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Discussion Starter #1
I've never touched a bird before and I'm unsure of how to go about cleaning the cage. I've been researching as much as I can about birds and most sources suggest not touching or holding the bird until they go up to you and aren't afraid. My husband tilted the travel crate-thing to get them to go in the cage. Any time they see my hand in the cage, they hiss and either climb away or lunge to bite me. Do I have to take them out of the cage to do the weekly deep-clean?
 

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Yes, that's the best way to make sure that the cage is free of bacteria. Usually it's best to keep a small holding cage on hand for this purpose. It your bird was hand fed it might be willing to step up on a spare perch or wooden dowel instead of your hand. But if that fails I would get a rag and wrap him in it so he can't bite and remove him from the cage slowly because you don't want his feet or beak caught on anything as you take him out. If his feet are clamped on something which they more than likely will apply gentle pressure to the feet or nails along the cage's outside so he loses his grip. If his beak is clamped it's just a waiting game hold him and eventually he'll let go. I have not had troubles with birds I have done this to. Also if it bites you, do not yell or react. That sort of behavior encourages birds to bite.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My bird's last home was an aviary and the owner had a real strong accent so I didn't ask him much about them. I'm assuming though that they weren't hand-raised, as they are are afraid of my hands and anything (like a perch or food dish) that I hold near them.

They did come in a wooden breeder-type carrier so I can put them in that. I think I'll have to use a towel and have my husband help me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I cleaned the cage last night. My husband used a towel over his hand to shoo the birds out into the room to let them fly free while I took the cage to the bathroom. Stella flew into the wall, then stayed on the floor. Jaeger flew up to the top of the curtains and sang for a while.

After I set up the cage again, I kept the door open with a new dish of food to lure them back. It didn't work so we went about catching them. My husband caught Jaeger after a while of him running around on the floor. He said that once in his hands, Jaeger grabbed on to his finger and stayed calm.

I tried to catch Stella with a towel but she flew away a few times. The last attempt, she flew into another wall and left a blood splatter behind. It must have come from her mouth or nose because there wasn't any blood on her. After that, she just ran away. I caught her with the towel a few times but would either catch a tail or wing so I'd have to let her go. After many failed attempts, my husband had a go at it. He gave up using the towel and caught her with his hands. She bit him a couple times and screamed but he got her back in the cage.

They seemed ok when we went to bed but this morning, I noticed Jaeger has a bloody spot on his chest. I think one of them was stressed and plucked it. When I first got the birds, I noticed a hole (no blood) in the same spot but now I think it's the same thing.

I think until I get them hand trained, the next cage cleanings will be with the birds still in the cage. I used a mixture of apple cidar vinegar and water so it shouldn't hurt them, right? I don't want them to get so stressed out anymore.

By the way, I would keep the door of their cage open all the time I'm home but I have dogs and they're still vetting used to having new animals in the house.
 

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I think it would be best to clip there wings for now until they are tamer or you can put them in a small room( bathroom) but make sure the toilet seat is closed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here's a pic of Jaeger's chest.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had thought about putting them in the bathroom but one whole wall is basically mirrors so I think they'd fly into them.

I was thinking about clipping the wings until we bond but I have to hold them to do it. Plus I have to convince my husband because he doesn't believe in clipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's the Cockatiel Starter Kit from All Living Things. I know it's small but I had originally planned on getting just one bird and the guy I got them from didn't want me to get the wrong gender and/or spit them up so I got both. I'm saving up for a nice big cage and will use this one for a travel/sick cage.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'll post a pic when I can. It's not letting me attach right now.
 

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I looked it up -- yes, it's very small. I think you would have an easier time cleaning a flight cage, which is a great size for two birds. The grate slides out, which is REALLY handy, and the cage is large enough that the birds can just move to the other side while the inside is being spot-cleaned. For now, though, it seems like your cage detaches from the base, and the grate is probably removable. Right? So you can simply lift the top off, bird and all, and take out the base to be cleaned. Perches can be removed, spot-cleaned and put back one by one. I wouldn't force them out, that seems very stressful. I also wouldn't clip their wings, unless it's a light clip as a one-time thing, but that's just me. :)
 

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You can tell your husband that clipping will help keep the birds safe until they've become more comfortable in their new home. It's a temporary measure because the feathers will grow back eventually, and they can be fully flighted later on. Even handfed babies are prone to panic flying in a new home, and untame birds are much more so. It isn't fair to the birds to keep them locked up in a small cage for the weeks and months that it might take for them to become fully tame. It also isn't fair to subject them to the risk of injury and death that comes with flying wildly around inside the house, and the stress of being chased around by a large animal that might want to eat them for all they know. The clipping can be moderate; you don't have to render them completely flightless, just slow them down considerably.

The Prevue F040 is a nice and relatively inexpensive large cage: http://www.amazon.com/Prevue-Products-Wrought-F040-31-Inch/dp/B00176F5L0 I have its bigger brother, the F050 http://www.amazon.com/Prevue-Hendryx-F050-Products-Hammertone/dp/B0002AQ228 and the quality is quite decent for the price. The food cups that come with the cage are inconvenient though, and I use this kind instead: http://www.amazon.com/ProSelect-Stainless-Steel-Hanging-8-Ounce/dp/B000GDZ0GK
 

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P.S. The wound on Jaeger's chest looks like a keelbone injury. The breastbone in birds is very large - here's a picture from http://www.biology-resources.com/drawing-bird-skeleton.html :


There isn't much padding on top of the leading edge and the skin is prone to splitting open when the bird crashes into something chest first. Keelbone injuries are a major risk for birds that have been over-clipped and can't fly or glide at all, so they fall to the floor like a rock when they try to fly. They can also be a problem when a bird is flying fast and hits something chest first, although head-first injuries tend to be more common.
 

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Somehow I missed that picture of Jaeger's chest before. :( I hope he's okay!! I would try to get him seen by an avian vet ASAP.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I've been working on hand training the birds before letting them out of the cage again. They still hiss if I get too close but Stella will eat millet from a spray from my hand. As long as she doesn't touch my finger, which caused her to freak out and run away.

I decided to take a chance and let them come out of the cage on their own. Jaeger stayed away from the door the whole time but Stella (who sings to me all the time) climbed around the whole outside of the cage right away. At one point, she even flew to my shoulder and stayed there for about 2 minutes before taking off back to her cage. She had no crash landings this time. Yay!!

Anyway, I wanted to share my socialization progress with you guys.

By the way, is it possible for the girl to sing a lot and the boy barely says anything? What are some sex-specific behaviors I should use to help figure out which is which? I haven't seen any heart wings yet.

Also, Jaeger is fine now.
 
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