Hand Training a Parakeet
Many people who are new to parakeets have some very unusual ideas about how they are going to interact with their parakeets. Some think they will sleep with their keets. Some imagine taking them out for walks. Some think keets will be petted, like a cat or a dog.
Interacting with your Parakeet
It's important to remember first that you can do NOTHING outside of the cage with your keet until it is fully hand trained. I have complete step by step instructions on this site on how to hand train your keet. You have to work at it daily, to fully build the trust of the keet in you. Hand training isn't magical or mystical. It is solely about the keet learning to trust you as a person that he can rely on. It's not something you can "trick". Trust is something that is earned.
Once you have built up that bond of friendship and trust, your keet is NATURALLY going to want to be with you. It's the same as you and your best friend. It's not that your best friend "tricked" you. It's that you two spent time together, you learned to like each other, and now you voluntarily choose to spend time with each other. It's not that your mom says "you must go spend time with Billy" and you say "I don't want to!!" It's that you actively want to go play with Billy. The same is true with a keet who has learned to love you. The keet WANTS to be with you and actively flies to you to be near you.
This level of love and affection doesn't spring into being in a day or a week. You build it up over weeks and months. Remember, a parakeet can live to be 15 years or older! You will have years and years to spend with your keet.
How Will We Interact?
The reason that cats and dogs like to be petted is that, when they were babies, their parents licked them all over to keep them clean. Cats and dogs equate long, gentle strokes on their skin with "love". It's the same reason cats knead - they kneaded as kittens to turn on their mom's breasts. The reason they do these things as adults is it brings back fond memories of their childhood.
Parakeets are NOT licked all over by their mommy parakeets. They are in fact not touched at all. They are FED. That's the interaction they have with their parents. To a bird, touch is scary. Touch is what happens when an enemy is near and is about to eat them. Therefore, most parakeets simply don't like to be "petted". It's not a normal sensation they ever get in the wild.
There's two exceptions to this. The first is when a keet is itchy, they rub against something to relieve the itch. Sometimes they will even convince a nearby other keet (assuming there are other keets around) to preen them in their itchy spot. So if you really build a strong connection with your keet, she might let you "itch" her under her chin or over her eyes. It will take a long time before she trusts you to this degree, so don't rush it. Some keets never feel comfortable with being itched. With Nazo, our green keet, she loved being scratched when she was a baby - but refuses to be touched now that she is an adult. Keets have very individual personalities and each one is different.
The second exception is that keets of course have sex to make baby keets. That involves touch. Once your keet reaches sexual maturity (say around 8 months old) he/she might be interested in sexual sort of contact with you, since your keet "loves" you. A male keet might try to push his sex organ into your hand to have a baby with you. A female keet might try to get underneath you, since a male parakeet will get on top of the female parakeet to have sex with her. It doesn't matter of course if YOU are male or female. The keet really doesn't understand human bodies that well. All your keet knows is that she loves you and wants to have babies with you, because that's what keets that are in love do.
Don't yell at your keet or be upset if he does this sort of thing. It's just natural for a keet to want to have babies. Tell your keet that you love him very much, and that it's just not possible for you two to create parakeet chicks :)
Hand Training your Parakeet
Biting Problems with Parakeets
Parakeet Info Homepage
Cat / Parakeet Info Homepage
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