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Discussion Starter #1
For the past 18 months or so, my girl has been completely tame and friendly, if not a bit spoiled. Even the day I first brought her home she was happy to climb up on my shoulder and put her head down for scratches. Suddenly about two days ago though, she seems afraid to go near me. At first she was just flying away from me when I walked anywhere in the direction of her cage and I figured she was just worried about being put back in (She's usually out all day until night, unless she's been bad and chewing grout/peeling paint off the walls which is a habit she developed recently).

After spending christmas day with my family and she was left in her cage all day, I immediately let her out so she could have some time to fly around and she just wont come near me. If I grab her and try to bring her to my chest to scratch her head (which she's always loved before) she squirms her way out and flies up on top of a cabinet out of reach. She still wants to fly into the room Im in and sit near me, but she wont let me touch her. If I hold my arm out she might hesitantly step onto it, but then fly away again the moment I move. She wont accept any food or water from me directly when she used to always try to eat out of my hand (usually trying to eat my own food off my fork no matter how hard I try to keep her away).

Aside from putting her in her cage when she's misbehaving, and that single day she was left in there, I cant think of anything bad that's happened to her. Nothing has been changed in her environment, toys, surroundings or diet. She did lay an egg the other week but she was still happy to come sit with me and has pretty much forgotten about it by now.

She seems mildly more comfortable with my husband and will sit on his shoulder, as well as letting him sit her on his stomach for scratches, but she's acting pretty cautious around him too. If we ignore her and let her just sit on her perch set up in my room she'll carry on as if everything's normal until I stand up and go near her, at which she'll freeze and start watching me alert or fly away from me if I try to get her up on my shoulder.
 

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It's best not to grab her and force her to do things against her will because that won't teach her to trust you - quite the opposite. Try some food bribery. I have an article about it at http://www.littlefeatheredbuddies.com/info/taming-bribery.html that lists several possible starting points depending on how fearful the bird is. Figure out which one works for you and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Probably shouldnt have said grab- I just get her on my hand and bring her to my chest while putting my other hand over her back gently to keep her from flying away. She's never been bothered by that before and I've always tried to let her see what Im doing with my hands specifically so she doesnt get afraid or surprised like that.

I let her out this morning and she was behaving just as scared but I've managed to get her on my chest like that and scratch her for a bit even though she did seem alert though. She's now climbed up my shoulder and is seeming pretty calm to sit there and sleeping, but anytime I make the slightest movement she looks like she's about to take off.

And yeah I've been trying food bribery. She normally would always take food from me but she just stares at me now. Ive been dropping little treats I know she likes including millet spray in her cage and her perch dish near me but she just stares still and leaves it for a long time until an hour or so later to try it.

Edit: Actually I think I might have just realised what the problem is, or part of it. My husband bought me a new special backrest thing to put on my chair for my bad back on christmas afternoon (the day she started behaving this way), not the first time I've had one of these but the first like it. I had it sitting beside the couch out of view this morning when I brought her in my room and she was willing to sit with me. Once I picked it up she panicked and flew out of reach, put it back down behind the couch, she calmed down. Just hid it under a towel so she cant see it at all and she's still worked up but she's seeming far more willing now to let me touch her and go near her once she cant see that thing. Now she's immediately sitting in her food dish gobbling up the treats in there.

I'm not sure if thats what her problem was but it seems she definitely didn't like that thing.
 

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If that is what caused the panic, you may have to slowly ease her into being used to it. When there is something Joey doesn't seem comfortable with, I will put it as far away from him as I can, but where he can see it, in an area of the room he doesn't go to much. I will leave it there a while, then move it a bit closer. Once it is near enough he is completely aware of it being near, I talk to him about it, about how nice it is, asking if he likes it, telling him I like it, etc. Some things take a little longer than others. Some things don't bother him at all. I suppose each tiel has things they are unsure of.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Im fairly certain that is what it was, since after keeping it out of sight all morning she's now crawled her way back onto my chest and cuddling me again. I'll try that to get her used to it over time
 

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It is a relief to know you're fairly certain you have pinpointed the cause, and that is was nothing you might have done without realizing, or intending to. So sweet she is back to her cuddly self.
 

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To Grab Or Not To Grab...

I have a 'tiel that recently regressed with me, too. A very reputable bird place told me that if I start to go to my bird to pick him up, I should never back off if he is scared because that lets him believe he is the dominant one calling all the shots. I had asked her what to do if he flies onto the ground. She told me to grab him for sure and make sure he knows I will not let him call the shots, so now I am confused.

Of course, when I did grab him yesterday, it terrified him, which led to him biting me quite hard. I know that's his natural response to him being scared, so I'm not upset with him for doing it.

I lean more towards the idea that grabbing him just scares him and causes him to not trust me, but at the same time, what the bird lady told me sounds reasonable. I understand that in the animal world, there is almost always a dominant personality needed.

I should also add that this little guy will not respond to food bribery AT ALL. If i go near him with millet, scrambled eggs, or Cheerios (all his favorites), he will not come near me. It's as if he knows what I'm trying to do, and he's not having any part of it.

Thoughts or advice anyone can share?
 

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I have a 'tiel that recently regressed with me, too. A very reputable bird place told me that if I start to go to my bird to pick him up, I should never back off if he is scared because that lets him believe he is the dominant one calling all the shots. I had asked her what to do if he flies onto the ground. She told me to grab him for sure and make sure he knows I will not let him call the shots, so now I am confused.

Of course, when I did grab him yesterday, it terrified him, which led to him biting me quite hard. I know that's his natural response to him being scared, so I'm not upset with him for doing it.

I lean more towards the idea that grabbing him just scares him and causes him to not trust me, but at the same time, what the bird lady told me sounds reasonable. I understand that in the animal world, there is almost always a dominant personality needed.

I should also add that this little guy will not respond to food bribery AT ALL. If i go near him with millet, scrambled eggs, or Cheerios (all his favorites), he will not come near me. It's as if he knows what I'm trying to do, and he's not having any part of it.

Thoughts or advice anyone can share?
They told you wrong, grabbing a reluctant or scared bird only teaches him that you are the big scary monster... It scares them and breaks trust... It will not teach them that you are dominant and they have to do as you say... It teaches them that you are scary and to run, fly away or bite. I have a young male here... It is funny cuz I hand fed him, I handled him from hatch and raised him from 3-4 weeks on... At weaning he decided he was scared of people... For no absolute reason.. He would fling himself onto the floor or fly off in a panic if you looked at him. He had to be clipped to prevent flying into the wall full speed to get away. We just let him be.. He is loose all day in the bird room and has a way to climb back onto the cages when he gets on the floor. Then he decided hubby and son were ok, but I was still a monster.... Over the months he has gotten so hubs and son can step him up and cuddle him ... then he allowed me to get him to step up and only recently will allow me to touch his back.. Once in a while. But he has the hots for his mother and is she is near all bets are off, he is a biting machine. And God forbid we lock her in her cage and go to put him in his cage... He gets extremely upset, he bites and throws a temper tantrum. He's a drama queen....lol but the point of this long story is he went from acting petrified to looking for attention from certain members of the family and being able to be handled by all members on his terms. He is happy in his own way so we are ok with him the way he is. All of my other babies have been super sweet little love bugs who have gone on to new homes and are very tame and spoiled.
 
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