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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I hope someone will have some advice for me! We are recently the proud new owners of a cockatiel pair. Specifically bought together because the shop assured us that they belong together. Both are about 6 months old. We've had them at home now for nearly 4 weeks and considering a rocky start they both seem to be settling in and will take millet and brocolli from my hand.
What concerns me is that the male doesn't give the female any affection and is actually quite snappy towards her if she is in his way (we have an avery style cage so there is enough room for both). She even puts her head down in front of him for preening but he ignores her and carries on preening himself :(
He seems very content and is actually getting quite tame, sings happily throughout the day but I feel sorry for the female as I think she would like more affection. (She's very squawky in the mornings like she needs something but she's not interested in millet) Unfortunately, she doesn't trust us enough yet otherwise I feel like we could be a good subsitute.
I've never had a cockatiel pair before so is this behaviour to be expected? Or is there anything I can do to encourage him to be nicer to her?
 

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Cockatiel romance is a never-ending soap opera. They either like each other or they don't, and there's not much that we can do to make them change their minds.

What did the shop mean when they said the birds belonged together? If they meant the birds were a bonded pair, it sounds like they were mistaken, unless the male is still too nervous in his new home to feel romantic. Are you confident that they are not brother and sister? It's very common for the birds in a pet shop to be clutchmates, and siblings are very willing to make babies together which is NOT a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well it was a bit of a drama because in the shop they had 4 cockatiels, 2 males and 2 females and we were told that they were two bonded pairs. So we chose one pair (based on the male which I particularly liked as he was so chatty and happy) but in the process of catching them they actually gave us the wrong male (the two males were very similar). We brought them home on a Saturday and the first two days went as expected in a new surrounding. There was a lot of squawking and the male was very restless. On the Monday I noticed that the female would bow her head to the male to be preened but instead of preening he would pull her feathers out. Something didnt seem right so I phoned the shop and they apologised profusely and said I would have to bring the male back to be swapped as they had also only just noticed the mistake themselves (apparently the two left in the shop werent happy either). So I bring the right male home and things are definitely better. The male is super happy and content but now the female is very squawky. But only in the mornings. She spent ages this morning trying to get the male to preen her but he just ignored her. I feel so sorry for her because it really seems like she needs the affection but shes nowhere near tame enough for me to touch her. She's sat next to me now squawking and climbing around the cage and it breaks my heart that I can't help her
 

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Do you notice if they two perch together at night? Bonded cockatiels tend to perch together. My two pairs, each pair not only perch together, each pair also tend to make body contact during night. Tail or side touch other's. More fascinating part is, before they lovely perch together for the night, there will have a small "fight". Usually the dominating one in the pair select the perching spot for the night, the other just perch next him/her.

If yours are about 6 months old, it is about time for their first molting. I have a young pair about 6 months. They are molting now. So, if during preening each other, a feather or two being pull out, don't be so worry about. If one cockatiel ask other for preening, that's sign of bonding. I feel the first boy is more likely bonded with your girl.
 
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