Parrotlet is the name for seven different species of parrot, all of which are less than 6 inches in length. These are popular pets, especially among people who may prefer having a smaller pet.
These birds are known to be quite nippy, however, this only really happens if they are not trained or handled correctly, but with proper attention you can prevent your pet from biting you.
Do remember that any behavior deemed as aggressive, is done for a reason, so pin-point the reason and then work on a solution from there.
Parrotlets, much like any animal will bite unless they are properly trained, they may also bite out of stress, anxiety, or general upset, so try to figure out why this is.
If your parrotlet is already trained and usually doesn’t bite, then chances are that your parrotlet is biting out of emotional distress.
How can you stop this? Well first of all try to ensure that you regularly handle your parrot, doing so will keep them tame and stop them from nipping or biting. You should designate some time each day to play with your parrotlet and handle them.
Parrotlets are very social animals, and they must have plenty of interaction to keep them happy, especially if you only have one parrotlet.
Much like young babies and puppies, between the ages of 6 and 12 months, your parrotlet may also go through a biting stage. Just work through this and keep handling them regardless.
Much like with some other pets, if your parrotlet goes to bite, simply say ‘no’. A firm ‘No’ can work wonders, do not shout or pull away from them, just assertively say ‘no’. If you shout or pull away they will continue as they will learn this behavior elicits a reaction.
Parrotlets may also bite out of fear, so be sure to be gentle and calm when you are interacting with your parrotlet. Never hit, tap, or push your bird, this is a bad way to treat an animal, and it will also bring about negative associations, which will cause biting and damage your relationship with your pet.
Why are Parrotlets so mean?
Parrotlets have a bit of a bad reputation for being aggressive and mean. Perhaps some would compare them to chihuahuas. The truth is that every animal has unique needs, just like people do, and if those needs are not met, then it creates potential for aggression and ‘mean’ behavior.
Young parrotlets will often nip or bite, much like puppies do when they are teething, however past this age, they may do this out of emotion, discomfort, or lack of training.
Parrotlets are very social birds and often need interaction, so if you get a parrotlet you should keep in mind that these birds need plenty of attention and bonding. If your bird is not receiving the attention and company that they desire, they may act ‘mean’ as a way of displaying their displeasure.
When you have trained your parrotlet they can be really adorable, however, they are also very strong-willed and have no problems with letting their owners know if they feel a certain way about something.
They can also be territorial around their bird cages, and if they are not handled often enough they can become nippy, moody, and aggressive. This means that they are not the best pet bird for families with babies or young children in them.
Since parrotlets are very social animals, it can be useful to have only one if you wish to establish a strong bond with your bird. However, if you think you will not have the time to sacrifice for your bird this much then it is useful to get two, as pairs that live together will likely bond together much more than they will to their human caretakers.
If you want to have two of them, it is best to get opposite sex pairs, as they like this better. However, do remember that you will have to be prepared for breeding potential.
Parrotlets are strong-willed, and very social animals, they are not really that aggressive, but if they aren’t having their needs met, they will let it be known and may act up, coming across as mean.
Why is my Parrotlet attacking me?
It’s easy to label a specific breed of bird as aggressive, when the truth is, there is no such thing as an aggressive bird species, simply ones that are high maintenance.
Some people may say parrotlets are aggressive when they have previously had something such as budgies, or canaries. Parrotlets are just a little more high maintenance.
So, why might your parrotlet start attacking you?
The most common causes of aggression in any bird is fear, or previous traumatic experiences. This can lead to biting, and attacking when the bird interacts with you or other birds.
Birds are complex though, and anything can lead to aggression, so it is important to understand your bird’s needs, boundaries, and how to interact with them.
Fear can actually develop in birds that were not hand fed when young, so they may not feel comfortable with hands yet. Similarly, if a bird has had a lack of proper socialization this may lead them to be afraid or uncomfortable with new humans, new birds, and new experiences, and it will take them some time to feel comfortable and stop feeling defensive.
On the other hand, it is possible that your bird may become envious when you interact with other people. This will play on the natural ‘pair bonding’ instinct that many birds have, and when in captivity, a bird may see you as their partner.
With older birds, it is possible that they were neglected or mistreated by their previous owner, and this can result in attacking behavior. However, much like human beings, birds can also become aggressive and attack during their adolescence, thanks to hormones, puberty really does affect everyone.
They may also attack to protect their territory, such as their feeder or birdcage. Lack of stimulation, or stress, can also lead to attacking.
If your bird is attacking you, try to figure out what the possible cause is before you act. If your bird is unhappy and is therefore acting out the worst thing you can do is retaliate and make it worse.
Why is my Parrotlet so aggressive?
Aside from many other factors, parrotlets are feisty, and high energy birds with plenty of personality. However, parrotlets do have the potential to become aggressive, as does anything and anyone, if they are unhappy in their environment.
To try to stop this, you need to assist them with reinforcement and desensitization, hopefully training will correct any unwanted behavior.
A good step to take is always enrichment, this means enriching their habitat so that they are never bored. Boredom can be a problem that can lead to aggression in birds and pets in general, so it is important to keep your bird entertained.
If their behavior does suddenly change, then this can be a sign of illness, however, so if nothing has changed in your parrotlet’s life, be sure to check them out with the vet and make sure that their behavioral changes are not the result of illness.
If the changes are not due to any illnesses, then it may simply be due to the environmental problems, they may not feel satisfied in their environment or there may be environmental changes that have caused them some upset.
Consider how much time you spend with your bird, and how your relationship is with your bird; do you handle them often? Do you interact regularly? Do you hand feed them on occasion? Etc.
Parrotlets are not typically aggressive birds, they are just more high maintenance than some other pets, and so you may need to give them more attention and enrichment to keep them happy and calm.