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A few questions for Parrotlet owners

Marlienchen

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Hello everyone!
I already talked about wanting to get birds in another Thread and the Parrotlet was recommendet to me. Now I informed myself online and we're not completely settled on Parrotlets yet, but we think they would fit pretty well. Before deciding, I still have a few questions about them and would love to hear from your personal experiences:

- Is a pair better, or a single bird?
We originally wanted a pair, because I don't want the bird to be lonely while we are not at home.
But I read in the "good, bad and ugly" thread about parrotlets, that they can be very aggressive towards each other and hurt each other, which is why some people recommend just one bird.

- If we get a pair, do we house them seperately?
And how big should the cages be in that case?

- What about the gender?
I've never had a female bird and read that parrotlets often have problems with egg laying. Would two males also be a good pair?

- What are your Parrotlets like?
I would love to hear about your Parrotlets personality and habits!

- How much daily time/work does your Parrotlet need?
How is your daily rutine with feeding, cleaning, spending time together and so on?

:thanks:
 

laracroft

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Good on you for doing the research before you dive in! With parrotlets, a single bird is better than a pair unless you want to breed or keep them separately because YOU want two birds, not because you're worried about the bird being entertained. I think the minimum cage size is listed as 18" x 18" (at least, that's what I was told) but honestly I would only use a cage that small as a travel or sleeping cage. Get a cage as big as you can afford and have room for, as long as the bar spacing is no more than 1/2 an inch. I know that female parrotlets can have trouble with egg laying, which is why I got a male, but I can't really speak to how bad it is because I got a male. Hopefully someone else will answer that one.

As for what they are like... where to start? I guess with the bad. Micah is very territorial and doesn't warm up to new people quickly. He loves me, likes my sister, tolerates my mom, and that's about it for him as far as people are concerned. He's nippy, sometimes when he gets annoyed, and sometimes just when he thinks something might be fun to chew on--like scabs or freckles. That's not aggression, but it still hurts! The good--he's adorable, hilarious, and sweet (when he wants to be). He adores spending time with me, demands scritches, and loves to play.

As for how much time he takes per day... you know, I've never actually measured that? He's very enmeshed throughout my day. My routine goes something like this: Get up, get Micah up, give him scritches, get him his breakfast, get me my breakfast. Then I either go to school (I'm a grad student) or work at home. If at home, my desk is right next to his cage, and I talk with him while I work. I give him a minimum of two hours out of the cage per day, but I try to do more. That will vary depending on what else I have to do/where I have to be. In the evening, I give him his dinner, and then give him some time that is dedicated just to playing with him, rather than having him out and me doing something else. On some days, when I have places to be this is his only out of cage time, other days he spends most of the day out of his cage. My schedule varies a lot.

I hope this helps? Feel free to ask for clarification on anything or any other questions you come up with.
 

finchly

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I think that if you want a bird that fits into a narrow space of time, you should go with finches. My parrotlets take only a couple minutes to feed/change water and change paper. But they need 1/2 hour to maybe 2, 3 hours of attention. As Laracroft said, letting them sit by you in a cage counts.

You also have to either buy toys or spend time making them.

As far as getting a pair :D I have 4 and none of them like each other. So there’s not a point in getting 2, in my mind! If you do get 2, and they arent housed together you can let them out and they will play, or at least do what parrotlets do when they think they’re playing which is: yell at each other, pretend to bite each other, fly away, come back and argue some more.

Mine are in finch cages 30x18x18 but they get lots of out time. There were 2 in a big flight cage but one ended up with a bruise on her beak so I separated them today.

OK personalities.
Sunshine - I’ve had her a few months. She was laying constant eggs and the owner gave her up to me. She only laid one egg here. She is very sweet and loves scritches, and is used to being with a human all the time. She will sit and look at the computer screen while I type.

Star - the other female. Was hand fed but then left in a cage for a year. She has been here 2 years and is never going to be tame. She knows her name and will turn flips on command. She was in love with Skittles but has been preening Sprite through the bars so maybe she’s finally moving on. During out time, Star goes up high to a hanging perch, or sometimes she goes in a cockatiel cage. I can’t catch her but she will go back in her cage at night.

Skittles - 3.5 yr old male. Hand fed, hand “tame” when I got him, but remains skittish of hands. He chatters constantly. He yells out his name SKITTLLLLLLLLES and says peekaboo, whatcha doin, kiss (with kiss sound), big kiss (with long kiss sound), and more. He mostly flies around and lands on me, as long as I remember not to touch we’re good. He’s more bitey than the others. He picks fights with caiques.

Sprite - is 3 months old and doesn’t have a personality yet. He hides in my hair.

HOpe this helps.
 

Marlienchen

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@laracroft Thanks for your answer! Yes, the only reason why my boyfriend and I would get two birds is because of loneliness/no entertainment. When you're at school, is your bird alone at home? In our case, he would have to stay by himself for about 3-8 hours a day while we're both not home, is that too long for a single bird?
 

Marlienchen

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thank you @finchly ! I guess a single Parrotlet would be better as far as what i've heard for now. But it depends on how long he can stay alone. While we're at home, he would be a room with us constantly, since we plan on putting the cage next to our desks where we work as well. So while we're home, he would also have enough out of cage time everyday and time to play with us. I'm not sure if that would make up for the hours of being alone in the morning?
 

finchly

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thank you @finchly ! I guess a single Parrotlet would be better as far as what i've heard for now. But it depends on how long he can stay alone. While we're at home, he would be a room with us constantly, since we plan on putting the cage next to our desks where we work as well. So while we're home, he would also have enough out of cage time everyday and time to play with us. I'm not sure if that would make up for the hours of being alone in the morning?
We work from home, so I don’t really know. But I suspect they can entertain themselves just fine. Especially with plenty of space and a variety of toys.
 

fashionfobie

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Hello everyone!
I already talked about wanting to get birds in another Thread and the Parrotlet was recommendet to me. Now I informed myself online and we're not completely settled on Parrotlets yet, but we think they would fit pretty well. Before deciding, I still have a few questions about them and would love to hear from your personal experiences:
Welcome to the forum :) I will share my experiences. I think it is important to understand that all birds will be a little different and have their unique personality.

- Is a pair better, or a single bird?
We originally wanted a pair, because I don't want the bird to be lonely while we are not at home.
But I read in the "good, bad and ugly" thread about parrotlets, that they can be very aggressive towards each other and hurt each other, which is why some people recommend just one bird.
This depends on the kind of relationship you want with the bird.

A pair: If you have a pair they will not really want to spend time with you. They will not be lonely either. They also are a species that can breed regularly when they have food and resources. So you would need to consider how you would handle egg laying, replacing with fake eggs.. or not allowing anything that can become a nest. I would also say you need much much larger cage so that they can get away from each other when they have conflicts. Even mated pairs can have conflicts. They are not monogamous and change mates during their lives. I have read of breeding birds living happily for 4 years and one day the male kills the female, because they wanted a divorce and the breeding cage was definitely not large enough for them to get away from each other.

A single: You need to act as the bird's flock or partner. The bird will be more likely to interact with you and build a relationship with you. You also need to provide this for the bird every single day.


- If we get a pair, do we house them seperately?
And how big should the cages be in that case?
I house mine separately. They are in 500 mm x 900 mm double flights. There is a platform in the middle and they can fly to get around in the cage. I think it is like 19" x 35"? . Both birds have the same cage. They don't get along very well. Fights include feathers flying and I have had one cause the other to bleed (this was in the common play area). --Please keep in mind these birds are NOT social butterflies. They don't like having too many friends.

- What about the gender?
I've never had a female bird and read that parrotlets often have problems with egg laying. Would two males also be a good pair?
I got boys. The parrotlet is a very small bird and veterinary care is difficult. Even very experienced avian vets can easily cause trauma when they do the procedure 100% correctly. I knew I couldn't handle the heart ache of egg binding.
 
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fashionfobie

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- What are your Parrotlets like?
I would love to hear about your Parrotlets personality and habits!
They are wonderful. Picard is very bonded to my partner. They are adorable together. Picard will fly to me to bite my neck because he will decide I am too close to Eric, my partner.

Neptune is my little love bug and he is a little more gregarious. However he can be a little controlling of me from time to time.

They are closely related to amazon parrots. I find their personality a bit like a compact caique parrot. They only do what they want. They commonly communicate through bites.. but not all bites hurt but some can. They use their beaks for lots of interactions even between each other. Bites are 100% avoidable, but sometimes parrotlets just get a sassy pants moment and will bite no matter how much you respect their boundary.


- How much daily time/work does your Parrotlet need?
How is your daily rutine with feeding, cleaning, spending time together and so on?
You are basically bringing home a small child. You will never have your own time in the way you used to. My morning parrot meals have become more and more elaborate as I keep learning about ways to improve their lives. I am now spending 30 min prepping the food and cleaning water dishes etc in the morning. I also spend about 15 min cleaning at night including vacuuming every evening. Parrotlets are not shy about throwing food. Once a week I wash the wall and take their cages outside for a good hose down.

You will fall into the routine of your lives together, but it is a life change.


I will agree if you are looking for a bird but don't have time. A parrot will not be the fit. Parrotlets are true parrots. Budgies do much better in groups if you wanted to go with a parakeet. Budgies are also a similar size to parrotlets. Since Budgies are naturally more gergarious you have a better chance at having a relationship with them even if they share a cage with friends.. though there is NEVER a guarantee. Or you can go with finches. Someone with budgie can help, but I think you can easily keep the same sex budgies together also.
 
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fashionfobie

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Ok I stuffed up the Quoting thing :p I am sorry if it is difficult to read. I am failing at editing it :(

Edit:: Oh nice. I fixed it :p
 

laracroft

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Yes, the only reason why my boyfriend and I would get two birds is because of loneliness/no entertainment. When you're at school, is your bird alone at home? In our case, he would have to stay by himself for about 3-8 hours a day while we're both not home, is that too long for a single bird?
In that case, I would definitely get a single bird. Parrotlets are pretty good at entertaining themselves provided you give them foraging opportunities and plenty of toys that you switch out often.

ETA: yes, he's home alone when I'm at school.
 
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fashionfobie

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I'm not sure if that would make up for the hours of being alone in the morning?
I will say this, they are very independent birds. You can successfully give them some of their own time. If you want to do this, you MUST provide plenty of things to do. They can get bored. They can pluck.

Make sure you have a large cage, the more the merrier.. 1/2 " spacing. DO not clip them, and allow them to challenge themselves playing and flying around the cage. Some of my toys can only be accessed through flight and it is great for them :)
 

finchly

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They are wonderful. Picard is very bonded to my partner. They are adorable together. Picard will fly to me to bite my neck because he will decide I am too close to Eric, my partner.

Neptune is my little love bug and he is a little more gregarious. However he can be a little controlling of me from time to time.

They are closely related to amazon parrots. I find their personality a bit like a compact caique parrot. They only do what they want. They commonly communicate through bites.. but not all bites hurt but some can. They use their beaks for lots of interactions even between each other. Bites are 100% avoidable, but sometimes parrotlets just get a sassy pants moment and will bite no matter how much you respect their boundary.




You are basically bringing home a small child. You will never have your own time in the way you used to. My morning parrot meals have become more and more elaborate as I keep learning about ways to improve their lives. I am now spending 30 min prepping the food and cleaning water dishes etc in the morning. I also spend about 15 min cleaning at night including vacuuming every evening. Parrotlets are not shy about throwing food. Once a week I wash the wall and take their cages outside for a good hose down.

You will fall into the routine of your lives together, but it is a life change.


I will agree if you are looking for a bird but don't have time. A parrot will not be the fit. Parrotlets are true parrots. Budgies do much better in groups if you wanted to go with a parakeet. Budgies are also a similar size to parrotlets. Since Budgies are naturally more gergarious you have a better chance at having a relationship with them even if they share a cage with friends.. though there is NEVER a guarantee. Or you can go with finches. Someone with budgie can help, but I think you can easily keep the same sex budgies together also.
This was a very good post, Natalie. :)
 

PacificPaulie

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@Marlienchen
Hello! Not sure how much my insight can help here as I'm fairly new to P'lets myself.

I've got a single bird which is just as well because P'lets have a difficult time getting along with other birds.

Never had a female but I'm grateful for that because, as you've already stated, they have the potential to be chronic egg layers.

My Paulie, who has been a part of our family since he was about 3wks old, is absolutely precious! He's so stinking smart and such a wonderful communicator. He loves biting skin folds (creases on the fingers or neck) and tries tirelessly to free me from the vast imperfections along my face commonly known to us humans as freckles. He can't stand his playstand... He very much prefers to fly around my head like those little birds in cartoons when a character gets a hard thwack on the head.

But he also has a preferred method of being scritched. I'm no good at it, but that's what hubby is for! :rofl: My purpose is to provide him with his morning routine until hubby gets home in the afternoon for scritches. Even still, we've got a wonderful bond. He's only 11wks (possibly 12) old but already he's trying to talk to us. I can hear his quiet little parrot voice but the words aren't there yet.

As far as time invested into Paulie if you do a little prep work then you'll find the most time consuming part is the most enjoyable part. The prep work I'm talking about is processing and freezing chop. After that is done, it's just the daily bonding that's the most time consuming. They need a lot of bonding time with their humans to stay tame.

Cage cleaning can be a breeze so long as you're consistent. I would definitely recommend training, and foraging toys, to keep their brain stimulated so they don't get bored.

Also, what I do with Paulie when we're away for any length of time is to leave the TV on low for him to hear voices. Of course you could do this with the radio too, just something so they're not sitting in the quiet for too long.
 

Beasley

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Hey there, I thought I’d add my experience with my 3 parrotlets to the mix. I have Sneaky Pete (2y), and housed together I have Maus and Chiara (~7mo).

Parrotlets are tiny parrots with endless energy and attitude! They’re intelligent, sensitive, silly, playful, acrobatic, and spirited. They love to hang out inside your shirt while happily shredding it to bits. They need toys on rotation for constant mental stimulation. I always leave the entire length of the bottom of any cage for flight, and agree with others that the parrotlet’s wings should never be clipped. Because of their energy level, I recommend keeping them in as large a cage as possible that way even if you can’t give them sufficient out time one day, they still have room to exercise and fly around in their cage.

For me the most frustrating part of any bird is rearranging the cage, that - face smashed against one side, one arm in one arm out trying blindly to tighten tiny clasps only to step back and see the toy/perch isn’t exactly where I wanted it, reverse and repeat - is aggravating, but I’m finicky and small, so if you happen to have long arms (or help) that probably won’t be as much of an issue lol. They are messy and daily maintenance is a must.

Parrotlets are pure attitude. They're snarky and emphatically voice their complaints and opinions. Personally, I find this hysterical, they're my tiny, angry little birds ❤ They do bite and they’re not sorry about it. They have very sharp little needle beaks, so it’s not a big bird bite but being stabbed with a thumbtack still hurts! You can learn to read them though, they have very clear body language and vocal warnings.

Mine are very sweet, They love snuggling, kisses, riding around in pockets or hiding out under my hair. Because of how small they are, I don’t use “step up” with them, I put my hand in the cage palm up and say “come here” and they just land in my hand. I found it’s a lot less intimidating for them and they happily make the choice, usually running up my arm and immediately into my shirt. That being said with one day of missed out time, I am very likely to be bitten. Handling your parrotlet/s must be high priority if you expect them to remain tame. I don’t watch the time, but I spend plenty of quality time with mine daily.

They’re time consuming, but extremely rewarding companions. I wouldn’t be without mine, they bring so much joy into my life. I understand that like any relationship, this one requires dedication. My only caution is to be aware of how fragile the balance is, not handling them is not optional unless potentially creating a cage bound bird is acceptable to you. I hope this helps!
 

finchly

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Parrotlets are pure attitude. They're snarky and emphatically voice their complaints and opinions. Personally, I find this hysterical, they're my tiny, angry little birds ❤ They do bite and they’re not sorry about it. They have very sharp little needle beaks, so it’s not a big bird bite but being stabbed with a thumbtack still hurts!
This is what I like about them too!
 

sunnysmom

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I have only fostered a parrotlet for our local rescue. So I didn't have him for that long but this is what I observed. He definitely thought he was a big bird. LOL. He was very cute. A little bit feisty. He loved to fly and play. He would sit on me but didn't like to be actually touched. He was housed next to a canary-winged parakeet and he definitely enjoyed the other birds company. Actually, when the parakeet got adopted first he actually was a bit depressed. Interestingly, they brought in another parrotlet and the two didn't get along- and he actually seemed afraid of the other parrotlet. He's now in a home with other small birds (not parrotlets) and is doing much better.
 

Marlienchen

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Thanks everybody for your help! It's great to hear so many different experiences with Parrotlets. Also all your Parrotlets seem very lovely :loveshower: and I love the attitude as well!
@fashionfobie I know about Budgies, I already have two males as you can see by my profile picture :) I moved too far away to take them with me though and they still live with my mom. We thought it would be great to get a new species! But if we can't find a fit, we will go with Budgies again.

I have another question: What about when you need to travel and are not with the bird for a few days or even longer? I'm not saying we need to travel often at all, but sometimes you just can't prevent it, so I'm asking in advance. We would bring the bird to my boyfriends parents house in that case, so they will take care of him of course while we're gone. But without a partner bird, he is alone without us in a new environment. Would that be fine for a single parrotlet with enough toys to keep him occupied?
 

Gribouille

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My birds (2 budgies and 1 parrotlet, 2 cages) have been placed at the breeder who took care of our guinea pigs last time we were on vacation. They didn't come out of their cages for 3 weeks and I really felt bad for them, but since I don't live in my country of origin, when we visit my family it has to be for more than 3 days...
I thought they'd be mad at me when I came back but they were REALLY happy to see me! So now my parrotlet was alone in his cage but had the budgies at his side to keep him company. The breeder didn't interact with them as they were kept in a barn and not in her home (and she is a guinea pigs breeder, not a bird one).
I really think he would have done well on his own too, he was good at keeping himself occupied with what he had but there is no doubt that he had learned to communicate with the budgies and enjoyed their company even if they weren't the best of friends, they used to talk from one room to the other at home.

Now if you think of leaving your bird at your boyfriend's house, you have to be sure that his parents are OK with that and will be able to handle a smart little bird full of personality and temperament. This is definitely not an innocent little budgie and not every one is prepared to find a big bird under the disguise of a sweet little feather ball...
 

laracroft

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Most of the time when I've traveled, I've been able to bring Micah along in his travel cage. When I can't, I leave him with my mom or sister. My vet also does boarding, but I haven't used that service. Leaving him behind has actually been more stressful for me than him, I think. I've never left him for longer than a week, though.
 
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