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Hi! I've had my baby parrotlet for a little over a week. He is very comfortable in his cage - loves his swing, toys, millet, seeds. He chirps and chatters all day! He seems to not like me very much, though. He freaks out when I am changing out his food and water or if my hands/fingers come anywhere near him. I've scooped him up a couple times and he seams to not bite as much now, but still biting and being very scared. He does like it when I sit in front of his cage with the door open and read to him, though. At least it seems like he likes it. I just don't know what to do to try to get him to calm down. I want to be able to let him out of his cage and hold him and whatnot but he is just so scared. I don't know how to even begin teaching him step up if he won't even let me near him. He also won't eat anything if he realizes I'm holding it. Help!!

This is Pig.
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Welcome to the forum......You have only had him a week? So, he has not adjusted to his surroundings yet. Give him time. One thing you really shouldn't do is grab or cup him into your hands. This is usually a no no. This will delay his bonding a while. If you grab or cup him, he will not fully trust you for a long, long while. This is why we have what we call a " step up " procedure. This helps the bird make a decision to come to you on his own by stepping up onto your finger or hand.
Most p'letts have a " hand in the cage " aggression problem. They do not instinctively trust a human hand in their cage.

If you want him to step up onto you, then I suggest that you open his cage door, then shut it...slowly. Do this many, many times until he gets used to you opening his cage door. Once you can open the door without him freaking out, then the next step is to very slowly move your hand towards him ( keep your hands below his chest area...never move your hands from above his head)...slowly move to him many, many times until he is used to your hand coming to him.

Once you get your hand close enough to his chest/legs area without him freaking out, then the next step is to very.very, very slowly move your finger towards his chest/legs area and touch against him. If he starts to freak out...pull away slowly, but do not go far. Wait until he settles. Once he settles, then proceed back to his legs and touch him again. Say the words, " Step up. Step up" ( quietly) and if he just sits there, continue to push back against him , ever so gently. against his legs. He will either fly away from your hand or fall backwards or he will step up onto your finger. If he steps onto your finger, praise him a lot!

If he flies, then start all over...slowly and patiently! This may take several times. Many times! But do it the same way every time. Birds love repetition. I do not believe in offering him a treat to get him to step up because he will concentrate on the treat more than the task.
You have to be patient. Many new p'lett owners want to take their bird out and play with them before they bond. Resist the temptation and be patient. Take your time and do not give up.

David and Vicki
 

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I agree a week is not long at all, some birds arrive not afraid of hands and others while might be used to hands need to get used to a different strange situation.

It is not recommended to scoop them up, that being said I have done it both with my bird who hated hands and the one I have now who is not afraid of hands. If you have him out then I would move to another part of the room away from the cage and work on step up there. As small area where he cant really go anywhere. I used my bathroom with toilet closed. Once there we had nothing to distract us and we made progress with step up.

Patience is key with these little ones. Give all of the patience you have then give more and more. I would continue to put my hands in the cage and talk softly. Have you tried a long piece of millett?

I have now progressed to the stage where my guy will step up every time and I can get him just to the door then he hops off. I give up after about a dozen tries lol.

He will come out of his cage and climb around but mostly he likes his cage best. I find that when he is out of his comfort zone he will concentrate on me. Sometimes I close the door to his cage when he is out, he will step up outside of the cage and will stay on my finger but he does like his cage and flied back to it when he sees it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice. It's been three weeks since Pig came home and it seems like what little progress we had made has now gone completely. He was eating millet when I would hold it out for him, but now he won't touch it. He's usually ok with me opening the cage door, even if he is sitting close, but as soon as he sees my hands or fingers, he freaks out. I bought nutriberries hoping he would want the sweetness, but I have to hold them between my fingers and too close for his comfort. I took him out by force (I know, I know) a couple times when I've cleaned his cage and put him in a small travel cage. He has gotten so scared that he'll flitter off into the floor and run away from me. Even getting behind furniture to hide. I don't know what to do! I want him to love me and be my little buddy, but this is starting to seem impossible.
 

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Thanks for the advice. It's been three weeks since Pig came home and it seems like what little progress we had made has now gone completely. He was eating millet when I would hold it out for him, but now he won't touch it. He's usually ok with me opening the cage door, even if he is sitting close, but as soon as he sees my hands or fingers, he freaks out. I bought nutriberries hoping he would want the sweetness, but I have to hold them between my fingers and too close for his comfort. I took him out by force (I know, I know) a couple times when I've cleaned his cage and put him in a small travel cage. He has gotten so scared that he'll flitter off into the floor and run away from me. Even getting behind furniture to hide. I don't know what to do! I want him to love me and be my little buddy, but this is starting to seem impossible.
Keep trying! It can seem like you take steps backwards but you have to keep going as you are.

When I got my first budgie, I had trained him really well to step up after a few weeks (me being 12 at the time), and then there was an incident where he got out of the cage and fluttered to the floor behind the couch. I lost a lot of progress after that incident and had to basically start again. I gained the trust back quicker than before.

3 weeks is not very long, even if it may seem so. Keep with feeding millet for now, as long of a sprig as Pig will tolerate. Leave the door open for him to come out to investigate what you are doing on his own terms. You just have to go at their pace, and some birds take longer than others. Keep going, we believe in you and Pig.
 

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Welcome to the forum......You have only had him a week? So, he has not adjusted to his surroundings yet. Give him time. One thing you really shouldn't do is grab or cup him into your hands. This is usually a no no. This will delay his bonding a while. If you grab or cup him, he will not fully trust you for a long, long while. This is why we have what we call a " step up " procedure. This helps the bird make a decision to come to you on his own by stepping up onto your finger or hand.
Most p'letts have a " hand in the cage " aggression problem. They do not instinctively trust a human hand in their cage.

If you want him to step up onto you, then I suggest that you open his cage door, then shut it...slowly. Do this many, many times until he gets used to you opening his cage door. Once you can open the door without him freaking out, then the next step is to very slowly move your hand towards him ( keep your hands below his chest area...never move your hands from above his head)...slowly move to him many, many times until he is used to your hand coming to him.

Once you get your hand close enough to his chest/legs area without him freaking out, then the next step is to very.very, very slowly move your finger towards his chest/legs area and touch against him. If he starts to freak out...pull away slowly, but do not go far. Wait until he settles. Once he settles, then proceed back to his legs and touch him again. Say the words, " Step up. Step up" ( quietly) and if he just sits there, continue to push back against him , ever so gently. against his legs. He will either fly away from your hand or fall backwards or he will step up onto your finger. If he steps onto your finger, praise him a lot!

If he flies, then start all over...slowly and patiently! This may take several times. Many times! But do it the same way every time. Birds love repetition. I do not believe in offering him a treat to get him to step up because he will concentrate on the treat more than the task.
You have to be patient. Many new p'lett owners want to take their bird out and play with them before they bond. Resist the temptation and be patient. Take your time and do not give up.

David and Vicki
This is GOLD right here what David and Vicki are telling you! When I first got Cookie (December), she would not step up, was not socialized, and I think she didn't trust me at all - who could blame her? I, too, wanted her bonded to me IMMEDIATELY, but through David's guidance, I learned to be patient and wow did it work! She is so sweet, but she was scared and took a very long time to trust me and know that I want nothing but the best for her. At first she would only step up onto a plastic perch but now she steps up onto my finger. I still use the perch when she steps up out of the cage, because this is her home, and I treat it with respect - not pushing my hand towards her. I am blessed to work remotely from home, so her cage is near me all day. I leave the door open so that she can choose to come out, and she recently started flying to me!!!! She's on my shoulder right now as I'm typing this - it's hard to be patient. They are so adorable, and you want to pick them up and cuddle them, but just like every animal they all have different personalities. We are still working on "stritches" as Cookie doesn't seem to like them yet - I still have to ease my fingers towards her saying the word, and she usually ducks LOL!! I WILL LOVE YOU COOKIE! Anyways, hang in there - your little guy will come around :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is GOLD right here what David and Vicki are telling you! When I first got Cookie (December), she would not step up, was not socialized, and I think she didn't trust me at all - who could blame her? I, too, wanted her bonded to me IMMEDIATELY, but through David's guidance, I learned to be patient and wow did it work! She is so sweet, but she was scared and took a very long time to trust me and know that I want nothing but the best for her. At first she would only step up onto a plastic perch but now she steps up onto my finger. I still use the perch when she steps up out of the cage, because this is her home, and I treat it with respect - not pushing my hand towards her. I am blessed to work remotely from home, so her cage is near me all day. I leave the door open so that she can choose to come out, and she recently started flying to me!!!! She's on my shoulder right now as I'm typing this - it's hard to be patient. They are so adorable, and you want to pick them up and cuddle them, but just like every animal they all have different personalities. We are still working on "stritches" as Cookie doesn't seem to like them yet - I still have to ease my fingers towards her saying the word, and she usually ducks LOL!! I WILL LOVE YOU COOKIE! Anyways, hang in there - your little guy will come around :).
Ugh, guys. Still getting nowhere. Pig loves when I sit by his cage and read to him, but he just hates everything else. Some days he'll let me feed him some millet, but most days he acts like it's going to eat him.

He's a little spaz and has fluttered out of his cage a few times. When this has happened, he tries to run/fly away from me when I try to help him. Once I scoop him, he bites or tries to fly off.

He seems so happy in his cage with his food and toys. We've discovered he is very noise motivated. There's a toy that gets him so excited when we play with it. So I tried putting my hand palm down in front of one of his perches and playing with the toy. You can tell he wants it so bad. He'll come up to my hand and maybe peck at it, but then run away, all the while chirping like crazy because he's so excited about the toy.

I just don't know what I'm doing wrong :(
 

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Is he your first parrot? There is an art to approaching them with your hands that has to be learned - no one is born naturally knowing how to get a bird to step up without appearing threatening. Parrotlets are more sensitive to threatening behavior than other birds since they are so small. Always approach from below, since motions from above are like predators.
Another quick check - do you have nail polish on, or rings on your fingers? Those can freak some birds out. I honestly haven't worn nail polish for a couple decades (and I'm in my 30's) because my last bird hated it and I had her for 17 years. Tumi can be convinced of it if it is neutral, but I never really learned to habitually wear it because of the last bird.
Parrotlets can be spazzes, for sure. It might be helpful to retrieve him with a towel instead of your hand to avoid him having negative associations with your hand.
 
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