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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone, I haven't posted for a little while but Lila my cockatiel has been growingly anoying. It's to the point that I want to rehome her. So I'll explain everything.

I got her from a petstore. She was around 6 or 7 months I'm guessing. When I first got her she was very quiet loving and over all great. Well nowadays I can't wait to put her away for the night. She's driving me nuts! This is what she does. From the moment that I come home at night she won't be quiet. She'll do a taxi whistle or her female one tone "scream" untill she goes to bed and then she's quiet for the night. She doesn't do this with my boyfriend. I don't talk to her or anything, I'll ignore her for hours and she won't quit! She went to the vet and no health problems. I've read that this kind of behavior has to be inforced somewhere from me but I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. I just want her to be quiet! I know cockatiels have some level of noise but this is constent from the moment I walk through the door.

My boyfriend and I are planning on having a baby and I can't have her yelling all day with a baby! It's going to be chaos! I want to try to fix what I'm doing wrong, but I don't know what it is. PLEASE HELP!:eek:
 

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She sounds bored or lonely. If you handleing her and are doing that less now maybe thats the problem. Maybe she needs shredding toys or something to occupy herself maybe foraging toys. Even if you dont handle the bird and maybe it is used to flying or even just looking out the window they give a little reminder. Some times I cover the cage as a sort of punishment. I even move the cage so I am out of his sight but of course he recognizes my voice but I do this if I am getting up early to get ready and sneeking out to work and wouldnt be talking to children anyway I will put him in the kids room so he cant see me. I hope this helps and good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have been handling her less lately... Maybe I should start to handle her a bit more, I'll try that. Maybe she is bored. The problem with toys is that when I'm around she won't touch them, she'll obessively whistle or yell over and over again. The only time she plays with them is when I'm not around. :(
 

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If your schedule has changed she probably noticed it so you have to try to fit in time somewhere and get her used to a reliable routine. Also babies who grow up in a noisey house are used to it, sudden or different noises is what they eventually notice. Also when you give attention to your bird try to do before the bad behavior starts this way you are not rewarding the bad behavior . This also works for children and dogs!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you, I hadn't really thought that shorting my time with her would impact her so much, I thought she'd just get used to it. I guess not. Thank you for the baby advice too, I just got off the pill and it's going to be our first child, i'm exticed and worried about the mini zoo I have and how everyone is going to react. I really don't want to rehome Lila so I'm open to any advice and will try it out. :)
 

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Although screaming is a part of owning a parrot, screaming becomes a behavior problem when a parrot learns to scream excessively for attention. Our reaction to excessive vocalization will determine whether or not this behavior becomes a habitual problem. Birds who are considered screamers have in some way been rewarded for this behavior, even though their reason for screaming is rational from a bird's perspective. It's up to us to identify what has caused screaming in the first place and to either eliminate the source if possible, or to slowly desensitize the bird to the source. We must then identify what we have been doing to reward and reinforce screaming.

Most avian behavior consultants agree that negative behavior like screaming should always be ignored and positive behavior, like being quiet, playing, doing tricks, talking or singing, should be rewarded. However, we often do the exact opposite of what we should be doing by encouraging and rewarding screaming. It's common for even the most dedicated and loving cockatiel owner to ignore a bird when the bird is quietly playing then reacting with strong emotion and drama when a negative behavior like screaming is exhibited.


Your bird perceives any type of reaction to screaming as attention and a reward. If your bird screams and you come rushing into the room or go up to her cage or if she screams and you yell at her to simmer down and be quiet you are giving her the attention she wants, you are reinforcing the behavior. It doesn't matter if it's negative or positive attention, it's still attention.

It's much easier to prevent screaming than it is to deprogram a bird and stop screaming once it becomes a habit and a constant call for attention. It takes a great deal of patience to stop screaming but it can be done. Avian Behavior Consultant Liz Wilson states that it takes about 10 days to eliminate an undesirable sound, like an annoying word, from a bird's repertoire, and you do this by ignoring the word. Getting a bird to stop screaming can take much longer. The habit did not develop overnight it's not surprising if it takes just as long to undo the behavior that we reinforced for so many months. There's also a pretty good chance that the screaming will get louder and longer at first. Have patience and be firm. Ignore the screaming and do not show any reaction to it at all.

1) Do not reward screams. Whenever you rush over to your bird in response to a scream, you are teaching your bird that screaming gets the results she wants.

2) Establish a flock call so your bird can keep in contact with you when you leave the room. Choose a word or whistle that your bird recognizes to let your bird know you're home.

3) Use your flock call when you leave the room so your bird knows where you are.

4) Yelling, punishing, responding with anger, banging on the cage bars or any other negative responses will damage the trust your bird has in you. It also teaches your bird that screaming gets desirable results.

5) Make vocal contact with your bird first, before she has a chance to scream for you.

6) Ignore the screaming and only give your bird attention when he is quiet.

7) Walk out of the room and don't come back until your bird stops screaming.

8) Reward and praise your bird for good behavior like playing with toys or making pleasant sounds like chirping, talking or whistling.

9) Lower your energy level. If you are prone to talking or moving quickly and you show excitement in your voice, use a more quiet, slower and calmer voice tone.

10) Keep the cage away from doors and put it up against a wall, near a corner for security.

11) Keep the back of the cage covered so your bird has a place to retreat when frightened.

12) When your bird is hormonal, during Spring and Summer, cover the cage for 14 hours each night for 2 weeks to break the hormonal cycle.

13) If your bird always screams when you have company, move his cage into another room where she will be more comfortable, before your guests arrive.

14) If you know your bird screams when you are cooking, walking the dog, watering the garden or on the telephone, distract him with some millet seed or a favorite toy before you start.

15) Although not always effective and as a last resort, covering the
cage may help to calm a bird that has been over stimulated by noisy children, barking dogs or outside noises. Take the cover off when your bird is quiet.

16) Take your bird out of the cage several times a day when she's quiet, not when she starts screaming, to break up boredom and give her the attention she needs.

17) Put your bird on a play gym when you are in another room folding laundry, paying bills, reading etc. This gives your bird extra out of cage time.

18) Keep a supply of colorful, interesting, shreddable and movable toys in the cage and rotate them every week to keep your bird busy.

Do you have a routine set up for her? you may want to start one up asap if you can, and make sure the bird is somewhere where there's lots of activity.. ie: lounge room if you're in there a lot.
 

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Hi. My male cockatiel, Jackie, was horrible with constant screaming for may attention. It was driving me crazy. Then when I met my husband he had a young male cockatiel, Rocky (Jackie was two at the time). At first they did not get along but eventually they bonded and Jackie was not nearly as demanding of my attention. They still made noise but it was not that constant annoying screaming. When my first son was born, the noise the two tiels made could be a problem at times, so I would cover their cage before putting the baby to sleep and that helped a lot. Then couple years later Rocky died very suddenly. I started spending a lot more time with Jackie to make up for it, but he once again became very demanding. It was not too much of a problem because I was at home most of the day so I would just carry him around with me as I followed my son around the house (but if I did not have him with me for several hours each day he would scream bloody murder). Then when I got pregnant with my second son I decided to get Jackie a new friend since I knew that with a new baby I would not have too much time for him. We got a baby tiel, Tiko, that turned out to be a girl. Once again it took some time but they got to like each other and Jackie once again became more calm and quiet. At this time I also had a cockatoo and budgies. Again when the baby was born I had to cover the cages so that the birds would not scream and wake the baby. After a while everyone got into a routine and the baby and birds would all take their nap at the same time and the birds did not mind that I covered them up. Now Jackie is 16 years old, Tiko is 4 years old and the kids are 8 and 3. The birds are really good and more quiet then the kids:). Even my cockatoo is a quiet bird and they are know for being screamers. Besides the birds we also have several other pets and I do have to say that having a new baby and a "zoo" can be frustrating at times but it is not impossible and worth the extra effort (and kids grow up and everything changes and gets easier).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for the advice Mika! I'm not sure if I want to get another tiel right away put I'll keep that in mind. :)
 

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Another thing top realize is that cockatiels are noisy animals- mine is the same way, and since I've had him I don't sleep past 9- but I knew that well before I got him- it may just be simply because she is a very verbal bird- in that case you could maybe work with her more to build an actual vocabulary- that may also help control the noise! Hope that helps!
 

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This is why i had to rehome my 4 tiels that i had a couple yrs ago. I would not be able to sleep! And i had a headache constantly. I live in an apt. so there's not really an option of putting them in a room where they can make all the noise they want. In the mornings all 4 would scream for whatever reason. I couldnt figure it out cause i would let them out their cage, they had everything they needed, toys, food, etc. They were just loud and if one would start screaming so would the other. I got fed up and none were bonded to me, they were wild from the start that we got them so i rehomed them 2 by 2. The 2 that were bonded i guess i gave to one person and so on. Then i said..well i'll never get more than 1 cockatiel at a time cause i dont want that happening again. So now i ended up getting 1 but 1 more was available and i had to take it cause the owner didnt handfeed...so i have picked one-the younger one and will be rehoming the older one. Reason is the younger one and me bonded. I think as long as you have 1 you can train it not to scream. Even if you have more than 1, just that i dont know how to do that lol The ones i have now scream in the mornings as soon as they hear me even move so i just ignore then until they stop.
 

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Screaming all the time is not normal. Please read books, articles to find out why they do it so that WE know how not to trigger it and can change their behaviour. A good book on this is the parrot problem solver by Barbara Heidenrich. People will always have problems, blame the birds, rehome them till they educate themselves on parrot behaviour.

Birds will flock call, that is what they do, making sure that all in their flock, feathered or otherwise check in and are ok, usually morning and night but can at other times as well depending on what is happening around them. Checking in with them often stops this as their needs are then fulfilled. Rewarding when they do noises, behaviours that you do like also helps, but only if you are willing to want to try as persistence and consistency are needed. Not bothering just one time can set you back to the beginning.

I have 2 hens and my son's male is here and has been about a month. Yes they call in the mornings, yes we check in with them that we are ok, yes they stop. One calls if we go down the hall, I tell her I am only going for a pee, she stops. There are reasons for the screaming, you just have to find out why.
 
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