Your bond with your parakeet will greatly enhance both the little guy's quality of life and your enjoyment of the friendship. These intelligent creatures are extremely sociable in the wild, need company, and will form strong bonds. Use various techniques to help your feathered friend warm up to you.
Bonding from Birth
If possible, begin training your parakeet while he is still young. The more interaction your bird has with human hands, the less fearful he will be as he ages. Spend gentle, quality time with your parakeet each day, and he will soon come to trust you. Parakeets love and need attention and companionship. The more attention you give your bird, the more attention he will crave from you.
A Parakeet's Perspective
It can be frustrating to see your parakeet react with fear at first as you approach his cage. This is a normal reaction in birds who have had little interaction with a human and have nowhere to take cover. Since you’re much larger and look different than his avian buddies, your parakeet no doubt initially sees you as a predator, not a prospective friend. It may take some time before your little bird realizes you mean him no harm.
Keeping It Serene
Bonding should be just between you and your parakeet. If the room he's in is too chaotic with people or other pets, your bird will be highly reluctant to greet the world. Place his cage in a safe room, free of chaos and hazards, where you spend a lot of time. Bonding with your parakeet is a gradual, yet highly rewarding process that can be achieved as your bird begins to love and trust his owner.
A Patient Start
Don’t expect your cute bundle of feathers to perch on your finger and exit the cage right away, unless he was hand-tamed before you acquired him. Start slowly by giving your parakeet as much time as he needs to realize you’re not a threat. Simply sit next to the cage to let your buddy-to-be get accustomed to your presence. Spend time around him. Watch TV. Read or work at the computer. Talk softly and calmly to the bird as you move around to feed and water him. Don't make fast moves that will cause him to panic. His trust will build over time.
The Bonding Process
The more routine interaction there is between you and your parakeet, the more confident and friendly he will become. Allow him to get accustomed to your hand. This can be accomplished as you change his food and water. In due time, you'll be able to teach your parakeet simple actions such as stepping onto an offered perch, and later onto your finger. Your parakeet will soon enough realize your finger can be trusted. Once you've gained his confidence and you have made the room safe and secure for him, you'll be able to bring him outside his cage perched on your finger. Never chase your bird if he takes flight. Be calm and patient. He's going to need time to learn how to navigate the room. He'll eventually be happy to climb onto a perch or your finger, or ride around on your shoulder or head if you wish. You'll have to be accepting of his little messes, as birds excrete wastes spontaneously.
Birds see the world differently than humans, and it’s important to understand your parakeet’s perspective. When your parakeet attempts to bite at your hand, it may not be out of aggression, but rather a chewing instinct. Providing your parakeet with plenty of toys can help deter any temptation to make you his chew toy of choice.
Parakeets generally will not bite unless they feel threatened. Your little pal may bite hard out of defense or aggression if you pick him up in your hand for some reason. It's best not to do this. To a bird, there is nothing natural about being held in a hand, and the terror can even cause a bird to die. If he bites, understand his viewpoint, and be cool and kind. He's tiny, and he can't really hurt you. The most important thing is not to react in a loud or frightening manner. You can lose his trust in that moment. It’s also important not to let go of the bird instantly in response to a bite, as he will then view biting as a successful way to get you to release him. Have a few Band-Aids on hand, and maintain your calm demeanor.
Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for YourFreelanceWritingCareer.com. Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including eHow.com. Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.