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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a hand raised Parrotlet about 6 months ago. I work from home so we bonded pretty quickly. But she hated my girfriend. Would angry chirp whenever she'd come over, bite her HARD, lunge at her when she'd walked by her cage.

Then, she tasted her spit, (a little kiss) and a switch FLIPPED. Now she is obsessed with her. She crawls climbs over me to get to her and will never stay with me when she's in the room. I spend all day with her(the parrotlet) while I work from home. She is calm and sweet and interactive then my girlfriend comes over and its like I dont exist anymore. Although she still bites my girlfriends hands very aggressively if her hands go near her.

It really hurts me. I care for this little bird so much and I am just ignored when my girlfriend shows up. I guess its better than when she hated my girlfriend, but her obsession is annoying my girlfriend. She never leaves her alone and tries to bit her lips. Not to mention she is still biting her hands very hard.

Does anyone have any helps. I though clipping her wings might help a little, but she'll still just chase her. I have had birds before and I know sometimes they can just pick someone and love them more. But this is weird because she's gone from hating my girlfriend to being obsessed. Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

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Hi there! Welcome to the forum!

Well, it sure sounds like you have a little spitfire there! Parrotlets typically bond to one person be that person still, to me, sounds like you. It actually doesn’t sound to me like she likes your girlfriend still. The aggressive biting seems to me like she is trying to chase her off. My bird, Kiwi, did very similar things to my husband. She would fly over to him and look like she was just perching but she would attack his ears and hair and hands until he would react by literally running away. Unfortunately, that reaction reinforced to her that her scare tactics were working so she would do it over and over, and then to anyone who came in the house. She didn’t come to me because she was busy getting rid of them.

What exactly is your little bird doing? Is she excited and fluffed up? Does she chirp loudly and repetitively? Does she ever sit calmly with your girlfriend or is the biting a constant thing? How is your girlfriend reacting? Is she trying to get away or trying to get the bird away? Is she vocalizing in a loud way (not a judgement - just trying to see it from how a bird might interpret it).

I tend to think this behaviour is because of your wonderful bond, not because she prefers your girlfriend. It is a difficult one to train out of them but you can make it better. If you can answer those questions, it would be helpful to determine what is going on. I will be interested to see if other forum members think the same way as I am thinking too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for responding! Yes, is is quite the sassy lil bird.


Its a weird situation. When Diti (the bird, pronounced DeeTee) sees my girfriend's(Dani) hand she fluffs up and give the typical parrotlet aggressive chirps. She will sometimes bite them very hard. Its like she associates the hands as a threat but her face as a friend.


When Diti on Dani's shoulder Diti is calm and relaxed and sweet. It used to be she would fluff up and chirp agressivly if Dani so much walked by her cage. Now when Dani comes over she flies right over to her immediately and will chirp non stop if Dani is out of the room. She loves to cuddle up on her hair and has even let my girlfriend give her head scratches. She's spent legit hours in her hair. I've told me girlfriend to not react when she bites her, as hard as that may be. I didnt want to reinforce Diti's biting with a response. She very rarely tries to get the bird away. Sometimes she picks the bird up and sets her down so she can read or do something. Diti will keep climbing up my gf to sit on her chest and make little noises and try to nibble her lips.

As for me, she rarely ever bites me aggressively, and will sit on my shoulder while I work, but when Dani comes over I'm chopped liver. :( Its hard because it hurts my feelings and Diti's obsession with Dani is honestly annoying Dani a bit. Its a little burdensome to have this little bird chase after you and want to it by your mouth every second.
 

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I’m sorry but I am actually giggling out loud at the moment. They’re such adorable little stinkers, they can actually make us jealous if they like someone else! Haha! But yeah, you’re right. She does seem to be bonding with your girlfriend. Wow. They are often referred to as “Velcro birds” because they want to be with their human all the time. Like, ALL THE TIME. When they’re not with you, they can tend to call and call and it’s almost heartbreaking not to respond. So we do. But you’re right. It can become a burden.

You and Dani will have to set some boundaries for Diti (super cute name!!). When Dani doesn’t want her on her person anymore, she should put her back in her cage. She will complain but if you give in to the demands all the time, it will reinforce the behaviour. Perhaps give her a sprig if millet or some other tasty treat when you put her back so she’s distracted and being in her cage is reinforced. I used to put a paper towel in Kiwi’s cage bars when I was putting her back and she would shred that thing for ages - maybe having a tantrum because she was back in the cage? Maybe. But she enjoyed it immensely and focused her energy there.

For the excessive hand biting, there are some tactics to help with that. In the Bonding and Training section on this forum, there is a good note on the gentle beak technique. I, personally, had a lot of success with the “earthquake” technique which is shaking your finger gently, just enough to distract and unbalance then so they associate the biting with the shaking. Obviously only do it enough to catch their attention. Some people don’t like this technique though, and swear by the gentle beak approach. So it is just what works best for you and your bird.

It’s nice to know that Diti at least isn’t aggressively trying to get rid of Dani like Kiwi did to my husband, LOL! Try not to be too jealous!! This will work out better for all of you in the long run.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had a budgie named Kiwi growing up!

I was hoping she wasnt bonding with her as selfish as it seems. It just shocks me that she could do a complete 180. I've had birds bond with strangers, but never hate someone then bond with them.

I think the big change was when she "got a taste of Dani's spit". As weird as it sounds she licked Dani's tongue and after that she was obsessed. Have you seen that before? Any idea why that would happen? Maybe its female spit? No clue haha.

Good Idea on the paper towel. Diti loves to take a bottle cap and throw it around the cage. She loses her mind hehe. She rarely ever bites me, maybe sometimes when trying to get her out of her cage but I've read this is normal for parrotlets. Is this true in your experience?

Hopefully the boundaries help. Would recommend clipping her wings? I hate to take a way God's greatest gift to a a bird from her but i've heard it mellows them out a bit.
 

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Diti doesn’t hate you and you do not sound selfish at all. Just somebody who really loves their little birdie. What I got from this, is that Diti is a social little bird that has come to love you both. She enjoys being with you all day and probably in the evening thinks that it is time to spend time with Dani. Dani is more of a novelty because she sees less of her. In the evening, maybe you need to have some separate alone time with Diti to get her in the habit of being with just you in the evening. Set up an evening routine with her. Birds like to know what is going to happen next. Maybe this would be a good time to teach her some target training? Give her some treats. Just to get her focus off Dani for a while. Do you have a playstation? Maybe move the playstation near where you and your girlfriend spend the most time. Add a comfortable swing or perch, some fun new toys and treats to it to make it an enjoyable place for her to hang out with you guys.

I think you should only clip a birds wings if it is absolutely necessary. And there is no other option. So, I say don't do it. Wouldn't you miss seeing her flying around the room? They are such great wee fliers!

You mentioned about Diti getting some of your girlfriends saliva? Be careful of that. It is toxic to birds. Potentially lethal.
 

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Awwww Kiwi the budgie! That’s sweet! Let me guess - she was green. Haha!!

I agree with Anya - it’s not selfish. You clearly have a lovely bond with Diti and she obviously values that when Dani isn’t around. I have never in my life heard of a bird falling in love because of a taste of their spit. It is a strange trigger and maybe just a coincidence that it was the thing you remember most about the moment Diti switched gears. Whatever it was, it is a good thing that there is harmony when the two of you are together…even if you’re jealous LOL! Kiwi now tolerates my husband so we at least have peace when we’re all watching hockey or what ever.

For my part, I didn’t clip Kiwi’s wings. She came to me clipped and I had it done once more but decided I wanted her to fly, as you say, to experience God’s greatest gift to her. You just have to accept that there are risks and do some risk mitigation to make it a safe as possible…and if something does happen, don’t beat yourself up over your decision. Kiwi was fabulous at navigating the whole house when she flew (she’s quite old now and can no longer fly - which makes me even more happy I let her do it when she was young) and would mostly land on my head following a flight, chirping loudly with excitement. Things to consider - never let them out when there’s anything hot on the stove or it’s on, know where they are at all times and let everyone in the house know she is out and again if she is flying, keep the toilet lid closed 😱 and be the sole person to move if she lands and you can’t see her until you have her - and move very carefully! I have read of heartbreaking stories where birds have been stepped on because they have moved quickly across the floor under an unsuspecting foot. Many people chose to have their bird’s wings clipped and I pass no judgement - this is simply my choice in my case.

I think it is great that Diti doesn’t bite you and no, that is not common but it does happen. She is still quite young though and hasn’t gone through puberty and that really is a game changer so don’t be shocked if she all of a sudden becomes super bitey. It is a very difficult time for them in a captive environment - just remind yourself that they are not domesticated pets, they are still wild birds even if they were raised in the human environment. It helps you to be patient and understanding. Helps. Because it freaking hurts you physically and emotionally when they are biting at you incessantly. But this does pass and frankly, there’s a range as with anything. Kiwi made me cry on more than one occasion and it was a real struggle for both of us, but we got through it and she is the love of my life (sorry hubby! 💕). Just be prepared that it might happen and if it’s bad, come here for help and support. If it’s good, come here too to brag!! We love to hear it when someone gets away without having to deal with it! Talk about jealousy!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Diti doesn’t hate you and you do not sound selfish at all. Just somebody who really loves their little birdie. What I got from this, is that Diti is a social little bird that has come to love you both. She enjoys being with you all day and probably in the evening thinks that it is time to spend time with Dani. Dani is more of a novelty because she sees less of her. In the evening, maybe you need to have some separate alone time with Diti to get her in the habit of being with just you in the evening. Set up an evening routine with her. Birds like to know what is going to happen next. Maybe this would be a good time to teach her some target training? Give her some treats. Just to get her focus off Dani for a while. Do you have a playstation? Maybe move the playstation near where you and your girlfriend spend the most time. Add a comfortable swing or perch, some fun new toys and treats to it to make it an enjoyable place for her to hang out with you guys.

I think you should only clip a birds wings if it is absolutely necessary. And there is no other option. So, I say don't do it. Wouldn't you miss seeing her flying around the room? They are such great wee fliers!

You mentioned about Diti getting some of your girlfriends saliva? Be careful of that. It is toxic to birds. Potentially lethal.

Yes Diti is obsessed with siliva unfortunately. I am aware and make an effort to keep her from our mouths She's always hanging around there for kisses. Those are all very good ideas. I have a millet holder in her cage where she has to work for her millet alittle and that always keeps her busy.

We spend a lot of time in our T living room. I have a nice stand for her with a comfy swing and toys and food, but it doesnt matter. If Dani in the room she will fly straight to her. If its just me, she will go to the perch when she wants and fly back when she's done.

I do love to see her fly. I am just a little worried because I have a roommate. He is fine with Diti but sometimes she flies and lands on him and he really isnt about that... but you're right a last resort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Awwww Kiwi the budgie! That’s sweet! Let me guess - she was green. Haha!!

I agree with Anya - it’s not selfish. You clearly have a lovely bond with Diti and she obviously values that when Dani isn’t around. I have never in my life heard of a bird falling in love because of a taste of their spit. It is a strange trigger and maybe just a coincidence that it was the thing you remember most about the moment Diti switched gears. Whatever it was, it is a good thing that there is harmony when the two of you are together…even if you’re jealous LOL! Kiwi now tolerates my husband so we at least have peace when we’re all watching hockey or what ever.

For my part, I didn’t clip Kiwi’s wings. She came to me clipped and I had it done once more but decided I wanted her to fly, as you say, to experience God’s greatest gift to her. You just have to accept that there are risks and do some risk mitigation to make it a safe as possible…and if something does happen, don’t beat yourself up over your decision. Kiwi was fabulous at navigating the whole house when she flew (she’s quite old now and can no longer fly - which makes me even more happy I let her do it when she was young) and would mostly land on my head following a flight, chirping loudly with excitement. Things to consider - never let them out when there’s anything hot on the stove or it’s on, know where they are at all times and let everyone in the house know she is out and again if she is flying, keep the toilet lid closed 😱 and be the sole person to move if she lands and you can’t see her until you have her - and move very carefully! I have read of heartbreaking stories where birds have been stepped on because they have moved quickly across the floor under an unsuspecting foot. Many people chose to have their bird’s wings clipped and I pass no judgement - this is simply my choice in my case.

I think it is great that Diti doesn’t bite you and no, that is not common but it does happen. She is still quite young though and hasn’t gone through puberty and that really is a game changer so don’t be shocked if she all of a sudden becomes super bitey. It is a very difficult time for them in a captive environment - just remind yourself that they are not domesticated pets, they are still wild birds even if they were raised in the human environment. It helps you to be patient and understanding. Helps. Because it freaking hurts you physically and emotionally when they are biting at you incessantly. But this does pass and frankly, there’s a range as with anything. Kiwi made me cry on more than one occasion and it was a real struggle for both of us, but we got through it and she is the love of my life (sorry hubby! 💕). Just be prepared that it might happen and if it’s bad, come here for help and support. If it’s good, come here too to brag!! We love to hear it when someone gets away without having to deal with it! Talk about jealousy!!

Its ironic because I was making a conscious effort for Diti to see Dani wasn't a threat and now she's her favorite person.Dani and I love to watch hockey too and you can bet Diti is near by.

Do you know when parrotlets typically go through puberty? Hopefully Diti doesn't become too bity towards me. I am just happy she is content to spend the work day sitting on my glasses and trying to prean my eyebrows/eye lashes.

QUESTION: She tries to preen Dani's eyelashes as well and Dani usually wear mascara. Is this something to be concerned about?
 

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She sits on your glasses? Haha! How on earth do you get any work done?

I personally would try to discourage preening eyelashes on both you and Dani. Mascara for sure will not be good for her and she will ingest it if she’s preening Dani’s eyelashes. But even for you, if she decides at some point to lash out (pun intended!!) because, for example, you are taking her off your glasses, she could easily land a bite in your eye.

This would be particularly true during the tumultuous puberty which I would say appears around 2 years old. The hormonal change typically makes them temperamental and lashing out with the beak is a predominant feature of this stage. You really don’t want them anywhere near your eyes when that happens, nor do you want to suddenly not be allowing her to sit on her favourite perch during that time.

Oops - accidentally posted that and I’m not finished …

Giving her shredding material is a good way to refocus her preening activity. I often hold a crumpled tissue in my clenched hand with a little poking out so Kiwi sees it. She sits on my hand and rips that tissue to bits. It was really helpful during her puberty and she loves to do it today as a little old lady. I realize that will not be a great solution for you while you’re working on the computer. You could instead poke some tissues or paper towel into a small box with a hole in it for the tissue to poke out or even a toilet paper roll. Or drape a tissue over your shoulder and let her sit there. I mean, if you’re on a video call, people might think you’ve been at home too long, but it can be effective to curb the unwanted behaviour!
 
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