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cockatiel is not happy

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by Wyo Chick, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Wyo Chick

    Wyo Chick Songster

    My daughter got her new cockatiel and it is not happy. When she picked it out a week ago it was so sweet. It layed agsinst her chest and acted like the sweetest thing. We had to leave her at the pet store for 2 days. And when we brought her home she is not friendly anymore. It has been 5 days and she hisses when we try to pick her up. My daughter is getting her out everyday to talk and play with her. But the bird seems to be mad at the world. It is a hand raised 3 month old. We are not giving up, but I would like for her to be happy. Does it take time for birds to warm up to you?

  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Are you sure you brought the same bird home? If it's hand raised it could be missing the person that raised it.
  3. dfunnyfarm

    dfunnyfarm Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    I agree are you sure it is the same bird?
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Birds are sensitive to changes. It can be very stressful for them to deal with an entirely new environment. You've changed her cage, the room it's in, the people she's around, the sounds she hears, possibly her food and water, her routine and it's quite possible that your other pets, along with the humans in the family, are looking at her. Those are all potentially frightening changes to a bird. Birds usually assume anything that's new is dangerous, until they learn that it's safe.

    She does need to adapt to all this change, but I'd try to back off a little bit, temporarily. It often helps new birds to have their cages covered slightly the first week. Just a slight draping of the back half of the cage can help a bird feel more secure.

    Instead of handling her this week, I'd try just talking nicely to her in the cage, with the door open. When she looks like she's comfortable with that, I'd try holding a section of spray millet out to her and see if she's willing to take a bite.

    I think she just needs time to get used to everything being so different at your house, to learn that you are not going to hurt her and that you are to be trusted.
  5. Wyo Chick

    Wyo Chick Songster

    Yes, it's the same bird! When we looked at the bird it just arrived and I think in shock from leaving its home. SAD. Thank you for the suggestions. We are going to try them. Pet birds are a lot different then chickens!!!
  6. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Different than chickens, yes, but they are very neat pets. Mine, Ozzie, is 15 1/2 years old now and hopefully has some more good years ahead of him.
  7. Sherry

    Sherry Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Southern WV
    Cockatiels can be very stubborn too. I had one for 18 years, he died Dec. 22. Anytime I moved his cage he was ticked off for days. He'd fuss and hiss and express his displeasure any way he could.
    I just had to wait him out. Then he'd come back around.

  8. seesthru

    seesthru In the Brooder

    Dec 26, 2008
    Pensacola FL
    THe change is frightening him. Also, most birds are a little leery of hands until they learn to trust you. Tell daughter to be slow and gentle, never fuss, never raise her voice. Coo and praise the bobkatiel LOTS always. Iffer spray millet too as a treat. To cockatiels we are giants. You can also try moving the cage as well. HAve it in a calm place, but also where he or she can see what is going on. Work on step ups every day. Say good bird, gently and happily. SHe can also just sit near the bird lots and lots... pretend to eat bird food, things like that. Let the cockatiel now you're part of his flock and he is part of yours. In time, he will come around. If he allows you to, gently rub his head and under his chin. Kind of like petting a cat. If he allows this, it is a great bonding thing. Approach with your fingers lower than his head, tap gently a few inches away and say tickles or something else you want him to understand as being a prelude to as great heat petting ( also called scritchies). If you accidentally touch a pinfeather too hard he might yelp... just remember where that was, and don't touch it again...

    If he was lovey in the store and then changed ? Something might have traumatized him before you brought him home. It might take time for him to recover, especially in new surroundings. Give him time and tons of attention... don't let him feel alone.

    Good luck! [​IMG] I'm also pretty good at interpreting hormonal behaviors and other such things!
  9. bluerose

    bluerose Songster

    Oct 21, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    Birds tend to be afraid of hands... especially when they're stressed.

    I'd just have your daughter sit by the cage, talk to the bird, let the bird know she can be trusted. Don't ever try to catch a frightened 'tiel-- if she holds her hand out to the bird and he hops on, you're golden, but if he's flapping around and screeching don't stress him.

    Mostly just hanging with said bird will help him settle in, especially if she brings tasty little bits to eat (lettuce, fruit, millet).

    Patience is key [​IMG]
  10. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    I agree it's simple fear and adjustment. Do provide a little cover to the cage. Do read or sing to the baby. As he relaxes offer treats through the cage. Just let him adjust to the HUGE change in his life.

    Cages next to a traffic pattern can be very hard for a bird, especially a baby to adjust to. Quieter corners work better until they've learned they're safe. Places where they can see someone most of the day tend to make them happy. They are flock animals.

    If he was tame like that before, he'll come back to it. He just needs time to adjust and feel safe. Talk, sing, offer treats and be patient. Even abused birds come around to a consistent safe pattern of interaction.

    Though cockatiels are small parrots, you can often get better results by giving them predictable verbal cues. Show a treat. Ask the bird if it "wants the cookie", offer the treat toward the bird.

    If the bird BACKS OFF, take the treat away, and say "okay, don't want it." Predictable behavior on your part, and respect for the bird's opinion generates trust quickly.

    Teach your daughter the same pattern for touch. We say "pet the bird?" And only then offer a hand. Birds that want petting STEP to the hand. A bird not interested in PHYSICAL interaction at that point for any reason - steps away. We still say, okay, don't pet the bird - then talk to them, sing to them, or offer treats.

    Respect for what they WANT and NEED earns trust. A bird might want to be sung to over being handled right then. They are intelligent, they do have actual feelings. They can and do learn the context of words.

    All parrots are wild animals, hand fed or not, and as such respect for their nature, their intelligence and their capacity for likes, dislikes and preferences in handling actually help in all aspects of living with them.

    Routines and patterns reassure them. Just as it does small children. Unlike chickens they are wild and even small ones can bite quite hard, respecting their nature goes a long way toward a smooth path. They bond, they love, many laugh and speak, all are capable of fear and joy, and grief. It's why we're attracted to them and them to us.

    Luck with him, I love them.

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