Taming a pair of cockatiels

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by bird poop, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. bird poop

    bird poop New Egg

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    I recently got a pair of cockatiels few months back almost a year of age so recently I decided to train them to sit on my hand and be unafraid of humans so they could spend time out instead of being caged for life. I've never owned caged birds. My only experience is with roosters and hens.
    I would be obliged if someone could guide me.
    -These birds have never had any interaction with humans such as eating from hand or being out of cage let alone sitting on a hand. They're a year old, can they be taught to do all that
    -To train them , would I have to split them in separate cages so one doesn't freak other out
    -or is it too late and I'll have to wait for them to mate and train the baby birds from day one ?
     
  2. gpop1

    gpop1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It can be done but its going to be a slow uphill battle unless they were hand tame at some point in there lives.


    First step is to work out what kind of birds you have and how do they react to there environment. If they sit close to each other they are probably bonded which makes splitting them up a problem.
    Do they spaz or back up and hiss when you change there feed or handle anything In the cage?
    Do they show interest in what you are doing?
    Do they wing flick when you are close?
    Do they react to gloves?
    Are you scared to get bit and have a small chunk taken out of your hand?

    Like all animals bribes and treats work but it can be slow to gain there trust. If they are completely untamed then you will have to start working with them from outside the cage. This can be as simple as putting the cage on the sofa next to you while watch tv. After many hours they will see you as less of a threat.

    Some birds especially sharp beaked bird have been handled with gloves. Just the sight of a pair of gloves can send them into a rage as they expect that they are about to be grabbed. I normally don't use gloves instead I use a stick or small branch as a extension so they can climb on the stick rather than my finger (sometimes the best way to catch a escaped bird). Once they are happy to be moved around there cage while sitting on the stick then I may try a finger. These birds do bite and if you show fear you are probably going to get bit. This normally happens because your finger is to far away so they use there beaks as a third hand before stepping over the gap or they just don't want to be handled and are defending themselves (they normally warn you before this happens). Once we know what the temperament of the birds are we can offer better advice.
     
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  3. bird poop

    bird poop New Egg

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    Thankyou for your attention and detailed explanation.

    -They do sit close to each other
    -No they've never been tamed ever
    -When I go near the cage they are mostly Okay, but sometimes depending upon my speed as I'm passing by they try to get away.
    -They might show a very mild interest in my activities sometimes but it's not very usual
     
  4. gpop1

    gpop1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's good so they don't see you as a threat so now they just need to see you as a friend.

    Food is always the easiest way to make friends. A lot depending on what you feed on a regular bases. First check everything you want to try to make sure its bird safe. Don't worry to much about it being healthy just as long as its not poisonous then its fine. I've had birds that would sell out for melted cheese others for brown rice, fresh millet, fresh greens or eggs. Very small amounts that give the bird a taste and gets them interest should work 1" long piece of millet rather than a full stick kind of treats.

    Once interested try a prop and talk to them when you are feeding. My tiels know that the green bowl being stirred (prop) will contain scrabbled eggs so they will get all excited and even the mean ones will come to the feeder to wait. Once occupied they can be touched (do not try to touch from behind as this will be seen as a threat). Most birds are curious but fear is a strong reaction so don't expect it to happen over night.

    There is a second option which is kind of a sledge hammer approach where you can tame a bird by submission but this is not a good idea if its bonded as the partner will panic. With a tiel it would require gloves. After a lot of handling for short periods of time they seem to get the idea that after being handled they are being returned to the cage and nothing bad happened. It doesn't make a good hand tame but it can make a bird that doesn't mind being handled. Given a option the tiel will normally step up on a finger to avoid being handled so they kind of submit to being handled that way. (most of mine are that way as they are use to me picking them up to check them or to check eggs/chicks).

    Clipped wings can also assist in taming a bird but that depends on how you keep the tiels. They fear being on the ground more than they fear being picked up. Mine are in a aviary so clipping is not a option.

    Every bird is different which is why a hand tame is the best option for a pet but even if you are keeping older tiels as caged pets its worth the effort to tame them as neither of you need the stress when you have no option but to handle them. 90% of people want a hand tame until they get one then after months of the bird wanting to be with you 24/7 most of the people would probably have preferred a tame caged bird (that's one that can be moved with out biting and will stay on a gym instead of flying all over the house hunting you down)
     
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  5. bird poop

    bird poop New Egg

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    Thankyou for your detailed explanation, I have a few more queries if you would be kind enough to explain

    My trips have never been outside their cage, whenever I put my hand in their cage, they freak out like crazy most of the times, I've tried offering them tasty snacks but they won't take the bait , is there a way I can take them from the condition they're in. I really don't want them to be caged for life .

    Also if you could explain the glove method in detail

    Thanks
     
  6. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Do you have a bird safe room?

    I wonder if you could just try shutting the door in a bird safe room and opening the cage door and just letting them come out on their own.

    That might be a good way and they could come out when they're comfortable so they wouldn't have to be caged and they may eventually get used to you. You could also try getting a chair and sitting in the room with them
     
  7. bird poop

    bird poop New Egg

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    Yeah I can do that , but I was really plain stupid when I thought it was okay to let them out without their wings snilped.
    I didn't think that they would go crazy because we had an alexandrine parrot with us for a week, who would only come out of the cage to sit on top of it and make no effort to fly.

    If you could guide me how to snip their feathers that would be great. (Note that my trips are not hand tamed, they'll bite)
     
  8. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Well I think if you have a bird safe room then flight shouldn't matter too much & they might like flying around, some people let them do that. But then of course they are fairly tame so it may be best to clip wings until they're more tame

    If you really want to clip the wings I think you can Google it and there should be some good tutorials, I'm not really sure how to do it. Just be careful not to clip any blood vessels cause they can bleed to death.

    They're not tamed so you will probably need gloves. Get some thick gloves they can't bite though and I guess you could just hold them down firmly but gently. Maybe cover their head or wrap them so they can't see
     
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  9. gpop1

    gpop1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    few tips:

    A tiel is not always happy to be out of there cage. They get use to being confined as they can get stressed when they are not allowed to return to the cage. The cage is also there home so they can get defensive when you enter there home.

    The only dangerous part of a tiel is the very tip of the beak. The rest of the bird is delicate.

    There's always a chance even with out handling that a blood feather can be broken. Most are in areas where the bird can deal with the feather but if they can not reach then you will have to pul l the feather. The back of the feather shaft looks like a straw which has blood flowing in the middle. If the feather is broken and does not seal the straw then blood can flow and its hard to get it to clot. There are a few ways to deal with this but the quickest and easiest is to get hold of the feather and pull it out. Watch a youtube video or read up on how to do this. Just remember not to panic its just a feather and it will grow back. Once removed the skin will seal where the feather was and the bleeding will stop.

    Wing don't have to be fully clipped especially on caged birds that are weak in the wing muscles. Just a minor wing clip will make a bird that doesn't fly to far before they need to rest. Its easier for 2 people to clip a un-tame as one can hold while the other does the clipping.

    The biggest danger to free flying birds is liquid and fans. Toilet seats left up, water in the sink, pots on the stove,etc. Another one I found out last week is fly paper strips are really bad news.

    Before handling the tiel with gloves take into account the size of the bird and the space needed for the gloves to make sure that you can get your hand in and out of the cage while holding the tiel.

    once wing clipped the cage door can be left open as long as liquids are covered and fans are turned off or set to there slowest speed. Curtains over the windows are also a good idea as glass can seem to be invisible until they get use to it. place the feeders near the open door inside the cage and every day move the feeders just a little further out of the cage.


    To get a tiel use to being handled it will take some time for both of you to get comfortable with the idea. I normally only use one glove or a dry wash cloth but on your first few attempts two may be better. Before grabbing the bird I remove as many perches as possible so any wing flapping will not cause feather damage on the perches. Then its just a simple case of grabbing the bird with a very light touch. As tiels will normally splatter again the bars open your hand and gentle cup the back of the bird bringing there wings into there side where they naturally belong. At this point the bird will start to bite the glove which isn't a bad thing. Once cupped remove the bird from the cage. The tiel will be a lot happier if its feet are touching something so a towel/thick tee shirt draped over your shoulder protecting you from the beak seems to work. place the tiel feet first against your chest while still holding it with the glove so it can not fly away. It might put up a fight but that's no big deal just keep a loose cup grip as it can not extend its wings so its going no where. Walk around the house talking to it and doing what ever you normally do until the tiel calms down (probably acts asleep) then return it to the cage. At this point it will have a death grip on the tee shirt/towel so place that on the cage door with the bird or just inside the cage the slowly release your hand to free the wings. (tee shirt is best as they do not get there claws stuck in the material as easy as a towel). If you are relaxed and calm then the bird should be slightly stressed but not postal. At no point are you using pressure to restrain the bird so thinner leather gloves are better than thick welding gloves. Remember its just the tip of the beak that's sharp the rest of the bite is weak. With its wings restricted from opening it doesn't need to be held tight. If you need to use both hands to get the wings down the side of the body before holding from behind.

    Once you get comfortable doing this then 2-3 times a day steadily getting to longer periods will allow the tiel to get use to being handled at which point after leaving the cage area you can let go. It will probably fly back to the cage the first few times
     
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  10. shanlung

    shanlung Just Hatched

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    Take it easy. It is ok if the birdies are wild as they are wild in the first place.
    They likely to remain wild even 50 generations down the line.
    I guess if you want a tame bird,. get a backyard chicken , or backyard duck. They have at least 500 generations to be tame.
    That does not mean that the cockatiels cannot be friends with you and accept you as your friend even if they are wild.

    Progress must be at their timing and at their pace. I am not asking if you want to whisper to them.
    But if you do, it helps if you listen to them in the first place and they know you do listen to them.

    Since I am a very new comer here, I cannot put any URLs to what I had done with birdies. Until I post ten times or so.
    But you can see if I walk the walk and not just talk the talk if you google "shanlung birds" and look at the images.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017

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