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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was recently given a Cockatiel by a neighbor that was mistreating him. The poor little guy has been through a lot, one thing I know for sure is that he has a strong heart.

Besides never cleaning his cage out for him, his food dishes had feces in them and the water too. Their was solid masses of food stuck too the bottom of them as well. And if that wasn't enough he routinely had elastic bands fired at him from across the room. I witnessed that event and got quite angry at him (my neighbor has a mental age of 14yrs or so, so I can understand his impulsive lack of thinking sometimes, he isn't cruel or mean spirited quite the opposite actually, he just doesn't realize what he's doing) anyway, after I told him to stop, expletives removed for the forum, he offered me the bird.

I gladly accepted. Now I have had him for a week or so I am itching for him to sit on my finger and let me pet him. I whistle to him all day and except for the odd tirade of ear splitting chirps that are mainly brought on by his mirror (once I take it away he goes back to more mellow songs), his singling makes me smile.

He is very jumpy even when I change his water and blow out his husks and refill his food. I have tried to get closer which gets him hissing and bouncing off to the other side of the cage, with the occasional lunge added in. I found out why his dishes had poop in them, it's because he sleeps in them. I tried emptying one and filling it with tissues but he still chooses to sleep in his food dish. I am assuming he is doing this to protect his food.

I hope he soon realizes that he won't have to feel the need to do that for much longer and that each day he will get refills and clean (britta) water. I want him to feel safe and protected I named him Montgomery Burd and can't believe how hard I have fallen for him.

I also have a Golden retriever called Maggie that is very good natured. To give you an idea whenever she gets near a kitten (adult cats don't like it) she licks them lick mad, so much so they end up soaked with spiky hair. She is great with any kind of creature.

Anywho, does anyone have any tips on how I can get Monty to feel safe and loved and not frightened anymore?

Sorry for going on a bit hope someone could wade through this post, have a great day
 

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Congratulations on having the bird and rescuing it from a horrible life.I am pretty sure he will bond with you quite quickly,because cockatiels are very loving and smart creatures,they can feel people s good nature,so I believe youll end up being surprised.You will find a lot of very good advice here,the two of you are going to be fine.All the best for Monty and you X x:D
 

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You did a wonderful thing rescuing the bird from a horrible situation,take it at his pace and over time he will come around to know you are not going to hurt him.At least now he has a much better life and a loving home with someone who will fill his need and provide him with the proper diet,exercise and out of cage time that he needs.:)
 

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Your new friend is frightened, and since he's been mistreated it's likely to take longer than usual for him to get used to you.

If getting close to the cage makes him freak out, you can gradually desensitize him this way: slowly approach the cage until you reach the point where he looks nervous but doesn't freak out, then stop and just stand there calmly. Don't stare at him (that's what predators do just before they attack), but it's OK to look at him if you look away frequently in a relaxed manner. When he starts to relax, calmly walk away from the cage. This is actually the reward part of a positive reinforcement technique: he doesn't want you near the cage, so you're walking away to reward him for not freaking out while you were standing there. The bird learns that he can make you go away by relaxing, and relaxing in your presence makes him start to lose his fear of you.

Do this frequently, with the goal of gradually getting closer to the cage before he starts to look nervous.

When you can come right up to the cage without him freaking out, it's time to start using food bribery. There's information on that at http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=28661

Of course there are times when you have to approach the cage whether he likes it or not, in order to deliver food and fresh water. During these times, be calm and slow and don't look at the bird apart from an occasional glance. He will feel safer if he thinks you aren't paying any attention to him, although it's OK to talk to him gently while you're servicing the cage.

Some birds just like to sleep on their food or water cups. I don't think it's a protection issue, they just feel comfortable there. What kind of perches does he have in the cage? If it's ordinary wooden dowels, they're kind of hard on the feet. After he's had some time to settle in and get used to his new home, you could try putting a variety of perches in the cage. Rope perches are very easy on the feet and make good sleep perches. A natural wood perch or cholla perch is good for the feet too since the varying diameter helps exercise the feet and doesn't put pressure on the exact same part of the foot all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ty

Your new friend is frightened, and since he's been mistreated it's likely to take longer than usual for him to get used to you.

If getting close to the cage makes him freak out, you can gradually desensitize him this way: slowly approach the cage until you reach the point where he looks nervous but doesn't freak out, then stop and just stand there calmly. Don't stare at him (that's what predators do just before they attack), but it's OK to look at him if you look away frequently in a relaxed manner. When he starts to relax, calmly walk away from the cage. This is actually the reward part of a positive reinforcement technique: he doesn't want you near the cage, so you're walking away to reward him for not freaking out while you were standing there. The bird learns that he can make you go away by relaxing, and relaxing in your presence makes him start to lose his fear of you.

Do this frequently, with the goal of gradually getting closer to the cage before he starts to look nervous.

When you can come right up to the cage without him freaking out, it's time to start using food bribery. There's information on that at http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=28661

Of course there are times when you have to approach the cage whether he likes it or not, in order to deliver food and fresh water. During these times, be calm and slow and don't look at the bird apart from an occasional glance. He will feel safer if he thinks you aren't paying any attention to him, although it's OK to talk to him gently while you're servicing the cage.

Some birds just like to sleep on their food or water cups. I don't think it's a protection issue, they just feel comfortable there. What kind of perches does he have in the cage? If it's ordinary wooden dowels, they're kind of hard on the feet. After he's had some time to settle in and get used to his new home, you could try putting a variety of perches in the cage. Rope perches are very easy on the feet and make good sleep perches. A natural wood perch or cholla perch is good for the feet too since the varying diameter helps exercise the feet and doesn't put pressure on the exact same part of the foot all the time.
Thanks for the ideas especially the looking away part I haven't been doing that. And he only has natural sticks for his perches and one swing. As for the dishes he sleeps in he has three. One for fresh veggies, and two for seed, I put in a second one at the other end of the cage and have noticed he perches on the one I filled last.

I staggered it unintentionally at first and as soon as it was put in he switched over to it. Then a few hours later I thought I should blow out the husks in the first one as I was doing the water and I topped it up and he switched over to that one. Then I experimented with it and yup each new top up has him move over.

He does climb about during the day but even with the door wide open he chooses to stay inside. I haven't had the time or knowledge yet to go shopping for him or on how to arrange some perches and toys. I would like to incorporate a perch path around the perimeter edges and have a vertical ladder type branch from outside that has multiple limbs for him to step up with. And add a few branches to the outside with leaves on them or make him a garden at the bottom with a bath fro him till he feels safe enough to come out.

Man! if I keep going like this he'll have fuzzy sweaters and a necklace in no time, hahahaha.

He hasn't come out yet and the one time I thought I could show him I meant no harm by forcing him to be near me ( I got a good three pointed bite for that one, he didn't let go till I did. I thought that if I didn't jump at the pain and he saw I wasn't hurting him he would stop. After 10 or so seconds I couldn't take the pain anymore and let go. I hope he can forgive me for it in time.

I have been trying the cage open and hand out but not too close with talking to him and he's getting better. He ate (though feverishly) with me less about 1.5ft from him. I have also tried to mimic him when he stretches and keep my arms back like his wings when I do edge closer to him hopefully he sees this as non threatening, with cats and dogs I show my neck, but as his eyes are on the sides of his head I thought he may interpret that as a sign I was looking at him more intently.

Anywho, bye for now.:blink:
 

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I think as long as you have the cage door open,when he feels comfortable he will come out of his cage on his own in his time.he's probably still getting use to his new home and feels secure in his cage.Just keep doing things at his pace and he will eventually come around,time and patience are the key.:)
 

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You're doing well and you'll eventually get to where you want to be! It can be helpful to keep your eyes downcast and generally act kind of submissive when you're near the cage, to make yourself seem less threatening. Birds are different from dogs and cats in an important way - they're prey animals not predators, and cockatiels are also very small compared to a human. So they tend to think we're pretty scary until they get used to us.

Does he know what millet spray is? Cockatiels think it's about a thousand times more delicious than ordinary loose millet in the seed cup, so it's an excellent food bribe. If you're not sure, hang one in his cage and when it's gone you'll know that he's a millet fan. Stop putting millet spray in the cage at this point and use it as a lure/reward to encourage him to come out of the cage.
 

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It sounds like you are doing well with Monty. I'm so glad you took him out of his prior home. I have a rehomed tiel too. Although not abused, I don't think he had much out of cage time at his prior home. I didn't want to force him out of his cage, but like you left the door open. I spent a lot of time sitting with him and talking to him, and feeding him treats. One day, he just decided to come out. I think with some time and patience, your tiel will do the same thing. :)
 

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I agree with every single advice given. I got a rehomed tiel to and he is my first tiel ever. Patience will lead you towards the desired result. It worked for me too, I spoke to Joe in a soft voice, also learned to glimpse at him rather than stare, his cage is open while I am at home, he comes out, goes in when he wants, with his fav food I managed to get him to step up and now he loves being on my shoulder and give kisses. You will get to this stage too, it will take a while though but it is so beautiful and rewarding.
I had Joe now for just 4 months and he doesn't know the whole house yet. I only introduce him slowly to a new room. For now he is familiar with the kitchen-dining area, the computer room and the bathrooms only.

Wishing you all the best with Monty, I am sure he already loves you by getting him out of there and giving him a loving life:love:
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I agree with every single advice given. I got a rehomed tiel to and he is my first tiel ever. Patience will lead you towards the desired result. It worked for me too, I spoke to Joe in a soft voice, also learned to glimpse at him rather than stare, his cage is open while I am at home, he comes out, goes in when he wants, with his fav food I managed to get him to step up and now he loves being on my shoulder and give kisses. You will get to this stage too, it will take a while though but it is so beautiful and rewarding.
I had Joe now for just 4 months and he doesn't know the whole house yet. I only introduce him slowly to a new room. For now he is familiar with the kitchen-dining area, the computer room and the bathrooms only.

Wishing you all the best with Monty, I am sure he already loves you by getting him out of there and giving him a loving life:love:
Thanks for the reply. I know what you mean about rewarding. Each day that I wake up and hear him chirp it puts a smile on my face. On another note, the other day I was moving to a new place and was in the back seat with him (it was highway at night) While I was talking to the driver he climbed over towards me and clung to the side of the cage near my head. It actually brought a tear to my eye.

I have the same type as you except Monty (after Bernard Montgomery not Monty Python or Monty Burns) is a bit thinner than Joe is.

I've never had a pet that I have ever fallen for as much as him. I don't see him as a pet really but more of a companion. Some people have suggested that I clip his wings but I would feel awful if I did. I see it as akin to hobbling a person. The guilt would kill me inside and I would never be able to look at him again without feeling remorse.

I believe that if he truly wants to be around me (after he becomes truly aware I mean him no harm only love and friendship) that he will never stray too far. Until then and when he does feel safe enough to leave his cage the windows and doors will be closed plus I will make sure that he has a good few landing spots to aim for.:blink:
 

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Thanks for the reply. I know what you mean about rewarding. Each day that I wake up and hear him chirp it puts a smile on my face. On another note, the other day I was moving to a new place and was in the back seat with him (it was highway at night) While I was talking to the driver he climbed over towards me and clung to the side of the cage near my head. It actually brought a tear to my eye.

I have the same type as you except Monty (after Bernard Montgomery not Monty Python or Monty Burns) is a bit thinner than Joe is.

I've never had a pet that I have ever fallen for as much as him. I don't see him as a pet really but more of a companion. Some people have suggested that I clip his wings but I would feel awful if I did. I see it as akin to hobbling a person. The guilt would kill me inside and I would never be able to look at him again without feeling remorse.


I believe that if he truly wants to be around me (after he becomes truly aware I mean him no harm only love and friendship) that he will never stray too far. Until then and when he does feel safe enough to leave his cage the windows and doors will be closed plus I will make sure that he has a good few landing spots to aim for.:blink:
Joes wings arent clipped either, he can fly around in the house, in the kitchen-dining area where he sees his cage all the time. He sometimes flies a few circles, than lands ( most times ) on his cage, sometimes on my head, hahahahaha,
I agree with you mentioning that Monty will be more a companion than a pet. Same here :D
So lovely that he basically sat next to you, as close as he could... this tells me that he already sees you as a flock member :love:
 

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I just wanted to say that your a great person for giving Monty a new life these stories always bring a tear to my eye. I would agree with everyones advice as well, just go at his pace and you'll have a best friend for life.
 

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I just wanted to say that your a great person for giving Monty a new life these stories always bring a tear to my eye. I would agree with everyones advice as well, just go at his pace and you'll have a best friend for life.
Thank you for the reply. And I hope I do. Regardless of his feelings towards myself (or any human at the moment) I try to only project peace and kindness towards him or around him.:blink:
 

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I feel the same way,our two cockatiels Snickers and Cinnamon we consider our companions not a pet,they love the attention they get everyday,they just want us to give them our love and they will return their love ten fold.You are doing a great job with Monty and he appreciates that.:)
 

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Some people have suggested that I clip his wings but I would feel awful if I did. I see it as akin to hobbling a person.
Be prepared for some panic flying when he does come out of the cage, and for some difficulty getting him back in the cage since he's still nervous about you. Personally I feel that it's safer for a bird to be clipped at first in a new home with the option to let him be fully flighted later on, but everyone has to do what's best for them.

If he hasn't been out of the cage in a long time he may not have the strength to do too much fear flying, and will get tired quickly. But in any case you should expect him to crash into things instead of using those nice landing spots; a frightened bird isn't thinking clearly, and it's possible that he was never given the opportunity to learn how to fly properly and doesn't even know how to steer and land (the flapping part is instinctive so he will know how to do that).

There are a couple of things you can do to minimize problems/dangers with a fully flighted bird coming out of the cage for the first time.

1. Be in a fairly small room so he can't build up too much speed before he crashes into something. Minimize the hazards by covering up the windows and any large mirrors, don't have a lot of knickknacks out that he could crash into and maybe knock over onto himself, try to make it impossible for him to fall behind a piece of heavy furniture where it would be difficult for you to get at him, etc.

2. Have a plan in place for getting him back into the cage. Get him familiar with you and your hands as much as possible so he'll be less inclined to fly away from you while you're trying to get him back in the cage. You can gently test to see how frightened he is if you slowly approach him with a perch/stick in your hand while he's in the cage; some birds that are afraid of hands are willing to step up on a stick. If the cage is small enough for you to carry it around, you can put the cage close to wherever he has landed and maybe he will go inside. If the first out-of-cage venture happens at night, you can wait for him to land in a safe place then turn the lights off and give him time to calm down and get sleepy, then turn the lights back on and approach him immediately, before he was time to fully wake up. If all else fails, you can throw a light towel or blanket over him after he's landed on the floor because he's too tired to fly any more and hasn't rested up enough to take off again.
 
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