Is an alex being this needy and demanding normal?

Strangebird

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Jun 14, 2023
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Vanjie, Alexandrine Parakeet
My close to 5 months Alexandrine is getting a bit too demanding lately. Since I work at home and rarely leave - and spend almost all my time in the same room as him, and make sure to entertain him whenever he wants me to - he got a little too... needy.
First off, he's gotten into the habit of calling after me whenever I'm not around (and I don't mean abandoning him for half a day but just going to take a shower, doing chores, going out for a smoke). He does this even when someone is there with him to make sure he's not bored (I try to make sure he's never left alone), apparently he's staring at the place I usually sit at, now empty and just calls, calls, calls. And he doesn't even need me per se, half the time when I return he just makes his happy little cooing whine and goes back to whatever toy destructing business he had, he simply just wants me to be present, not necessarily to engage with me. It's not annoying, his calls are cute but I'm not sure if it's okay for him to be too needy.
He's also way too demanding. Whenever I eat in front of him, of course he wants what I'm eating and if I offer anything else, he throws a hissy fit, tossing the snack on the ground and shouting at me (I don't eat any not safe for parrots food anymore in his presence but he's a little out of hand). When offered the right snack what he's in the mood for (that I often have to guess, he's expecting me to read his mind) or what I'm having, he's a sweet, gentle angel...
I'm just wondering if it's normal Alex behavior and if not, how to correct it. Granted, I'm a bit of a pushover, making sure everything happens according to his whims, but that's because I thought it helps bonding and build trust. Any advice?
 
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zERo

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Welcome to the forums!

Sounds like your bird loves you, and, maybe a bit too much!

A few things I’d try to remedy his clinginess:
Try hiding food in his toys, makes them even more interesting.
I’d also recommend training him, especially target and trick training, it’s mental taxing and occupies his brain.

As for the throwing a fit over food, I think, when he throws a fit about not getting the exact food he’s wanting, ignore him until he stops and then give him the treat once he behaves.
 

DonnaBudgie

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My close to 5 months Alexandrine is getting a bit too demanding lately. Since I work at home and rarely leave - and spend almost all my time in the same room as him, and make sure to entertain him whenever he wants me to - he got a little too... needy.
First off, he's gotten into the habit of calling after me whenever I'm not around (and I don't mean abandoning him for half a day but just going to take a shower, doing chores, going out for a smoke). He does this even when someone is there with him to make sure he's not bored (I try to make sure he's never left alone), apparently he's staring at the place I usually sit at, now empty and just calls, calls, calls. And he doesn't even need me per se, half the time when I return he just makes his happy little cooing whine and goes back to whatever toy destructing business he had, he simply just wants me to be present, not necessarily to engage with me. It's not annoying, his calls are cute but I'm not sure if it's okay for him to be too needy.
He's also way too demanding. Whenever I eat in front of him, of course he wants what I'm eating and if I offer anything else, he throws a hissy fit, tossing the snack on the ground and shouting at me (I don't eat any not safe for parrots food anymore in his presence but he's a little out of hand). When offered the right snack what he's in the mood for (that I often have to guess, he's expecting me to read his mind) or what I'm having, he's a sweet, gentle angel...
I'm just wondering if it's normal Alex behavior and if not, how to correct it. Granted, I'm a bit of a pushover, making sure everything happens according to his whims, but that's because I thought it helps bonding and build trust. Any advice?
I have to say this behavior is pretty normal for very young birds. Like separation anxiety in toddlers. Its kinda cute but not sustainable and not good for his psychological development to encourage it. My baby budgie Rocky did the same thing. Wanted my food. Wanted to be with me all the time. I felt terrible when i had to leave her to go to work. It gets better as they grow up if you don't allow him to make you feel guilty and afraid to leave him alone. Don't give him attention every time he demands it. He needs to learn that when you leave you will come back and to entertain himself to be a happy adult bird. So cute, though, isn't it?
 
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Strangebird

Strangebird

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Vanjie, Alexandrine Parakeet
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Welcome to the forums!

Sounds like your bird loves you, and, maybe a bit too much!

A few things I’d try to remedy his clinginess:
Try hiding food in his toys, makes them even more interesting.
I’d also recommend training him, especially target and trick training, it’s mental taxing and occupies his brain.

As for the throwing a fit over food, I think, when he throws a fit about not getting the exact food he’s wanting, ignore him until he stops and then give him the treat once he behaves.
Thanks!
I'll definitely buy one of those enrichment toys that have places to hide food in! Training him is pretty hard, I've been trying to target train him but he'll just suddenly ignore the snack and snatch the stick and grab it from my hand (and gets frustrated if I don't let him have it, yanking it aggressively). He does this with everything that gets close to him, this is why he can't even step up yet (he'll bite my finger, hand or whatever I hold close enough to him to reach).
I'll try ignoring him when he acts out, he usually craves attention so best not encourage him.

I have to say this behavior is pretty normal for very young birds. Like separation anxiety in toddlers. Its kinda cute but not sustainable and not good for his psychological development to encourage it. My baby budgie Rocky did the same thing. Wanted my food. Wanted to be with me all the time. I felt terrible when i had to leave her to go to work. It gets better as they grow up if you don't allow him to make you feel guilty and afraid to leave him alone. Don't give him attention every time he demands it. He needs to learn that when you leave you will come back and to entertain himself to be a happy adult bird. So cute, though, isn't it?
Thanks! Well he's still a kid but he only recently started to be so demanding. He wasn't used to humans so he went from afraid, to mistrustful, to curious but jumpy to interested and happy to have me around to this... but I'll try not to let him guilt-trip me, he has company even when I'm not around so he should get used to it. But yes, he"s super cute!And your budgie sounds like such a sweetheart!
 

DonnaBudgie

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Thanks!
I'll definitely buy one of those enrichment toys that have places to hide food in! Training him is pretty hard, I've been trying to target train him but he'll just suddenly ignore the snack and snatch the stick and grab it from my hand (and gets frustrated if I don't let him have it, yanking it aggressively). He does this with everything that gets close to him, this is why he can't even step up yet (he'll bite my finger, hand or whatever I hold close enough to him to reach).
I'll try ignoring him when he acts out, he usually craves attention so best not encourage him.


Thanks! Well he's still a kid but he only recently started to be so demanding. He wasn't used to humans so he went from afraid, to mistrustful, to curious but jumpy to interested and happy to have me around to this... but I'll try not to let him guilt-trip me, he has company even when I'm not around so he should get used to it. But yes, he"s super cute!And your budgie sounds like such a sweetheart!
Can you handle him at all?
I hand raised my budgie myself so in my case she was never fearful or cautious- just demanding. If you are still building trust it will take more gentleness on your part not to set back the trust you're building. Rocky has no interest in target training because there isn't a treat she likes enough to motivate her that isn't part of her everyday diet. She can take or leave millet or any other seed. What she wants is to eat from our plates and that's not a good reward for training. There are some members here who are really experienced with training and I would take their lead.
 
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Strangebird

Strangebird

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Can you handle him at all?
I hand raised my budgie myself so in my case she was never fearful or cautious- just demanding. If you are still building trust it will take more gentleness on your part not to set back the trust you're building. Rocky has no interest in target training because there isn't a treat she likes enough to motivate her that isn't part of her everyday diet. She can take or leave millet or any other seed. What she wants is to eat from our plates and that's not a good reward for training. There are some members here who are really experienced with training and I would take their lead.
I can't handle him yet, I never even touched him making sure to respect his boundaries, waiting for him to take the first step. He's not fearful of me at all, he simply "sees things get close" and bites, not out of fear and not usually from aggression either (though that happens if he's in a foul mood) but he doesn't seem to understand that my finger isn't some toy to rip to shreds but a part of me. So if my hand gets too close he'll come up to it and take a bite, just like he does with toys and stuff... unless i hold snacks for him in which case he's gentle, making sure not to hurt me... and like I said he wants me around and be close, so much so he's doing these "hey come back here" calls, so he's a bit of a hard one to crack.
Even when outside the cage, he won't fly on me (not yet, he's still figuring out how and where to fly and land) but enjoys me leaning close and demands to be fed, so asks me to come over. He also LOVES staring at my face up close (I'm a little worried he'll bite my nose, he's a bit too eager when it gets too close). So I'm a little stuck here.
I used to have a pet store budgie when I was a kid that got super tame without any effort, and really quick, in a few days, and stepped up without any effort or training and never, ever bit me but Vanjie is different (and of course budgie bites are somewhat more tolerable), I know they all need a different pace and approach, so I'll keep being patient and try to figure out how to make him respect my hand and realize it's my body part and not a chewtoy or a thingie that gives him snacks and toys.
 

onamom

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I have had and still have some of these same problems with Ona, my GCC. I work from home as well and I think they get used to us always being there. Foraging toys have definitely helped me keep her distracted when I leave. I also try to rotate out her toys somewhat frequently to try to keep them new and interesting.

Have you learned what his favorite treats/snacks are? Once I found out the treats Ona really loves it's easier to get her interested in foraging. I've also had success with a veggie or fruit kabob on a stainless skewer.
 
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Strangebird

Strangebird

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I have had and still have some of these same problems with Ona, my GCC. I work from home as well and I think they get used to us always being there. Foraging toys have definitely helped me keep her distracted when I leave. I also try to rotate out her toys somewhat frequently to try to keep them new and interesting.

Have you learned what his favorite treats/snacks are? Once I found out the treats Ona really loves it's easier to get her interested in foraging. I've also had success with a veggie or fruit kabob on a stainless skewer.
Thanks! :)
Yes I also rotate his toys and he gets a brand new one at least once a week, but I haven't tried foraging toys yet (I need a place that sells them, I'm really bad at making stuff)
Yes, he has a lot of favorites, popcorn, sweet corn, pistachios, bananas, cherries and grapes are his current ones. Banana works the best for luring him back in his cage for example. But he loves most nuts and all fruits, sadly he's not a fan of most veggies.
I'll try the snack kebab, it sounds like something he would absolutely love!
 

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