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Indian parakeet questions

Expert Question

Hi. I live in India and I have a parakeet. My dad got it from someones house and that’s why we don’t know its history. We have had her for about a month now and we never keep it in the cage,  as it likes to sit on its cage the whole day.  Can you give me some tips on proper care of parrots. I think I am feeding it too much. It eats like 15 pea pods , 6-7 green chillies, a small piece of bread,  just the seed parts of tomatoes, a small piece of cauliflower all in one day. Is that too much?? It keeps screaming for more and more.  also it never lets us touch it and attempts to bite if we try to touch it. Is there any way that we can find out its sex. and when will it start to talk. And also, do all parrots talk??? Thank you.

Shivani Karwal - India

Expert Answer

I assume when you say parakeet, you mean the Indian Ringnecked Parakeet of the Psittacula genus. Males and females look very much the same, so without an expert to view the bird close up, and unless your parakeet decides to scrabble around in a dark corner and lay an egg, it would take laboratory testing to find out what gender you have been given.

All parakeets do not talk and normally the males are more vocal and better mimics; all you can do is try to repeat words and see what the outcome is. It may take months.

As adult ringnecks usually prefer not to be touched on the head or body, your best bet for training is to coax it onto a hand-held stick and later to your finger or arm with treats. This may take some weeks depending on the parakeet’s previous home and how it was treated.

Birds like this seldom overeat. If it is appearing very hungry, it could be in need of the nutrients in the pods and fresh seeds you are giving it….continue to feed it fresh foods like that but add more food and different types of food like nutmeats, dried and cooked grains, cooked dosa, perhaps a bit of cooked egg or a bit of cheese once in a while, chili peppers, fruit like mango, and papaya with seeds, fig, etc. (NO avocado!!). Protein sources may be harder to find. As it was likely a wild bird at one time, you may trust it’s tastes and feed it things that it likes, stopping the things it rejects. Not a lot of sugar of course.

You can go online and google search for “Feeding Ringneck Parakeet” and learn much information about food and water and training for your bird.
[Editor - you can also view more information and identify the species at the WPT Encyclopedia of Parrots found at ]

Good luck, and best to avoid being bitten as that can turn into a habit for the pet.

EB Cravens
About EB Cravens

“If we TRULY believe our captive-raised hookbills are important to world parrot conservation, we must work ceaselessly to ensure that these same psittacines retain as much of their wild instinctual behavior as is possible,” affirms avicultural writer and hobby breeder EB Cravens, from his small organic farm on the slopes of the Big Island Hawaii.

“Our goal is to birth and raise only a few baby parrots who know that they are parrots, but choose to befriend humans, because humans are nice to them… feed them… and are fun to be with!”

EB has bred, trained, raised, kept and rehabilitated more than 75 species of psittacines during the past twenty plus years both at his home and while managing the notable exotic bird shoppe, Feathered Friends of Santa Fe, New Mexico. His emphasis on natural environments for birds, the urging of babies to fully fledge during the extended weaning process, and the leaving of chicks for many weeks inside the nest box with their parents in order that they may learn the many intangibles of their species, have succeeded in changing for the better the lives of so many captive parrots.

A science writer by training, he was for years a regular contributor for AFA’s Watchbird Magazine and the Companion Parrot Quarterly. EB currently writes a monthly column entitled “The Complete Psittacine” in PARROTS Magazine out of England; and another, “The Hookbill Hobbyist” down under in the well-regarded Australian Birdkeeper. His monthly series of articles “Birdkeeping Naturally,” is sent out to bird clubs and individuals around the U.S.

“As devastating pressures continue upon avian species in the wilds,” he says, “it is critical that those keeping birds in captivity do so with responsibility and foresight.”