Linda Rose Forney 503.460.7908
Suggested Foods and is not exhaustive:
Please avoid boxed feed such as Harts that is commonly found at Walmart, KMart and such. These seeds often sit in warehouses up to a year before even making it to the stores. And NEVER EVER feed your parrots wild bird mix.
Lineolated Parakeet and Yellow Parrotlet
***I cannot in good conscience ever recommend a parrotlet as a great family pet, specifically for all to handle, and especially a bird for small children. Often even a gentle nip could put a parrotlet in danger of being dropped, squeezed, or hurt in some way. Please do your research carefully before bringing a parrotlet into your home. Mostly for the welfare of these small delicate animals, making a good choice for a pet bird that fits with the dynamics of your family is very important and should be taken with as much care as choosing the right dog for your family.***
Food and supplements
I wish I were a parrotlet. They have all the fun
Kiss me you fool!
Turquoise Pied Parrotlets & Plus
Noise level can vary with these little birds, but overall, parrotlets are quite tolerable. This is especially true if you have a little girl as they seem much quieter than the males.
In general parrotlet males may desire to imitate human speech, and the females do not. But my little parrotlet girl Bella has been talking to me, though her speech is not always understandable. The other day she did say "hello," but it was more of the voice influctuations than actual words. PLEASE NEVER GET A BIRD BASED LARGELY ON HOPING IT WILL TALK! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. In my opinion speaking ability is a fringe benefit, and if it happens than awesome. But if not, no problem. I have spoken with a small number of folks who eagerly wait for their parrots to begin talking and have been disappointed when that expectation does not happen. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE love your parrot for its value as your feathered companion with whatever personality "quirks" and blessings that are part of its little person.
I offer my birds Volkman's Parrotlet Seed mixed with All Purpose Crumbles. I have tried pellets, but they will eat everything but the pellets. All Purpose Poultry crumbles have worked exceptionally well for ALL of our birds, and I mix it even in the finch feed. Of course, fruits, veggies, pasta and rice mixes, boiled egg, millet spray, and most human grade food is relished by a parrotlet's voracious appetite. I don't think any of our other birds eat so much per body weight as a parrotlet. Cornbread is something all my birds get. It can be filled with all types of goodies before being baked. Not all of my bird relish it, but most of them do.
Be sure to carefully wash fruits and veggies before offering them to your birds
**Not a complete list: Avoid alcohol, chocolate fresh cabbage, rhubarb, eggplant, fresh onion, avocado, raw potato, caffeine, milk, asparagus, fruit pits and apple seeds (they contain toxins in them), garden produce that has been sprayed with toxins. See my "Safety" page at www.grammarose.com for more suggestions.**
Fresh water is so important. Please clean it every day if using a dish, and every 3 days if using a water bottle. Watch for algae growth in your water bottle especially during the warm weather months. If using a feed dish be careful about replacing the dish every day because of slime build up that can be toxic to your birds.
Some folks put vitamins in the water, but in general that is not as effective as placing a powdered vitamin directly on soft foods. Vitamins in water begin to grow bacteria right away and will lose their potency. Also it is hard to get the right amount when put in water to be effective. If you do chose to put a high quality vitamin powder in the water, follow the directions and make sure you change it every day.
Bee pollen, flax seed (ground up) and blue green algae are excellent sources of all kinds of good stuff. These can also be placed directly on soft foods.
Be sure to offer a mineral block or cuttlebone. Not all mineral blocks have high levels of calcium in them. I offer all my small birds one mineral block and one cuttlebone. The cuttlebone is soft and these small birds seem to enjoy them more than the mineral blocks.
So now with all these wonderful things I have just said, there are some not so awesome tendencies of these little buggers. If you have a parrotlet, expect at some point to get nipped. I have never had a hand fed bite hard, but I have been nipped many times. I cannot tell you every reason this may occur, but parrotlets tend to be "beaky" birds that often use it to communicate whatever is going through that little intelligent brain of theirs. In contrast, Bourkes are exactly the opposite. Hand feds just don't bite unless they are frightened about something. And even then, Bourkes have little instinct to "bite now and squawk questions later." However, parrotlets have no issue wearing their emotions on the end of their beak!
Parrotlets can be EXTREMELY TERRITORIAL towards other birds or animals. They do NOT mix well in aviaries, and will even take on a bird much larger than they are. I have read on the web that they CAN make good mixed aviary companions. But I have never experienced this. In fact, the parrotlets I have worked with, and even my own little Bella, will take off after another bird and attack it before you can say "Watch out for the Abominable Parrotlet! " Mixing two parrotlets together may or may not be a problem. In general, caution needs to be taken not to just "throw" in two of them together. However, there are exceptions to this, but caution is always preferred. Sometimes a sexually frustrated mate will even attack and kill its own mate. This can be a painful heartbreak for the human! But alas, such is the personality peculiarities of these little birds.
One of the more entertaining qualities of a parrotlet is their LOVE FOR TOYS. These little things will take on a toy and devour it with great relish and energy. My one legged blue girl "Bella" will lay on her back on her cage floor and hold her toy in her one claw. I have them all hanging so that she can easily do this. She will have such fun just throwing that hanging toy around with her one foot. Honestly, it is so adorable to watch her that I find myself gulping back a tear!
Parrotlets are certainly a unique little bird that offer a wide range of personality traits. Indeed these small personality packed creatures can exude very particular likes and dislikes. But I have also found that in general a hand fed parrotlet (if worked with and properly socialized) can make an entertaining "family" pet, although preference for one human should be expected. I have seen a wide range of sweetness and in general handfed well socialized parrotlets respond well to snuggles, kisses, and rapt attention! I have also noticed handfeds that are later used for breeding may remain easily handled and some even tolerate human intrusions into their nest boxes. Of course, this may be testament to the individual personality of a bird and should not be expected as a general trait.
It is very important to understand before bringing one of these little dynamos into your life, that maintaining a good relationship will directly correlate with the level of care, interaction, and socialization offered.
Of course, there are those exceptions. I have had several hand fed babies, in particular hens, that start biting at a young age and remain that way. But my experience has shown that this behavior begins even before baby is weaned. But of all those I have raised, only 2-3 grew into what I determined to be a challenging youngster that would require someone who could offer patient and consistent behavioral training.
With all the available parrotlet information found on the web, this page will determine to cover only the basics. Please keep in mind that much of what I write has been based on my own experience. And as with all types of birds, there are generalities of temperaments, breeding behavior, and pet qualities that can vary between individual birds. Please do your own research, and if possible find other bird owners that are open to sharing their ideas and experiences with you too. After all, we are all in this together, and each of us have our own distinct experiences which may help to enrich a new bird owner's beginnings.