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Hi there, my wife and I recently got a hand raised cockatiel. We got the cockatiel when he/she (we don’t know the sex yet, the person who bought the cockatiel from said he was likely a male but unsure, and we won’t know til the first molt) was about 12 weeks old and we’ve had it for 3 weeks now. I think it’s gotten really comfortable with me since I work from home and I put the tiel on my desk while I work and he plays with toys, grooms itself and eats.

The cockatiel, stepped up since we got it and after a week of coming home it is completely comfortable eating out of my hand. It also seems to be comfortable when I touch its head crest and rub its beak (though it doesn’t seem to really care for it, since it just ignores it and continues to eat, play or walk around). I really want it to enjoy being petted and bond with me. Only twice it closed its eyes while I was petting it.

It took about 2.5 weeks for it to become curious and active and it’s been very curious and active these days.

Two days ago, for the very first time, I took him out of the cage and started stroking its head and amazingly it started bending it’s head so I can pet all over its head (top, neck, ears, chin, back of its head)! Then I left it for a bit and came back and it allowed me to do it again. Both sessions were like 20-30 seconds and both ended off on a good note with me rewarding it with millet. But since then every time I tried it kept ignoring it, today when I tried it just totally ignored me. I really want to recreate that moment.

I really want to get to the point where it bows it’s head for scritches or even just enjoys me petting it, rather than ignoring it. Is there anything I can do to encourage this behaviour and get it to bond with me?
 

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You just have to pet it when it wants and back off when it doesn't. My tiel will put his head in my hand if I am leaning against it when he wants scritches. If I touch when he isn't interested he does bird swearing and Pecks me.

Keep it consensual and you will build bonds of trust and move forward :)
 
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