Parakeets make great pets thanks to their friendly and social nature. But can an owner expect to be able to hold them; are they comfortable in the hands of humans? Here is what the research says.
So, do parakeets like to be held? Tame parakeets love nothing more than being held, talked to, and shown affection. That is if they held appropriately and they fully trust the individual holding them. It does take time to build a bond with a parakeet and holding is not something new owners can expect right away.
Parakeets are a popular species of parrot to own for a reason.
Affectionate, responsive and entertaining.
But of course, not all parakeets are the same.
Each will come with their own personal preferences, personality and sociability.
Besides, there are a lot of factors in play with how a parakeet will behave and respond to humans.
Age, health and the environment they have been raised in are perhaps the most important.
But then you have aspects such as familiarity and trust to consider too.
So, let us now take a closer look at handling a parakeet in further detail. This way, if you do ever own one you’ll know exactly how to approach this activity.
It is something, that any owner will want to do at some point, after all.
Can You Handle A Parakeet Too Much?
It is definitely possible to handle a parakeet too much, especially before they are fully trusting of the individual who is doing so.
And its easy done.
Once you have been able to hold a parakeet, you naturally want to do so more and more.
It’s also very easy to assume that a parakeet will always enjoy it, or it is always possible to do so.
Unfortunately, that is just not the case.
A small bird such as a parakeet needs to put a lot of trust into the individual holding them.
Besides, a human could easily harm them.
And instinctively, a human holding them does not come naturally.
So, its very important to hold your parakeet less than you may want to. Especially in the beginning.
Build up the time slowly. Observe your parakeets behavior and response – looking for any signs of discomfort and distress.
Otherwise, you are likely to cause more significant issues in the long run.
Not just for your bird but for your relationship with them.
My best advice would be to set a timer for an hour a day where you will handle your parakeet.
Once the timer has finished, it’s time to put your parakeet back into the cage until the following day.
How Long Does It Take To Tame A Parakeet?
It takes anywhere from three days to three months, on average, to tame a new parakeet. Although it will depend on a number of factors, including the personality of each parakeet, how they are being cared for, their age, and if how they were looked after prior to being in your care.
It is due to these factors, that you hear of reports of owners who have had their parakeet for over 6 months, and they’re still not tamed.
This isn’t common.
But it does happen.
Especially with parakeets whom do not get sufficient attention, care, nor spend sufficient time around humans to begin to trust them.
Thus, to have the best chance of taming your parakeet in the shortest amount of time, implement the steps outlined below.
How To Gain A Parakeets Trust
If you’ve just brought a new parakeet, then you’re going to have to earn their trust before you can even look to hold them.
Let’s discuss how this can be done…
If you want your parakeet to be comfortable, then you must introduce them to a safe environment.
One without too many loud noises, sudden changes or unexpected events.
So, you need to be wary of shouting, loud music, or any other pets such as cats.
You’ll also want to ensure your bird has constant access to food and water.
In addition, I also advise keeping check on the room temperature.
Ideally, you don’t want the room to be too hot, nor too cold – it needs to be comfortable for these birds, between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (at all times).
Keep The Cage Clean
In many ways following on from the point above, you need to ensure you regularly clean the cage.
If you spent days on end living in a dirty house, you’re not going to feel too good about yourself…
It’s the same with parakeets.
To make them feel as comfortable as possible, they have to be in a clean environment.
Make sure you’re cleaning your parakeet’s cage at least once per week with non-toxic disinfectant and hot water.
Don’t Clip Their Wings
A common practice for bird owners is to clip their wings; however, I don’t believe in this. Especially if you’re trying to get your parakeet comfortable in their new surroundings.
I mean, can you imagine if somebody took you into their home and started cutting your fingers off?
I’m sure that wouldn’t be the welcome you were expecting, and it’s the same with parakeets.
If you really want to clip their wings, then leave it a few months until your parakeet has settled into their new home.
Feed Your Parakeet Treats
A great way to gain your parakeet’s trust is by feeding them treats.
The best way to do this is by feeding them a treat from your hand, as opposed to putting it in the cage.
This means the parakeet will have to come into direct contact with your hand, which will help them to gain your trust.
They’ll recognize you with positive interactions and of good things.
Give It Time
A parakeet isn’t going to enter a new home and suddenly feel comfortable; they need time to settle in and take in their new surroundings.
There are some things you can do to speed up this process.
The first step is making sure your parakeet’s cage is stored in a room that you spend a lot of time in.
This allows them to get used to your presence, and begin to feel comfortable around you.
Once your parakeet starts to feel more comfortable, you can begin talking to it when feeding, helping create a positive image of yourself.
Talk To Your Parakeet
If there is one thing parakeets love, it’s when their owners talk to them. The key to this is doing it in a soothing and calm voice, helping your parakeet feel more relaxed around you.
If you do this on a consistent basis, your parakeet will become more relaxed around you, again recognizing you specifically.
Open The Cage
Once your parakeet feels comfortable around you, then it may be time to let them out of the cage. In a safe environment, for a while.
The key is to make sure your bird has gained your trust first.
Otherwise, they may begin panicking – not the type of situation you want to deal with inside a small house.
After letting your parakeet out of the cage a few times, it will begin to trust you even more.
Make sure all the windows and doors are shut, otherwise they could easily escape.
Signs A Parakeet Trusts Their Owners
If you do all you can to care for your parakeet, you are mindful of their needs and you optimize their environment, you should find in time they begin to trust you.
The following are clear signs that they have started to do so:
- Active body movements – such as bowing their head, flapping their wings, wagging their tail, etc.
- Hanging upside down inside the cage – a vulnerable position only a confident parakeet would do.
- Whistling, singing – and generally being more vocal
- Being more playful – and coming over to the side of the cage when you approach.
It is the above signs you should look out for before you look to hold your parakeet for the first time.
Although, once you begin to see them you can rest assured it is generally safe to attempt to do so.
How To Hold A Parakeet
It’s in a bird’s nature to be scared of humans. That’s why you have to build up trust with them before they will let you pick them up.
Also, consider that you will not be able to pick them in the same way you would another pet or animal (such as a dog or a cat). This would cause them to get scared, destroying all the trust you have already built.
If you think you’ve built enough trust with your parakeet (identifying the signs above) and you want to try and hold them, then you need to approach it in a gentle way.
To start with, try offering your parakeet some treats by inserting your hand into the cage.
While doing this, you can also speak to the bird in a calm voice, helping them to relax and feel at peace.
After doing this for 10 minutes, hold your index finger in front of the parakeet and see if it hops on your finger.
If it doesn’t, then you can gently press your finger on their stomach.
In doing so, you’re making the parakeet feel more comfortable and encouraging him to jump on your finger.
Once your parakeet has taken the leap of faith, you should take them into another room away from the cage.
You can now sit on the floor and talk to your parakeet in a calm voice, making them feel more comfortable.
After holding them for about 15 minutes, return your parakeet to the cage.
If you notice your parakeet is not behaving, then you should not actually return them to the cage.
Otherwise, you will be reinforcing the misbehavior and they will be more likely to do so each time you put them back.
So, wait for them to settle before returning.
Can You Cuddle With A Parakeet?
You cannot cuddle with a parakeet in the traditional sense of the word; wrapping your arms around them or squeezing them tightly. This is very dangerous, and would likely seriously harm if not kill them.
While parakeets do love affection from their owners, they need to be handled very gently, carefully and in a loving way.
Consider that a parakeet will show their affection to you in other ways. Sitting on your shoulder is a clear expression of love, opposed to cuddling you.
Can Parakeets Recognize Their Owners?
Although parakeets aren’t as intelligent as humans, they are still considered intelligent for a bird.
They can not only recognize their owners, but they can distinguish between different people’s voices too!
That means that they know when there are strangers present in the room…
Pretty clever if you ask me.
In addition, some parakeets will even become somewhat scared if they sense a stranger in the room.
If this is the case, then consider this a clear sign that they trust their owners and have built a bond with them.
If a parakeet is to become comfortable with said stranger, then they will need to be introduced, and build their trust over time. Just as they would with their owners.
If getting a bird is on your bucket list, then a parakeet won’t let you down. These birds are low maintenance and make great pets thanks to their social and loving nature.
You can definitely strive to hold one. Although it will likely take a little time.
Its important not to be disappointed if they are not super-friendly or are even somewhat reserved when you first get them.
Its natural for them to take a while to feel comfortable around new people.
In the majority of instances, nothing is wrong here.
Once they do become comfortable, build their trust, and recognize their owners, handling is one such way that you can show your love and affection to one another.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.