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Hello to everyone, my name is Mihai and i am from Romania currently living in Germany for 2 years and i was getting bored of living alone even tho my girlfriend visits me every weekend, recently i bought 2 cockatiels from the local pet store and the age is 1.5 years old, i named them Rick and Morty.I have them for 3 months already and i am having facing some problems.I want to know some things but before i give you a bit of history.At first i started to inform myself about food/care/cage/sleeping time/training,temperature etc, etc. in vast amount but it seems that its never enough, me being me very enthusiastic i wanted to buy the birds asap and young knowing that they can live up to 25-30 years. When i went to the pet shop i asked if they are young and the pet worker said they are pretty young 1.5 years old, and i thought to my self thats really young for someone who lives 25 years, so without hesitation i bought 2 BOYS because i didn`t want to have babies and they would sing more than a female and be more active. Done and done, i bought the birds and i brought them home thinking its going to be very easy with taming them because they are young. The reason that i instantly bought 2 is because i live alone in 1 big room apartment and i work 9 h per day. sunday and friday i am always free and i have time for them. Regarding the cage its a pretttty big one for 2 small cockatiels its more like an outdoor aviary, everything was prepared before their arrival food water toys and sand. Reading online how i should befriend them seemed pretty easy, keep them in cage for a few days to get used with the environment then you can let them out and try training with them. I tried the first few days to train them but they were really scared of me, nothing that i ever tried online worked so far, they are pretty healthy birds they do no show up any signs of health issues i give them vegetables and fruits 2 times per week, recently i started to slowly change their diet into pellets as recommended online Harrison`s food. The main issue with them is that at the beginning they were only scared, but now they both bite when i try to get close to them with my hand, they are very defensive with their spots in the cage, they his at night when i get close to the cage, and for the love of GOD they fighttttttttt like roster fights...its unbelievable how much these 2 can fight over spots to sleep or to stay cozy and comfy, they have so many places where to sleep they both choose the same spot every time. I always say when sleep time comes its fighting time also. They never had any feathers plugged so far or blood or anything but a few down to the ground knock outs and back up for new round.I must add that their wings are not clipped nor their claws either, I feel that if i bring them to vet to cut them, they will hate me or they will fall from the cage and hurt them self. after only 2 weeks at home i decided to show them that their life isnt going to be like it was before, i gave them free flight everyday till sleep time, even when i am at work i open their door in the morning i leave to work and they are outside the cage every single time except for sleeping. Recently i`ve read online that i cant train 2 birds at once because they are distracting each other so i decided to buy a medium size cage and bring every time i come from work inside the cage and into another room for training. I did this 2 times and they screamed without break for 1 hour for each other, and its very difficult to manage to catch one of them and put them in the other cage...so i gave up. I always used millet for positive reinforcement or sun flower seeds, sometimes they are interested sometimes they are not. I stayed near the cage to talk with them calmly i started to insert my hand inside the cage and keep it there for 10 minutes
for like 1 week and they are still scared of me, i cant catch them when they are inside the big cage because they run around and i cant corner them. The only thing that they do is when I offer them seeds they come and take it from my fingers no problem but then they run back scared. When i took 1 of them 2 days inside another room for like 1 hour and i did with pauses the step up game. it was going good till one point that (Rick) he refused to come on my fingers and was trying to fly away from the room but always ended up on the cage because its a small room, for a few minutes i was happy because when he was inside the medium cage and i was getting him out he was coming on my finger without any problems but in the big cage they are very very scared even tho i haven`t done anything bad to them. Now i would like to ask some questions maybe someone from here can help me into taming them because honestly i was thinking in buying a new one like 3 months old but i am scared that they will bully him because hes young and small.I must add that my working program is everyday different. 07-17:00 9-18:00 11-20:00 and i cant have an exact time everyday for training. Example of how much they are out of the cage. If i work from 7:00 till 17:00 i open their door in the morning and then i close it for sleep at 22:00 or 23:00 depending on when i go to sleep. usually its around 23:00.

How can i tame 2 cockatiels at once?
How can i stop them fighting so much?
please help.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

First, congrats on your new babies! Two birds is a lot of work to start off with, especially two at once. You have to build trust and everything you describe is not doing that. That's why they don't trust you and won't come near your hands. You have to grab them to put them in the smaller cage and you grab them for bed time and things like that, which breaks any kind of trust you may have built up with food bribery. You have to go at their pace. Biting is the only way they can say no and for them, biting hard is the only thing that makes you stop doing whatever it is that they don't like.

Doing something for two days is not going to work. Training doesn't happen over night, it takes months to train a bird, especially one that's not tame. I honestly would separate them into two cages right next to each other. They don't sound like a bonded pair, more like bondage and two birds should not fight that much. I had twelve birds at one point and they NEVER fought like that over places to sleep. I'm worried one of them may get hurt. I would put one in one cage and one in the other and go from there.

Go back to the offering of seed from your hand. Do it inside the cage, just sitting there with your hand and talking to them. With cages that big they don't need to be let out, especially when you aren't home to keep an eye on them. If you want to work with them in a different room, try the bathroom. Turn a radio on so that they can't hear each other screaming and go from there.

http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=33824
http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=28661
http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=22073
These three are my favorite stickies we have on taming. I would not recommend getting the new baby. You don't have these two tamed yet and he will copy what they do. Besides that, three is a crowd when it comes to tiels and odd numbers are usually not a good idea. I would also recommend hormone control, even without the ability to lay eggs male tiels can become aggressive when hormonal. http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=32330

Good luck with your birdies!!
 

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When i wrote that i grab them i didn`t mean i grab them with my hand like a predator, i just slowly push my hand to their chest till they come on my hand and then i put them inside the cage. This is how it looks this morning. I separated them and i will try your methods https://imgur.com/a/mh7Qjnx
 

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Love the cage!!

So they will step up for you with some prompting? You need to continue to work on that but give them a treat when they do it so that they will want to do it more. Millet is going to be your friend. Remember that consistency is key and you need to be patient with them and go at their pace.
 

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I will have to make a video so you can understand more of how the situation looks like. Usually they stay on the top of the cage and I approach slowly towards them I say it's time to sleep. And then I bring my hand to make them come on it and say "step up" repeatedly usually Rick comes on my hand when he has no place to go. But Morty flies away does 2 rounds of room and then he lands on my hand because I hold it in front of the cage. And thats how i put them to sleep. Somehow with Rick is a bit easier but with Morty he's scared everytime. And about biting they dont bite till blood they just pinch a bit nothing hard and when they bite I don't back my hand away I keep insisting till they come on my hand
 

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Honestly, when I was taming my birds, I never let them out of the cage in a big room until I was sure they would step up correctly for me. I would take them to the bathroom in their cage, close the door, and work with them in there, that way if they did fly off they didn't have far to go and I don't have to chase them. Remember to keep the training sessions short as tiels have a short attention span.
 

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I envy your cage! But I don’t have that much space for me.

I’m also a new cockatiel owner (I’ve only had my Memo for just about 2 weeks now) and work similar hours as you... and what I’ve learned so far is patience in the beginning. He’s a scared one and used to panic and jump and flap etc whenever I reach into the cage to put his food.

But now, even though he still doesn’t let me touch him, but at least when I reach into his cage, he’s calm and knows what I’m doing. The closest my hands have come to him now without him hissing is 3 inches. So it’s an improvement... but see, that progress took me 2 weeks.

I’m sure those links Roxy gave will help you. So good luck to you (well, us!) I wish you patience and quick progress! 🙂
 

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Buna!

So here is the deal; birds in general have very active nervous systems because they have to be always "on guard" so your behavior while well intentioned I think is also "making a big deal" and maybe making them even more nervous.

Also, option/alt. + return is your friend, as it allows you to do this and break up your text wall.

So, basically, too late now you have 2 males who fight but also miss each other.

Best thing to do is following:

First, have some rubbing alcohol or general antibiotic cream or something because if they bite hard and you bleed the bacteria on their beaks can give you sepsis which is bacterial infection directly in the blood and that is a very serious issue not to be messed with.

Better yet, wear some protective gloves at first - but nothing bright colored or with patterns that can be confused for snakes.

Wait until late at night or early morning and get a small towel and just put it around the birds' body and head to block the view and gently but firmly pick him up.

You will hear a lot of "hissing"; if the bird starts to hyperventilate after a while and you see panting, let them go.

Just relax, bring the bird on a bed or couch and watch TV like it's no big deal.

Remove the towel.

The first few times the bird will escape.

Next few times you'll have a treat on your chest or belly.

No forcing, just get the bird used to the idea of it's ok to be on you.

You have to understand that "1.5 years" while it may seem no big deal to you if they pet store was not too diligent and they didn't take the birds out to play, the bird's nervous system developed literally 100% in a cage.

The cage is not only all they know, it's literally part of their biology.

I have a bird like that and while we've been through a lot and she's given me some wonderful kids, she JUST barely now at 10 years SOMETIMES comes to my hand. But I can't touch her otherwise.

She'll fly on me, but on her terms.

I consider it big progress. When I got her originally letting her out of the cage was ... hard. First time I touched her it was like a grenade going off in my place.

You use gloves or a towel and "normalize" the "new reality" that they cannot have their "strong corners" in the cage; don't pull their legs off the cage just gently grab them and gently pull and then put them on top of the cage.

Then graduate to holding them and putting them on your fingers and let go.

One day you put the hand near the chest and they realize it's out time, it sucks, but it's only 5 seconds till they step on your hand and get on the cage top.

Keep them separate now since you have 2 cages but put the cages side by side.

Also what I've found helps is keep the cage doors open in the day time. Use some wire or something - but careful it's not metal and can't "snag" them if they have night scares.

You need to have patience. It happened for many people, it can happen for your too.

Don't let them make you "back down" with their biting or else they will learn it's an effective tool and do it more.

Use gloves or a towel and act like nothing is happening.

If there is blood, use alcohol on yourself right away to avoid infection.

You can do this!
 

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Wait until late at night or early morning and get a small towel and just put it around the birds' body and head to block the view and gently but firmly pick him up.

You will hear a lot of "hissing"; if the bird starts to hyperventilate after a while and you see panting, let them go.
I'm sorry but I don't recommend this AT ALL. This is severely break any trust that you may have built up with the birds to begin with. You don't want to towel them if you don't have to. There are plenty of other ways to train that don't involve forcing the bird out with you. Go at the bird's pace.
 

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Going at the bird's pace ...

Well, you can go at the bird's pace but since birds are naturally prey animals they will always have a default setting of "I don't know, some weird thing may happen, use caution!"

My point was to fast forward to the point in the bird's mind where they realize that you can "go there" where ever that may be whether it be outside the cage or on your shoulder or being handled and ... nothing bad happens at all.

I've tried both approaches with both newborns I've handled since birth and store-bought/adopted birds and my experience gives me the impression that fast-forwarding this saves months/years of "I don't know ... should I put my foot on the human? I don't know ... something may happen ..."

Basically they seem to behave like people with anxiety problems who tend to overthink things and imagine many bad possible outcomes that usually have no basis in reality.

I don't recommend holding the bird down, just using a towel to transfer it out of its comfort zone and then leaving it alone to realize nothing bad will happen.

The flip side is I've seen people who tried the opposite way and ... 5 years later they're still trying to "gain the birds trust" ... to no success sometimes.

To give you another example some of my birds were terrified my rabbits until I put them on the rabbits back while they were eating; result? They looked at me and the rabbits in panic mode for a few seconds, then realized the rabbits simply don't care one way or another, then the fear subsided and they slid down and joined the rabbits in a session of hay chomping.

Had I not done this I'm guessing these birds would still be flipping out every time a rabbit entered a room. Now they just know it's no big deal because they've already "been there" ie, "touched the rabbit" and there's no more guesswork in a space where fear can grow due to imagination and instincts. The answer to their question of "what will happen" is "nothing." So the fear goes away.

But to each their own.
 

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Well, rabbits and birds should never mix either. There are bacteria that rabbits carry that is dangerous to birds.

Besides that, this is why we recommend food bribery. Food bribery bypasses that whole "should I or shouldn't I" question because it's yummy millet and this human brings me yummy millet. Trust me, it cuts training time down without having to ever towel the bird. Toweling should still be the last thing you do and I wouldn't be recommending it to newbies who are trying to gain their birds trust. Again, you are still forcing the bird to do things it doesn't want to do and that doesn't build trust.
 

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Maybe we both have a point?

Well, rabbits and birds should never mix either. There are bacteria that rabbits carry that is dangerous to birds.
Well, the same can be said about birds and ANY other species, for example - birds and humans shouldn't technically mix because we both have incompatible bacterias that are dangerous to each other.

But here we are on a forum for humans who have birds :)

As for your approach with treats, there something to be said for that, for sure, as well as having patience.

But what this particular person is dealing with is:

(1) 2 male birds who by the description of their behavior have never been handled let alone played with outside of a cage by a human when they were at a pet store for 1.5 years ...

(2) who are at the age where they can start getting hormonal and territorial ...

(3) who have to deal with not only their own fears/hormones but the fact that there is another male bird with similar fears/hormones to deal with and ...

(4) from the poster's description he can only devote 2 days a week to their training.

Which leaves the situation where if he tries to do the training he can have a bit of success, then he has to focus his attention on work for 5 days, then he can try again for 2 days and so on.

This back and forth, start/stop, focus/neglect approach is known to have "resetting" effects on not just birds but just about any human companion.

So I think your approach would be warranted if the birds were younger, or better handled in the pet store, or if it was a male and a female, or if this person could devote a little time to them each and every day to reinforce the behavior changes.

However, since none of these fit his situation and he has limited time, maybe a slightly different approach is warranted.

And as far as trust goes, I had a highly emotional bird die a tragic, prolonged death because between myself and the vet and vet's assistant (mind you this was an Avian vet), we couldn't consistently "gain the birds' trust" to take enough of the medicine she needed once by trying to gently get her to take large volumes of "fruit flavored" sugar water to mask the bitter taste.

I since then learned the correct dosage/bodyweight ratios, order my own meds online and "force" them to take it without any sugar water to make the process that much harder to complete, whether they trust me or not, want to or not, or like it or not.

The result? I've not lost a single bird since to anything treatable by medicine (exception = cancer in inoperable locations) and 2 generations of newbie birds now fight with each other when I give one medicine because they believe it to be some status symbol of extra attention and care.

So whereas before I couldn't get 1 bird to take medicine, now I have to seclude myself in a room with a bird I'm treating unless the other ones rappel down my arms in an effort to try to steal the syringe and get some of the medicine for themselves.

Neither of us is right or wrong, there are just different approaches for different circumstances and the best feeling is knowing you have options and alternatives in case something doesn't work out.

If your way doesn't work he can try my way, or vice versa.

And to add a footnote, NONE of my birds ever got angry at me when I grabbed them with towels; they tended to climb me and turn around and curse and hiss at the towels as if though the towels were a "thing" and it was their fault.
 
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