Ask Lafeber


September 22, 2020

Sweet Parakeete

I’ve had my sweet Ollie for almost two months. He is very attentive to me, engages me in “conversation”. We have spent countless hours building trust…here’s my question –
how long will it take him to let me handle him. Whenever I put my hand in the cage near him he moves away. I can be patient, as long as there is a reward at the end…what can I do to get him to come to me?



Hi Susan,

Your question reminds me of another Parakeet named Ollie, whose owner wrote asking the same thing about 6-7 years ago. This Ollie eventually became tame and his mom reports that he is the best parakeet she has ever owned. I actually just heard from the other Ollie’s mom today and she said to tell you to give him a lot of attention and no mirror! 🙂

I do agree with her advice, as it is what I told her when she first brought her Ollie home. You have already made some great progress because Ollie interacts with you. It is normal for him to be hand shy, especially if he wasn’t hand tamed. Birds are prey animals and it takes time for a bird to learn to trust hands. I’m going to provide a link that will help you with ways to work with Ollie. Mainly you need to be patient and keep talking to him. You can start resting your hand near the cage – on the table or stand that holds the cage. Find out what Ollie likes a lot and offer that as a treat. First by placing it in a food cup, using your hand. Ollie needs to trust your hand enough to approach it, so rather than moving towards him, rest your hand just inside the cage and let him approach it. Try offering it palm side up with treats in your hand. Ollie should eventually try to reach for those treats or maybe even hop on your hand. Take it very slowly. Let him be comfortable with your hand before you move it with him on or near it. It is a slow process, but it’s all about trust building. Remember not to reach for him and never grab him from behind or you will end up back at square one. From the sounds of it, Ollie will come around – he sounds like a great little bird!

Teaching Your Bird

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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