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Our new 4 month old cockatiel has started screaming these past few days. Today it has been awful. We bought him 2 weeks ago and he was totally hand fed and hand raised by humans. He has never been without humans spoiling him at all hours of the day before and now that he's adjusted, he screams when he is not physically with us, when we leave the room, when he's on his perch or when he's in his cage.

I went out and bought new colorful toys and rearranged his cage. However, since we brought him home he's played with very few of his toys. I'm concerned he doesn't know how to entertain himself with bird toys.

His cage is currently in another room and it is covered. I know to completely ignore this behavior and to reward him when he is quiet, however, when I approach his cage to praise him or give him a treat, he starts screaming again.

What else can I do? How can I show him that there's fun things to do when we're not around? We're not ready to buy another bird nor do I want to face the problem with 2 screaming cockatiels until I am able to conquer just one.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Hi Mawinachu, I have a similarly hand raised 4 month old baby who also doesn't play with toys much. He's been with me almost 3 weeks, and apart from nibbling a bit at a paper toy, he hasn't really played. He does call to me, especially if he's shut in, but mostly when I leave the room he does nothing, which is almost just as scary!

I think perhaps a hand-raised bird hasn't quite learned the foraging behaviours that makes them enjoy tearing apart toys in the first place. I worked out which textures he liked from the little he did chew, and went with those. Then I started encouraging him to play with toys with me by picking them up myself and showing him, then leaving them on the outside of his cage for him to play with while I'm sitting in the room, and then moving the favourites inside.

I'll be honest - he will never go into his cage to play with a toy and still doesn't interact with anything on the inside of the cage much. If he can see me, he will be begging to come out! But since you and I seem to be working through the same issue, I thought I'd let you know my thoughts.

I think baby birds are a little bit needy naturally, and I'm conscious that if I give in and let Murray hang out with me all day every day he will need me too much and me being a soft touch will let him rule my life! So each day I try to make sure he has a few hours alone time, even if I'm in another room quietly working.

Do let me know how you get on! I hope someone who has been through this already can advise you.
 

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Hey! I've got an even younger 'tiel, though it does play with toys, it really likes to be with me. If I'm home but not within sight, eventually it'll start screaming for me.

Funny thing is, birds are pretty smart - once I go out, it seems to know I'm not around and will just be calm... until I come back.

On toys, I've learnt very quickly they're prey creatures and that instinct that comes along makes them very skittish. New toys need to be gradually introduced, and never force anything to their faces. One trick that seems to work is to let birdy walk around on the floor with the toys around, but not near it. It'll eventually start exploring and pecking at them, followed by biting them. I've managed to have little tug-of-war games with it a few times already!
 

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my bird is about 8months old. we got him 3 months ago. hes very clingy when hes out the cage. hes ok when we put him back in when we are going out. although sometimes night times he starts flapping about trying to get our attention when we place him in the cage.
 

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A few people have suggested that in this case you could play music or a TV for him to watch (some people do this for their birds during the day while they are at work). He definitely sounds like he's lonely and needy! Don't get a second bird just to make the first bird shut up, though they are very social animals and it might be worth considering down the line once you've developed a good bond to this one. :)
 
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