Feeling like a bad parront :(


New member
Jul 23, 2019
Does anyone ever feel like despite all their efforts that maybe their little feathery friend isn't happy?

To give a little background, Aki is a canary-winged parakeet that was stuck in a pet store (and in an undersized enclosure) for over half a year before I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to bring him home. When I acquired him, he was in a bit of sorry shape with some bronzing on his feathers from over preening and has what I think might be a few nervous ticks (likes to chew his feet alot and chews on the tip of his tongue, but never hurts himself).

I am an absolute newb when it comes to birds, and you guys have been absolutely terrific on advice, but it feels like despite my best efforts I keep messing things up (or maybe this is normal?). Here's some examples:

Diet: When I talked to the pet store, they had been only giving him the cheapest seed mix. When I brought him home, I started slowly introducing him to fresh veggies/fruits and pellets and he actually tried a bit of everything. Not sure what changed, but now he just throws his pellets from the bowl, will pick out mango/grape from his parrot chop and upturns his beak at spinach like a snob. He was losing a little weight so I tried to reintegrate a bit more seeds into his diet, but he'll just pick out his unhealthy favorites like sunflower seeds and walnuts and will leave the rest. If I pick those two seeds out of the mix, he just throws a tantrum and flings seeds and pellets everywhere and touches nothing. It feels like we went one step forward and two back. :17:

Training: He is such a swift learner, which I've come to learn has its pros and cons. I started with a clicker, target practice, step-ups, and he was very receptive and excited to learn as well as consistent. As of late though he seems very perceptive and he will not perform unless he sees a "bribe". I know birds have wants and wills of their own and I let him do his own thing if he doesn't want to train, but it's kinda feeling like he's testing our boundaries and has established himself as the boss. This petulant "tude" of his makes it hard when we have to get him down from places he shouldn't be (like trying to chew a hold in the drywall above every door frame).

Environment: Aki came from a hectic pet store environment with people coming and going and budgies right next to him singing all the time to our quiet little household. It is just my fiance and I and we both have day jobs so he is left on his own for a good stretch of the day. He has a very spacious cage, toys/branches/accessories that we change out every so often, but he seems miserable (he overpreens still and is very quiet). When he is in his cage, he doesn't touch his toys at all and will literally just chew on the bars (powder coated thankfully) when I am leaving for work in the morning and literally will still be chewing when I get home. Sometimes my work will let me telework which I love because I can usually let him out to play on the side with his foraging toys and do small training sessions, but being the attention seeker he is he will start to get a little naughty try to steal keyboard keys off my laptop and I will have to put him back in his cage where he will chew on the bars without falter until I take him back out (also, I make sure not to cave in and take him out while he is chewing because I know he might learn that chewing = freedom. I always try to take him back out once he is settled down). His persistence to chew on bars and do nothing else is worrisome and I've even tried to weave seagrass between the bars to make it less jarring for him, but he either destroys it in a matter of seconds or finds another uncovered section to chew. Also since it is quiet during the day and we know he was used to having other birds around, I try to leave a laptop on next to him with parrot companion videos, but it doesn't seem to help. As of late, we have been thinking that maybe he needs a companion (there is another male available at another pet shop) and though he might be less bonded to us ultimately, we just want him happy.

Now, I am by no means regretting the little guy -- I love him so much and just want to keep spoiling him rotten, but I guess I am trying to figure out what behaviors are normal/expected and what I can do to improve. Also, do you guys have similar stories about your own trials and tribulations and lessons learned through them?


Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
Full house
Congratulations! You've got a very smart and social species! Wonderful parrots! And it really sounds like you are off to a good start!

It's going to take time, effort and constancy, to advance more. It took months to get my poor abused Quaker in a better state. And still working on her to make choices for herself, to move around on her own , ( she was so shut down) but improving all the time,!

I have a link on stress in parrots that I really like, but I don't like clicker training, I still shape behavior but I just say good birdie. I will also link a foraging article.

This bird is so smart, and you really need to work on getting him to engage with his surroundings. Since he loves those sunflower seeds get him working for them. Remove them from his diet, he can still have the others seeds, pumpkin are great. And start easy foraging for the sunflower seeds. Also use the sunflower as treats, everytime you walk by the cage say hi and give him one. If he already takes them by hands that's great, if not get a small treat only dish to out them in. I'm not sure all I remember from your your great history above, so I'll out all my tips here then go back and read again, I keep loosing my internet connection..

Lots of easy shredding stuff is great. Especially for over preening bird's. Lots of shredded paper you can make toys from, use zip ties and plastic beads to slide around. Try and set up at least three different areas for him to hang out at, with s treat stick, a little millit spray, some shredded stuff. You can use a ceiling hook, and fishing line to hang a rope hoop, or rope bungie from , eye level. I also have one of those metal stands they sell at the pet super market to hold a cage or swing perch, then I attached a lot of perches , hoops and such with zip tie, this give me one movable perch do they can hang out with me. Birds need their own furniture.

These birds are social, they do need to be out of the cage getting direct attention from you, and preening if allows , and time just being near you. My allow preening parrots each get about a half hour of just head scritches daily. I know you work but try for at least four hours of out of the cage time. Ok going to get the links now

Yes my birds will chew any button on remotes or anything. Putting him back in the cage isn't really going to help him learn. They are smart, but they aren't smart enough to be reflecting on their behavior as they sit in the cage. Instead set him up for success! Have his own place to hang out next to you, a little cup filled with plastic bottle caps to toss, maybe a seed or two hidden in there, knots tied in leather or other bird safe stuff to untie, plastic beads to slide up and down... You can work on getting him to play with toys, give him a seed when ever he touches them, stuff seeds in them .... Just try and set him up to be good, and reward the good.

Keep working on diet. Hand feed lots of different foods, they really learn from their flock.
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Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Beautifully orchestrated and insightful narrative, your love for Aki leaps from the monitor!

You rescued him from a miserable life and have undoubtedly gifted him much pleasure. Deep respect for seeking a closer bond and greater involvement.

Diet is crucial for health and longevity. I'm not familiar with parakeets and realize some species require a higher proportion of seed. I'd continue introducing fresh veggies/fruits and personalize the experience. Prepare two bowls, one for Aki, the other for you. Begin to eat from yours, making "Mmmmm" sounds, bobbing your head and showing enjoyment. Birds are flock eaters, and you are part of his "flock."

Stimulating music or TV in your absence may be helpful. Many parronts leave a radio or TV as background.

Your question of feathered companion is logical but fraught with uncertainty. No guarantee he will accept another bird, or perhaps bond so closely you become an afterthought. Might have to keep them completely separate and divide your attention accordingly. This is a truism with parrots, and others with parakeets may have differing opinion!

A few links you may find helpful:


Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Being a new "parront" is a roller-coaster of emotions (many highs and lows and lots of worries in between).

Here is a link to a bunch of posts I made for another member, but if you are worried about behavior, often you need to look to health and routine first (including possible hormones etc). You will see my massive posts on this link, but all of the posts contain great info--I know you already bought yours, but there is so much to learn, and that is why we all are here!!!!- http://www.parrotforums.com/questions-answers/83663-potential-first-time-buyer.html


Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month ๐Ÿ†
Nov 22, 2015
Isle of Long, NY
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Congrats, Canary Wing Parrakeets ( aka Brotogeris or Bee Bee parrots) are super tame even in the wild and are one of the few parrots that will seek out humans in the wild. We had one for 6 yrs before he passed (unkown reasons) and he was a mush ball, who loved everyone in the family. Loved to get head scratches. stubborn to a fault, you had to work with him a lot to get him to change behaviour. They dont speak much but can learn to whistle quite well, even better than cockatiels. Our Max used to whistle Beethovens 9th theme, Star Wars theme, and much more. Early in the 20th century they were the #1 pet parrot in the USA, because of the above. They were also known as pocket parrots because they like to hide in pockets and sleeves. Lots of attitude in a tiny package, Max thought he was the size of a cockatoo. Bold and mischeivious. Spend as much time out of his cage with him as you can, he will open like a flower. Second bird not recommended unless YOU want one; A second parrot may mean they bond with each other, leaving you and your SOout in the cold. You can never tell with that.

Keep trying different types of cage toys until you find the type he likes.If he is over preening, try sections of paperback books fixed to the bars and other shready type things.


Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month ๐Ÿ†
Oct 23, 2015
1 YNA (Bingo)
1 OWA (Plumas R.I.P.)
1 RLA (Pacho R.I.P.)
2 GCA(Luna,Merlin) The Twins
1 Congo AG (Bella)
5 Cockatiels
I have one cockatiel that attacks his feet. He actualy seems to get into a fight with his foot. I don't have a clue why he does this but I am sure he would not hurt himself.

I have a second Cockatiel that hammers his beak on his toe claws. I have a better understanding why that happens. Cockatiel male birds will hammer on or around there nest to attract a female. If there is not something sufficiently hard to hammer on he uses what is available, his foot.

Even one of my amazon parrots (Bingo) when he gets carried away playing with a toy will bite his own leg instead of the toy he is attacking.

I don't know if any of these behaviors help explain what your parrot is doing but so long as he causes no injury to himself I would not worry to much about that issue.

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