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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, today I went to the local pet shop to look at the birds. I told myself that I wouldn't buy a tiel from the pet store, I'll get a hand-raised bird instead. Well, there I was, looking at this young tiel (I was told he was approximately 8 months old). Turns out the other tiels he was kept with kind of ganged up on him and plucked out the feathers around his neck. I couldn't just leave him there! So :( I bought him, then I bought a cage I was told would be large enough for him, and some bird seed. The toys, for now, would be home made. I named him Ergo

Is it normal for tiels to be sleepy when they first get home? My boyfriend and his little brother helped me set up his cage (they used to own birds). He shivered for a while and still trembles when I come near. But I'm now looking at him and he is asleep or dozing on a perch. I would've thought he'd have been too stressed to fall asleep? Is this normal?

Also, he has not been handled and is not used to human hands. What is the best way to get him used to being touched? I know I'll need a lot of patience, but am not sure how to go about it exactly, especially with him trembling in fright every time I come near.

Are they usually really loud when they first get home? This one has only made one sound since after he was taken out to get his wing clipped at the shop. It was a little chirp when he heard the phone ring.

How can I make him as comfortable as possible? He has food and water, but my boyfriend told me not to expect him to eat anything in the first day or so. I put a bit of apple in his cage and the bf's brother put in a little cracker, which he swears he saw Ergo approach and taste until Ergo realized someone was watching him.


Thanks

- Liza

P.S.: will take photos soon.
 

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First of all congrats on your new family member! :D

Well, today I went to the local pet shop to look at the birds. I told myself that I wouldn't buy a tiel from the pet store, I'll get a hand-raised bird instead.
I told myself exactly the same thing and guess where i got Cookie. :p

Well, there I was, looking at this young tiel (I was told he was approximately 8 months old). Turns out the other tiels he was kept with kind of ganged up on him and plucked out the feathers around his neck. I couldn't just leave him there!
It's a shame pet shops don't separate them when things like this happen. :( Good on you for giving him a good home though!

So :( I bought him, then I bought a cage I was told would be large enough for him, and some bird seed. The toys, for now, would be home made. I named him Ergo
What size is the cage (measurements)? I saw a "cockatiel" cage at the pet shop the other day which was too small for even a budgie. Pet shop people will often tell you anything, but judging from your initial dislike of cages in general i can't imagine you coming home with anything too small! :) It should be large enough for a few types of perches (e.g. 1 natural like a tree branch, 1 rope and 1 cement), food and water bowls, a few toys and the bird.

Is it normal for tiels to be sleepy when they first get home? My boyfriend and his little brother helped me set up his cage (they used to own birds). He shivered for a while and still trembles when I come near. But I'm now looking at him and he is asleep or dozing on a perch. I would've thought he'd have been too stressed to fall asleep? Is this normal?
Moving is really stressful for birds, so yes it's normal for them to be quiet and afraid when they get home. I wouldn't be too worried just yet, cover up part of the cage to give Ergo some extra security and give him a few days to settle in. Runny poos for the first 24-48 hours can also occur from stress, but if they persist it could mean illness in which case a vet visit would be necessary. I expect he will perk up in the next couple of days though! ;)

Also, he has not been handled and is not used to human hands. What is the best way to get him used to being touched? I know I'll need a lot of patience, but am not sure how to go about it exactly, especially with him trembling in fright every time I come near.
Seeing as he's not a baby i would go about taming him the slow way with lots of patience. Let him be apart from changing his food and water for the first few days and whenever you pass his cage talk quietly to him and tell him how gorgeous he is and anything else. This will get him used to you and your voice. Then start spending more time near his cage talking to him, etc and eventually start putting your hand in his cage and seeing if he will step on your finger. It will probably take a while, but it will be worth it for you and Ergo. :D

Are they usually really loud when they first get home? This one has only made one sound since after he was taken out to get his wing clipped at the shop. It was a little chirp when he heard the phone ring.
Cockatiels aren't terribly loud in general. The males sing but not constantly. He probably won't make a lot of noise until he's settled in and comfortable in his environment.

Did the pet shop only clip one wing? If so do you know someone who can do the other? It's unbalancing and potentially dangerous for a bird to have just one wing clipped, like trying to row with only one paddle. Ergo will be lots happier evened out. If you are comfortable doing it yourself you can carefully wrap Ergo in a towel and use a pair of nail clippers to clip one feather at a time. I find it hard to go wrong with this method. Having two people helps a lot.

How can I make him as comfortable as possible? He has food and water, but my boyfriend told me not to expect him to eat anything in the first day or so. I put a bit of apple in his cage and the bf's brother put in a little cracker, which he swears he saw Ergo approach and taste until Ergo realized someone was watching him.
Your boyfriend is right that he probably won't eat for the first little while. I would only leave him with seed and water until he's comfortable and then introduce the veggies. I would stay away from crackers and other salty/fatty/sugary foods altogether. If you can buy some spray millet a lot of birds find that irresistable and it might get him eating. ;)


P.S.: will take photos soon.
Looking forward to seeing Ergo!! :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Bea.

I'm actually afraid that the cage they suggested -is- a bit too small. It came with two wooden ledges, but I will be putting more in. It's more wide than it is tall. I'm not sure of the exact measurements, I'll post them here when I find the tape measure. I'm currently running around the house looking for anything I can use as a toy for the cage. I already have some bouncy corks and multi-colored beads suspended from the top of the cage.

Thanks for the clipping advice. At the shop they said that the point of clipping was to unbalance them; I thought it sounded a bit off at first, but thought they'd know more about it than I do anyway. Also, how much is supposed to be clipped? Because they seemed to clip quite a bit of the feathers off.
 

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Thanks, Bea.

I'm actually afraid that the cage they suggested -is- a bit too small. It came with two wooden ledges, but I will be putting more in. It's more wide than it is tall. I'm not sure of the exact measurements, I'll post them here when I find the tape measure. I'm currently running around the house looking for anything I can use as a toy for the cage. I already have some bouncy corks and multi-colored beads suspended from the top of the cage.
I'm sure the cage will do for now anyway! If you do find it to be too small you can buy a small flight cage (45cm x 45cm x 75cm) either on eBay or from most pet shops for $50-$60. That's a comfortable size for one cockatiel and a great price. :)

At the top of this forum there's a DIY toy thread with loads of ideas you could copy or get inspiration from! :D I wouldn't worry about it too much right now as chances are he's too scared to play anyway.

Thanks for the clipping advice. At the shop they said that the point of clipping was to unbalance them; I thought it sounded a bit off at first, but thought they'd know more about it than I do anyway. Also, how much is supposed to be clipped? Because they seemed to clip quite a bit of the feathers off.
I'll try to find a little diagram. The feather should be clipped quite high up and 4-5 feathers from the outer flights on each wing should be clipped. The purpose of clipping is to prevent height gain and limit flight to make taming easier. I keep my tiels partially clipped (3-4 flights on each wing) to stop them tearing around the house at break neck speed.

In this diagram it shows what point to clip and which feathers you can clip (the yellow and green ones). I wouldn't take all of the feathers shown though, just 4-5. Hope this helps!

And by the way, it would be nice to think pet shop employees are knowledgable about birds but just about anyone can be employed at a pet shop. :rolleyes: There are exceptions and i've come across some truly helpful people at pet shops :D but more often i find myself biting my tongue as i listen to the garbage that comes pouring out their mouths.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hm, I might try to clip the other wing myself when he lets me touch him; I don't want to put any more stress on him just yet.

Thanks, Plukie, I hope so :)
 

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Bea I agree with the not so knowledgable pet shop people, I swear i think most pet shops get their employees out of a cracker jack box! the last time I went to a pet shop and got a bird, I couldn't bite my tounge NO more and I told the guy off! I told him he'd have better luck getting the birds if he didn't have the stupid glove on, if he was afraid of a little budgie bite, i felt really sorry for him and I went off because there was no food or water in the cages just millet thrown on the bottom, if you want to call them cages anyway! they were built into the wall and were very small, and in front of the "cage" was plexi glass which he had to unlock and remove to get to the actuall wire of the cage to get to the birds, he didn't know the differnce between males and females ( on the older ones that had no bars on the head at all!) I told him I wanted a certain bird pointed it out and he gave me the wrong one, he gave me a male that was total the wrong color that I told him how can you mess up and give some one a green/yellow ( normal wild budgie color) male when they ask for the Yellow/greyish/greenish Female?????? ( i still can't tell if Belle's my budgie haze is grey or green but I can tell she's got a Grey Tail feather just one though)

But I was also wondering about wing clipping - are tiels done the same was as budgies? do you cut the same feathers and same amounts?? I wasn't sure since they are bigger, or if size didn't matter and all birds get the same wings/amounts cut

I know it's best to start off with just trimming a small amount when you 1st do it, see how well they can still fly, if they're still a great flyer, you catch em and trim a little more until you get the correct amount off, I also know when they go to fly you Do NOT want them to pretty much plumit straight to the ground(which is how belle is - she was clipped at a pet shop and i wasn't happy when i got her home I've had her since the end of aug. and she still CAN NOT FLY, the rest that were clipped at the pet shop learned in a few days how to fly with shorter feathers) she can't "glide" at all if she's on the floor and trys to take off flying (say to get back up to the cage) it's more of a Hop and wing flap and she never gets off the ground, I gotta put my hand down on the ground for her to step up on to an then I lift her up to where she was heading - - and she is just now starting to realize i'm not a enemy, she used to Run as soon as i stood up and hid in places she knew i couldn't reach ( way under my bed) there are times she'll still do it, so i'll sit patiently and wait for her to come out and my hand will be sitting there for her when she's finally realized "hey this thing helps me alot get to where i'm going lets catch a ride" and I feel so bad for her, She sits and watches the other budgies flying all around ( they're clipped but can still get from Point A to Point B safely they can all b on the playgym and then just decide they're done and all fly back over to the cage leaving Belle alone, and it almost sounds like she crys at times because she can't join in the fun I can't wait till her feathers grow back so she can fly right.... I've already told my b/f once they grow back I'm going to let her keep them all for a bit get used to flying before we trim them(correctly of course) it is almost like she was clipped before ever learning to fly
 

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You already got some great advice here so I will just add congrats on the new edition :D you did a good thing by rescuing him I am sure he will adjust nicely in a loving home after a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks for everyone's replies :) Ergo is already doing much better, I think. He's actually started playing with some of the toys I made for him and ate a bit of seed until he noticed me watching him. I was in the room when he was climbing all over his cage and decided to take a chance and see how he'd respond to my hand. So I opened the cage door and placed my hand inside, not moving. He seemed to ignore it for the most part, which I took to be a good sign. I gradually moved my hand farther into the cage, talking to him the entire time. He paced back and forth in the cage as he was doing before (I'm not sure if this was a good or bad thing; when I first brought him home and he was terrified he'd just sit in one spot and shake, so I assumed moving around could only be an improvement?). He even stepped on my hand several times, probably by accident, but didn't seem extremely spooked or anything.

Anyway, I noticed him getting sleepy an hour ago so I covered up his cage and can't wait to see him again tomorrow morning :)

Edit: But now I'm wondering. Was it wrong of me to put my hand in his cage? Is it meant to be their safety zone, where they know they don't have to worry about their personal space being invaded?

- Liza
 

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I'm wondering. Was it wrong of me to put my hand in his cage? Is it meant to be their safety zone, where they know they don't have to worry about their personal space being invaded?
- Liza
no its not wrong of you :) my hands are always in the cage its something they get use to with cleaning out dishes and puting in and changing toys around, I also put my hand in when I want to take them out, Georgie always hisses at me when I do I just ignore her and she steps up fine and Ollie he is so use to my hand he see's it coming and he jumps right on ;)

Sounds like your making great progress in no time he will see your hands as a good thing, and stepping up already is great he will being doing it will ease in no time he seems to be getting use to you already.
 

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But now I'm wondering. Was it wrong of me to put my hand in his cage? Is it meant to be their safety zone, where they know they don't have to worry about their personal space being invaded?

Hey Liza. I went to go through ur question but you already got some advice and there's no sense in repeating it.:p I agree with Laura- there is NOTHING wrong with you putting your hand inside their cage. As a matter of fact, I would recommend it since a tiel that does not have alot of interaction inside the cage can because very terrotorial, (biting,etc).
Keep attemping to handle him while he's still getting use to the new home and you. Alot of people tend to give them a few days and I think that's a mistake. Ideally, you should share your space with him and he should share his with you. :) I'm glad to hear you rescused him since I too went through something simliar. Be glad your doesn't have broken skin.

I know you may not want to do this but I would try clipping it's primary flights just to gain some leverage for taming purposes. If your tiel has not been hand raised, abused and also is a bit older that might be the easiest way to go. They grow back in case you change your mind.
 
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