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Discussion Starter #1
My 19 year old daughter has 3 cockatiels. She got her first girl back in 2011, shortly after Igor was weaned. Igor is now 5 years old. My daughter got her second female in 2012 from a friend of a friend who needed to rehome her bird. Tavi is now also 5, going on 6 years old. They basically ignore each other, with the first bird having a strong bond (tries to mate) with my daughter. Last spring we inherited another (male) bird who needed a new home. Petey has been with us for a little over a year and is either 6 or 7 years old.

Neither female is overly interested in Petey, however, this mating season Petey has shown an interest in our anti-social Tavi (who does not like much attention, but will accept limited attention from humans). He sings to her, and tries to get her attention. She has none of it. Igor, as well, basically ignores Petey, and tries to keep everyone else where she wants them in the cage.

Tavi has begun laying eggs, and has a nesting box. (This is not the first time she has laid eggs.) Since she was given a nesting box Petey has begun to sing to her more frequently, but unfortunately, last night, became very aggressive towards Tavi, keeping her out of the box. Tavi has been aggressive towards the other female, Igor, as well. People and birds have been being bitten in the past 24 hours.

In addition, even before this started with the eggs, we've noticed that Petey has been becoming more aggressive, and less willing to have any attention. He is content to sit on a perch and sing to his reflection, to sit in the window, or to sit in my daughter's bed. He will attempt to bite if he is asked to "step up" onto your finger. He was not overly sweet when we got him a year ago, but he has become more . . . . mean . . . . for lack of a better word.

My daughter is in tears, feeling like a bad cockatiel mommy, and is regretting taking the third bird in. Any ideas are greatly appreciated!
 

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They need to not have a nesting box. With a nesting box in the cage, you're literally making it into a cage match for hormonal birds to stake their territory. Remove the nesting box and any eggs. Also, shorten their days artificially. I've also had good luck with getting them out of nesty mode by rearranging and sometimes even moving their cage. When everyone's hormones calm down, it will go back to normal.

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Poor daughter. She shouldn't be so hard on herself. Cockatiels are opportunist breeders. Anything can turn these guys on. Get rid of that nest box. It's making them more hormonal. Also, put them on long nights. Start with 14 hours a night of sleep. Avoid any noise or light in their room. Rearrange their cage. Make them feel uncomfortable to breed, buy making their home unfamiliar.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, just let any eggs that are laid fall onto the cage bars and crack (& throw away)?

I'm not sure when she last rearranged their cage, but I know they are on 11 hour nights. The 14 hours nights didn't help hormones earlier in the spring when the girls were both hormonal, but I'll suggest rearranging the cage and moving it to a different spot, along with the longer nights.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
One other question, from something else I read online . . . . if the male is being hormonal, does having a mirror where he can sing to himself help or hurt? I read something that having a mirror where the male can sing to his own reflection is frustrating because he doesn't get a response from the bird he is seeing!
 

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Put the eggs in a shallow bowl in the bottom of the cage and let them sit on it for 21 days. They'll give up on the eggs. Have you seen them mate?

Removing the mirror is best. A lot of cockatiels went from aggressive to sweet once their mirrors were taken away. They see their reflection as a mate and become over protective of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We have not actually seen them mate. We have had times before when the girls have laid eggs, male present or not. We have had a male cockatiel before, and used a nesting box, and had no problems. That's why it was such a surprise to have such a big difference in attitude this time!

My daughter works until 9 tonight, so I am going to give her all this info when she gets home, and strongly urge her to make the changes in the morning. (She works retail and will be too tired to do it tonight. I help with the birds a lot, but am hesitant to do much with the cages since they are really her birds!)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wednesday morning my daughter rearranged her bedroom, allowing her to move the bird cage. She also emptied, and rearranged the toys in the cage, removing any mirrors. While the 2 girls seem to be doing much better, the male is still being quite aggressive. He is chasing the girls away from the cage door, and will bite at them if they are where he wants to be. In addition, when I have tried to give them attention (or time out of the cage) today (because my daughter was gone all day), Petey aggressively bit me 3 times! The only times he did not bite me was when I was wearing a glove. He seemed enthralled by the glove, and willingly came to "step up" when the glove was on my hand! I am completely confused, and at a loss as to what to do with this male. On the other hand, I am thankful that even though the bites hurt like ****, he didn't break any skin today (he has before)! Any other ideas would be appreciated.
 

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I think that it might be a good idea to separate these birds if they're getting aggressive; you wouldn't want them to hurt each other! Once separated, it might be easier to work on their individual behavior (i.e. training them to step up without biting).
 

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I would personally put the male in a cage by himself. It sounds like he isn't being very nice to the females and that's not good for them. This way, the girls can do what they like and he can be grumpy all they want.
 
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