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Hi everyone, this is my first thread - and my first cockatiel!

So I ended up adopting an unwanted cockatiel from a closing down local pet shop. I did plenty of research and learnt a lot about the correct nutrition and diet for cockatiels to flourish.

Unfortunately, no matter what I try, she won't eat anything...apart from the seed they gave her at the petshop. No pellets, no cooked rice / bread /pasta, no leafy greens, no fruit, NOTHING.

I've looked all over online for research and I've tried all the tips (cutting it up into her food, eating it myself while she's sitting with me, tried chopping it all into teeeeny tiny pieces, tried leaving large slices of apple where she chews her cuttlefish bone, etc...)

She's very happy to try anything out of my hand but as soon as she realises it's not seed or millet spray she spits it right out. She won't even eat other types of bird seed or nut, just the mix that the pet shop made.

I'm really worried as I know a 100% seed diet is very bad for cockatiels but I've had her for a month and I've tried everything, every day. I'm also worried because the pet shop seed mix is running out, and I've tried mixing it in with other cockatiel seed mixes but she just picks out the bits she wants.

She seems to be in fairly good health (clean feathers, energetic, good flier, friendly and happy, sleeps 10 hours a night) but I know she can't be getting the right nutrition.

What should I do??
 

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Sometimes you have to be sneaky. To get Joey to eat veggies at first, I diced them up really tiny and sprinkled them over his seeds. He wouldn't get near pellets until I started hand feeding them as treats. Then he decided they were pretty great. He still won't touch fruit, and is picky about his veggies, but he is improving.

Each bird goes at his or her own pace. Some foods will never be interesting to her, but patience is key. Just keep offering a bit of this or that daily. Sometimes seeing you eat the food and showing that you enjoy it will spark curiosity. She will also eat other seeds when she gets hungry. Maybe hold her favorite seed back and offer other food for most of the day, but give that if she doesn't eat for most of the day.
 

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Try blending some cooked vegetables/beans, then mix through honey, and some seed. I find the honey tends to get them going, and they have no choice but to try the blended mix if they want their seed. :p Won't work with every bird, but worked for my current tiel, my previous tiel, and 7 budgies.

Also, a lot of store bought cockatiel seeds contain sunflower seeds, which are very fatty for tiels. I feed Rocky budgie seed, which is identical to cockatiel mix, but minus the sunflower seeds. Perhaps try your tiel on budgie seed, and see if he likes that? Look for seed that is of a similar quality (so look at colours, sizes, and type of seed in the packets) to your current seed.

Good luck! :)
 

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A month isn't that long. :) It took me close to three to get Sunny to eat anything other than seeds. Just keep trying. :) The first veggie he ate was broccoli. It took me a long time to get him to eat pellets. So I started making birdie bread and putting ground up pellets and veggies in that. He took to it right away. You might also want to try nutriberries instead of regular pellets. Most tiels like them, including mine- but I have to break them up for him.

Also- sunflower seeds do have nutritional value. I just give them in moderation. :)
 

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Yes don't give up. Try it with her and make her eat it. Maybe she is very used to the seed mix she eats. Maybe you can try giving her treats with the food she doesn't eat. But not treats all the time. Try it at least once a week. I used to feed cookie sunflower seeds everyday and then decided that it could be very unhealthy cause millet is full of fat. And so are sunflowers seeds. I don't give treats so often. I give cookie vegetables more. He loves cabbage. I think leaves are the first thing you should try with your bird. Hope this helps and your bird eats something. Best wishes.
 

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Sorry, I wasn't trying to say don't feed sunflower seeds at all. Just in moderation - buy a separate bag and give out a few as a treat type thing. :) I just feel like giving a tiel sunflower seeds as part of their seed mix would be like us humans eating chocolate with most meals..
 

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I'd say patience and perseverance are key ! My birdy has pretty much wanted to stick just to seeds and the odd millet spray. He soon got into eating nutriberries, broken up and whole. Now I break up the nutriberries over a mash of something (ie some mashed cooked carrot) to get him into eating something different. When I was holding it in my hand for him he even licked a piece of apple 3 times which was a huge step ahah. Keep at it !
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thankyou for all your suggestions guys!! I will keep trying everything.

In other news, my new cockatiel and I are the best of friends. The petshop assured me that she had never had a human home, but I'm not sure that's true, because she came to me almost completely hand tame. She has absolutely no problem being handled or cuddled, and in fact head butts my hands when im not scratching the back of her head. She rides around everywhere clinging on to my clothes and she flies to me when I whistle (I chose not to clip her wings).

She's the most adorably affectionate little bird! Does this sound like a pet shop bird to you?? Not sure if this is normal because my first cockatiel, but I've kept hand tame budgies my whole life and even they weren't nearly as tame as this!

She makes a very weird noise when she's asking for something though - like when she's nibbling treats out of my hand or having her head scratched. Never heard a bird make a noise like that before - a sort of growly, screechy, purring, moaning thing...quite quiet but insistent. Is that normal?!
 

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How old is she? is it this noise? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnOLUqMT0Nw
the sound your describing sounds like a baby beg for food noise. Babies tend to make it even after being weaned it's sort of a comfort thing.
 

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I don't have my cockatiel yet (soon though, the breeder is about to pull two from the nest for hand rearing!) but I was able to get three budgies switched over to what I feel is a pretty healthy diet. My advice is to decide what your ultimate goal is for your little guy's diet and start giving exactly that with as much of his beloved seed mix as it takes for him to accept the food. So if that means that at first it's like 10% of your goal diet mixed with 90% of his current seed mix, then fine, start with that for a week and slowly, week by week, up the ratio of goal food with current food until you're at goal.

I don't think seeds are all that bad, after all, most pet birds lived fairly long lives on seed alone for a long, long time. So a few months of more seed than you feel is healthy isn't going to hurt, especially if you're using it as a vehicle to better eating, at least IMHO.
 
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