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Old 06-02-2018, 07:23 PM
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Pros and cons of Parrotlets?

I currently have 2 GC Conures, a Hahn Macaw, and 2 Rosie Bourke’s. Been thinking of expanding to Parrotlets.

What are some of the pros and cons someone should know about them and what did you wish you knew before getting one?
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Old 06-08-2018, 10:42 PM
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Re: Pros and cons of Parrotlets?

Seeing as you have no responses, I may as well attempt this. I’m no expert as I’ve only ever owned the one, Lily, but I’m sure she’s just your average parrotlet.

For starters, think of them as the chiwawas of the bird universe. Whether or not they’ll “bark” at your larger bird is totally dependent on your own personal parrotlet, but regardless they have no true fear of a bird 20x their own size. Lily has no problem walking up to my Warbeak (conure) and chittering her two-cents worth before whizzing off because Warbeak hates everything about her. I’m fortunate Lily isn’t more “bark” than that. And I’m also fortunate that she has no “bite”. I heard parrotlets can be quite dangerous for larger birds, as they’re toe biters. As in, they will bite off a toe in a fight. So where a parrotlet is involved, definitely keep an extra watch on goings-on at all times.

To tie in with the chiwawa factor, they can be very bold. Lily likes to go out of her way to get into trouble. There was a time I accidentally left the bird room door open as I went downstairs to fix up birdie breakfast. Not even 3 minutes later, my cousin asks me to get my bird out of the bathroom because she was swooping down on him. It didn’t even take her 3 minutes to decide open door was an invitation to go exploring, and then harassing my cousin.

They are extremely high energy birds. Think of a caique but without the ADHD factor instilled. I could literally jingle a bell for hours on the play chair and Lily will be completely content to chase said bell around or attack the whicker balls littered around on the chair. I actually find the high energy to be a plus in my case, as I enjoy play time with her. Since she’s so high energy, you can see her absolute joy at playtime written all in her body language and chirps.

They are noisy. Not loud noisy like the screeching of a cockatoo would be. Their chirps are rather quiet themselves. But because they’re high energy, they work themselves up into a chirping storm, and if you have other birds....it really gets them worked up. When Lily starts, Warbeak screams her head off. And with Warbeak screaming her head off, Lily gets more worked up. And then they just feed off of each others noises. You having much larger birds...it may get a little crazy.

On top of being loud, they can be temperamental in a way. Someone described it as “walking on eggshells”. This is pertaining mostly to noise (at least, in Lily’s case). Just the simplest little noise will work her up into a chirping storm. Whether it’s happy chirps or angry chirps depends on the noise. The two chirps can be difficult to distinguish, because they are the same exact chirp, just different body language. Me jingling a bell will work her up into a storm of happy chirps. She’ll tweet like crazy and bob her head/body all around in rhythm with her chirps and her body will be completely puffed up. If I’m replacing a chew toy of hers, generally it’s a type of paper or straw. I have to be careful where she is in the room, because just the rustling sound of me trying to quietly replace her chew toy will work her up into an angry storm. If she’s in the cage when I do this, I’ll immediately get bit. Her body language is the exact same as her happy chirp storm, BUT the difference lies in the feathers around the back of her neck. They’ll stand on end, kind of like an angered cat does as it’s hissing. I don’t know if that slight difference in body language is universal for parrotlets, or if it’s just mine.

Be aware, these birds are capable of plucking. My Lily is a plucker. What the cause is, I have no idea, as she was plucking when I took her in. She’s better than she was, but still looks pretty bad. Not saying all parrotlets are going to pluck, just be aware they can definitely develop this behavior.

I didn’t really list pros/cons. Just more things to be aware of before even considering a parrotlet. I will say having a parrotlet is actually really fun, as you get some really active play time with them. It’s almost like owning a cat, but without the sneaky deviousness. My Lily isn’t actually tame (not hand trained, no tricks). I’m working on it bit by bit. But she is definitely all over that play time. And I love that adorable puffed up face of hers when she’s clearly having fun. Nothing beats it. Her joy is definitely my joy. She’s so innocent it puts a smile on my face.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:22 PM
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Re: Pros and cons of Parrotlets?

No direct fulltime experience with thembut I have seen a parrotlet walk up to a lesser sukphur crested cockatoo and shoo it off the perch the parrotlet clearly wanted to be on. Some small species of parrots have this reputation for being absoloutely fearless - parrotlets being one of them. With your current brood this might be a problem depending on how you let the birds interact with each other. Look for a post from member Inger about her parrotlet Bumble. It will give you a lot of insight about what living with a parrotlet is like with the caveat that Bumble is an only parrot. It may turn out to be like caiques. Introducing a caique into an existing flock usually goes OK. Introducing new parrots into a house that has a caique as the original parrot usually results in a maimed or even dead new parrot. Parrotlets have been likened as mini Amazon parrots and being an Amazon snob as I am I like the little things.
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Old 06-09-2018, 01:51 PM
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Re: Pros and cons of Parrotlets?

Sorry I didnít see this post sooner. AkridChaos summed it up pretty well. In fact, the reason I decided a Parrotlet was for me is that I have a (now part-time) Chihuahua, and when I read descriptions of parrotlets I thought ďOh birdie Chihuahua. I know all about that kind of attitude. Perfect.Ē

Pros:

Bumble is sweet, wonderful, funny, SMART. She does several tricks, is sort of potty trained, and since nobody told her female parrotlets donít talk, she says a few words. Theyíre not very clear but theyíre the sweetest thing ever. Sheís a Velcro bird with an independent streak. When she hasnít had enough time with me, or when she first comes out of her cage, she wants to be on me, preferably my hand. But after she is out for a while, she likes to fly over to her boing or her gym and play or perch for a while, always returning to me within maybe 10 minutes. Parrotlets are ridiculously cute and people are always enchanted by her. Sheís pretty quiet, and parrotlets are physically incapable of screaming. Thatís not to say she doesnít have her very loud moments! Her alarm call (usually when she sees the bathroom or hears a crinkly plastic bag) is plenty loud.

Cons:

Parrotlets can be nippy. We work on this and sheís pretty good at a gentle ďno thank youĒ beaking instead of a bite when she doesnít want to do something. She has not drawn blood, and Iíve earned almost every hard bite sheís given me.

They can be cage-territorial. Bumble isnít. I donít know why. She is fine with me reaching into her cage to do whatever I want/need and sheíll usually step up to come out from wherever she is. Once in a while I get a little nip, and then I just let her come to her door where she is happy to step up calmly. We also have a game where I put the pad of my finger up to the cage bars and she gives me a little nibble-lick. ❤️❤️❤️

They can be prone to plucking. Bumble doesnít but this just gives me something fun to worry about - we all need that, right?

They are said to untame very quickly if not handled every day. I work 40 hours a week with a total 2+ hour RT commute right now. Bumble comes out every single day. Sometimes itís literally only a few minutes, but I try to make it the best few minutes possible. Most days itís from the time I get home until she goes to bed, and again I try to make that quality time. I live alone so itís just us hanging out. On weekends I have my Chihuahua, so her cage is always in the same room with me, and I lock the dog in the bedroom to play with her for at least an hour each day. I have no interest in finding out if the untaming thing is true.

Like Chihuahuas, they have no idea how small they are and this means you have to protect them from themselves. Bumble is, as Wrench mentioned, an only bird, but I understand they are likely to attack bigger animals without realizing the danger. I donít know how this would be managed in a multi-bird home but you should be aware of it. And yes, Iíve also heard theyíre toe biters. This could especially be a problem when combined with cage aggression if another bird landed on their cage.

Pro/Con mixed: they are relatively short-lived parrots. In captivity it seems like they live around 15 years at best. This is a pro because Iím 48 and Iíll probably outlive her (unlike a larger bird). Itís also a con because Iím 48 and Iíll probably outlive her. Pet grief is the worst.

I hope some of this is helpful




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Old 06-09-2018, 05:57 PM
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Re: Pros and cons of Parrotlets?

Okay, Inger told the lovely truth about everything EXCEPT her AGE!
She's 29 if she's a day!
As a Moderator, I had to step in here...
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:30 PM
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Re: Pros and cons of Parrotlets?

Quote: Originally Posted by GaleriaGila View Post
Okay, Inger told the lovely truth about everything EXCEPT her AGE!
She's 29 if she's a day!
As a Moderator, I had to step in here...


Hahaha flattery will get you EVERYWHERE but my 24 year old daughter ruins that lie every single time!


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Old 06-09-2018, 09:17 PM
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Re: Pros and cons of Parrotlets?

The ATTITUDE with Jack! You really have to be careful with parrotlets, as like with small dogs people tend to let them get away with things that larger birds would never be allowed to do (laughing at threat displays, provoking them for a reaction because it's 'cute'). So be prepared for strict behavioral monitoring. I've also noticed there isn't really a scale to bite pressure, it's either nothing or a mauling.

As for pros, they really do have an entertaining curiosity about life. Jack can spend hours sticking his head in all the nooks and crannies of my room to see what's down there. That and if you happen to get a talker, their voices are hilariously high pitched.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:57 AM
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Re: Pros and cons of Parrotlets?

If I'm not mistaken, you're a breeder, correct? Are you looking at Parrotlets as a pet, or for adding to your breeding species? This makes a bit of a difference in the response...
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