Behavioral differences between hand-raised and parent-raised

Hey all! I was wondering if there were a lot of differences in behavior between hand-raised parrots and parent-raised parrots. Are parent-raised parrots not much different from hand-raised parrots after being tamed? Or would they still stay a bit jittery and more wary of people even then? Perhaps they’re generally more tolerant or nicer? Other way around? Tell me about your experiences with hand-raised and parent-raised parrots!

I had a pair of lovebirds, two canaries and an aviary of finches who were all parent raised. Often they would scatter if you moved past their cages. I also have one hand raised Quaker.So far the main difference is that you can’t really interact with parent raised birds. They could just be left in their own company, as they were in pairs. They were pretty quiet and didn’t rely on people for entertainment.My Quaker however thrived when given our attention. He dances and talks just for fun and loves to perform tricks. He uses his toys and likes to be challenged, unlike my aviary birds who ignored every toy I gave them. He also became bored very easily, but bonded very well with the family.Bottom line, I found my Quaker to be much more interactive and had a desire to be challenged. The aviary birds just did their own thing and did not find human companionship enjoyable. Every bird is different, but this is just what my birds are like.

With parent raised birds, if they’re not young, it can take them a long time to get as tame as hand reared bird but then they will be nice friendly birds. They might never put up with the same level of pysical contact, such as being tipped onto their back. I believe that my dad’s Jardine’s parrot was parent raised, although we can’t be 100% certain, she’s just as tame and soppy as my H/R senegal.My co-parented parrotlet chicks are perfectly tame, happy to sit on a finger or shoulder and nap under hair and they’re easy to trick train as well.I’ve read that in some species, parent raised birds are less likely to be phobic. There’s also the matter of hand reared birds being imprinted onto humans so that they’re far more likely to have pschological issues. It’s especially a problem in the white cocktoos and in birds such as the African grey species.Here’s an interesting article that mentions the issue

It depends on the species. With passerines (finches, canaries, cardinals, etc), it makes no difference because even if you hand-raise them, they will revert to been non-interactive birds on their own. With psittacines, again, it depends on the species. You can easily tame a parent-raised budgie or tiel, lovies are a bit more difficult but not undoable. The larger the species, the more difficult it becomes although, with them, co-parenting works just as well as hand-raising in terms of tameness but it also produces much healthier birds both physically and emotionally than hand-raising. A large species that was entirely raised by parents is very difficult to tame with the hardest been the ones that were wild-caught as juveniles (those are practically impossible).

This is a very interesting topic, as I am considering a Green Cheeked Conure that was parent raised (this could be one of those "the parrot chooses the person" situations, if it works out…). At first this alarmed me, as I had believed the conventional wisdom is that hand-fed/raised birds made better pets/companions. But it seems that this is not exactly the case, as least in the long term, with overdependence, phobias, and other psychological problems occurring in hand-fed/raised parrots, as suggested by other responses.Any additional thoughts on this? Especially in regards to Green Cheeked Conures?Thanks so much for a great thread!

GCCs all tend to get a bit nippy if you don’t pay enough or the right kind of attention to them but, when you do, they are the cuddliest little birds which love riding your shoulder and taking naps with their little body stuck to your neck (they also love to scoot down your neck and take naps inside your clothes, a trait I find VERY endearing) so I would think that given enough time and the right attention, they would become tame very quickly. I’ve had four of them and three were given up because of behavioral issues but, in reality, there was only one that was difficult (a male that had been severely neglected and possibly abused) and even he came around in a matter of a couple of weeks.

Pajarita,Thanks so much for the reply and nice things you said about the GCC–as of about 3 hours ago, I just became a proud papa of an about-to-be-4-month old Yellow-Sided Green Cheeked Conure! What a beauty–bright red, and yellow (on the sides, of course), and just the loveliest I have seen!I spent more than four hours with this parent-raised bird over three different days before deciding to take the plunge–this after after almost a year of researching and hemming and hawing. My bird stepped up for me repeatedly, demonstrated trainability by taking treats for stepping up, and was been truly really quiet–not a PEEP, literally a PEEP–since it’s been driving and arriving home! That is sure to change, of course, but the few shrieks I heard over those days (at different times of day) were not a problem for me.The only issue I immediately see is the ‘nipping’, which at times was really more like chomping or chewing! After about 30-45 minutes of handling, he/she liked to bite and chew–some of them hurt. But I believe that I can work through that–I have to believe it, anyway!Am I nervous–yes, I am. It’s a lot of responsibility for an incredibly intelligent and magnificent creature. But I think I am on the right track to make this a success. I have Michael’s book, and plan to implement much of his program as he has done–I’ll need serious patience to put up with the chewing tho!I already set up a sleep cage in a quiet, dark, undisturbed room, so I am implementing proper sleep cycles. After a few days of acclimation I’ll start switching to a pelleted diet and continue with more socialization. Eventually, I want those gorgeous and stunningly blue flight wings to fully grow back–they had only been cut just prior to coming to the store and the few times I saw her attempt to fly, it seemed obvious to us that this bird learned to fly before he/she was clipped–I cannot WAIT for that.It will be a long road, and I hope that I can work out the biting/gnawing/chewing he/she likes–I am going to research the HECK out of that!!–but after multiple days and just really nice sweetness and feeling like being chosen by this particular bird for 3 days (it was only in the store a week!) I felt it was time to move from armchair parrot ‘researcher’ to parrot owner.Thanks again for your reply and all the other great posts you have made over the years. This is a great place and I am thrilled to start this adventure!

Congratulations on your new buddy!

Congratulations on your new baby! Yes, parrots are truly magnificent creatures, aren’t they? Incredibly beautiful (the more you look at them, the more features you find that are just plain gorgeous), smarter than most people give them credit, affectionate and so very forgiving of our mistakes and shortcomings (and we all have them!).Now, 45 minutes of handling is waaaaaayyyyy too much for a little bird who doesn’t know you from Adam so I think she was incredibly patient with you -LOL. It’s always best to wait a bit before we start training them and/or expecting good behavior of them. Spend time with her but try not to handle her too much, wait for her to take the first step, observe her body language and don’t tire her out. She is still a baby and they need rest, peace and quiet as well as love. Make sure you have soft foods for her because weaning babies usually revert a bit when they go to a new home and this will prevent her losing weight (which is not good in any bird but worse in a baby).And let us know what we can do to help you.

Thanks so much for this! Yes, I agree that 45 minutes was too much, and she/he is indeed pooped out after that. I interacted with her out of her cage (and before I read your reply!) four times, but no more than 25 minutes each time. Like I said, s/he had stepped up repeatedly the three days in a row I went to the store and is very sweet by nature and temperament, and that has been seen since being home too.I am in awe of this bird and its friendliest, funniness, and affection. At one point today, for at least five minutes, she cradled in my sweatshirt at my elbow and let me preen/rub her head and neck, puffing up every tiny feather and turning her head, all while quietly cooing. Honestly, I was so completely moved by this I almost melted! I know there will be bad moments–and days–but my aim is to work this well to make him/her happy and content and healthy, and be as much a small parrot as my companion bird–there is a (perhaps subtle) distinction there and that is important for me. And I am sure that I will be looking back and forth on this forum everyday! There is so much substance on this forum, especially compared to some of the others (not to poo-poo them, of course)–but it is a different level here. And I definitely need to dive deeper into ‘soft foods’ for a four-month-old! (I may need some tips or referrals to good posts for that). I hate to say this as I thought I had researched almost all i need, but I have to plead some ignorance here. I do notice that she rejects a lot of the ‘Froot-Loop looking pellets’ in favor of sunflower and other seeds and nuts, and this could be the issue you are referring too, as they are too hard, perhaps, for her to chew–I will get on this issue as soon as possible in the morning, so I appreciate the heads up on it!Thanks again so much for the confidence boosts and advice!