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First time 'tiel mommy here and I'm feeling discouraged. Well, first time bird mommy as well. I researched so much and watched so many videos and knew I was ready to have a cockatiel but nothing could have prepared me for this guy.

When I got him about two months ago all I knew about him was he is a little over a year old and he is kind of bitey. I figured he was just bitey because he was terrified. Can't really blame him, that pet store was loud!

Upon getting him home I got him to wander into his cage quite quickly. I did as I had learned and gave him a few days to get adjusted to his surroundings and used to my hands being in his cage to change his water and food. After some time I had him eating food out of my hand and a week later I got him to climb onto my hand! Then he was climbing onto my shoulder and cleaning my hair. I was impressed thinking I got the hang of this! It started to go down hill since.

Now I can't get him to climb on to my hand, arm, a wooden perch without him biting me. Sometimes it's gentle I can handle it and not pull my hand away, but other times he bites so hard he breaks the skin. I can sometimes get him to let me pet the top of his head for a minute but after that he bites me and if I try to pet anywhere else he bites.

More recently I've been just trying to be as patient as possible with good results. He now loves to have his little head rubbed and ducks his head down to let me know that's what he would like. After a bit he pulls his head away which is fine. But now, he hardly moves around his cage, he hisses at me anytime I come near, he tries to latch onto my hand if I get too close. I assume he is just being protective of his cage or something. When he is away from it and it is out of sight he calms down.

I feel like I'm doing something wrong or that he hates me and I'm considering changing his name to Chomper. I'm not sure if he was previously hand tamed, neglected, abused or anything of his life before me. What do I do? Any advice will be greatly appreciated! :pearl:
 

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Hello welcome to the forum! :)

I don't think you have to worry much, you're not doing anything wrong you're a great 'tiel mommy. The most likely reason is your little guy is a bit hormonal right now. It is when our sweet little angels do a 180. After the hormones are gone they're back to being themselves again. With my 'tiel too I have gotten the same reaction lately with head petting, they're enjoying it one second and the next you randomly get bit. They're just really grumpy when they're hormonal.
When 'tiels are around a year old they mature and this is the time the worst of their hormones kick in. They don't really know how to handle themselves. It gets a little better later on, but every time Spring comes around the hormones will reappear. Or they will appear whenever their hormones are triggered, like if you pet them on any sexual areas (wings, back, etc.). Male 'tiels get very aggressive around potential nesting sites, it looks like he sees his cage as a nesting site and is very defensive of it. That could be why you are getting bit for putting your hand in, he thinks you're trying to take it away from him and steal the nest! He wants you out.

To try and get rid of his hormones you can rearrange everything in his cage like move around all his perches and toys to different areas. You can also give him 12-14 hours of sleep a night in a dark, quiet room for a week. Also avoid warm mushy foods because it simulates their mates feeding them. Check to make sure he isn't getting too much food because an overabundance of food can trigger hormones too. If there is anything in his cage like a mirror or happy hut then I would remove it because it is also triggering his hormones. :)

Here are also some more links on that:
http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=32330
http://littlefeatheredbuddies.com/info/breed-hormones.html
http://www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/birdinformation/hormones.php
http://www.neitokakadut.com/en/cockatiel-articles/260-whyismycockatielaggressive
http://www.birdchannel.com/bird-beh...d-small-bird-behavior/hormonal-cockatiel.aspx

I would also read his body language to make sure you're not about to get bit. You can learn more about that here:
http://www.biseinen.com/shango/tielbodylanguage.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much! This is all extremely helpful advice and makes me feel tons better! I really appreciate your reply! :)
 

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No problem! I hope with those techniques you can calm his hormones. :D
 
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