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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want my Charlie to eat with his feet, does this come naturally or do we have to encourage it, if so how? At what age?
How many of you have little ones that eat with their feet?

thanks :confused:
 

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Rosy only picks up pellets with her feet. That's the only way she eats them. On the odd occasion Coco will hold seeds or pellets between his foot and the perch. He doest hold it up. The rest of them don't even attemp it
 

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not all tiels do it, in fact, very few actually do. it's debated whether it's genetic or a learned behaviour. my female cockatiel does it, always has. but my male attempts to and is clumsy about it. i'm afraid it's not likely something he can learn easily. not saying impossible, but it's not very likely
 

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Evian (DNA female) eats with her feet and picks up toys with her feet. I had a cockatiel as a kid (a male) that did not, and I've never actually seen another cockatiel do it from friends' birds I've been around. I've only seen pictures of some that do. My other birds (Grey and Galah) do, of course (which is norm for their species) but Evian didn't learn it from them. She was doing it when she was still in QT before she even saw them. I'll have to ask her breeder if her mom and/or dad or any siblings do it. Interesting topic.
 

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My new tiel Echo (not sure of sex) uses her feet a lot for playing and picking things up but my male, Smokey never uses his feet for anything except climbing around.
 

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I suspect that eating with the feet is instinctive but cockatiels are evolving away from it and most of them don't have the natural inclination. Genetically, cockatiels belong to the black cockatoo family and the other cockatoos use their feet a lot. But cockatiels have evolved toward eating habits similar to the grass keets and don't need to use their feet this way any more. Before DNA analysis was possible, no one was sure whether cockatiels were members of the cockatoo family or the grass keet family.

Shodu eats with her feet and so do all of her children. But none of my other tiels do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think you may have a point here a lot of instinctual behaviors go asunder when we domesticate our animals. Sadly..
 

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Hank eats larger treats with her feet..pretzels and popcorn type things
she also picks up toys with her feet and chews/plays with them..I wasn't even aware they could do that but she does it all the time
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hank eats larger treats with her feet..pretzels and popcorn type things
she also picks up toys with her feet and chews/plays with them..I wasn't even aware they could do that but she does it all the time
I will have to try giving him larger treats, I am new at this and will learn,
that is a lovely pic of your baby..thanks

Pop corn huh? nice idea...
 

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I think you may have a point here a lot of instinctual behaviors go asunder when we domesticate our animals. Sadly..
I suspect that the change is because of natural evolution rather than domestication. Cockatiels are going in a different direction than the other cockatoos and don't need to use their feet the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have heard some people say that giving them foods like whole peanuts or popcorn possibly encourages them to use their feet.

But honestly I will not love him any less if he never does... :)
 

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I'm not sure a cockatiel can actually eat a whole peanut, it's pretty big for their beak.

My birds eat popcorn the same way they eat everything else. If they don't use their feet for other things they don't use them for popcorn. If they do use their feet to eat other things, they'll use them with the popcorn too.
 

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I think this is genetic behavior, I am by no means an expert but I have a female that has done this since the day I bought her 10 years ago, and at least 1 baby out of every one of her clutches has done this (she usually lays 4-5 eggs), but I kept one of her sons from her last clutch, he is almost 5 and he does it as well. They hold just about everything, they pull off a big piece of millet and hold it, veggies, nutriberries, avicakes, anything on the bigger side.
I have a picture of them somewhere, I have so many pictures to go through.
But if someone were to ask me I would say it is genetic.
 

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None of my 'tiels have even attempted to use their feet. They seem to like using their beaks for everything. Every once in a while I'll see one of them grab something (like a toy) with their beak and then with their foot, but it's very clumsy and they almost immediately put their foot back down.
 

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Also, I tear off tiny pieces of the millet (just a ball) and hand it to him. He will take it with his beak and put it in his foot.

This is him tearing apart a piece of his Playgym.



You can see how Farrah is learning. Maybe scoot some toys away from perches so he has to reach for them. Hopefully he will try to hold it with his foot to play.



 

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My Freya is a lot like Meagan's Farrah in this way (and other ways!). She wants to hold things with her feet but is clumsy about it. Usually when he gets really into playing with a toy she will sort of grasp at it with her foot. She does not even attempt to hold food, though.
 

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I wish Vivi would try to hold his treats in his foot, but he is only 4 months old and still has a little difficulty turning around on his perch without losing his balance. I hope this comes later - I am tired of holding all his treats for him all of the time!
 
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