Ask Lafeber


October 8, 2020

How to cure/help a traumatized an Indian Ring-necked Parakeet

Hello dears,
I got a really cute 3 years old, but sadly traumatized Indian ring-necked Parakeet, he really suffers from Angst! How should I help to cure his fear and calm him down?
Thanks in Advance
Your help is highly appreciated to rescue these birds and bringing them back to life&love

Shad Tofiq


Hi Shad,

It’s good to hear from you again! I hope the cockatiel chicks are doing well. 🙂

Indian Ringnecks(IRN’s) are interesting birds. In short, if you can get him to accept your presence without fear, then you have done well. IRN’s have the tendency to be hand shy and standoffish even when hand fed. They need constant handling while handfeeding and from the time they are weaned or they very quickly revert to being wild. As with any species, there are exceptions and in those cases, the IRN can be a wonderful, social pet. I have handfed clutches where one from the clutch turns out to be a good pet and the rest became hand shy and avoided contact. I’m sure this is somehow related to their wild instincts and what predators they face. No one knows for sure, but for whatever reason, the species in general is challenging as a pet. Even the individuals who turn out to be better pets will tend to prefer shoulders to hands and not really seek contact like other parrots.

In regards to your guy, he may have been traumatized or he may simply be a typical, shy IRN. Owners can get put off by this and it results in the bird being ignored, which causes the bird to be even more fearful of humans. I’ve known IRN’s who act like they have been horribly abused when I know for a fact that they have had great care. The best approach is slow and non-threatening.  This means keeping your hands out of sight or by your side when you approach him or talk to him. Don’t try to offer him anything from your hand. You first need to build trust with him and reassure him that you are not going to hurt him. Sit by the cage and talk to him. You can offer him treat by placing something in his food bowl, then keep your hands away and see if he will check out the treat. When you can sit near his cage and have him eat and groom himself in front of you, you have made a lot of progress. This will show that he does trust you. But you still can’t reach for him. Once he can trust you, then you can try resting your hand near his cage and keep doing this until he is comfortable with your hand. He needs to learn that you aren’t going to grab him. This is what a predator would do and probably why IRN’s have the tendency to be hand shy. It is quite possible that he will never be a hand tamed bird. But he can certainly learn to trust you and be comfortable around you. If you ever have a need to pick him up, you should use a light towel over your hand so that he associates being caught with a towel and not hands. And never use gloves with him. I’m going to give you a link to our taming adn training articles which should help you a lot. We are also having a free webinar tomorrow about how to build a loving relationship with your pets. I’ll provide that link and as always, if you can’t attend live, you can view the video later. This will be presented by Chris Davis, who pioneered the field of parrot behavior consulting. All bird owners can benefit from her knowledge.

Teaching Your Bird

Pet Bird and Parrot Behavior

Webinar: It’s Not All Talk: 6 Steps to Loving Communication with Your Bird & other Animals

Thanks for the update & enjoy your new friend!


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