Day 3 regret

Nikki01

New member
Dec 12, 2023
4
10
Parrots
Alex
I don’t want to sound awful but I hope somebody can help.

I’ve never been a cat or dog lover, a couple of years ago I fell in love with cockatoos and Macaws, however these are large birds who need lots of attention so it was not practicable to get one.

I was going to purchase a Conure but I really liked the sound of an Alex. I went to see a few who seemed so sweet.

Three days ago I purchased a five months old Alex (sex unknown) and I really regret it already. I know it’s early days and he needs to be tamed but he is so scared and frightened of us, he runs away from us whenever we approached the cage and flaps its wings and squawks. We take this as a que to back off. I don’t mind the flock calls he makes but I am scared of being bitten by him although he’s never attempted to do so.

I’m so overwhelmed by the challenge of taming this bird And I don’t want to be scared of him. I can’t ever imagine him bonding with us or me being comfortable enough to pet him.

I am also so confused with the convoluted information. The breeder told me to leave his food in a dish in his cage and empty the water often. I work from home so I can do this. His diet consist of Parrot food which seems to be mixed seeds and nuts. My research and intuition tells me that I should switch to pellets and vegetables and give him a bowl in the morning and bowl in the afternoon and only give seeds nuts apples as a treat food?


I feel like I’m failing him. I want to give him up but my kids wouldn’t understand just letting go of ‘our new family member’.

Will this get better? How long does it take to tame a bird and could you link any step by step instructions on how to do this?

How can I stop myself being afraid of his flapping and the thought of he could bite me?
 

pebbles1553

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Nov 30, 2023
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lovebird
i would recommend reading 12 Weeks To a Perfect Parrot, and they tell u how to tame a bird step by step. hopefully, this helps, and i think that will help u control how u feel of him biting u. the process of taming takes time, and u have to be patient. i hope this helps!
 

DonnaBudgie

Supporting Member
Jan 24, 2023
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Windham, Maine
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Budgies. Lotsa Budgies.
I don’t want to sound awful but I hope somebody can help.

I’ve never been a cat or dog lover, a couple of years ago I fell in love with cockatoos and Macaws, however these are large birds who need lots of attention so it was not practicable to get one.

I was going to purchase a Conure but I really liked the sound of an Alex. I went to see a few who seemed so sweet.

Three days ago I purchased a five months old Alex (sex unknown) and I really regret it already. I know it’s early days and he needs to be tamed but he is so scared and frightened of us, he runs away from us whenever we approached the cage and flaps its wings and squawks. We take this as a que to back off. I don’t mind the flock calls he makes but I am scared of being bitten by him although he’s never attempted to do so.

I’m so overwhelmed by the challenge of taming this bird And I don’t want to be scared of him. I can’t ever imagine him bonding with us or me being comfortable enough to pet him.

I am also so confused with the convoluted information. The breeder told me to leave his food in a dish in his cage and empty the water often. I work from home so I can do this. His diet consist of Parrot food which seems to be mixed seeds and nuts. My research and intuition tells me that I should switch to pellets and vegetables and give him a bowl in the morning and bowl in the afternoon and only give seeds nuts apples as a treat food?


I feel like I’m failing him. I want to give him up but my kids wouldn’t understand just letting go of ‘our new family member’.

Will this get better? How long does it take to tame a bird and could you link any step by step instructions on how to do this?

How can I stop myself being afraid of his flapping and the thought of he could bite me?
Im so sorry you are regretting getting yoyr Alex but If you are afraid of being bitten you may have indeed made a mistake getting this particular parrot. It doesnt sound like you have much experience keeping birds and that's okay because we all start out that way, but you need to be prepared for the fact that parrots are wild animals. They are slow to tame, most untamed parrots bite, often hard enough to draw blood, and even the tamest parrots still occasionally bite. Those charming YouTube videos of people cuddling, petting and physically playing with parrots are examples of the very tamest parrots being handled by the most experienced parrot owners. Also, parrots are not good pets for most young children (under 13 or so). Most parrots do not like being petted like dogs and cats, and many people and most children find that hard to accept. Your Alex obviously wasn't already tame, is scared, and is likely detecting that you too are scared and uncomfortable.

I realize its only been a few days, and some will say I'm telling you to give up too quickly, but my experiences adopting parrots have not begun this way, but I adopted newly weaned hand fed baby cockatiels, cockatoos. Baby birds (from weaning at two to three months) that were hand fed by the breeder and properly socialized with people can be adopted right after weaning and often arrive in your home relatively fearless and hand tame. They may even like being "petted", but as the baby matures it becomes less accepting of "petting". There are exceptions of course but many very tame adult parrots, including budgies and cockatiels, never like humans to touch their bodies other than perching on us. Some, but not all, like having their heads scratched but that's usually it for "petting" and trying to pet most parrots is a great way to get bitten.

It doesn't sound like the breeder you bought the bird from spent the necessary time hand feeding and socializing the bird as a baby to be comfortable around people and that's a shame because if they did in fact breed this bird they had the chance and didn't do it or didn't put enough effort into it. They didn't even advise you correctly on what to feed him! "Parrot food", as you now know, is far more than a bag of mixed seeds and nuts!

If you feel like you cannot accept the long taming process (many months, depending on the individual bird and its owner) and all the bites you and your family members will likely receive in the process, there is nothing wrong with admitting you made a mistake and returning the bird so it still has a chance to find a suitable home while it's still relatively young. You would NOT be failing him! The worst thing you could do is keep the bird while fearing being bitten, not enjoying him and the process of taming him, and ending up with a bird that spends all its time in a cage. You, your family and this bird all deserve better.

Perhaps a different bird from a different breeder, one that was hand fed and properly socialized, would be a better fit. A hand raised baby cockatiel is an ideal bird for a beginner wirh a family. A baby green cheek conure is can also be a good choice but they're more likely to be nippy than a cockatiel and have larger, more powerful beaks. I don't know where you live (what country) and how difficult it is to find good bird breeders so it's hard to advise you on how to acquire a tame baby bird.

One thing I MUST do is advise you against buying an unweaned baby bird. Hand feeding baby parrots is difficult and it's easy to make a mistake that quickly kills the baby. In some countries, breeders frequently sell unweaned babies to inexperienced people with disastrous results but here in the US it's uncommon.

I hope I haven't been too discouraging. I know how hard it is to admit making a mistake, but it's better to recognize it now rather than months or years from now. Your heart is in the right place, and with a little more effort you will find the right bird for you and your family.
 
OP
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Nikki01

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Dec 12, 2023
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10
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Alex
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  • #4
That book has made me feel worse.

When I researched the bird, it said they are very gentle and good family pets. The breeders and other breeders I spoke to new I had young children and thought this particular bird was a good family fit.

It’s day 3 so I know it’s early days and I feel it’s not the right time to consider giving it up so soon, it doesn’t make sense doing that now. I am prone to anxiety and may have to see how I feel in a few months.

To add my husband is here most the day and is not scared of him at all. His in charge of taming him and the kids have been warned to give him some time.

Researching a bird and living with one are too different things.

Advice at this point about overcoming fears would be helpful
 

Terry57

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I'm so sorry you are having issues with your Alex. First, I want you to take a breath. I know how terrifying the prospect of being bitten is. I also have an Alex, his name is Xander. He came to us from a home where he was kept in a back bedroom and covered all the time. He was much older than your boy, he was 12 then. Even though he was traumatized, he took to us within a short period of time as he had been tame at one time. He did bite me in the beginning, and it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I found I was less afraid of his big beak after that and that helped.
Do you know if your Alex was socialized at the breeders? That will help but building a relationship with him can still be done if he wasn't.
Here is a good thread for taming:

Tips for Bonding and Building Trust

You're right about his diet. Xander gets a mix of seeds and pellets, and also chop (basically cut up veggies and some fruit) twice a day. The one thing you want to do is make sure he's eating when trying to change his food. This is a good thread that explains how to change his diet:

Converting Parrots to a Healthier Diet - Tips

It's awesome that your husband isn't afraid of him. He may choose your husband as his person, but it is just as likely that he will choose the one who is afraid of him...we've had that happen with a couple of birds, my husband worked with them the most but they liked me the best.
Xander choose my husband as his person, but if he isn't home he will sometimes be my baby and want me to hold him.

As Donna mentioned, there is no shame in having to rehome. I completely agree that research can only take one so far and having a bird, especially a scared one, is such a different thing. I can say that having to work for a relationship with a bird pays such dividends when they finally start to trust you.

May I ask how old your kids are? My granddaughter is 7, and Xander is the only bird we have that we let her hold. We don't trust the others enough for that. You are doing the right thing in keeping your kids away from his cage while he's so scared, both for them and for him.

It may feel like you're never going to tame him, we have had a couple of older birds who were breeders and they took many months to be tamed. Our African Ringneck took 3 years because he had been abused. When they realize that you're not going to hurt them the training gets a bit easier from there. Your bird is also young which is a positive. Have you named him/her yet?
I'm so glad you found us, we have people with a lot of experience here who are willing to help. Please keep reaching out:)
 
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Nikki01

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Dec 12, 2023
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10
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Alex
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  • #6
My children are 3 and 5. They have been read the riot act and are very sensible. My 3 year old sings paw patrol to him constantly, when the theme tune comes on Teo (bird) will make a lot of noise so may recognise it.

My gut is telling me I need to give him space time and then review again later.

To be fair he is not cage aggressive and has not tried to bite me. He also gives plenty of warning before he starts.
 

wrench13

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Give him time, please! Most parrots take a few days to relax and not freakout at the approach of people. SOme take weeks and some take many months. You are going to find that each individual parrot is it's own bird, so to speak. Each species has some traits that bird sites and info pages will list, but YOUR bird may not conform to that. Example- my little Amazon Salty's species is not supposed to be great talkers but he is. So yes research your parrot but keep that in mind.

Parrots are all about trust! Think of it like a bank. You make deposits in the trust bank by doing positive things for and with your parrot. Doing things like chasing him around to catch him - withdrawal from that bank. If he is going crazy when people get near the cage, I'd suggest this. Approach the cage. Note at what distance he starts to get scared. Next bring a chair and put it just outside that distance and spend some time, 1/2 hour or more, just sitting and talking in a soft voice to him. The next day, move that chair a few inches closer. Now rinse and repeat until you are right next to the cage.

I strongly recommend you and the family read the "I Love AMazons" thread at the top of the Amazon sub-forum. It contains tons of superb information that applies to ALL parrots, not just 'zons (Thank you 'Boats for that gem, in a sea of misinformation). Read it out loud to your parrot, they all love to be read to!

Alex's are members of the Ringneck family, and these guys are noted as being difficult to tame, and often very hand shy. And the members on here often bear that out as true, HOWEVER it can be done, and is by lots of our members here.
Always, always keep this in mind - proceed at your parrots rate of acceptance and not at your rate of expectations.

This applies to food too. Yes seed and nut diet exclusively is bad for them, but abruptly changing their food can cause the parrot to refuse to eat it, and they are quite capable of starving themselves to death.
 

LilyElizabeth

New member
Oct 29, 2023
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You are going to find that each individual parrot is it's own bird, so to speak. Each species has some traits that bird sites and info pages will list, but YOUR bird may not conform to that.
This is basically what I was going to say. Many websites, books, and some owners will tell you that the whole species does this or that. It's not always true. Our Sun Conure, for example, never sleeps on her back, on the floor of her cage. Yet they are "known" for doing it. I recently made a post about our two Cockatiels not liking head-scratches, even though it's supposed to be a "typical" Cockatiel thing (them leaning their head toward the owner for scratches).

I like Wrench13's way of comparing the bonding process to a bank. You "invest" small amounts over time. Go at the bird's pace.

Also: Be cautious if you watch videos on YouTube/Instagram/TikTok. There is good basic advice, but some "experts" promote the idea that "My bird does this, so yours should be doing it, too".
 

LoveMyFids

Active member
Aug 19, 2023
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Give him time, please! Most parrots take a few days to relax and not freakout at the approach of people. SOme take weeks and some take many months. You are going to find that each individual parrot is it's own bird, so to speak. Each species has some traits that bird sites and info pages will list, but YOUR bird may not conform to that. Example- my little Amazon Salty's species is not supposed to be great talkers but he is. So yes research your parrot but keep that in mind.

Parrots are all about trust! Think of it like a bank. You make deposits in the trust bank by doing positive things for and with your parrot. Doing things like chasing him around to catch him - withdrawal from that bank. If he is going crazy when people get near the cage, I'd suggest this. Approach the cage. Note at what distance he starts to get scared. Next bring a chair and put it just outside that distance and spend some time, 1/2 hour or more, just sitting and talking in a soft voice to him. The next day, move that chair a few inches closer. Now rinse and repeat until you are right next to the cage.

I strongly recommend you and the family read the "I Love AMazons" thread at the top of the Amazon sub-forum. It contains tons of superb information that applies to ALL parrots, not just 'zons (Thank you 'Boats for that gem, in a sea of misinformation). Read it out loud to your parrot, they all love to be read to!

Alex's are members of the Ringneck family, and these guys are noted as being difficult to tame, and often very hand shy. And the members on here often bear that out as true, HOWEVER it can be done, and is by lots of our members here.
Always, always keep this in mind - proceed at your parrots rate of acceptance and not at your rate of expectations.

This applies to food too. Yes seed and nut diet exclusively is bad for them, but abruptly changing their food can cause the parrot to refuse to eat it, and they are quite capable of starving themselves to death.
"proceed at your parrots rate of acceptance and not at your rate of expectations." That's a great line. I love that! Gonna' write that one down!
 

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