Parrotlets Forum : TalkParrotlets banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have two parrotlets 7 (tuna) and 8 months (tofu) old. We have a very large 4ft fall cage with 1/2" bar spacing, and lots of good toys (shreddables, heat pad mounts, bars and ladders, and bird tents etc).

Tofu started missing some feathers around her nose and ears about 8-9 weeks ago. The vet said she was healthy but noticed there were many gray lines (stress marks) on the underside of her primary wing feathers, indicating approx daily stress. The vet suggested that she either is too cold at night, or is being bullied by the other bird. Now our apartment is warm (76-77 deg F) consistently and we have heating pads on the cage walls as well. Recently, however, when Tuna tries to groom/preen her, she instinctively backs away and seems not to like it. Now her neck feathers are thinning and we see bald spots when she bends over sometimes. See pictures. We are trying to see if misting them will help.

We feed Zupreem pellets, Volkman seed, and at least once a week a hard boiled eggs, rice, raspberry, strawberry. And take them out almost every day.
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/qRxSm
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,678 Posts
Have you considered separating them into two separate cages? Daily stress such as bullying from the other bird could easily lead to stress bars. The areas on the head mentioned that are thinning and bare are not from her preening herself. It may be from potentially aggressive overpreening. Misting won’t help her since she is not doing this to herself. Your female’s life may depend on separating them, as parrotlets are known to kill a cage mate out of the blue.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,631 Posts
They need to be separated. Supervised together time only. You need to do this as soon as possible. If you don’t there is a very real possibility of death or injury to one or both birds. Parrotlets can sometimes be caged together but usually need separate cages so they can each have their own territories. Your vet should have told you this but it maybe that they are not overly familiar with the species.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi, thank you for your replies. Tuna has occasionally chased Tofu, which is why we bought them this larger cage, but it still happens sometimes and Tofu will just fly away. If we were to separate them, one would have this large one and the other would go back to the original cage which is much smaller. We aren't sure who should get which cage, and for how long they need to be separated. Is there any advice for this?

The majority of the time they are well behaved, eating and grooming themselves and playing with toys. They also sleep together every night. We are afraid that they have bonded to a degree and that separating them may stress them out.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,678 Posts
It does not matter who gets what cage, just as long as they are separated. As for ho long to separate, this is a recommended permanent separation. It is more stressful to NOT separate and allow bullying or life threatening injuries occur.

Why are they named Tuna and Tofu? :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,615 Posts
I know exactly how you feel. My female started plucking my male; they lived together, slept together, everything together and got along perfectly. You have the unfortunate added element of the male harassing her as well, separating them is a must; not an option. I did it and so can you.
They will call to each other and it will not be easy. You must have the patience to follow through and not give into the temptation to put them back together out of sympathy. It will not help you, or them. They will get over it; i promise.

The process will take a few weeks and then even months. Here is the process I used to eventual success.
Put them in two cages. Leave the cages next to each other but do not put them together or let them play together. They will call to each other for sometime until they get used to it, but seeing each other will help. Be sure to take them out daily and play with them so they bond to you more. You may have to take each one to a separate room so the other one is not a distraction.
At bedtime, let them see you cover the other one. Talk to them and reassure them the other one is going night night; you can even take one out of the cage and engage them in putting the other one "to bed".

After a couple weeks; leave them next to each other but block their view of one another. You can use a white sheet to partially cover one side of the cage.They will be more comforted hearing each other even thought they can see the other. ( i continued the bed time ritual.)

After a couple more weeks, move them to a separate room. This will have to be a permanent move. Try to give the one with the more isolated room a window, and perhaps give that one the larger cage. Continue to give them plenty of human training and time. This is very important. Keep the door closed to minimize them hearing the other one. No more time together, it will hinder the work you have done.

Over time they will bond to you more and miss each other less. I have not been able to have them in the same room anymore or they start regressing. Also, right after i separated them my female began plucking herself instead of him. I have not been able to stop her. To this day if I try to put them together for even a minute, she starts giving him a haircut. Its a habit and a tick; She will probably always pluck. However you absolutely can not allow one bird to pluck the other.
I understand this is a bummer. You now have two birds that need extra attention and time. This is always a risk with two birds. I still get bummed out about it, especially now I have a plucker but keeping them together would not have prevented that. She is a happy plucker at least. I have 5 birds and I manage to spend time with them all, they all have a routine. If I can do it, so can you. If your spouse gets along with them have them help you out with the socializing. Find things to do with them. For example; one bird takes a shower with my husband every morning. One gets time with me and snuggles at bedtime. Everyone gets their own time.
Be strong. Feel free to vent. Its frustrating. Maybe after several months they can handle being in the same room again but thats a long way out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi, again thank you for your replies. When we bought them my boyfriend immediately named the white one Tofu, haha. So wanting to stick to a cute name theme, I named the blue one Tuna (as in "bluefin tuna")! :)

Thank you for your detailed response. It really makes the process sound possible. So, you recommend that their outside cage playtime be separate too?

My boyfriend and I live in two apartments, how good of an idea is it to have each bird bond to one of us (like playtime with only one of us) during the separation process for the eventual move of one bird to my boyfriend's apartment?

Lastly, I know these guys are still babies. Is it possible for them (Tuna) to grow out of this behavior and reintroduce them eventually? Has that ever happened? When do parrotlets mature?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,615 Posts
Yes they need to restricted from contact, but in the beginning of separation bring able to see and hear eachother as I described will ease them into the process. Any time they have together will hinder that process. Bonding with them separately is a perfect idea and instead of the new room move one to your boyfriend apartment after they go through a slow separation process.
Trying to reintroduce them in anyway is such a long way out. At some point, they may be able to handle supervised play time is he does not try to pluck her outside the cage; but I think living together is no longer an option.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,615 Posts
Also, chances the aggression will get worse are more likely after they mature. Not less. And you don't want mating unless you want eggs; and laying eggs even if you dontet them hatch is unhealthy for Tofu.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,685 Posts
I agree with all that's been shared, and wish to add a voice to the idea of individual bonding and training with the birds....that sounds like a very good idea for training, you focusing on one and he the other. That might work very well in your situation. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,982 Posts
You have been given a huge amount of advice. This advice comes from years of experience and trial and error situations. Heed to the advice and make your efforts a success!

I would like to add a suggestion....or two.

Purchase a liquid vitamin called Ecotrition ( for small birds). When Bogie was a year old, he kept getting colds. He ate the best food and had the best habitat any spoiled bird could have, but he kept getting colds. His feathers also had a dull look and seemed like the feathers were dry looking.

I put him on this vitamin ( one drop per ounce of water).Bogie's water dish held 3 ounces, so 3 drops each day to fresh filtered water. I found out that the powdered vitamin wasn't getting into his system enough to do him any good. With liquid, all he had to do to get enough vitamin was drink 3-4 times a day, which he easily did.

Eight weeks later, I noticed a change in the way he looked(he was a greenie) and acted. He was a biter, at first, but calmed down. His dawn feathers were coming in more colorful and very soft. He had dry feet and this was corrected. I have a top avian vet for Bogie and he said that the vitamins correct a lot of things in a small bird, including behavior.

Also, have you tried Avicalm? This is a good product. This usually works, a little bit. It is safe to use, too! Try giving them a bowl of hemp seeds that they could treat themselves to when out of the cage.

Keep us posted! Send pics. We love pics!

Don't forget to vote for our forum at the bottom of our site!!!!!!:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello! Yes, this has all been great advice. We are going to start the process on Friday, since we want to be able to monitor them closely during the first days (I wish I could skip school and work the week after to keep an eye on them all day).

I've been a lurker on this site for several months and this is definitely one of the best sites around! I've put my vote in :)

Right now I've been using Oasis Vita-Drops for small birds in their water. Is this a good brand? I haven't noticed too much of a difference in either of their looks or behavior, unfortunately. Is Avicalm something I'd use all the time? Or only if I see plucking and/or aggressive behavior? Would it help Tuna stop chasing (which I think is due to being territorial)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We were thinking more about the separation process, and we are wondering why it must go passed the first stage of them being in separate cages but being able to see and hear each other. Why does there need to be full isolation eventually?

This came out of the worry that after everything is said and done, we will have two solo birds. We both have basic 9-5 days and some occasional after hours away from home. We aren't sure that they would get enough socialization time like they do now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Is it possible that one Parrotlet is being bullied or otherwise stressed without any outward signs of conflict and while spending practically all their time sitting next to each other?

If one is stressed, wouldn't it stay apart from the other one?

We have 2 young (4.5 month) female (according to the breeder) Parrotlets. One has not grown and developed as well as the other one.

The thing that concerns me the most is the re-growth of their clipped wings. They were both clipped when we got them. Those feathers have grown much better on one of them than the other. The one whose feathers have not grown as well is (and always has been) smaller overall than the other one. The bigger one is only 4 days older. They do not come from the same clutch.

I didn't think either of them was particularly stressed, but reading this thread I began to wonder if I'm just not recognizing it. They sleep next to each other in their tent. They spend a lot of their time perched right next to each other. When I say "next to each other" I mean touching, seemingly as close as they can be.

Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you,

Larry
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,109 Posts
Is it possible that one Parrotlet is being bullied or otherwise stressed without any outward signs of conflict and while spending practically all their time sitting next to each other?

If one is stressed, wouldn't it stay apart from the other one?

We have 2 young (4.5 month) female (according to the breeder) Parrotlets. One has not grown and developed as well as the other one.

The thing that concerns me the most is the re-growth of their clipped wings. They were both clipped when we got them. Those feathers have grown much better on one of them than the other. The one whose feathers have not grown as well is (and always has been) smaller overall than the other one. The bigger one is only 4 days older. They do not come from the same clutch.

I didn't think either of them was particularly stressed, but reading this thread I began to wonder if I'm just not recognizing it. They sleep next to each other in their tent. They spend a lot of their time perched right next to each other. When I say "next to each other" I mean touching, seemingly as close as they can be.

Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you,

Larry
Birds can be weird about their cagemates. It is not uncommon for them to sit through being plucked and bullied by another bird and get upset when separated, even though they are being hurt by the other bird. Same as the awesome advice given previously on this thread, separation is best.

If they’re not from the same clutch, the size difference could just be due to different parents. The bigger one may have been fed better by her parents or just have better genetics making her healthier. Either way, separating them now before puberty comes is safest for them. For molting, each bird is a little different. I wouldn’t be concerned about differences in the rate of their molt. I would, however, start weighing the smaller girl to keep an eye on her. Milo was a small baby and I kept close track on his weight. A steady diet of veggies, pellets, and a good seed mix will help her improve both her weight and her feathers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Birds can be weird about their cagemates. It is not uncommon for them to sit through being plucked and bullied by another bird and get upset when separated, even though they are being hurt by the other bird. Same as the awesome advice given previously on this thread, separation is best.

If they’re not from the same clutch, the size difference could just be due to different parents. The bigger one may have been fed better by her parents or just have better genetics making her healthier. Either way, separating them now before puberty comes is safest for them. For molting, each bird is a little different. I wouldn’t be concerned about differences in the rate of their molt. I would, however, start weighing the smaller girl to keep an eye on her. Milo was a small baby and I kept close track on his weight. A steady diet of veggies, pellets, and a good seed mix will help her improve both her weight and her feathers.
Thank you for the info. Do pairs of Parrotlets ever get along with each other in the same cage? Or is this always a problem.

Larry
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,678 Posts
Thank you for the info. Do pairs of Parrotlets ever get along with each other in the same cage? Or is this always a problem.

Larry
It is more the exception than the norm for pairs of parrotlets to get along. So yes, it is always a problem. As mentioned, separation is best. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Tofu and Tuna have been separated for about 3 weeks now. I bought Tofu a new cage, and her neck/head feathers have grown back. She has lots of pins on her face and neck, but will not let me touch her, which is unfortunate but seeing the new feathers growing in had me so happy. Tuna had a change in behavior towards me after the separation, which I assume is because she's bonding to me. She lets me get her pins, and has recently started wagging her tail when I take her out.

Their cages are within view of each other, and outside playtime is together, but supervised. They seem to like to be able to see and hear each other still.

All in all, separating them was one of the best things I could have done for them, and it wasn't until I came to this forum that I have the determination and stamina to deal with such a decision.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,631 Posts
Tofu and Tuna have been separated for about 3 weeks now. I bought Tofu a new cage, and her neck/head feathers have grown back. She has lots of pins on her face and neck, but will not let me touch her, which is unfortunate but seeing the new feathers growing in had me so happy. Tuna had a change in behavior towards me after the separation, which I assume is because she's bonding to me. She lets me get her pins, and has recently started wagging her tail when I take her out.

Their cages are within view of each other, and outside playtime is together, but supervised. They seem to like to be able to see and hear each other still.

All in all, separating them was one of the best things I could have done for them, and it wasn't until I came to this forum that I have the determination and stamina to deal with such a decision.
Glad to hear it is going well. You are still in early days. It gets better from here.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top