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2 Nervous Parrtolets - Help!

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

2 Nervous Parrtolets - Help!

Postby VickyB » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:29 am

We have our first parrotlets - a Male and a Female. I am a bit concerned as the pet store we bought them from didnt offer much advise on how to tame them.

We have had them a week and have had mixed advise as to how to treat them. Firstly we read that it is best to handle them continually until they like it; this resulted in them biting and flying round the room, they become quite frantic with the male (Oak) hurting his beak and bleeding.

Reluctant to try this heavy approach again we have now been trying a slower approach. every day i talk to them through the cage and i put my hand in holding a bit of food - Maple (Female) seems more intrigued but will not come close to me, to take the food or step up. Oak is very nervous and will jump onto the furthest side of the cage.

We have tried feeding them treats through the cage and they just will not come to us.

recently we have noticed that maple has started to bite - i think warning nips but she wasn't doing this before.

We have also tried leaving their cage door open to see if they come out to investigate on their own whilst we are in the room but they do not go near it.

I have heard that these birds need a lot of exercise and stimulation and am worried they will not get it while they are not tame.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated.... all other advise seems to suggest that they will step up with food, or allow you to stroke them but my two are being quite stubborn and its not seeming as easy as the comments suggest. I have a feeling that these birds haven't had much human interaction at all.
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Parrotlets
Flight: Yes

Re: 2 Nervous Parrtolets - Help!

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:24 am

Welcome to the forum and congrats on your two new babies! First thing you need to do is stop ALL flooding techniques so no more forcing them to accept your touch or your hand inside their cage. These techniques came into disuse years ago and nobody who really knows anything about birds will recommend them any more because they work only in the short time and backfire in the long term.

Now, these are aviary birds so you need to get them a flight cage which needs to be placed against a wall (it will make them feel safe and reduce stress) and which should also be high enough that the top perches (which should be tree branches and not dowels) are at your eye level (because you want to gain their trust first and looming over them is not conducive to it). Then you need to think about their diet because as these are, most likely, parent-raised birds, without a proper 'reward', it will take you years and years to get their trust. For parrots that don't yet love us, the ONLY reward worth 'working' for is a high protein food item. That's it. There is nothing else. But, if you free-feed high protein food, like seeds, pellets, nutriberries, avicakes, nuts you will never convince them to take anything from your hand. My plets eat raw produce (they LOVE greens and fruits!) and gloop for breakfast and all day picking and high protein (a budgie seed mix) only for dinner. Next is the establishment of a steady routine. This helps to reduce the inevitable stress brought on by captivity but it's also essential for taming and training. The best time of the day to interact with them is after their breakfast and before their dinner. During these times, you should spend as much time as you can in the same room with them but doing your own thing like watching TV, reading a book, playing a video game, whatever - the idea is for them to get used to your physical presence without them feeling 'targeted' by you. Talk, sing, whistle to them and, every now and then, offer them a treat from your fingers between the bars of the cage BUT, if they don't take it, wait a few seconds and just leave it there and walk away. This is NOT a reward, it's a gift, a token of friendship, a way of showing them that you are not going to force them into anything and that you just want to be their friend. Once you see that they don't move to the back of the cage when you approach it and, instead, get closer to the side where you are coming from and eagerly await the 'gift', you can start target training them -Michael's book and videos can help you with that. After that, it's teaching them to step up.

Now, two words of caution. Don't get impatient because the process is going to take a couple of months and that's only if you do everything right. And, last but not least, plets are VERY opportunistic breeders and, if you don't keep them at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk, they will become overly hormonal and they might become bitey, start plucking and the male might even end up hurting the female. I recently took in a pair from a dear friend who passed away and he had to separate them because the male was biting the female -and the female was plucking. They are together and doing fine now (she is now fully feathered again) but I am VERY careful about their diet and light.

Let me know if there is anything that needs further explanation and/or clarification.
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15772
Location: NE New Jersey
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