Caiques have quite a reputation in the bird world. These medium-sized parrots are balls of energy and are considered mischief-makers. Their playful antics often have people rolling on the floor with laughter.
If the African grey parrot is the smart kid in class, the caique (pronounced “kai-eke”) would be the class clown. If you’ve seen them in action, then you know what we’re talking about.
They pack a punch in terms of personality, which some people might find a lot to deal with. If, on the other hand, this describes exactly what you’re looking for in a pet bird, then you’ll love everything about this cute, little bundle of feathers.
Before you go off to the pet store to get yourself this parrot, there’s a lot you need to know about keeping caiques as pets. Let’s jump in, shall we?
Do Caiques Make Good Pets
This is arguably the most frequently asked question by people looking to become first-time pet owners. The truth is – it depends on who you ask. To some people, they’re boisterous and temperamental.
Some may even go as far as to say they’re divas. They like attention – a whole lot of it. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if your personality were also loud and boisterous and diva-like. It would be a match made in heaven.
On the flip side, if solitude is your middle name and the thought of doing minor chores like taking out the trash requires you to prepare psychologically, you’ll likely find caiques to be quite a handful.
Then again, you might have a laid-back personality and don’t mind having a bird that reminds you of that fun and loud uncle you always look forward to seeing at family parties.
That aside, it’s important to mention that the caique personality changes as the bird matures. That sweet, cuddly bird you fell in love with might not be the same in a year or two. Keep that in mind, especially when getting young ones.
Caique Parrot Behavior
Caiques are beautiful birds. Don’t let their striking exterior fool you, though. You’ll need to keep a close eye on them.
They can be quite stubborn and don’t let up until they get their way. Nonetheless, given how cute they are, it’s difficult to fault them. They’ll melt your heart in seconds.
They don’t play well with others, so if you have other pet birds in the house, there’s a good chance you’ll be breaking up a lot of fights.
It’s almost as though they sense competition and will not stop until they’re the only birds that have your attention. You’ll need to keep your other birds away from your caique to prevent them from getting injured.
Remember we mentioned that they are little balls of energy? You’ll need to get them some toys to play with, especially ones that they can tear up and destroy.
Be sure to have a steady supply of toys on deck. Caiques go through them faster than a hurricane through a chicken farm.
During the first couple of months, you’ll have to experiment with several different kinds of toys before you finally identify what your pet caique likes to play with. Be patient during this phase. It might take a while.
Are Caiques Good for Beginners
We get this question a lot. The short answer is – no, they are not. If you’ve never had a pet parrot or any other kind of bird, for that matter, a caique is not the one you want to begin with.
They are extremely high-maintenance, and if you’re not cut out to deal with their demanding (and sometimes destructive) personality, you may never want to see another bird for the rest of your life. It would be a good idea to start with something like a canary and work your way up from there.
We should also state that birds, particularly those in the parrot family, are very individual. No two birds will exhibit the exact set of behavioral traits.
It all depends on the bird in question and, to a large extent, their environment. Stress is never good for birds, regardless of the species. However, what one bird might find stressful could be an easy, breezy day for another.
You’ll also need to learn a lot about caiques, which might put you on a steep learning curve if you’ve never owned a bird before in your life. You may end up learning this the hard way when you first attempt to clean out their cage.
Caiques display territorial behavior even towards humans. Understanding this fact and learning how to handle them when they display this behavior will result in fewer confrontations (and injuries) when trying to pick them up.
Then, there’s the fact that they are noisy. They scream when they want attention, which could be all the time. If you live in an apartment complex, this may not be the ideal pet to get.
How to Train a Caique
Speaking of screaming, this behavioral trait can be controlled with a bit of training. While caiques may sound like they’re screaming, in their world, they’re simply whistling – as bizarre as that sounds. They do it to get attention.
They may scream in the morning to wake their owner; they may scream to signal that they are hungry; they may scream when their favorite person enters the room; they may even scream when they leave.
To keep this behavior under control, you’ll need to come up with a way of gently disciplining them to let them know that their screams for attention are not welcome. Here’s what you can do.
Any time your parrot starts screaming excessively, cover their cage for a few minutes. Once they quiet down, remove the cover. After a while of being consistent with this approach, the caique will eventually figure out what’s going on and modify that behavior.
You could go a step further and train them to call you rather than scream for your attention. There are plenty of web resources you can use to learn how to do this.
A Friend for Life
With the caique lifespan being 30 to 40 years, these beautiful little birds can become lifetime companions. Once you understand them and train them on proper behavior, there’s honestly no better bird to keep as a pet.
Getting a caique is a lifetime commitment. You need to be 100 percent sure that you want one. It’s not the sort of decision you make on a whim.
For more information on pet care, talk to any of our licensed veterinarians today through our online Vet Chat.