How to Get a Parrot to Trust You


This is a common problem. You give your parrot all the attention it needs, lots of social activity and food when it needs it. It’s not reciprocated though. It’s almost as if your parrot is punishing you – like you’ve done something wrong. It seems to act anxiously when you’re close by and you don’t like it. So, if you’re wondering how to get a parrot to trust you, you needn’t worry as the solution is simple.

How to get a Parrot to trust you? If you want to get a parrot to trust you, you will need to exercise a great deal of patience and earn its confidence. Continual interaction with low intensity is the key. Don’t overdo it and back-off if your parrot seems anxious. Don’t make sudden movements and loud noises near it. At feeding time, try to get your parrot to eat from your hand.

Try all the things suggested above and all the other things listed in this article (don’t skip any!) and you’ll have your parrot eating out of your hand in no time at all!

Trust Must be Earned

If you have a parrot that doesn’t trust you, maybe even doesn’t like you, it can actually be quite upsetting. You love your parrot, feed it and take care of it – yet it just doesn’t seem to like you.  Animals can be like this and you may never know the reason, but let’s try to resolve it. How do you get a parrot to trust you? It’s not that difficult really but might take a bit of perseverance on your part.

Interaction With a Parrot

You will need to interact with your Parrot, but don’t overdo it. If it seems a little distressed about the situation, then ease off.  You’ll have plenty of other opportunities to try bonding. It is best to build up trust between the two of you gradually, in short stages. You will not achieve this on one intense afternoon, but you will get there eventually, so try not to worry.

Try and spend as much time as possible in the same room as your parrot.  Get on with your normal day-to-day activities as usual where your parrot can observe you. Perform your day-to-day functions, like making a cup of tea, watching tv, playing with the laptop all quite close to it. I don’t mean literally right outside the cage but just somewhere where your parrot can see you. Your parrot won’t feel threatened by you if you’re obviously not focusing on it.

Keep calm, I said KEEP CALM!!

How to Get a Parrot to Trust You

Your voice is a key factor in the way your parrot responds to you. Whenever you talk in close proximity to it, speak softly and not quietly. If you are reading a book, read it aloud near your parrot. You’ll find that there’s a direct relationship between your voice and your parrot’s trust. Occasionally approach the cage slowly to talk to it. Again, do so in a calm, soothing fashion – just be relaxed. Don’t act excited and never show frustration, a parrot is sensitive and will pick up on this, which will only increase its anxiety levels.

When you own a parrot it will enjoy human company. Remember, it spends a lot of time on its own and your company will become very important to it.

Try not to stare at a parrot as, like many other animals, this can intimidate them and won’t help your cause. By all means look at your parrot but occasionally look away and act relaxed.

Study your Parrot

Pay close attention to your parrot and try to understand what it’s saying and what it wants by observing its body language closely. Some actions are obvious, such as backing away from you. If it does this then it is worried or anxious and wants to get away from you. Give the parrot some space and try again another time, remember to always stay calm.

Beware – if your parrot spreads its tail-feathers, this could be a sign that it is annoyed about something.

If you see your parrot lower its head a little, this is quite a good sign that it would like you to scratch its head. It means it is beginning to feel at ease with you and comfortable in your presence. If your parrot acts like this and you want to physically interact with it, do so slowly. Move your hand towards it in slow motion with no sudden movements as it won’t be expecting this.

Feeding Time is an Opportunity

How to Get a Parrot to Trust You

Feeding time is a great opportunity to increase the amount of trust and confidence your parrot has in you. You can also use feeding time to your advantage. Try and use a favorite food as a reward. For instance, if your parrot has been backing off a lot when you approach then don’t give it a treat. Whenever you see positive behavior, reward it but if you see negative behavior don’t punish your parrot, just don’t give it a treat. The more you interact in this way the more the parrot will be happy to be around you and the greater your relationship will become.

If you don’t know what foods your parrot likes, find out! Try it with different types of parrot-friendly food and make a list of the things it does and doesn’t like.

Let Your Parrot Out of its Cage

As you continue to see less of the negative behavior and more confidence from your bird, move on to the next stage. Open the cage door and let it out. Don’t pick it up or try and force it out, just leave the door open and stay nearby, it won’t want you to move out of sight. If (or when) your parrot leaves its cage it will grow even more confident within your house. And it will grow even more confident with you.

When it is out of its cage, try to get it to eat some food from your hand. Don’t make any sudden movements and try not to move your hand, just stay as relaxed as possible.

Clipping the Wings of a Parrot?

How to Get a Parrot to Trust You

Some people may be worried about letting their parrot out of its cage but you can talk to your vet about clipping its wings if you’re worried about it flying into a wall or trying to fly out of an open door. Remember though, if you keep a parrot inside its cage all the time, it might become so accustomed to it that it never wants to leave it at all and then you’ll have a much harder job on your hands!

Another trick to give your parrot more confidence in you is to slowly put your hand into its cage and rest it close to your parrot. Allow it to step onto your hand. It might not do it at first. Leave your hand in there for about 30 seconds before gently and slowly pulling it back out. Keep trying every day. It will eventually step up onto your hand. When this happens, stay still for a few seconds and then slowly move your hand back towards you (with your parrot still on it). Reward your parrot with a treat.

Avoid These Mistakes

It’s mostly common sense, but as we’ve already mentioned, avoid the below:

  • Sudden movements around your parrot
  • Loud noises in the same room as it
  • Never become frustrated and angry with your parrot, regardless of what it has done. Even if it gives you a little nip, it’s just a warning and a basic instinct kicking in.
  • Of course, and this goes without saying, never ever hit your parrot
  • Be consistent. Don’t try to trick your parrot into doing something it doesn’t want to do. If it realizes this, it’s a sure way of losing any trust already built up at this stage.

Final Thoughts

If you’re not a naturally calm individual maybe it’s time you started yoga! Keep calm, talk softly and keep your movements smooth and slow. Feed your parrot a treat when a reward is due and don’t become cross when things aren’t going your way.

So, if you want to get a parrot to trust you – follow the above steps. You will gain its confidence with patient perseverance and have a great future together!

One last thing as you’re fond of birds – if you’ve ever wondered how Cockatiels are bred then check out my article, it’s actually quite an interesting process!

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog, and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences plus those of my family and friends.

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