Indian Ringnecks As Pets

Yellow-green-ringneck
Here are some baby ringnecks I was socializing when I was a breeding these birds.

 

Indian Ringnecks, in my opinion, make excellent pets. They have stable personalities and can cope with minimal attention during busy times (this does not mean they are happy alone for long periods), and are great companions. These birds are stigmatized with a bad reputation of being impossible to keep. Avian breeders, who have had little experience with Ringnecks, are usually quick to point out that these parrots make horrible pets. This is untrue, and I find that on the contrary, they make marvelous pets. I believe incorrect information perpetuated by the pet industry, and the lack of research that is invested into these parrots, make such a notion false and misleading. Quite simply, this bird is adored more for its mutations rather than its marvelous characteristics and pet qualities—I hope to change that.

In general, IRNs (Indian Ringnecks) are not as touchy or feely as lovebirds or conures; it’s highly unlikely to see them snuggling with their mate on their free time, but that’s only when they exhibit their wild behavior. During the breeding season, which will vary from location to location, IRNs become affectionate and demand it.  In captivity, they seem to alter this behavior from my experience and become so much more loving.  Their personalities really blossom and tame Ringnecks will break the rule when it comes to spending time with their owners; meaning they are always seeking petting and handling.

Not only does a captive Ringneck present new behaviors, but it is also essential to understand that these parrots have personalities much like humans and every bird is an individual.  They also have mood swings like you or I.  We as owners need to be more receptive to their mood changes.  We also have to keep in mind that these parrots are not domesticated, which means they have not undergone a selective process for genetic selection for behavior modification.  In other words, they are not bred like dogs to serve man; instead they see their owners as equal counterparts and flock mates.  Because they see their owners as something equal, they’ll exhibit many emotions that we can all relate to such as being excited, angry, jealous, and depressed.   These creatures are highly sensitive, perceptive, and continually analyze the environment around them.  In my opinion, these birds are the crows of the parrot world. That being said, how you interact with your bird will shape its thinking.  

I have four Ringnecks, Archimedes, Devri, Aya, and Osiris (Alexandrine) and I can attest to their individual personalities.  All are charming, loving, and devoted to me.  Though I won’t mention each bird’s character, I will say they will do anything for my attention, especially Devri.  She will protect me, will act out of jealousy to keep others away from me, yet is so devoted towards me.  And my monster Archimedes is one in a million.  He’s been with me since my college years.  In fact, I cannot imagine my life without that little guy. Honestly, these birds are amazing.  Captivating. Intriguing.  Should I go on? Am I sounding like a parent taking out my wallet to showcase my child? In all seriousness, all my Ringnecks need and CRAVE social interaction.

Not only are they highly intelligent and social, but Ringnecks are marvelous talkers. They can talk very well and hearing them talk can be an enjoyment. Some Ringnecks start talking around seven months, while most start around a year. They speak clearly and can easily be understood by strangers. These parrots can easily keep up with their larger cousins. Both males and females are able to talk; however, the male seems to be more gifted.

I will say that I am at odds about their talking ability and that’s for another discussion.  I firmly believe their ability to talk so well has been both a blessing and a curse for these exotic creatures.  That being said, I’ll just say this about their talking without rambling on too much.

It should be said that buying parrots for their talking ability is not a smart choice nor is it ethical. Too many times people purchase parrots on impulse and the species’ ability to mimic speech. This impulse buying is common, and the results are devastating. The parrot, who did not meet the owner’s expectations, is subjected to a life of boredom and usually goes from house to house. As stated above, each bird is an individual, and some will talk well, others not so much; we need to accept this notion and the outcome before any purchase is made. Parrots should be purchased for their companionship rather than their talking ability, and I can tell you, they are so much more than just a mimicking creature brought into your home because they are “neat” to have.

Some of my ringnecks talk well, others don’t say one word.  And you know what? I love them all so much because all four of my Ringnecks are very smart, and they enrich my life so much.

Along with their ability to mimic speech rather well, the Indian Ringneck is an avid learner. These parrots pick up concepts extremely fast, along with tricks and behaviors. In Asia, these birds are used as performers to attract spectators as they pass by shops. These parrots love to be challenged mentally and look forward to great problem-solving tasks for a treat. 

They constantly need enrichment activities to keep them happy, curious, and healthy.  Toys, foraging boxes, and family interaction daily is a must.  When you’re having a party, don’t be scared to include the bird.  While doing chores, let the bird sit on your shoulder.  While taking a shower, let the bird enjoy the spray of the water as well.  Those are just a few examples of enriching the bird’s life. The key is to ingrain this bird into your life and to keep them busy. Not only will the bird enjoy these activities, but including this feathered family member into your life will also enrich your life as well—I promise! 

Both males and females make excellent pets. Again, more myths plague this parrot when it comes to picking a pet Indian Ringneck.  Some Ringneck owners are told one sex is better than the other— this is nonsense. The parrot’s character and behavioral skills are learned at a young age, and it really comes down to how well the parrot has been socialized to co-adapt to humans.

Ringnecks are known for their stable temperament, and this makes them enjoyable to interact with.  The truth is both males and females will bond to their owners strongly. I find it more extreme in females than males. Females tend to guard their chosen person by chasing away intruders with lunging and biting. A female Ringneck can be extremely loyal to her chosen person. Males just stay away from the people they do not like. Occasionally, I’ll come across an aggressive male who will not stand for another person or bird touching their chosen person.

These parrots make excellent pets, and I hope you decide to bless yourself with an Indian Ringneck. Then you too can help to put to rest the many myths that surround these parrots.

Though this introduction into Ringneck keeping is somewhat brief, my upcoming book is an in-depth look into owning these fascinating creatures.  I have so much more to say about them and I’ve been studying them for almost 20 years, and I have been around them since I’ve been a child. It’s a lifelong passion of mine, and quite frankly, nothing fascinates more than these parrots.