have them as cabin pets, so flying is generally out. Also, don't plan on crossing international borders with them (at least not without a bunch of paperwork due to CITES), so the travel is best done by car and domestically. However, Tumi personally thinks that car rides are fun and enjoys them. Birds can get motion sick, but I think it is pretty rare.

Being that it will be your first parrot, you will want to be VERY picky about your breeder. You want your bird to come to you hand-trained, not just hand-fed. Honestly, it isn't even essential that the bird is hand-fed if the breeder is interacting with the baby birds frequently. Some breeders will co-parent, where they let the parents do the feeding while they do the snuggling, and that can produce amazing results. Remember that parrotlets are prey animals and have very strong instincts that keep them alive, so it can be a challenge to get them to trust you. While trust isn't "transferable" - that is to say, just because Tumi completely trust me doesn't mean he will trust you - having a bird that has already learned to Step Up and that humans can be friends is a good start to building your trust with it. There are lots of resources on the forum to help you understand how to start the training process. Every single parrot is different, so even if you "do everything right" you might have to be very patient. When you first get a bird, you are building a relationship and learning each other's language. I am eight years in with Tumi and now we understand each other perfectly most of the time (he understands so many words in English, and I know what he is asking for by his chirps and body language), but when I first got him I had no idea what he wanted and it was very frustrating, and he was NOT my first parrot. Even with our understanding, I still get bit from him pretty often, as it is part of his nature. He normally doesn't do any damage, and drawing a bit of blood is the worst he can do, but he does bite even me. It is best to know about those things and to be honest about whether they will work for you. Oh, also, birds poop frequently. It doesn't smell and it washes out of clothing easily, but that is something that bothers some people and a con to parrots in general. Parrotlet poop, like their noise, is some of the smallest in the parrot world, but some people don't tolerate any noise or poop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cages take all shapes and sizes. Normally the advice is the biggest cage you can afford, but it does depend on how much time your bird will be in the cage. They require at least an hour of out of cage/attention time a day. I honestly have a number of cages of various sizes throughout my place so Tumi can have his own space and be with me wherever I go. Baby birds are clumsy, so they do best in smaller cages to start, and then you can move to the larger cage.

When I travel by car with Tumi, I simply buckle his sleeping/travel cage into the front passenger seat. (So you get an idea - this is what I have for his sleeping cage Amazon.com : Vision S01 Wire Bird Cage, Bird Home for Budgies, Finches and Canaries, Small : Birdcages : Pet Supplies) My passenger side airbag weight sensor doesn't trigger for him, so I don't have to worry about the airbag. I cover the cage with a blanket except for the side that faces me, and we just drive down the road. The biggest challenge here in the south is that in the summer time you don't want to have the car turned off for more than a couple minutes because of the danger of overheating, but as long as you stick to drive-throughs you will be fine. I pack his food, his favorite things, and sometimes a small carrier that allows him to come on "walks" with me. As long as wherever you are staying is bird-safe, it is not hard to travel with them at all, at least by car. Unfortunately, most airlines do not allow you to have them as cabin pets, so flying is generally out. Also, don't plan on crossing international borders with them (at least not without a bunch of paperwork due to CITES), so the travel is best done by car and domestically. However, Tumi personally thinks that car rides are fun and enjoys them. Birds can get motion sick, but I think it is pretty rare.

Being that it will be your first parrot, you will want to be VERY picky about your breeder. You want your bird to come to you hand-trained, not just hand-fed. Honestly, it isn't even essential that the bird is hand-fed if the breeder is interacting with the baby birds frequently. Some breeders will co-parent, where they let the parents do the feeding while they do the snuggling, and that can produce amazing results. Remember that parrotlets are prey animals and have very strong instincts that keep them alive, so it can be a challenge to get them to trust you. While trust isn't "transferable" - that is to say, just because Tumi completely trust me doesn't mean he will trust you - having a bird that has already learned to Step Up and that humans can be friends is a good start to building your trust with it. There are lots of resources on the forum to help you understand how to start the training process. Every single parrot is different, so even if you "do everything right" you might have to be very patient. When you first get a bird, you are building a relationship and learning each other's language. I am eight years in with Tumi and now we understand each other perfectly most of the time (he understands so many words in English, and I know what he is asking for by his chirps and body language), but when I first got him I had no idea what he wanted and it was very frustrating, and he was NOT my first parrot. Even with our understanding, I still get bit from him pretty often, as it is part of his nature. He normally doesn't do any damage, and drawing a bit of blood is the worst he can do, but he does bite even me. It is best to know about those things and to be honest about whether they will work for you. Oh, also, birds poop frequently. It doesn't smell and it washes out of clothing easily, but that is something that bothers some people and a con to parrots in general. Parrotlet poop, like their noise, is some of the smallest in the parrot world, but some people don't tolerate any noise or poop.

Thank you again. I'm so happy to have found this forum!
 

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Noise doesn't normally bother them, BUT they need at least 12 hours of quiet for sleep each night. Would you be able to have at least a small sleeping cage somewhere that can be quiet (and dark, or the cage covered with a blanket) for at least 12 hours a day? Even an acceptable closet would work, but 12 hours of quiet is important every day. The rest of the time, though, birds are not designed to be quiet creatures and noise in their "flock" shouldn't be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Noise doesn't normally bother them, BUT they need at least 12 hours of quiet for sleep each night. Would you be able to have at least a small sleeping cage somewhere that can be quiet (and dark, or the cage covered with a blanket) for at least 12 hours a day? Even an acceptable closet would work, but 12 hours of quiet is important every day. The rest of the time, though, birds are not designed to be quiet creatures and noise in their "flock" shouldn't be a problem.
Yes, I believe that i would be able to find somewhere quiet for 12 hours. What times do they typically do to bed/get up?
 

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That's a very difficult question to answer, just because there's so many types of parrots. Are you wanting to know as compared to other birds in their size range or in general? In terms of care? Personality?

Parrotlets are tiny, of course, smaller than any other parrot you might get, which does come with a few advantages and a few disadvantages. Advantage--while still noisy compared to many types of pets, they're not as loud as most parrots (just going by volume, not by how much time they spend making noise). Also, while they can definitely rain down chaos and destruction, they just don't have the ability to cause the kind of damage that a bigger parrot can. Your walls should be safe, and a bite might make you bleed but it's not going to break bones. Also, they can get a lot of exercise in much less space!

Disadvantage--of course personalities vary a lot, but a happy parrotlet tends to be pretty adventurous, and that combined with their size means you have to be alert for dangers around the home, including sometimes being very very careful doing simple things like walking across the room. That might sound silly, but Micah went through a phase where attacking my feet was the best game ever--the first time he did it I was pretty startled and yelped, and he thought that was great. It's kind of terrifying to just be crossing a room in your own home and suddenly have to navigate getting away from this tiny, FAST creature who you love very much and who you could very easily accidently kill, and who is trying their best to make you jump around in a way that would be VERY dangerous for them.

As far as what I wish I'd known... research is great, I also love it and I think without the research I did bringing Micah home would have been an absolute disaster. Looking back, I definitely wouldn't have done less research, but I think actually getting some firsthand experience handling birds would have been very helpful. Even with all that research (which should definitely include looking into bird body language!) for the first while it felt like I was trying to understand a foreign language I'd only learned from books. Of course, that wasn't really an option for me--the only bird shelter nearby didn't take volunteers, there wasn't really anywhere to go to get that experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's a very difficult question to answer, just because there's so many types of parrots. Are you wanting to know as compared to other birds in their size range or in general? In terms of care? Personality?

Parrotlets are tiny, of course, smaller than any other parrot you might get, which does come with a few advantages and a few disadvantages. Advantage--while still noisy compared to many types of pets, they're not as loud as most parrots (just going by volume, not by how much time they spend making noise). Also, while they can definitely rain down chaos and destruction, they just don't have the ability to cause the kind of damage that a bigger parrot can. Your walls should be safe, and a bite might make you bleed but it's not going to break bones. Also, they can get a lot of exercise in much less space!

Disadvantage--of course personalities vary a lot, but a happy parrotlet tends to be pretty adventurous, and that combined with their size means you have to be alert for dangers around the home, including sometimes being very very careful doing simple things like walking across the room. That might sound silly, but Micah went through a phase where attacking my feet was the best game ever--the first time he did it I was pretty startled and yelped, and he thought that was great. It's kind of terrifying to just be crossing a room in your own home and suddenly have to navigate getting away from this tiny, FAST creature who you love very much and who you could very easily accidently kill, and who is trying their best to make you jump around in a way that would be VERY dangerous for them.

As far as what I wish I'd known... research is great, I also love it and I think without the research I did bringing Micah home would have been an absolute disaster. Looking back, I definitely wouldn't have done less research, but I think actually getting some firsthand experience handling birds would have been very helpful. Even with all that research (which should definitely include looking into bird body language!) for the first while it felt like I was trying to understand a foreign language I'd only learned from books. Of course, that wasn't really an option for me--the only bird shelter nearby didn't take volunteers, there wasn't really anywhere to go to get that experience.
Wow, thank you for the information! I was thinking mainly in terms of how care level differs from parrotlets and other parrots.
 

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Hello. Adding a little Parrotlet to our family is the best decisions that I’ve made.
Without repeating some of the above, I have a few thoughts on the subject:
1. You may already know this, but it is like adopting a young child. I cannot stress that enough. Their intelligence is a kin to a five year old child. I used to teach kindergarten, and I can assure you, these little guys learn more quickly and accurately and can reason better than most five year olds. They are extremely extremely intelligent and positive training…only positive…matters. Just like a child. Ignore the negative because even negative attention is reinforcement. Always praise them when they’re doing some thing well.
2.They do not like to be left alone. At all. Ever. You are a member of their flock. I started saying “Mommy will be back” whenever I had to leave the room or leave for a couple of hours. Georgie learned very quickly what that phrase means. He no longer trips and tries to find me when I say it. He knows that mommy will return.
3. Shipping can cause PTSD.. I had never heard of this and didn’t realize it. It is like putting a young child in a dark box and shipping them across the country. Georgie has been very traumatized ever since. He’s extremely confident during the day, totally bonded to me, seems to be a really happy little bird by tripping all of the time calm behaviors would like to be petted playing eating etc. But when it comes to lights out, he completely panics. He crawls all over the top of his cage clings to the top for a half an hour or more. Finally I made the executive decision to no longer cover his cage. I left a little nightlight on until he fell asleep. He likes to hear a lullaby or a good night story. Also, I slept in the same room last night. About 3 feet from his cage. He curled up in a little ball and went to sleep. I think being in that dark box scarred him and he feels much much better knowing mommy is close by. The room is warm enough and dark enough to not cover him.
3. You have to watch every move these little buggers make. I don’t know if you have experience with Parrotlets, or if you’ve seen one in person, but they are absolutely tiny. And when people say they have a huge personality, it’s true. Already within a week, I have forgotten how small he is. It’s like having a little person in the house. 🤣 If you listen closely to his body language and chips, he she will tell you exactly what he wants or needs. It just takes time and close observation.
4. The most important, I would only purchase a Parrotlet if you have time to devote to him. Lots of time. Several hours a day. They are very very lonely without you. They desperately need a flock mate. If you’re looking for a bond with you, my breeder recommended one. If you are gone a lot of the day and would rather have your bird bond with another bird and not be lonely, then too. Again, the best way to think of this is like adopting a kindergartner. They take that much work and love!
Best thing I ever did!!!!
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum! This is definitely the place to ask your parrotlet questions, and we LOVE people who are doing their research first!

Would this be your first parrot? There are some general things that you will need to learn to keep parrots in general, particularly regarding aerosols (they are all potentially deadly) and non-stick pans. Any of the introduction to parrots can give you the safety list, including keeping toilet lids closed and other general household safety things.

To answer your questions:
I personally have a single parrotlet, and I enjoy the bond that I can have with a single bird. With two birds, a couple different things could possibly happen. First, the birds could bond to each other and then ignore you, or they could hate each other and demand separate attention time, or, rarely, they can bond to each other and also include you. Especially if you are hoping to build a strong bond, a single parrotlet will be your best bet. Parrotlets often do not enjoy having a second bird in their life anyway, so those with multiple parrotlets have a bunch of "only children."

If you are getting a young bird, you will start off with whatever the bird has been weaned on. There are some good quality seeds or pellets, but much depends on you (and also you budget - bird food isn't cheap and they eat or destroy more in a day than you'd think). Veggies are important, and fruit as well, so no matter what you have as the base diet you should plan on preparing fresh foods. If you have a prepared diet, make sure it is for a cockatiel/conure and not a parakeet - parrotlets are tiny, but have the nutritional needs of a full parrot.

Edited: Half inch bar spacing can be okay, but if you start with a young bird you should also have a smaller cage when they are young and clumsy to keep them safe. Smaller bar spacing is nice if you have it, and definitely not any bigger!

The best way to prevent illnesses is the annual avian vet check. I see you live in my area (I'm in the Atlanta area) - For Pet's Sake in Decatur is the BEST place around here to take your parrotlet for their annual exam. Unfortunately, birds hide illness until they are pretty much deathly ill, so having a professional check them every year and then as needed is the best thing you can do to treat illness.

Cons: They are WORK. Parrotlets are messy, can be very aggressive, will not trust you initially and can take months to even get them to step on to your hand. They are also noisy (not compared to other parrots, but if you aren't used to bird noise then they will seem loud), and the person at the other end of the phone call will hear them loud and clear. You have to give up things like scented candles and air fresheners, normal cleaning products, and non-stick pans. They are a factor in all of your decisions. Today I had a problem with ants coming in a door and my mom with trying to tell me what spray to buy to stop it, and I had to firmly tell her (we don't live together, so it isn't a real risk) that I can't use any spray because it risks killing my bird. They are a long term commitment, and as they are very fragile and hide illness very well, you are unlikely to get warning that the end is coming. HOWEVER, I love my parrotlet and do not regret a single one of the cons!

Advice: Every single parrotlet is different. We can give some species generalities, but they like to defy that and be independent birds. I do wish I had realized about the color mutations and looked for a normal green one - we take for granted that they should come in every color under the rainbow, but they only naturally exist in green, and sometimes breeders (not all breeders, but it is always a risk) will engage in practices like inbreeding to get some of the mutations and it can lead to health issues. Green Pacific Parrotlets are the normal color and unlikely to have any inbreeding as it is a dominant trait. Color had no affect on personality, as it is like hair color, but it can indicate potential health and longevity.

I didn't get my parrotlet down here in Georgia, so I have no breeder contacts to Private Message you. We don't openly discuss breeders on the forum, so if someone knows of one they can send you a Conversation (previously called a Private Message or PM) with the information.

I got a male for one reason - no risk of egg laying. My last parrot was a chronic egg layer, and I just didn't want to have to think about that. However, girls are awesome too! Birds do not get neutered, so mixed gender pairings are always about mating, and I don't really recommend that as a pet situation. Honestly, parrotlets don't like to share cages or toys or food or attention or anything. There are some successful situations, but for every successful situation there are a bunch that turned dangerous (parrotlets that don't want to share a cage anymore often turn violent on each other and can injure or kill each other).

THEY MUST BE WEANED BEFORE THEY COME HOME TO YOU. Normally they wean around 6-8 weeks, but do NOT accept a breeder giving you an unweaned bird. There are no laws protecting them or regulating them, and just like with any animals there are breeders that do not always prioritize animal welfare. You do not want to handfeed your own parrotlet - leave that to the professionals.

I have been owned by a parrot for too many years to know if they would be considered high maintenance, but probably yes. On the one hand, Tumi has everything he physically needs when I am away from home. On the other hand, I had to pause in the middle of writing this because he was asking to come help and soon he would like to be served his dinner.

Travel is individual to the bird, but Tumi has done a TON of traveling and loves it. From the time he was 12 weeks onwards he has done long trips with regularity. It takes planning and thoughtful cage setup, but it can definitely be done. In a couple weeks we will be traveling again (for the third time) in a tiny RV for a couple weeks, and he loves it.
Hi and welcome to the forum! This is definitely the place to ask your parrotlet questions, and we LOVE people who are doing their research first!

Would this be your first parrot? There are some general things that you will need to learn to keep parrots in general, particularly regarding aerosols (they are all potentially deadly) and non-stick pans. Any of the introduction to parrots can give you the safety list, including keeping toilet lids closed and other general household safety things.

To answer your questions:
I personally have a single parrotlet, and I enjoy the bond that I can have with a single bird. With two birds, a couple different things could possibly happen. First, the birds could bond to each other and then ignore you, or they could hate each other and demand separate attention time, or, rarely, they can bond to each other and also include you. Especially if you are hoping to build a strong bond, a single parrotlet will be your best bet. Parrotlets often do not enjoy having a second bird in their life anyway, so those with multiple parrotlets have a bunch of "only children."

If you are getting a young bird, you will start off with whatever the bird has been weaned on. There are some good quality seeds or pellets, but much depends on you (and also you budget - bird food isn't cheap and they eat or destroy more in a day than you'd think). Veggies are important, and fruit as well, so no matter what you have as the base diet you should plan on preparing fresh foods. If you have a prepared diet, make sure it is for a cockatiel/conure and not a parakeet - parrotlets are tiny, but have the nutritional needs of a full parrot.

Edited: Half inch bar spacing can be okay, but if you start with a young bird you should also have a smaller cage when they are young and clumsy to keep them safe. Smaller bar spacing is nice if you have it, and definitely not any bigger!

The best way to prevent illnesses is the annual avian vet check. I see you live in my area (I'm in the Atlanta area) - For Pet's Sake in Decatur is the BEST place around here to take your parrotlet for their annual exam. Unfortunately, birds hide illness until they are pretty much deathly ill, so having a professional check them every year and then as needed is the best thing you can do to treat illness.

Cons: They are WORK. Parrotlets are messy, can be very aggressive, will not trust you initially and can take months to even get them to step on to your hand. They are also noisy (not compared to other parrots, but if you aren't used to bird noise then they will seem loud), and the person at the other end of the phone call will hear them loud and clear. You have to give up things like scented candles and air fresheners, normal cleaning products, and non-stick pans. They are a factor in all of your decisions. Today I had a problem with ants coming in a door and my mom with trying to tell me what spray to buy to stop it, and I had to firmly tell her (we don't live together, so it isn't a real risk) that I can't use any spray because it risks killing my bird. They are a long term commitment, and as they are very fragile and hide illness very well, you are unlikely to get warning that the end is coming. HOWEVER, I love my parrotlet and do not regret a single one of the cons!

Advice: Every single parrotlet is different. We can give some species generalities, but they like to defy that and be independent birds. I do wish I had realized about the color mutations and looked for a normal green one - we take for granted that they should come in every color under the rainbow, but they only naturally exist in green, and sometimes breeders (not all breeders, but it is always a risk) will engage in practices like inbreeding to get some of the mutations and it can lead to health issues. Green Pacific Parrotlets are the normal color and unlikely to have any inbreeding as it is a dominant trait. Color had no affect on personality, as it is like hair color, but it can indicate potential health and longevity.

I didn't get my parrotlet down here in Georgia, so I have no breeder contacts to Private Message you. We don't openly discuss breeders on the forum, so if someone knows of one they can send you a Conversation (previously called a Private Message or PM) with the information.

I got a male for one reason - no risk of egg laying. My last parrot was a chronic egg layer, and I just didn't want to have to think about that. However, girls are awesome too! Birds do not get neutered, so mixed gender pairings are always about mating, and I don't really recommend that as a pet situation. Honestly, parrotlets don't like to share cages or toys or food or attention or anything. There are some successful situations, but for every successful situation there are a bunch that turned dangerous (parrotlets that don't want to share a cage anymore often turn violent on each other and can injure or kill each other).

THEY MUST BE WEANED BEFORE THEY COME HOME TO YOU. Normally they wean around 6-8 weeks, but do NOT accept a breeder giving you an unweaned bird. There are no laws protecting them or regulating them, and just like with any animals there are breeders that do not always prioritize animal welfare. You do not want to handfeed your own parrotlet - leave that to the professionals.

I have been owned by a parrot for too many years to know if they would be considered high maintenance, but probably yes. On the one hand, Tumi has everything he physically needs when I am away from home. On the other hand, I had to pause in the middle of writing this because he was asking to come help and soon he would like to be served his dinner.

Travel is individual to the bird, but Tumi has done a TON of traveling and loves it. From the time he was 12 weeks onwards he has done long trips with regularity. It takes planning and thoughtful cage setup, but it can definitely be done. In a couple weeks we will be traveling again (for the third time) in a tiny RV for a couple weeks, and he loves it.
Wow Dana, what an incredibly thorough and thoughtful response. I enjoyed every minute of reading what you had to say. I am just loving this forum and the people in it… I am grateful to be a part of it.Thank you. (This actually might be my first post. I have had my little prickly pear Lily… she’s molting big-time right now…for two months…she’s 4 1/2 months old. She is my first parrot and although I did a TON of research, we are still very much learning together. Right now, our biggest challenge is that she bites my neck when she’s afraid of something new : ( Other than that, she is a super sweet, feisty little vampire who begs for kisses and gentle scritches by bowing her head constantly. I love her and she seems to love me too… like Velcro hoops love Velcro hooks <3)
 

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Hello. Adding a little Parrotlet to our family is the best decisions that I’ve made.
Without repeating some of the above, I have a few thoughts on the subject:
1. You may already know this, but it is like adopting a young child. I cannot stress that enough. Their intelligence is a kin to a five year old child. I used to teach kindergarten, and I can assure you, these little guys learn more quickly and accurately and can reason better than most five year olds. They are extremely extremely intelligent and positive training…only positive…matters. Just like a child. Ignore the negative because even negative attention is reinforcement. Always praise them when they’re doing some thing well.
2.They do not like to be left alone. At all. Ever. You are a member of their flock. I started saying “Mommy will be back” whenever I had to leave the room or leave for a couple of hours. Georgie learned very quickly what that phrase means. He no longer trips and tries to find me when I say it. He knows that mommy will return.
3. Shipping can cause PTSD.. I had never heard of this and didn’t realize it. It is like putting a young child in a dark box and shipping them across the country. Georgie has been very traumatized ever since. He’s extremely confident during the day, totally bonded to me, seems to be a really happy little bird by tripping all of the time calm behaviors would like to be petted playing eating etc. But when it comes to lights out, he completely panics. He crawls all over the top of his cage clings to the top for a half an hour or more. Finally I made the executive decision to no longer cover his cage. I left a little nightlight on until he fell asleep. He likes to hear a lullaby or a good night story. Also, I slept in the same room last night. About 3 feet from his cage. He curled up in a little ball and went to sleep. I think being in that dark box scarred him and he feels much much better knowing mommy is close by. The room is warm enough and dark enough to not cover him.
3. You have to watch every move these little buggers make. I don’t know if you have experience with Parrotlets, or if you’ve seen one in person, but they are absolutely tiny. And when people say they have a huge personality, it’s true. Already within a week, I have forgotten how small he is. It’s like having a little person in the house. 🤣 If you listen closely to his body language and chips, he she will tell you exactly what he wants or needs. It just takes time and close observation.
4. The most important, I would only purchase a Parrotlet if you have time to devote to him. Lots of time. Several hours a day. They are very very lonely without you. They desperately need a flock mate. If you’re looking for a bond with you, my breeder recommended one. If you are gone a lot of the day and would rather have your bird bond with another bird and not be lonely, then too. Again, the best way to think of this is like adopting a kindergartner. They take that much work and love!
Best thing I ever did!!!!
Thank you so much for the information! It is very helpful. Wow, I had no idea that they could get PTSD from shipping. That's good to know!
 

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Thank you so much for the information! It is very helpful. Wow, I had no idea that they could get PTSD from shipping. That's good to know!
I was surprised as well! He is doing great now. But I do notice that he gets scared and comes to me whenever a plane flies over. Then and only then. He’s a confident little guy. So I’m sure he’s put two and two together.
As for the sleep routine…we’ve nailed it! :) It goes like this: 1. 7:45 lights out and curtains drawn. He sits on my shoulder and helps with “night patrol”. We cover 3 sides of his sleep cage. 2. 8:00 sharp…he climbs on my shoulder under hair and goes to sleep 3. I keep doing my thing tv, tea, phone, anything quiet. He snuggles. 4. 9:20 he climbs down to my hand. I walk him over to sleep cage. He looks and me and gives two peeps (love you). Then he reaches up and gives me a kiss (yep!). So cute. 5. I set him on his (chosen) sleep swing. Bonka Birds fleece. He crawls right up to the top and goes to sleep. NO tents…bacteria and hormones. But the fleece perch is perfect! 6. I cover the front.
There’s now never a peep until about 8:30-9 am He comes right out for breakfast.
Good Luck to you! Given choices and lots of positive rewards…and a reliable schedule, they are little loves!!!!
 
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