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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi I posted on this site a while ago about my parrotlet regarding bonding with him..I've had him about 5 months and he's about 3 months old. He had no human contact before I got him and was in a cage with other parrotlets. I've tried everything to get him to bond with me but I'm struggling. I've tried holding millet and carrot in his cage but he just sits still and just wants to get as far away from me as possible. When I change his food or put millet in his cage he's fine and doesn't flap. He just seems really nervous.

Any tips or advice to help me would be great. I understand it takes time but i just don't know what to do or try next. Thanks for any help
 

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I think there’s a bit is a mix up with your numbers in your post - have you had him about 3 months and he’s 5 months old? The other way doesn’t make sense - LOL. Either way, he is still super young so don’t despair. The fact that he doesn’t freak out when you put your hands in his cage, given he had no human contact, is something to celebrate. Don’t discount the little things! He is leery of you, not terrified, so that’s a good place to be.

If you have ever read any of my replies to people in similar similar situations to yours, I will sound like a broken record, but it is important to remember he is prey and you’re a predator. That trust relationship has to overcome a pretty huge obstacle - that you won’t eat him. Makes me appreciate being on top of the food chain. So his nervousness is a very placid reaction and one to be valued. If you can see it in that light, you will see the good place you are already in.

Perhaps you can try being just a tad more assertive and try gently pushing the side of your index finger into his chest just above his legs. It often triggers a stepping acting. As you do it, gently but clearly say “step up” so he associates the motion with the command. You say he is not flapping around in a panic when your hand is in there so your approach to putting your hand in must be good. I often recommend to keep your hand low and flat so it doesn’t look like a snake with its mouth open. But however you are entering his cage seems to be working so stick with that. Parrotlets are very territorial and often attack a hand in their cage so you see? You’re already doing the right things.

if you’re not already doing so, try sitting close to his cage when you’re working or reading or watching tv and talk to him in a soothing voice. Being safe in his cage but seeing you around a lot will help to ease his anxiety. Is he nervous when you’re near but not with your hands in his cage or is he responding well to you? Also try having him near when you’re eating and offer him some of what you’re eating. Feeding time is very social for birds and you want him to see you’re part of his flock. These activities will help to build his trust but it is entirely different to enter his domain. Think about seeing a bear from inside your house then having a bear enter your house. Even if that bear has no bad intentions, I can guarantee you’re going to feel a whole lot more nervous with him in your safe space and a whole different set of instincts will take over.

I think he is far too young yet to worry about him not bonding with you so as you have already acknowledged, it’s just going to take time. But if you see yourself from the perspective of this little bird who has not had human interactions before, I think some of your own nurturing / protective instincts will kick in to help you know what to do.

I hope that helps. Keep us posted and feel free ti check back to report on what is or is not working and we can try to work it through together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think there’s a bit is a mix up with your numbers in your post - have you had him about 3 months and he’s 5 months old? The other way doesn’t make sense - LOL. Either way, he is still super young so don’t despair. The fact that he doesn’t freak out when you put your hands in his cage, given he had no human contact, is something to celebrate. Don’t discount the little things! He is leery of you, not terrified, so that’s a good place to be.

If you have ever read any of my replies to people in similar similar situations to yours, I will sound like a broken record, but it is important to remember he is prey and you’re a predator. That trust relationship has to overcome a pretty huge obstacle - that you won’t eat him. Makes me appreciate being on top of the food chain. So his nervousness is a very placid reaction and one to be valued. If you can see it in that light, you will see the good place you are already in.

Perhaps you can try being just a tad more assertive and try gently pushing the side of your index finger into his chest just above his legs. It often triggers a stepping acting. As you do it, gently but clearly say “step up” so he associates the motion with the command. You say he is not flapping around in a panic when your hand is in there so your approach to putting your hand in must be good. I often recommend to keep your hand low and flat so it doesn’t look like a snake with its mouth open. But however you are entering his cage seems to be working so stick with that. Parrotlets are very territorial and often attack a hand in their cage so you see? You’re already doing the right things.

if you’re not already doing so, try sitting close to his cage when you’re working or reading or watching tv and talk to him in a soothing voice. Being safe in his cage but seeing you around a lot will help to ease his anxiety. Is he nervous when you’re near but not with your hands in his cage or is he responding well to you? Also try having him near when you’re eating and offer him some of what you’re eating. Feeding time is very social for birds and you want him to see you’re part of his flock. These activities will help to build his trust but it is entirely different to enter his domain. Think about seeing a bear from inside your house then having a bear enter your house. Even if that bear has no bad intentions, I can guarantee you’re going to feel a whole lot more nervous with him in your safe space and a whole different set of instincts will take over.

I think he is far too young yet to worry about him not bonding with you so as you have already acknowledged, it’s just going to take time. But if you see yourself from the perspective of this little bird who has not had human interactions before, I think some of your own nurturing / protective instincts will kick in to help you know what to do.

I hope that helps. Keep us posted and feel free ti check back to report on what is or is not working and we can try to work it through together.
Thank you for replying. He's 8 months old and I've had him for 5 months. I read my post again and it didn't make sense lol. I will keep trying as he's a lovely little thing who does make laugh with the things he does.
 

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Thank you for replying. He's 8 months old and I've had him for 5 months. I read my post again and it didn't make sense lol. I will keep trying as he's a lovely little thing who does make laugh with the things he does.
I should also mention to keep trying with the treats as well. Some people use sunflower seeds rather than millet as it brings them closer to your hand at least. He does sound like a little sweetie. What is his name? We also love photos of these little guys if you would like to share.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I should also mention to keep trying with the treats as well. Some people use sunflower seeds rather than millet as it brings them closer to your hand at least. He does sound like a little sweetie. What is his name? We also love photos of these little guys if you would like to share.
His name is Buzby. I will try him on sunflower seeds. He likes carrot but only the white of a hard boiled egg. I'm getting to know what he likes and dislikes in fruit and veg as he just throws the bits he doesn't like!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
His name is Buzby. I will try him on sunflower seeds. He likes carrot but only the white of a hard boiled egg. I'm getting to know what he likes and dislikes in fruit and veg as he just throws the bits he doesn't like!
I should also mention to keep trying with the treats as well. Some people use sunflower seeds rather than millet as it brings them closer to your hand at least. He does sound like a little sweetie. What is his name? We also love photos of these little guys if you would like to share.
 

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Awwwww he’s such an adorable little fluff ball! My girl Kiwi is a greenie too. Buzby is a great name! It suits him. He has such an adorable face and the feathers on his cheeks look like a green handlebar moustache in that photo! So so cute!

You sure never have to guess with these guys when they don’t like something. Kiwi does the same thing - throws it to the ground with disdain, like, why would you ever give me this? Haha! He’s a lucky little dude to have you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Awwwww he’s such an adorable little fluff ball! My girl Kiwi is a greenie too. Buzby is a great name! It suits him. He has such an adorable face and the feathers on his cheeks look like a green handlebar moustache in that photo! So so cute!

You sure never have to guess with these guys when they don’t like something. Kiwi does the same thing - throws it to the ground with disdain, like, why would you ever give me this? Haha! He’s a lucky little dude to have you.
AHH thankyou. Your exactly right about giving him something he doesn't like. Couldn't be without him now. They definitely have little characters of their own. I've had budgies and cockatiels but these little fellows character's are the best! Thanks for your help and advice.
 

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AHH thankyou. Your exactly right about giving him something he doesn't like. Couldn't be without him now. They definitely have little characters of their own. I've had budgies and cockatiels but these little fellows character's are the best! Thanks for your help and advice.
Yeah they sure do take our hearts. 💚 I will be watching for that exciting day when he steps on to your hand!
 
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Busby is adorable! I love him! He looks like he has whiskers! It reminds me of the old Victorian days - of how men used to wear their beards and mustaches! So very dashing! He looks like a right gentleman birdie! Lol He truly is beautiful – I love, love, love the greenies! Great that he is allowing you to put your hand in his cage as well as he is. It is not much fun having a bird that get aggressive or gets totally freaked out when you put your hand in their cage. So hurrah for that! (y) Too bad the millet training didn’t work. Did you offer an end of a long sprig of millet and hold the other end? When he starts to move away, that is when you need to stop moving your hand any closer. Just keep your hand in that one spot (not moving it) for five minutes and then remove your hand from the cage. Keep on doing that one step until he is comfortable with it, then move a little closer. It may take some time before he is even eating the millet from the sprig. Baby steps are needed for this to work. These little guys can require a lot of patience!! Everything is on their time, not ours. The best time to do any training is when they are hungry – first thing in the morning or an hour or two after a meal. If you decide to give it another shot, only use the millet for training purposes right now. He will be less motivated if he gets it all the time. It can take some birds weeks before they are stepping onto your hand. You can also try it with a long dowel perch to see if you can get him to step up. Use the same method as the millet training - gradually move your hand closer and closer over time.

Parrotlets are incredibly amazing birds, aren’t they? It is wonderful that you adore your Buzby so much. It warms all our hearts to hear that! The first year has challenges, but the way I see it is if you handle it properly, with kindness, understanding and patience, those challenges can bring a stronger bond between you two. Buzby is still trying to figure you out. Everything you do helps him decide if you can be trusted or not. So always be kind (no matter how bad they behave). Time outs are always an option, especially when they are going through the Terrible Two’s. Let us know when he reaches them. There are things you can do to curb them some.

Lovely having you and Buzby joining our flock! Post pics whenever you like! They are most welcome! I heard about the heat wave you are having over there! Hope you are okay. I cannot believe it got 40C (104F) in London! That is insane!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah they sure do take our hearts. 💚 I will be watching for that exciting day when he steps on to your hand!
I can't wait. I will be sure to let you know
Busby is adorable! I love him! He looks like he has whiskers! It reminds me of the old Victorian days - of how men used to wear their beards and mustaches! So very dashing! He looks like a right gentleman birdie! Lol He truly is beautiful – I love, love, love the greenies! Great that he is allowing you to put your hand in his cage as well as he is. It is not much fun having a bird that get aggressive or gets totally freaked out when you put your hand in their cage. So hurrah for that! (y) Too bad the millet training didn’t work. Did you offer an end of a long sprig of millet and hold the other end? When he starts to move away, that is when you need to stop moving your hand any closer. Just keep your hand in that one spot (not moving it) for five minutes and then remove your hand from the cage. Keep on doing that one step until he is comfortable with it, then move a little closer. It may take some time before he is even eating the millet from the sprig. Baby steps are needed for this to work. These little guys can require a lot of patience!! Everything is on their time, not ours. The best time to do any training is when they are hungry – first thing in the morning or an hour or two after a meal. If you decide to give it another shot, only use the millet for training purposes right now. He will be less motivated if he gets it all the time. It can take some birds weeks before they are stepping onto your hand. You can also try it with a long dowel perch to see if you can get him to step up. Use the same method as the millet training - gradually move your hand closer and closer over time.

Parrotlets are incredibly amazing birds, aren’t they? It is wonderful that you adore your Buzby so much. It warms all our hearts to hear that! The first year has challenges, but the way I see it is if you handle it properly, with kindness, understanding and patience, those challenges can bring a stronger bond between you two. Buzby is still trying to figure you out. Everything you do helps him decide if you can be trusted or not. So always be kind (no matter how bad they behave). Time outs are always an option, especially when they are going through the Terrible Two’s. Let us know when he reaches them. There are things you can do to curb them some.

Lovely having you and Buzby joining our flock! Post pics whenever you like! They are most welcome! I heard about the heat wave you are having over there! Hope you are okay. I cannot believe it got 40C (104F) in London! That is insane!
He is a little cutie. He loves being sprayed with water. I will try the things you suggested. You've been a great help thankyou.

Yes the heat has been madness! The problem with this country is we are not used to it. But apparently we have got thunderstorms tomorrow!
 

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The heat must be so terrible especially when most homes there do not have air-conditioning! Temperatures that high can be so dangerous. Stay safe and be sure to keep an eye on Buzby if the inside of your home starts getting hot. Any panting or wings are away from his body are signs of overheating. I do not have air conditioning where I live ( I live in on the coast) and one time on a very hot day the inside of my home got up to 90F (32C). My bird started having breathing problems - I had to get a big bowl of ice and sit it in front of a fan to get the room temperature down! Keep us updated on how you and Buzby are doing and good luck with the training! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The heat must be so terrible especially when most homes there do not have air-conditioning! Temperatures that high can be so dangerous. Stay safe and be sure to keep an eye on Buzby if the inside of your home starts getting hot. Any panting or wings are away from his body are signs of overheating. I do not have air conditioning where I live ( I live in on the coast) and one time on a very hot day the inside of my home got up to 90F (32C). My bird started having breathing problems - I had to get a big bowl of ice and sit it in front of a fan to get the room temperature down! Keep us updated on how you and Buzby are doing and good luck with the training! :)
Thankyou for the info about the heat. He is ok so far. He's actually tucking into carrot at the moment! 😁
 

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Buzby is a real handsome guy. Great advice above. I only have a couple of things to add based my experience with Pip. Pip is 3 1/2 years old now, and is very very affectionate, but I still have to be very careful of putting my hands in his cage. He can be very territorial. Except at night. I have to put my hand in with a sunflower seed and transport him to a particular spot on his boing while saying nite nite.
One particular thing with him is that he does not like to step up on my fingers. He’s fine with my palm, my wrist, my shoulder or my head, but not the back of my hand.
Just something to consider with your little guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Buzby is a real handsome guy. Great advice above. I only have a couple of things to add based my experience with Pip. Pip is 3 1/2 years old now, and is very very affectionate, but I still have to be very careful of putting my hands in his cage. He can be very territorial. Except at night. I have to put my hand in with a sunflower seed and transport him to a particular spot on his boing while saying nite nite.
One particular thing with him is that he does not like to step up on my fingers. He’s fine with my palm, my wrist, my shoulder or my head, but not the back of my hand.
Just something to consider with your little guy.
Ok thanks for that.
 

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Buzby is a real handsome guy. Great advice above. I only have a couple of things to add based my experience with Pip. Pip is 3 1/2 years old now, and is very very affectionate, but I still have to be very careful of putting my hands in his cage. He can be very territorial. Except at night. I have to put my hand in with a sunflower seed and transport him to a particular spot on his boing while saying nite nite.
One particular thing with him is that he does not like to step up on my fingers. He’s fine with my palm, my wrist, my shoulder or my head, but not the back of my hand.
Just something to consider with your little guy.
My boy Mochi is just the same. Have had him for over a year now. He was 6 when I got him. Was used a breeder bird and not handled at all from what I could tell. He now flies and sits on my shoulder for safety/ preening/sleeping, cuddles and sleeps on my neck (loves to be cupped with my hand when he is tired), walks on my arm and takes food from my fingers. He refuses to sit on my finger and perch and flies away if he thinks the hands he loves a cuddle from are coming in his direction. He is my first successful taming. I did a few things different than I had done previous birds. I got a what I like to call a bonding cage. One that is smaller than his normal cage and it should be top opening. Most cages are front opening so in my mind it kind of reinforces territorial behaviour and fear of hands. I kept this cage close to me as much as possible. I sit at my computer alot so he was on my desk. I put a perch on the inside closest to where I was and one towards the top of the cage on the outside. I watched to see what his favorite seeds where in his mix and I picked out the oat groats, safflower, and sunflower seeds. I would try to feed them to him from his cage. I was lucky and he wanted them and I feed them to him while he was on his perch from the outside of the cage. After he was comfortable taking them from my hand I took the top off the cage and put a perch up top on the outside. He eventually got curious and climbed up to the top perch where I continued to feed him favorite seeds. Then I started feeding him millet. He was still hand shy so when I could see him scritching his head on the perch I started using the millet branch to gently scritch him. After a few days of doing this I craftily got my finger in there and before he knew it I gave him his first scritch. It just kind of progressed from there. You could ignore the smaller cage part and just remove all the big seeds from his mix and put a perch right on right at the opening of his cage and try to coax him out with favorite seeds and go from there. Now my boy loves shredded mozzarella cheese. He can't digest it but he loves it. I don't give him alot just a piece he croons at me when I feed him this.

I am no bird expert but I hope maybe something here helps. Your boy is adorable he looks just like my boy. 😍
 
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