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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, this may sound terrible, but I cannot take living with my cockatiel any longer. I love him to death, but I don't seem like the one that should be taking care of him. I have migraines literally every day, and a terrible allergy to the dust. I can't get him to eat anything but seed and millet, and he's territorial with anyone near his cage. Here's the thing, I have had him for 5 years now. He was about a year old when I got him, I believe. He's very healthy as far as I can tell, he's not angry when he's not near his cage, but the thing that gets me the very most his his constant squawking. He ends up being covered 3 quarters of the day in 5-30 minute intervals. I cover him when he's loud and uncover him when he's quiet but he just starts right back up again. He started this about a year ago and it's making me so stressed that it's effecting my every day life. Plus I am in college and trying to find a job. I won't be home enough to try and train him better. I have a pair of budgies to but I can at least get them to eat romaine lettuce and I'm working on other things. It seems like my tiel is just unhappy and I don't know how to fix it! If nothing else, I could really use some advice. By the way, my birds name is Twitch. Anyone up to the challenge? Please?

By the way, I'm in Michigan for those on their phones and can't see my location. Mount Clemens, Specifically. :p
 

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I am reading this on my phone so can't see where you are located.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks anyways RowdyTiel, I appreciate it anyhow :) I just want him to get a good home and hopefully if anyone adopts him can take lots of pictures so I can continue to know how he's doing -.- I really just want a better life for him and me. If I can get someone with more experience and time than me, it will probably be better for him, for sure.

(BTW, all his equipment would come with him, Cage, toys, little play structure, bird seed...a list of his personality traits..) <-.-,>
 

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Sounds to me like your bird is bored. It is tough when you can't interact much with them to work them out of it.

When mine start yelling just to hear themselves yell they get shutdown, room gets darkened, cage is covered and I leave the room for an hour minimum. Pretty quickly they get the idea that screaming gets them nothing but a dark cage.

BUT, mine get a lot of interaction from me throughout the day. They have toys, they have a play area, foraging box, feeder and bath outside the cage. So they have options.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your advice. As I read your message, he started up again, so I covered him and moved him into the bedroom (where he gets put during the day when I know I'll be gone for more than a couple hours-I have a cat-though he never touches the birds, I trained him since he was a kitten, and he sleeps behind a closed door at night so theres no chance of anything happening anyways- he's a smart cat) Anywho, he's squawking in the bedroom as well. So my plan is to hole him up covered in there for about an hour, then take him out and interact with him as much as I can. I'd gladly hang out with him all day if he would stay with me. Sometimes he flies over of his own accord but if you try to pick him up and put him on your shoulder (with a perch as he's territorial,)he just flies right back. He was a bit better when I had his wings clipped a couple times (only because when I first got him it was impossible to put him back in the cage. I can just pick him up most of the time and put him right in there most of the time now. I've gotten him to eat millet out of my hand but it seems like lately he's suspicious and just sticks his crest to the top of his head. I am in deep here and I would love it if I could just have him be a little quieter and hang out more.

Oh, I have a little playgym and I give him his bath a few times a week. (If I give it to him more, he never uses it.) The problem is with toys, the only thing he likes is mirrors and sometimes bells. I had to take most of his mirrors away though because he got EXTREMELY territorial. I left one that was a swing and has a mirror on each side.(he got a lot less territorial after that) When I take that out to clean it (as he licks it constantly) He flies and lands on me, trying to get back to it, also he screeches. If I take it away he just squawks and squawks. I've been trying out various other toys but the only other ones he plays with are plain bells and he chews on that bamboo strip stuff.

Sorry for such a long post but I need all the advice I can get! Maybe I should clip his wings again, or is that too cruel and just make him mistrust me more?




PS. Should I get some perches I can put on the wall with stuff to do near them? That might be more interesting. Maybe I can rig one near the couch so he can hang out and I know he's safe there. Any known products like that?
 

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I would definitely try clipping his wings. That always settles down my birds when they get too hormonal.
Also, I don't know if this is an option, but I think your tiel would benefit from having a companion. Definitely take the mirrors out, I have heard so many stories about birds that bond to their reflection and never a good thing.
I am not sure about covering him and uncovering. It obviously isn't working. Mine are out all day, someone is always home here, and that seems to make them happy. So, maybe a little more out of cage time for him?
Worst case scenario, find a home for him where he can get attention and interaction one to one.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Definitely take the mirrors out, I have heard so many stories about birds that bond to their reflection and never a good thing.
When I take away his last mirrors he just squawks continuously, should I just ride it out and try to direct his attention to me instead? I'll also clip his wings, then I can put a perch near me and spend some time with him. That's really one of the problems, I can't spend any time with him unless I stand near his cage.
 

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As someone who also has migraines I admire your willingness to work with your bird. I don't think I could do it to be honest. Especially if I were still at the point of having them daily, which I'm sure you will be happy to learn you outgrow in later years. There is hope!
Maybe when Twitch gets some more one on one time with you he will calm down. My boy Kona is a screamer and I've noticed that on days when I'm home from work and spend literally most of the day with him, he is calmer. On work days when it's not so much out of cage time, he screams for me. I have him in a bird room with my others and can shut the door. I don't know what I would do on those days if I were getting the migraines all the time like I used to.
Good luck with him. :)
 

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Take the mirrors out and keep them out, no matter what. Those mirrors make male birds hormonal and cause lots of issues. Put up with his screaming for the mirror "mate" and he'll get over it. ;)
 

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As far as mirrors go, I would probably use it as a reward for good behaivior, and keep exposure limited. One of the old pro's here warned me about to much exposure to mirrors as not working well.

I am all in favor of keeping your bird on a short leash until you get all issues worked out. At that point if you want to let your bird be flighted fine. But at this point it sounds like it is all issues and no joy, so clip those flight feathers for sure.

I think at this point you need to find a way to find middle ground. Where you are not at his cage, where he would have every right to be defensive. Yet not where he has total freedom to go wherever either.

Maybe find a long slender branch that you could have lead from his cage door to neutal territory?

Just as a possible example


I'm pretty limited for space so I end up cramming a lot into a small corner.
In the back corner on the plastic drawers is a outdoor bird feeder full of cockatiel seed mix and pellets. Seed spilled from that feeder ends up in the foraging box on the cabinet.

On the end of my desk is a shelf of steel coated with a ceramic /enamel. This is primarily there so birds that end up on the floor can climb their way back to the high perches.

The red rope is a major highway, and is just a cheap piece of poly rope with a copper wire stiffener. It has seen other days where it was a spiral hanging from the ceiling.

What you do will of course fit your space and your needs. But find some way of putting up a perch that will encourage your bird to come interact with you outside of and away from its cage. Millet spray is a great incentive as are things like a piece of bread, a cracker, etc. All possitioned to entice the bird out of the cage, close to you. Yet just far enough away that it feels safe.

If I didn't live so far I'd come visit and take a look at your boy.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks flippityjib, I did not know you could outgrow migraines, I'll def. be looking forward to that! That' the problem with my birds is that I live in a small apartment with a kitchen, livingroom bathroom and bedroom, period. So he (along wit my budgies) are out in the livingroom all day and I cannot put him behind closed doors unless I drag him into the bedroom. So I will get a wall perch or two and a few toys to put around there, perhaps he will go for those and some millet, and then he'll come hang out. Maybe I can save up a bit of money an get him another new cage, but don't give him the mirrors back, he won't get so territorial? Maybe I can get him to realize that the cage is "both of ours?" But I wil brave it today when I take his last mirror out, then I will clip his wings later (Need the help of a friend) and maybe I can just get him turned around :) and thanks bjknight93, I do believe it's those mirrors, tiels should come with warning labels about that!

Ghosth, thanks for such an extensive post!, that is a great idea! He is on the opposite side of the room from the "living area" of the livingroom. We have an oddly long room. I had to set it up that way because I was trying to keep it away from any furniture the cat gets on and possibly encourage him near the bird. I took a picture of the set up (that I will upload in about 10 minutes) he's in now, maybe some suggestions on what I can do?
 

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Take the mirrors out and keep them out, no matter what. Those mirrors make male birds hormonal and cause lots of issues. Put up with his screaming for the mirror "mate" and he'll get over it. ;)
I agree! Just don't give in.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks eduardo, I'l give it my best shot!

I know his toys are a bit sparse. I took away the rest of his mirrors a couple weeks ago and haven't had the money to go and buy him enough replacement fun. What's this foraging toy I keep hearing about? :) These are a few pictures I just took, one to show how far away he is from the couch (The arm is in the lower right hand corner) The set up near his cage, and then a close up of his cage set up. Anyone have any ideas what i can do with this space?


(oh, by the way, the other critters in the picture are my two garter snakes (in the tank under the fish,) the fish, lol, and then an 8 inch black jaguar ciclid.-Pics below, :p)



PS. Right now he flew over and has perched on my head, but as soon as I carefully try to get him go on my arm, he flies away. I did clean his cage earlier, maybe he's responding positively to the attention? I've never really payed attention so much on cleaning days because I'm always, well, cleaning, lol. Never sit still long enough for him to land on me. Maybe I'll clip his wings and start taking him around the house with me on his little playgym. That might help :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Haha, as soon as I finished typing that last post, he flew back over and was trying to chew on my clothes, lol. Real time updates! :p lol. Stil, if anyone has any ideas, it would be great to hear them, ideas to spruce up his fun environment ;) He might be grouchy again later, he might just be feeling nice right now :p
 

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Ok first tip, I do wear a baseball cap anytime I'm with my birds. Well I'd wear it anyway, but it does keep the bird poop out of your hair mostly.

Second if your bird is flying to you, reward him!

Third doesn't matter where on you it, if your bird is comfortable, indulge it as much as possible.
Shoulders can be a wonderful safe place. But heads are good also. Cara rides my forearm as I'm typing surfing the web and forums.

Try folding fingers into a fist when you want it to step up, so your bird does not see individual fingers that can grab. Or give it the chance to step up onto your forarm instead of hand if that works.

Basically anything that works and establishes bond is awesome.

Once he has established that it is safe to hop around on you, then start seeing if you can teach it to accept your hand. Also see if you can get it to accept head scratch's from a single finger.

Just start with forefinger 5 inches away, start doing a little up down wiggle and slowly move closer to his head.

With Cara I can get finger, thumb and finger, and sometimes thumb on one side, finger on the other and nose on top. All working gently, rubbing, itching those pin feathers. (And smelling, I love the smell of a clean bird)

Hang in there, don't give up, don't give in.
 

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Also, a lot of the screaming does sound hormonal...have you tried reducing the hormones? How many hours of sleep (darkness) does he get a night? And do you rearrange his cage every day?
 

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Sounds Hormonal and Bored, get that bird interacting with you, sitting on your shoulder and things will look and sound much different.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, today I clipped his wings and he immediately became more docile. and I mean immediately. I spent some time with him afterward and then let him back to his cage to give him a bit of room to calm down. He hasn't screeched all day! I do not move his cage around every day, I usually change it around every week or so. I'll start changing it about tomorrow every day, I was also taking his mirrors away as well. I just wanted to take it one day at a time as to not freak him out so much. Do you guys have any suggestion for good toys? He loves bells and stuff to chew on (especially paper). I'll def. look for a foraging box. If I have to, I'll make toys. I just need to know what kind of materials I can use. All I know is Popsicle sticks and twine -.- I think I'll def. get some of that rope, ghosth.

As for how long he sleeps, I put him to bed about 9PM, and the cover stays on till about 10-11AM every morning, so he gets a good 13-14 hours of sleep. though I'm out here making noise so who knows if he's actually sleeping. The only days he gets less is when I have to go to class 2 days a week and he gets uncovered at 7.

I feel like we've gotten to the roots of the problem. Bored, wings needing to be clipped, and needs to have some way to get over to where I am to hang out...a walking way that I will accomplish with rope :)

Thanks everyone so much! I feel like I am on the road to a much better bird to person relationship :) I just need to get him to eat stuff other than bird seed now. lol. Know any food that is easy to get a 'tiel to eat?
 

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Glad to hear he is doing so much better. I think that its a good thing that he flys to you! As for good food, my things is birdie bread. I made some more yesterday. I start with some corn bread mix and then start throwing all kinds of good stuff in. This batch I went heavy on the veggies. It turned out good and they love it and are eating it...that's the main thing!
 
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