Friday, September 12, 2008
This is Hop the parakeet. I got him yesterday.
My daughter has a parakeet named Skip that we've had for a few months. Skip is very shy and still is uninterested in people. My daughter wanted to teach Skip to talk. From what I've read though, a parakeet will only learn to talk if it is interested in people, and Skip isn't. Parakeets need companionship and since we couldn't provide that, a parakeet friend was probably best. I thought if we got him a friend, at least he wouldn't be lonely. Also, I thought a friendly parakeet friend might convince Skip to not fear humans as much. (In my daughter's defence, we don't think Skip was the parakeet she picked out at the pet store, just the one the keeper caught.) Skip does have a very pretty voice though and is fun to watch from a distance.
Hop seems to be just the opposite of Skip, very curious and interested in things. He climbs all over his cage. At the store, I bobbed my head at him and he bobbed back, so he is interested in people. I had one concern with him: he is an older bird, with his head stripes mostly gone. I decided to pick friendly over younger.
I put Hop in Skip's old cage. (I bought a big new cage for the two of them to share once they are used to each other and once Hop is finger tame.) Once Skip saw Hop, he seemed to take a new interest in life, climbing all over his cage just like Hop. I wonder if Hop was someone's pet before and was returned to Petco. But then maybe most other parakeets are this friendly and I just didn't know since Skip is very timid.
Today my son was feeding Hop millet through the bars. Hop decided he wanted to come out the cage door. I decided to let him out (maybe not the best choice since he isn't finger trained and probably doesn't see his cage as his home.) He explored the house and had a grand time. His favorite perch is the bottom rail of the kitchen chairs. Skip saw that Hop was out and really wanted out, so I opened his door and he flew right out and went to find places to hide. Since after an hour and a half they both showed no sign of desiring to return to their cages , I eventually had to catch them by throwing a towel over them. Hop didn't seem to mind too much. Skip hated it, but seemed relieved to be back home.
Hints on choosing a friendlier parakeet:
- pick one that is active and looks healthy
- bob your head at the parakeet and see if he bobs back. This is how parakeets say hello.
- put your hand on the cage near the parakeet, does he fly away, or just move away then look curious (your life will be easier if it isn't terrified of humans)
- try and make sure you can identify the exact parakeet you want, or inversely, make sure there are no parakeets that look similar to the one you like that you DON'T want
-more head stripes mean a younger bird. Younger means easier to tame.