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Hi Luke and Tiny! Apologies for being late to the discussion - I had my grandson Luke here for a couple of days and was dealing with 9-year old energy. Wish I had that again!

Apart from Anya’s good advice as usual, I also note that you have only had Tiny for a week or so. It is extremely early in your relationship so don’t despair! The fact that you are able to handle him at all, that he is out of his cage and that he is eating so well is HUGE. many birds this early on don’t yet interact with their human and won’t venture out of their cages. You certainly have a bold little fellow there but you have alot to work with. Anya is indeed right that he may be hormonal and they can be little beasts at this time. My greenie, Kiwi, was terrible. And I mean terrible! Biting me until I was in tears, essentially yelling at me from her cage - it was really difficult. She was soooo grumpy! But it did pass (I am pretty sure it was longer than a month but that could be because I handled it all wrong - I had not discovered the forum at that time unfortunately). She will still land a good bite on me from time to time but we have a wonderful relationship and is a wonder to me to this day. It is all worth it in the long run.

Back to the fact that you have only had him for a week or so, now is a great time to do a few things to get his biting in some control. I say some control because parrotlets are notorious biters and use their beaks to communicate many of their feelings. Beak grinding means they are content, they will affectionately nibble your fingers or preen your hair when they’re content as well, but if they don’t want to do something or want you to do something, they bite. Kiwi used to regularly fly at my husband and bite his ear in an attempt to make him leave, which was often successful. To this day, Kiwi will climb down between my shoulder blades and attack My fingers if she doesn’t want to go back into her cage. But it is a long way away from the constant biting that went on when she was young.

Have a look at the post on “gentle beak” on the forum. Many members have had success with it as a way to reach their birds how to use their beaks to communicate in a way that doesn’t cause fear or tears. For Kiwi, i had success with the “earthquake” approach which is to give your finger a shake, just enough to unbalance them a little and redirect their attention to balancing themselves. I always coupled this action with a “no biting” command. You obviously don’t want to shake hard, just enough so they flutter a little.

I also have had limited success with toys - inside and out of the cage. Which is really disappointing as I have visions of this beautiful little bird on a jungle gym enjoying all these brightly coloured toys. Some birds love them. Kiwi was not one of those birds. But Kiwi loves to shred paper towel stuffed in the bars of her cage and used to love to chase crumpled up paper balls. That being said, some members have warned that shredding material can stimulate hormonal behaviours such as nesting so if Tiny is hormonal, this may not be what you want to do.

Anya is so right about the importance of good quality sleep. Kiwi always had 10-12 hours of sleep in a covered cage in the spare bedroom with the door closed. Now that she’s an old lady, she has 13 hours. You will notice a significant difference in your bird’s attitude with the right amount of good quality sleep. Extra sleep during a hormonal time is excellent.

Tiny is absolutely gorgeous and I am sure you will enjoy each other for many years to come. You are doing an excellent job already and it is really encouraging to read that you did your research first. They are all different, though, so we are happy to have you here asking questions and telling us about your experiences. Keep us posted on what is working and what isn’t! Take some time to peruse the forum too - there’s a wealth of info here. We are always happy to give you our two cents if you have questions!
 

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Sneaky bird. On your back with the biting. I don’t think there is any hard and fast rule about what to try, but I am not sure you will have enough control over the movement to make it effective and it will be a larger surface area so it may not have the intended impact. You will also have the disadvantage of not seeing what Tiny’s reaction is. I have my doubts it would work.

What do you do when he’s biting you? Are you reacting and trying to reach for him? Shouting out or moving away? When I finally got my husband to stand (somewhat) still and not leave when she would land on his shoulder and bite his ears, she did it less. It’s possible she was getting the reaction she wanted - him leaving. I think it made her more dominant toward him…and she is pretty dominant. He would wait (often with ow ow ow ow) and I would go over, tell her “no biting” and take her off and put her in her cage for a time out. If you are reacting, you might be inadvertently reinforcing the behaviour. I recognize it is hard not to react to those fiery little attacks, but if your reaction was to quietly walk to his cage and put him in (if you can get him, depending on how long it lasts), perhaps it would associate the biting with a time out. Of course, if he’s hormonal, none of this will likely work…but it won’t hurt either. I think it is really important with parrotlets to address the biting as early as possible. They are wild birds after all, not domesticated pets. Helping them to understand how to live in a human environment (including recognizing the power of their little beaks) is truly an important part of the relationship.
 

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When I was working, Kiwi was only out for a short time in the morning but came out of an hour or two when I got home. During more intense periods, she was in her cage pretty much all day for a number of days in the week [edit: she always had some time out of her cage when I got home during those times. They do not thrive being left in a cage all the time. Just wanted to be clear about that.] I would try to make up for it on weekends. This was why a large cage with stimulating things for her to play with so important for her. On weekends, she came everywhere with us (cottage, road trips) and because she is full flight and was outside a lot, she was in her cage a lot. She has a separate sleep/travel cage that is smaller but she’s very comfortable in it and she really enjoyed being out and about, perhaps it was because she felt secure in her cage. This was more or less how it went for the first 15 years of her life.

I worked from home during COVID so all of a sudden, I was around all the time. She was out of her cage with me A LOT but I would keep her rise/sleep schedule (bed at 7 pm, up at 8 am). I put her back in her cage for her naps though and if she was getting in the way. I am now retired so her schedule is literally all over the place. Some days she gets very little out time, other days she gets a lot. But as you can see, she grew up having to be in her cage for a stretch of time so I think she is adjusted to that even if she’d prefer to be out all the time. She will call to me when she sees me and I certainly have her out as much as I can but I do think some cage time is important so that you can have some balance, especially if you are home all day. You need a bit of freedom and it is good for them to learn to self-entertain.

Kiwi has also always had a mid-afternoon nap, which makes sense if you think of the tropics and what wild birds do in the heat of the afternoon. Now that she’s an old lady, she also takes a mid-morning nap as well. Cage time is, for her, equally as needed as out time. The key is finding that balance.

It is worth a try to see if Tiny benefits from some down time. If you can, it might even be good for him to be in a place where he doesn’t see you because if he sees you, he will want to be out. Very interesting that you noted that. If you try it, I will be interested to know if you see a change.
 
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