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Hello! New Lovebird Owner, Here! (Advice needed?)

Charqee

Meeting neighbors
Joined
6/10/17
Messages
21
Hello there! My name is Char and I'm the recent owner of a new peach face named Pico!

I got him a few weeks ago from a pet store and he's an absolute sweetheart. He doesn't bite (yet at least!), is very active and loves to flutter around to explore. However I have a few concerns.

I'd like to hand tame Pico the best I can without stressing him out or taking the wrong approach. He's still very timid and scared even after being with us a few weeks (understandable though being in a new home/environment and away from other birdie friends). I've tried my best to do things not to scare him. I talk to him sweetly and move slowly. I open the top part of the cage and let him do his own thing within reason.

However there are points in time where he'll flutter to the floor and he's too scared of my hands for me to offer a finger and let him up. I have to use one of his cage stands and he'll willing go up that way. And when I change his water or food he freaks out and peeps and flutters all over the cage.

I also feel guilty because one time he almost ran underneath a very low dresser of ours that's too heavy move. I wouldn't have been able to get him out. Without thinking, I moved my hand to hold him and move him away but it just scared him more. I'm so afraid that I messed up and that Pico will be scared of me forever. I love him so much and want to make him happy but also give him the respect and distance he deserves.

What can I do to help gain Pico's trust and make him feel more comfortable? There are points in time as well where he'll chirp with the birds outside nonstop and sometimes even when the birds stop chirping he'll keep going along. I'm afraid that he feels lonely? But when I come into the room he seems scared. I'm not sure what to do.

Any suggestions?
 

theocnoob

Jogging around the block
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Pablo and George
Hi, welcome!

This is why I would only ever get a baby that was hand raised directly from a breeder. Pet stores are not fun places for any animal, and the animals that come from them tend to be stressed and grumpy and lacking trust.

One thing I would suggest is that you change his food and water while he's out and about, not while he's in the cage. He's obviously afraid of you right now and invading his space like that is making him feel really threatened. George has lived with me for 9 years and we love eachother and he trusts me but he still doesn't like it when I put my hand in his cage, so when I want him to come out I open the door and put my hand just outside it and say step up and he comes out onto my hand.

Watch some videos by Marlene McCohen on youtube. They should help you understand what your bird is thinking and how to relate to him/her better. It's a long process sometimes when you get a petshop bird or a rescue. It's probably going to be some time before your little guy trusts you.

All I can say is don't give up.

Are you home all the time? If not, what hours are you away from home? Being around more often is helpful. You should also talk to the bird as much as possible and for now, if you make eye contact, don't hold it for too long.

Is it just you in the home? Who else (human/animal) lives there? The more chaotic the environment (especially loud kids) is going to slow the bird's acclimation IMO.

What kind of cage/perches/toys/food are you using? Do you know how old the lovebird is? Is he eating and drinking well?
Have you had a vet check him out?
 

Charqee

Meeting neighbors
Joined
6/10/17
Messages
21
Hi, welcome!

This is why I would only ever get a baby that was hand raised directly from a breeder. Pet stores are not fun places for any animal, and the animals that come from them tend to be stressed and grumpy and lacking trust.

One thing I would suggest is that you change his food and water while he's out and about, not while he's in the cage. He's obviously afraid of you right now and invading his space like that is making him feel really threatened. George has lived with me for 9 years and we love eachother and he trusts me but he still doesn't like it when I put my hand in his cage, so when I want him to come out I open the door and put my hand just outside it and say step up and he comes out onto my hand.

Watch some videos by Marlene McCohen on youtube. They should help you understand what your bird is thinking and how to relate to him/her better. It's a long process sometimes when you get a petshop bird or a rescue. It's probably going to be some time before your little guy trusts you.

All I can say is don't give up.

Are you home all the time? If not, what hours are you away from home? Being around more often is helpful. You should also talk to the bird as much as possible and for now, if you make eye contact, don't hold it for too long.

Is it just you in the home? Who else (human/animal) lives there? The more chaotic the environment (especially loud kids) is going to slow the bird's acclimation IMO.

What kind of cage/perches/toys/food are you using? Do you know how old the lovebird is? Is he eating and drinking well?
Have you had a vet check him out?
Hello! And thank you so much!

I live in a very quiet home consisting of my husband and mother in law. We have no children or other pets, so he'll get all the attention! He's also placed in our "office" area, where we tend to relax and hang around, but
it's never loud or chaotic thankfully.

I tend to be away from home in the mornings until afternoon. I work a very part time job so I can spend quite a bit of time with Pico. I got him the biggest cage I could find and I'm not entirely sure his age, but he is active and eating/drinking
fairly well. My one concern is that he tends to go for more seeds rather than the other bits in his food bowl. (I did notice him chewing at a whole peanut though today!) I want to help incorporate a more healthy diet, but the store I got him from
primarily fed them seeds of all kinds. So I feel it will take some time. The store does offer a vet program that comes once a week and I'm planning to get him checked out as soon as I can!

And thank you for the suggestions! I won't put my hands in the cage anymore when he's in there. The poor guy!
 

theocnoob

Jogging around the block
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Pablo and George
Peanuts are bad for birds. Don't feed peanuts, at all. Sunflower seeds are bad too. For any parrot, pellets are better than seed. If you can't find a pellet that your bird likes or you dont want to go through the expense of trying a bunch of pellets, one food that seems to be a slam dunk with all birds is "un-pellet" by Phoenix Foraging Rolls (google them). Its not the cheapest food but it is a balanced diet. You should also try to get the little guy on what they call "chop" which is a mixture of fruits and vegetables (look up a list of parrot safe fruits and vegetables. Don't go crazy with the fruit, it gives them the runs), chopped up in a bowl. Some birds prefer cooked veggies, some don't. Some birds wont take them at all, but try it. A varied balanced diet based on a kibble or similar fully balanced food will make for a healthier bird. Seeds are bad and should be 20% (At the absolute most) of the diet by volume. Ideally less.
 

Charqee

Meeting neighbors
Joined
6/10/17
Messages
21
Peanuts are bad for birds. Don't feed peanuts, at all. Sunflower seeds are bad too. For any parrot, pellets are better than seed. If you can't find a pellet that your bird likes or you dont want to go through the expense of trying a bunch of pellets, one food that seems to be a slam dunk with all birds is "un-pellet" by Phoenix Foraging Rolls (google them). Its not the cheapest food but it is a balanced diet. You should also try to get the little guy on what they call "chop" which is a mixture of fruits and vegetables (look up a list of parrot safe fruits and vegetables. Don't go crazy with the fruit, it gives them the runs), chopped up in a bowl. Some birds prefer cooked veggies, some don't. Some birds wont take them at all, but try it. A varied balanced diet based on a kibble or similar fully balanced food will make for a healthier bird. Seeds are bad and should be 20% (At the absolute most) of the diet by volume. Ideally less.
Oh, I had no idea. The peanuts came from his feed. They contain whole ones in the shell still and I had read somewhere that it was fine for them. But at the same time I'm concerned because he only goes for the sunflower seeds. I don't even know sometimes if he's eating his other stuff (there are other seeds in there too, but he won't eat the little green/red bits.) I checked out the un-pellets and I'd like to give that a try! Would it be wise to give him the small unpellets or the normal sized ones?
 

theocnoob

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Pablo and George
Oh, I had no idea. The peanuts came from his feed. They contain whole ones in the shell still and I had read somewhere that it was fine for them. But at the same time I'm concerned because he only goes for the sunflower seeds. I don't even know sometimes if he's eating his other stuff (there are other seeds in there too, but he won't eat the little green/red bits.) I checked out the un-pellets and I'd like to give that a try! Would it be wise to give him the small unpellets or the normal sized ones?
the un pellet blend is one size the sizes are the portion size not pellet size. A diet of only sunflower seeds will mean a very short life. You need to diversify his diet. Toss the peanuts out.

It's all about keeping them happy and healthy. Eventually most will warm up to their humans :)
 

Charqee

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the un pellet blend is one size the sizes are the portion size not pellet size. A diet of only sunflower seeds will mean a very short life. You need to diversify his diet. Toss the peanuts out.

It's all about keeping them happy and healthy. Eventually most will warm up to their humans :)
Thank you so much for your help and advice! I appreciate it! I'm gonna get Pico a bag and try it out. I definitely want him to be as happy and healthy as can be!
 

theocnoob

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Pablo and George
Thank you so much for your help and advice! I appreciate it! I'm gonna get Pico a bag and try it out. I definitely want him to be as happy and healthy as can be!
I dont have a lovebird. Take my advice with a grain of salt. You should post in the lovebird subforums here and see what other advice people give you. :)
 

Tiel Feathers

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:welave:Congratulations on your new little lovebird!
 

LunaLovebird

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Just a couple of things. For lovebirds, fruit isn't really something they should have much or ideally any of. It's too sugary, and doesn't offer them anything a vegetable can't. That, and lovebirds tend not to like fruit as much. And seeds aren't necessarily bad, they're just high in fat and shouldn't constitute more than 20-30% of their diet. Other species of bird need more. Make sure you get a good quality blend. I try to avoid anything with peanuts and sunflower seeds. Right now I give my two a mix of hemp, milk thistle seeds, linseed / flax seeds, chia, quinoa, pepitas, dried carrot, dried spinach, dried capsicum, and a low fat pre-mix for budgies that has some millet and some other seeds in that they like. I mix that in with their pellets and give them a bit more than they'd eat in a day so that they don't just pick out the seeds. As for sunflower seeds - these are okay but only in small amounts. I don't like having them in their dry mix, but I have a stash of them for treats / rewards.

With pellets, I've found my lovebirds tend to prefer Roudybush crumbles over most other things. They will also eat Harrison's fine, but not superfine. For both these and the chop, make the transition slow. The best advice is to practice portion control by giving a tablespoon or so of their normal seed blend and add a small amount of pellets. Once you see him start to eat them, start to increase the percentage of pellets slowly until eventually it gets to the 80% mark. You can do a similar thing with chop - just sprinkle seeds over it. Eventually he'll eat the vegetables and decide he likes them. Broccoli, dark leafy greens, green beans, snow peas and sweet corn were the easiest for me to get mine to eat. Another thing you can do in addition to giving them chop is to make a birdie bread. There are heaps of recipes here. It's a good way to sneak in good food that they'll eat.

Question re the cage - it's good you went big. Do you know what the bar spacing is?
 

Cynthia & Percy

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