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Hey there! I go by Strawberry or Strawbs around the internet. c: I recently acquired my first bird, a five year old lutino female cockatiel who was previously named Tino. I work at a downtown mom-and-pop pet shop, and I worked for about 6 weeks to pay for her cage and the bird herself. I've since renamed her Pika, because her rosy cheeks remind me of Pikachu. :3 These first two weeks have been very interesting, and quite wonderful! It's nice to be greeted by her chirping in the morning, and it makes me smile every time she squawks goodbye when I leave the room. For the first few days, I thought she might be sick, because she wasn't playing with her toys, wasn't standing on one leg at all, seemed to have, "sleepy eyes," a lot. . . She's become much more active since then, thankfully. I still plan on taking her to the nearest avian vet as soon as I have the funds and time to do so, which should be the beginning of next month if not a little sooner.

She's a major seed junkie, of course! I'm planning on trying to start her on pellets this week. I think I'm going to try the almost cold turkey method, by leaving only fresh pellets in her dish all day, and taking her out once in the morning and once in the evening and offering a little foraging area with a small amount of seed, finely shredded greens and maybe some boiled egg. I tried this same foraging area just a few minutes ago, with millet, the paper bits from my hole punch (she loves to chew!) and greens. Naturally, she picked through the seeds about twenty times to make sure she didn't miss anything, and would only pick up the greens to move them around in case there was a bit of millet underneath. Figures. :p

She loves to play with my jewelry. She's friendly (though she fusses at you when you offer your finger to step up if she's somewhere she likes) and likes to sit on my shoulder a lot, so that she can nibble my hair and ears. I have to take my earrings out when she does this, because otherwise she won't leave them alone! It's adorable, even if a bit annoying/painful when I forget to remove them.

I do have a decent list of questions for all the site's other, more experienced 'tiel owners.

1. How close is too close when it comes to scented candles? I have a few Better Homes & Gardens ones that I love, but I don't want to cause respiratory problems for Pika.
2. How dangerous are Sharpies?
3. Do your birds normally play with the toys provided in their cage? Is it a bad sign if she doesn't? Her breeder (a lady who sells to our shop and comes in frequently, and is also extremely attached to her birds) said that she loves to play with toys, especially anything with a bell. She hasn't really touched them, to my knowledge.
4. Is spray paint safe if it's had several weeks to dry in advance of coming in contact with the bird? That is what I used on her cage, an older, used brass one. Catherine, the owner of the shop where I work, said it would be fine as long as it doesn't have lead in it, but I thinking about it now, I want to check and be sure.
5. She loves to perch on top of my bearded dragon Paarthurnax's tank. It has a screen lid, which she seems to enjoy walking around on. However, she does occasionally get too close to his heat lamps for comfort. Does anyone have any advice on how to discourage her from going to his tank, or at least to the side that has the heat lamps?
6. Her droppings are a consistent dark green and white. Is this a healthy color?
7. She hasn't really done anything that I would refer to as, "singing." She chirps and squawks at us a good bit, but hasn't attempted to mimic any sounds, or anything like that. What does cockatiel singing sound like?
8. At night, I cover her cage with two thin but dark blankets, and leave a portion of the front of the cage uncovered so that she can still see what's going on if something scares her. I also keep a nightlight on in the room which switches on and off based on the light in the room. My question is, will it disturb her if I have my bedroom light on at night? Will my use of the computer bother her while she's trying to sleep, even with the blankets covering her cage? I'd prefer not to have a grumpy and over tired bird!

Thank you for indulging my new-parent fears and worries. I believe it is only appropriate to end this introductory post with a few pictures, yes?


Caught in the act of chewing up the crayon box! She clearly regrets nothing, however.



A new trend, I think; bird shaming.

 

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welcome!
Pika is adorable and she's sounds very cheeky and well-adjusted. I love the crayon photo - reminds of my babies :)
good luck with introducing pellets and greens!

- i personally don't use scented candles, so i'm not sure. i'm tempted to say not in the same room, but wait till some other scented candle people reply...
- sharpies probably aren't good to chew (though mine have!) and the smell is quite strong as well.
- Ollie doesn't really play with toys in her cage, and never has. Pika might still be settling in though - give her a bit of time and she might come round.
- you'll want to check what's in the spray paint and whether or not it's bird safe. lead is definitely something to avoid. unfortunately most paint can be chewed off and ingested. i'd avoid it if you can.
- to stop her going to the tank, maybe just take her off, say no, put her on her cage, and give her a treat. she should get the idea pretty soon that her cage is good, but the tank isn't.
- droppings sound good :)
- females don't actually whistle or mimic much at all. they'll make birdie squawks etc, but not mimicing. that's a male thing.
- i think you'll be fine using the computer! birds just nap a bit more in the day, if they're tired. it's recommended to give them 8 - 10 hrs a night asleep. Bjorn and Ollie only have it totally dark for about 7-8 hrs, but they behave well.

see you round :)
 

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I can't answer your questions Strawburriez, but welcome to Talk Cockatiels anyway. Pika is gorgeous by the way! :)
 

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1. How close is too close when it comes to scented candles? I have a few Better Homes & Gardens ones that I love, but I don't want to cause respiratory problems for Pika.
I honestly would not use candles at all in the same air space as birds. The first issue is the artificial scent which can cause respiratory issues. The second and most worrying issue is the fact that any burning fire will release embers and ash into the air. Using candles or incense in the same air space as birds is dangerous; however, if you only use them occasionally and on the opposite side of the house near an open window then it wouldn't be too worrisome.

2. How dangerous are Sharpies?
The fumes are the most worrisome with Sharpies, as I'm pretty sure they're 'non-toxic' and also I know breeders use them to mark eggs to keep track of the order laid. If you use them in a separate room than the bird then it should be fine.

3. Do your birds normally play with the toys provided in their cage? Is it a bad sign if she doesn't? Her breeder (a lady who sells to our shop and comes in frequently, and is also extremely attached to her birds) said that she loves to play with toys, especially anything with a bell. She hasn't really touched them, to my knowledge.
It takes a while for birds to settle into a new home. Give her some more time and once she feels more comfortable she will play with her toys.

4. Is spray paint safe if it's had several weeks to dry in advance of coming in contactwith thebird? That is what I used on her cage, an older, used brass one. Catherine, the owner of the shop where I work, said it would be fine as long as it doesn't have lead in it, but I thinking about it now, I want to check and be sure.
Do you have the can with you to look at the contents? There are some other issues, other than lead, with paint. I will be back with a link for you.

5. She loves to perch on top of my bearded dragon Paarthurnax's tank. It has a screen lid, which she seems to enjoy walking around on. However, she does occasionally get too close to his heat lamps for comfort. Does anyone have any advice on how to discourage her from going to his tank, or at least to the side that has the heat lamps?
I would remove her each time she gets onto the tank. If you consistently do not allow her on there then she will not make a habit of it. Not only is the bulb fixture hot, but certain reptile bulbs have too much UVA/UVB and can damage bird's eyes.

6. Her droppings are a consistent dark green and white. Is this a healthy color?
Green (feces) and white (urates) along with clear liquid (urine) is normal for seed-eating birds. When you have her on a healthy diet (60% seed, 30% pellet, 10% fresh vegetables) you may occasionally see a brown poop or, if on a colored pellet, you may see a red poop sometimes too.

7. She hasn't really done anything that I would refer to as, "singing." She chirps and squawks at us a good bit, but hasn't attempted to mimicany sounds, or anything like that. What does cockatiel singing sound like?
Typically, only cockatiel males sing. If you indeed have a female on your hands, you will likely only hear soft chirping from her. My males make up various songs. They tend to be loud, repetitive, and sometimes quite obnoxious. :p You can also search youtube for cockatiel singing.

8. At night, I cover her cage with two thin but dark blankets, and leave a portion of the front of the cage uncovered so that she can still see what's going on if something scares her. I also keep a nightlight on in the room which switches on and off based on the light in the room. My question is, will it disturb her if I have my bedroom light on at night? Will my use of the computer bother her while she's trying to sleep, even with the blankets covering her cage? I'd prefer not to have a grumpy and over tired bird!
If you're not making too much noise and the inside of the cage is dark, then I don't think the computer light will bother her. But, I would use a lamp in your room rather than the overhead light during the night so that the brightness does not keep her awake and restless. If she knows you're up, she will probably be anxious and want to be out with you.
 

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A few links for you to check out about painting your cage:
http://theparrotuniversity.com/repainting_bird_cages.php
http://eartheasy.com/article_bird_safe_paints.html
http://exoticpets.about.com/od/birdssuppliesandshopping/a/How-To-Paint-A-Bird-Cage.htm

Quite honestly, if you can afford it, I would purchase a new cage all together and sell the one you have. You can get a large flight cage that would keep your bird very happy for about $120 including shipping. The smallest cage a tiel should live in is an 18 inch x 18 inch x 18 inch square with 1/2 inch bar spacing. The finch flight cage at Petco (about $40) is also a good cage for just one bird.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all so much. I guess it's time to say bye-bye to my lovely candles! I do not have the spray paint can, but I bought it at a local walmart and can easily go there to look at the same color and brand's label. She has been chipping the paint off, I don't know whether or not she has ingested any of it, but I do plan on upgrading to a larger cage when I can afford to do so regardless. She doesn't chew on the sharpies at all, but I do use them daily, for no more than a few minutes at a time. She's generally across the room when I use them, and my room is well ventilated. Hopefully this won't be harmful?

Thank you all again for your help and welcome! I'll give Pika your compliments; I'm sure she'll enjoy them, she's such a spoiled one. c: I'm looking forward to using these forums a lot from now on, with my dear feathered companion! I'll probably post more pictures pretty frequently. ^3^
 

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As far as I know, there is no issue with sharpies and tiels. As mentioned breeders use them on eggs and I have done this without any harmful effects to my birds.

Welcome to the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks! That's really comforting, since I love my Sharpies. (•‿•) I love my bird more though, even if she does like to be a spoiled brat.
 

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welcome to the forum u will like it here and will learn lots xx ur bird is beautiful and love the name x
 

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Hello, and welcome Strawbz! Most of the advice you got covers it, so I'll let you handle everything else. I'd certainly appreciate some advice for getting my bird to eat his fruits and veggies! Either way, I look forward to swapping stories about our wonderful companions!
 
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