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Parrots/bought a new parakeet


bought 2 parakeets yesterday and they haven't ate or drank water and do very little chirping. what can I do for them please help

-- Give them time.  It's not unusual for a little bird in a new place to be totally scared to pieces.  Eating and drinking isn't a priority as they try to figure out what on earth is going on.

When a bird is new to a home you have to be very patient and very careful.  It's easy to let them get the upper hand and never come out of their cage (which is 'cage bound') or even end up with a problem biter and screamer if the right input isn't maintained.  


At first I’ll let them be in their cage for a day with a plain sheet or blanket (it’s important to not have any designs on it which might be frightening to them)  draped over two sides and the top.  


Every now and then approach the cage slowly and talk nicely – reassuring them and telling them how good they are.  It’s the tone of your voice and the sound of your voice that is important and is being established at this early bonding time.  


Once the bird has tried some of their food or taken a drink of water, they’re relaxing a bit.  Offer them a treat from your fingers by holding it over the food bowl from outside the cage bars and if they’ll come over and take it, excellent!  It may be an especially human oriented bird that you can start taking out and handling right now.  Otherwise, don’t expect too much right now, you’ll probably have to drop the treat into the bowl.


You might want to establish a separate nighttime cage.  Bird mental health (and thus, overall health) relies strongly on regulated day and night hours.  

When they’re in their nighttime cage, covered on all sides with just about ¼ of the front open  so they can see out and feel secure, go up and start whispering.   Nice, reassuring comments.  When the bird stretches their  wing,  stretch your arm.   Only a few minutes at a time and then backing away, letting them get a good night’s sleep in a darkened, quiet room makes a huge difference.

In the morning, at the same time every day (no matter what),  slowly pull the cover away while talking nicely, in a soft voice and telling them what you’re going to do.  Slowly opening the door and reaching in with a smooth motion,  flat hand (or closed and tucked under fist) a firm “step up” instruction – no matter what, don’t hesitate or withdraw, take your companion out.     

After feeding breakfast in the day cage (I like offering whole grain oatmeal with cut up fruits of the season) -  a couple hours to enjoy their chewy toys and the view outside.  


Come afternoon it’s time to come out and be with the human flock.  With portable perches and spiral rope perches hung securely from the ceiling  - these will be the bird’s goals, but they should interact with you first.  


Most parrots (yes, these are parrots) will need no less than 2 hours out of cage every day; many will get an average of 4 hours and ours always get 7 hours.


Cooing, chortling, even a sort of purring noise can be expected when your bird is relaxed and next to you.  Requesting head ‘scritches’ by lowering their head and enjoying gentle petting with a finger at the back of their head is a show of trust and further bonding.  

 When it comes to discipline for a bird, well, there’s no such thing.   Beware of people who suggest hitting, swatting or yelling.  These  are extremely counterproductive - they only  encourage aggressiveness and problem screaming behavior.   

---   for more about behavior modification and pics too!


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Rev. Dr. S.August Abbott


Certified Avian Specialist; Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council member; Own animal rescue org; National Wildlife habitat #66378; bird care, nutrition & behavior consultant; International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants Associate; National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club member; published bird care, info and behavior articles and guides. Ongoing education in exotic bird behavior and nutrition I can answer behavioral, nutritional, environmental, characteristic/personality questions as well as general health and health care. No animal emergency can ever be addressed on the internet. We cannot see your animal, perform an examination, provide necessary care or medication. Please value your companion for the priceless, living creature they are; not for what you might have paid for them.


Certified Avian Specialist. For more than 30 years I've worked with veterinarians, protective facilities, nature centers, preserves and on my own in providing care and education with regard to multiple animal species, including raptors (hawks, kestrals, owls, etc) and marsupials. In recent years I've focused on parrots, usually rescued from abusive or less than ideal situations and helping educate owners as to proper care. Expert in behavior studies and modification of problem behavior.

4AnimalCare is the organization I run as an animal ministry; World Wildlife Association, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club and more

Bird Talk Magazine articles about rescued and problem macaws.

Doctorate, Ordained Minister

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