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BRINGING HOME YOUR BABY BIRD 

This information will be very helpful in establishing a happy long relationship with your feathered friend.

It is important to start training right from the beginning of its young life. Their environment and how you train them will help set them up to be a well behaved, happy companion. 

Introduce him to his new cage. Sit quietly beside his cage and talk to him.  Everyone will be excited to handle and interact with him but allowing him to destress first is very important for your bird’s health.  Calm and gentle interaction is the best way to win his trust.  Move slowly, talk quietly. Birds can sense when we are tense and it may make them anxious or fearful. Pay attention to your bird's behavior and make the necessary accommodations until they seem more comfortable.  Limit handling time with the bird for the first 24 hours so they have a chance to adapt, eat, and drink properly without too much stimulation. 10 – 15 minutes handling sessions a few times daily is good to start with. Gradually increase handling time over the next few days, as long as he seems comfortable and is eating and acting normal.  Remember he is a baby and is scared, so let him get used to you and his new environment.  Everything takes time for him to learn and get used to.  Please do not expect him to let you cuddle him immediately.  He does not know you or your family. He may even bite you if you handle him too much at first. Do not react to his bites, stay calm, and touch his beak gently and say "gentle beak". He needs time to adjust and trust you. Respect his space and moods, if he doesn't want to be petted, leave him and try again in a few minutes. Go slow, even a few seconds of scratches on the neck is progress.

Handling Tips for your new bird

Practice the step up command each time you want to pick him up. He may look like he wants to bite you as your hand approaches him, but don’t be afraid, he is just using his beak for balance, ask him to step up by putting your hand palm up under his tummy.  Building trust is most important during the first weeks in his new environment.  During the day he will be active and want to play.  In the evening they will settle down, this is a good time to sit with him and hold him and practice step ups and get him use to being touched. 

When you first take him out, let him work off its energy, let them roam and play and explore his surroundings. Once your bird has had time to exert all the extra energy you will have a more calm bird to work with and handle. Trying to control your bird’s movements too much, especially in the initial stage may cause them to dislike handling time and they will let you know it by avoiding to come out of their cage or trying to get away from you or even biting you if you persist.  Never chase a bird around the cage so you can pick them up.  Reach in slowly and ask him to step up.  If he doesn’t, cup one hand behind him and one hand in front for him to step up, using the cupped hand to nudge him forward.  Chasing a nervous bird around it’s cage will only make them fearful of you and will start a bad habit that can be difficult to break.  Snuggle time while watching TV in the evening is a great and relaxing way to bond with your bird and for it to learn to trust you. Keep the interactions positive and non-threatening and your bird will learn to trust you and desire to be with you. When grasping bird, keep your grip loose so bird doesn't feel threatened or forced, this will keep them more relaxed and less tense. Remain calm and relaxed when holding your bird. Remember, slow, calm and gentle movements. Lots of patience, cuddles and scratches will win him over.

Patience and consistency are essential to training. They are social birds and like to be part of their flock. Introduce him to new people and objects gradually. They have very good memories and will remember everything. They will remember the person who was not nice to them and they know who is afraid of them.  Everything you do with a young bird should be trust building for a positive parrot/human bond.  Teach him the right way to behave with positive interaction rather than punishing negative behavior. Please remember that he is a baby and needs to learn everything.  They understand when you talk to them.  Use words appropriate to your actions.  Like “scratch” when you are scratching him.  Remember patience and consistency is the key.

FOOD

If you want to change the diet, do it gradually! Young baby birds have been known to starve to death because their diet was switched overnight and they did not eat the new food. Continue offering new foods like fruit and veggies, at first it is strange to them and then they will start playing with it and then eating it. Millet is good as a treat and for the first few days at home. Offer millet sparingly as they may only eat that. Be sure that he finds his food and water. He may not seem to eat anything the first day, but he will eat by the next day. You can put a dish of seed and water next to a perch up higher.  When he starts to explore the cage and eats from the dish near the perch you can take away the food and water from the bottom of the cage. 

SPOILING BIRD

Birds, especially conures are very social. They love to be with people.  They can easily get so attached to you that they will have a hard time staying in their cage. To prevent the bird from over bonding and getting spoiled about being out of the cage, please have in and out of cage time. Instead of having the bird out with you for a long period of time, alternate having him out for a while and then in the cage awhile. This will get him use to being in the cage to play while you are around.  When he is quiet, take him out again.  Never take him out when he is being noisy, he will learn that if he is noisy, he can come out.   

TIME OUT OF THE CAGE

Let him settle into his new home. It could take more than a week for him to settle into his new environment. Make sure to give your bird time out of its cage daily. He is used to being out of the cage, playing on a play gym. Provide toys and exercise outlets, share affection with your feathered friend daily. They require one on one time with their person. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time but it must be consistent. If you are gone all day, take a minute for a little “scratch and chat” before you leave. When you get home they’ll be happy to see you and content to sit on your shoulder while you watch TV or work on your computer.  You can also have a play stand nearby in the kitchen and he can play around while you prepare meals.

TOYS and PLAYGYM

Birds love to play and should be given a lot of toys. Things that move such as swings and hanging toys are favourites. They also like things made from natural materials such as wood, leather and raw hide.  They can be taught to stay on play stands and baskets. To train him to stay on the cage or play stand, put him on top with a toy or a piece of millet.  Each time he flies off, pick him up and put him back on. After a few times he will understand that the top of the cage is a good place and will stay. This will allow your pet more freedom as well having more control over where you want your bird. 

TEMPERATURE/COVERING CAGE

Your baby is used to cuddling up against his siblings at night.  Make sure his cage is placed in a warm area. You can cover the cage at night if it is located in an area that is bright or has lots of traffic.  Getting a good night sleep is important.  Even putting a towel just over the top can give some security at night.  Be sure to keep him out of drafts. 

MOLTING IS NATURAL

This is a stressful time. He may be a little irritable and look a bit ragged in appearance. Be patient with your bird. He will probably like being misted with warm water more often at this time. You can mist him a few times a week or put a dish of water in for him to take a bath. Most birds love to have a bath and it is fun to watch them play in the water.  Parrotlets usually have their first molt around 5 months old.

NIPPY STAGE

Sometimes young birds go through a nippy phase. You will need to be very assertive and show him that you are the boss. If he nips, do not back off, be brave.  Do not put your hand out to get him to step up and then back off because you think he is going to bite you.  Just scoop him up with an open palm and say step up.  If you back off just once or twice, he will think that he has won and he is the boss and his biting will become a habit.  They do use their beaks to help balance when they step up so don’t mistake that for him wanting to bite. 

Also you can say something like gentle beak or no biting and give your hand a little shake to distract him if he nips. Distract him with toys or put him down and pick him up again. Try not to react to the bite, he may think it is fun when you yelp or jump and continue to bite you.  As soon as he starts to bite or chew, distract him by moving them to another location or find a toy to let him chew on.  Never physically punish your bird or yell at him. Birds use their beaks as a third “hand” to balance when stepping up and climbing. When your bird reaches out to your finger with its beak open, it is probably just testing it first to make sure it is secure. Don’t mistake this as trying to bite you.  If your baby becomes too nippy, consider that it may be tired, nervous, hungry, etc. Get to know your bird and its patterns, likes and dislikes, and make sure you aren't over or under handling him, and that something in the environment isn't frightening your bird. Practise step up frequently and it will be automatic when you say step up or place your hand in front of his feet. A finger pointing towards him is threatening.  Never wave your finger at him, it will only cause him to bite you. Your bird will enjoy sitting on your shoulder and having the back of his neck rubbed.  He will become your best friend. Be patient during the training process.  Talk gently to him.    

MORE INFORMATION

**Use the phrase “Step up” when you what him to come onto your hand.  Always take him out of the cage by getting him to “Step up” onto your hand. Never open the cage door and let him out on his own. After you have taken him out then let him freely go in and out of the cage when left to play on top of cage.  This way you are in control.

**If you are away all day at work, it is nice to leave a radio on with easy listening music.

**Practise the “step up” command by getting him to step up from hand to hand.

**To make the adjustment easier for your little guy (and you), please try and use these simple tips for the next two weeks or so until he is fully adapted to his new surroundings. Remember that your bird is a baby and must learn many new things. He will bond with you and be your companion for life. 

No Avocado, apple seeds or chocolate.   

A new baby parrot.  Such sweet treasures to love, cuddle and be your companion for life.  In addition to the joy they bring us, it is our responsibility to teach them things that will help them integrate into your home safely and happily.

The excitement and anxiety of bringing home that new baby parrot is a day you will long remember.  The baby parrot is going to grow up fast and will be eager to learn new things.  This is the best time to train your baby and set the environment you want.

The following is a list and brief discussion of what to teach your parrots. 

  1. To step up on my hand on command and to step down on command.  Use the simple words Up and Down.  This training is the most important thing you can teach them.  When this is learned, consider your parrots hand trained and they are now better companions and more trainable for future lessons.   Put your hand under the belly in front of it’s legs and gently push in and upwards, saying Up and they have to or they fall off.  As soon as they put one foot on your hand, lift up and they will automatically put the other foot on.
     
  1.  To come when called.  Call your baby by it’s name and have a treat in your hand.  Give it to them when they come to you.  Pet them and talk to them.  They are loving and will want to come to you.  Teaching them this great safety lesson is great when in danger, you can call them out to safety.
     
  1. To play with toys.  Boredom is one of the critical parrot stresses that a responsible parrot owner must help a parrot in a cage overcome.  Teach them as young birds to play with toys.  If they seem uninterested, then you play with them with the bird watching and try to make it an interactive event.  Laugh and ring the bell and show the bird how fun toys can be.
     
  1. To eat a variety of foods.  Offer a number of foods.  Praise the bird when they eat something new.  Tie broccoli up with a piece of birdy leather, skewer the apple, and always try to make new foods fun.  A varied, healthy diet is very important for a growing baby.
     
  1. To bite toys and not you.  It is normal for a baby parrot to put things in their beaks.  They explore with them.  They love to nibble on your fingers, but do not let them.  Have toys nearby to give to them to chew on and play with. 
     
  1. Sitting on your shoulder is a treat, not a right.  If a parrot is alarmed for its safety and/or yours, it will pinch bite you.  Sometimes this bite is hard.  Be sure that your parrot is well trained and trusted when putting them on your shoulder.
     
  1. Screaming and squawking.  Do not run to the parrot when they are noisy.  Wait until they stop, then go to them or talk to them.  Running to them will make them scream and squawk more, because they’ve learned that you will run to them.
     
  1. To like a towel.  Play peek-a-boo with a towel.  There are times when they will have to be toweled like at the Veterinarian.  Or when they need a wing or toe nail clip.  If they are not afraid of a towel, then there is less stress for them.
     
  1. To eat from a spoon or your hand.  The benefit from spoon feeding and handfeeding is that the parrot bonds better.  It will help keep them tame too.  The long term effect is that you can get them to try new foods and give medication if needed. 
     
  1. To step up to a stick or a perch.  Baby birds learn this easier than adults, so start young in case someone ever has to handle them that is afraid of them, the stick can be a great tool to get the bird to cooperate by stepping up to it.   It is also usefull when the bird is out of reach and you need to get them right away.
     
  1. The concept of being gentle with those mighty beaks.  When they beak too hard, tell them gentle and stroke their beak and try to get the idea across to be gentle with you.    If they bite your hand, give a gently shake to distract them and say “no biting”.

There are probably lots of other lessons you will want to try like teaching your parrot to talk.   Be consistent with the training.  Build on their strengths and build trust. 

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