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Discussion Starter #1
I've been having trouble with one of my females (Igor) who thinks I'm her mate; she screams almost constantly unless I'm petting her. I'd love to give her more attention, but I don't want to enforce the screaming by petting her unless she's quiet, and she's almost never quiet. The other two tiels don't make anywhere near this much noise.

I've been wondering if part of it might be that she needs more stimulation, because she's always trying to eat my walls and furniture. But neither she nor the other two tiels are interested in the many toys I rotate through their cages. And I've been patiently working to get them used to games they can play with me outside the cage (I've been teaching them to find their beloved goldfish crackers underneath bottle caps), but they get bored and wander off very quickly.

Could boredom be part of the need to scream and constantly be petted (and if so, how do I entertain her), or is that just mate behavior? How do I discourage screaming and still give her the cuddles she wants?
 

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These are difficult questions!
I have seen it recommended to have the bird on 14 hours of darkness, to calm down hormones. A hormone increase can increase the behavior you describe.
I am wondering whether there is any chance your tiel is a male. The amount of noise sounds more typical of a male.
Also, I wonder how old she is. She may be coming into sexual maturity, which would mean increased hormones.
Individual birds do vary considerably in their personality.
There are books that offer advice for decreasing the noise level. It starts with what you already mention: not rewarding screaming. But it can seem hard, if the bird is noisy much of the time. The books go more specifically into the training. There is a book by Ann Castro and another one titled "Clicker Training for Birds." You could do a search on Amazon.
I wish I could suggest something more immediate and easier!
 

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Joey is currently hormonal, and very needy, noisy and grumpy. What you are describing does sound like hormones, as dianne has said above.

You are on the right track with not rewarding the noise. When we first moved to this apartment at the end of April, we were doing what we could to keep Joey from being loud, so we were going to him every time he screeched for attention. and it only took a few weeks to have an unbearable little tyrant in the house. It took another few weeks of ignoring the screeches and screams, showing him they didn't get him results. When he was being good, he got a lot of attention and scritches. It is better to do as you are doing by ignoring the unwanted behavior than to have to undo the mess you've made, as we did. We're back to ignoring the screeches caused by hormonal crabbiness. Fortunately, they are already subsiding.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Igor is about 3 years old, and very definitely female; last fall her hormones got crazy enough that she laid some eggs for me. Her noise behavior is very different from that of my current male and my previous male, who both sang occasionally and only screamed if something was wrong. Igor and her sister Tavi, who share a cage separate from Petey, the male, are covered 13-14 hours from 7 at night to 8 or 9 in the morning.

I already try to ignore the screaming, but Igor is very persistent, especially if she knows I'm nearby.

Thanks for the book recommendation; I'll look into it.
 
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