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Hey everyone,

I am new to the cockatiel world as of last Friday night. I owned a parrotlet that passed away in October and have been birdless since. I am a 5th grade teacher and was hoping to bring my parrotlet into the classroom as a class pet. As a third grader growing up my teacher had a cockatiel for a class pet and it made my school year to have the bird in the room. I want to be able to do the same for my kids.

I bought a cockatiel last week from a breeder in Virginia (I live in WI) and he was shipped via airplane to me last Friday. She chose him for me knowing the situation that I am in. I want a very social, very friendly/sweet, happy, active cockatiel that enjoys the kids and the action of the classroom. She chose the one that apparently would come running to the cage door when she walked into the room because he wanted to come out.

Well I received him last Friday and he is a very sweet bird. He's never even tried to bite, he lets me pet him and scratch his head, although he has no idea how to step up. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to push him over before he actually raises a foot to step up.

Although I can tell he was hand raised and a real sweetheart, he doesn't seem to be adjusting well to his new cage and enviornment. He sits on top of his cage, moving very little, if at all really throughout the day. I'm used to my acrobatic parrotlet who was all over the place. I know he is a young bird, newly weaned, and I know he had playmates in his old cage, and I'm sure a plane ride, and a new environment would be very stressful, so do you think he is just adjusting still? Do I just need to give him more time?

He also doesn't eat a whole lot, other than the spray millet, he's not eating out of his food dishes. I've had to put water dishes by him because he doesn't move around in the cage to go to his water. Is this normal behavior? Should I take out the spray millet during the day so that he has to eat out of the dish? I certainly don't want to starve him!

Last night when I walked into his room he started flapping around in what seemed a nervous way and kind of fell from the top part of the cage to the bottom before settling down. Then he was fine and I was able to take him out of the cage. I think I just startled him walking in, but I'm not sure.

Because of the fact that he seems to still be adjusting I haven't brought him into the classroom yet. I'm afraid that the noise and activity of the 25 students will freak him out even more. However, I feel terrible because I'm not home all day, so he sits in his cage by himself at my house until I get home at night. Do you think it would be a better idea to bring him into the classroom where there's people and let him adjust? Or is it better to leave him home alone and give him more time before I introduce him.

My worst fear is that I'm going to take what was a very sweet, active, social cockatiel, and turn him into a skiddish, shy bird early on by making a mistake.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
 

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Welcome to the forum! It sounds like he's adjusting. Did the breeder tell you how old he was? Leave the millet, its not super healthy but right now he needs the calories after all the stress he's been through. Its OK to push your finger against him to get him to step up, just push against his tummy right above his feet til he steps up. Keep practicing this and he'll eventually get it. I wouldn't take him in yet, he's still adjusting to his home and taking him around a bunch of kids would stress him out even more. Tiels don't move around quite as much as the smaller birds and they take naps during the day as well. They also don't drink very much so if you catch them drinking then you're lucky. Good luck with him!
 

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You might find these threads helpful:

http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=27080

http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=22073

Also, just curious- are you going to be taking the bird home with you after school? I think I'd be a little worried about leaving him alone at the school. I remember when I was in 3rd grade we had class gerbils and everyone loved them. I'm sure your class will love your tiel. I do think he probably needs to settle in more though first before he meets them.

And sorry about your parrolet.
 

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Im curious too, what happens to school pets after school? Do they just get left there all alone till morning? Seeing as cockatiels are so social and people loving wouldnt they get depressed?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm at school until 5:00 every day, and he goes to bed at 7:00 at night. So he would have to spend 2 hours by himself on the weekday nights. He would home with me on the weekends because the heat goes down and I don't spend much time at school on the weekends.
 

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Congratulations on your new tiel! I'm sure your students will love him.
Is it possible too take him home every night? Cockatiels are known for getting night frights and can injure themselves if there is no one around to stop it. I'd be a little worried about this.
 

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Welcome to TC! :D I edited your post and made paragraphs so it is easier to read. :)

Everything sounds good and normal for him since he is still adjusting, but may I make a suggestion? I think he should go home with you each night; some birds have night frights and they can be fatal if he injures himself from falling in the middle of the night. Buy him a nice travel cage to get him to and from school and have a sleep-cage for him at home (smaller than the cage you keep for him at school). Cages should be atleast 18x18x18 inches for cockatiels so you can get this size for him to sleep in so the price won't be so high.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for the suggestions everyone! As far as him coming home every night, I know that cockatiels are prone to night frights, so I have night lights in the room to give him some light after school. I already have 2 cages and a travel carrier to take him to and from school, but I feel that transporting him every day would almost be more stressful on him. What would be the difference between bringing him home every night and putting him in a new cage to sleep and leaving him at school to sleep? Thanks!
 

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In my experience when I have gotten a baby cockatiel they prefer a smaller cage with low perches. If the perches are higher they have gotten up there and seldom come down to eat. Even if I put food dishes at a higher level they wouldn't navigate to them. What has worked best for me is to put a few perches low in the cage and a water dish on the bottom and a flat dish (lids work well) of seeds/pellets. They still primarily eat millet until they become more adjusted and comfortable. Then I just adjust as they become more comfortable and coordinated. This may help your little one.

As far as the night situation, the difference would be that if you take him home you would be there if a night fright did occur and you could immediately deal with any injury. Even with a night light these can occur and can be very serious.
 

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I think in time your tiel would easily adjust too having two homes, as long as it was always the same routine.

It sounds like you are well prepared and have done some research, But although your tiel might be ok by himself all night what if he did have a serious fright. My tiels have a night light on and i have the hallway light on with their door open, and still on rare occasion will have a night fright. It always wakes me up and i can quickly calm them down and check for any injuries.
 

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I can't tell you all how much I appreciate the advice and help! As far as the night frights go, I never experienced these with my parrotlet. Do they just freak out and flap around their cage? What do you do to calm them down? Also, the last 2 days I have come home for work and gone to check on my new friend, and when I walk in the room, no matter how calmly, and non-threatening I am he just spazes out. It worries me a little because he's at the top level of his cage, and he just jumps off and crashes to the bottom, his crest goes back and he runs around on the floor making little chirps for about 5 mins before calming down. I can't tell if I'm scaring him, or if it's excitement to see someone. Any suggestions on how to prevent this so that he doesn't injure himself and why he might be doing it in the first place?

To update you on his progress, I did see him eat out of his food dish yesterday for the first time, so it appears he's making progress in that regards. As far as water goes, his water dish is in the upper right hand corner, then I have another dish by his food, and a big bird bath bowl on the bottom third level. However, I'm not sure he knows that those have water in them. I've filled a plastic lid with water the past few days and just kept it up in the corner where he seems to hang out all day, but there's always seeds, and sometimes poop in it when I come home. If I take that out, will he explore to find the water?

Finally, any suggestions on how long to wait before bringing him into the classroom? I certainly have no problem being patient for him to adjust, but I feel there's a thin line between him adjusting, and then going without interaction for 20 of the 24 hours a day. I obviously don't want him to get lonely/depressed by himself all day, and I certainly don't want him to grow less tame by not being around people. Am I just being impatient?? :/ I think I'm more excited to have him in the classroom than the kids! :D
 

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Aaww, poor little guy has gone through a lot in the past week or so, just give him some more time. If you can, spend a lot of time with him over the weekend, so he gets used to you.
I would not leave him alone in the classroom at night. I would also be worried about chemicals that the cleaners may be using to clean around and everything. It's not good for birds.
Plus, if you take him home with you, then he gets some interaction with you for a few hours each evening. If you want to keep him tame, he needs a little more than just a few minutes a day of petting.
 

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Aaww, poor little guy has gone through a lot in the past week or so, just give him some more time. If you can, spend a lot of time with him over the weekend, so he gets used to you.
I would not leave him alone in the classroom at night. I would also be worried about chemicals that the cleaners may be using to clean around and everything. It's not good for birds.
Plus, if you take him home with you, then he gets some interaction with you for a few hours each evening. If you want to keep him tame, he needs a little more than just a few minutes a day of petting.
Eduardo, that's a really good point. I hadn't thought about the cleaning supplies the janitors use. That could be really bad.

I think once your tiel got used to going back and forth, it wouldn't stress him out at all. I too would worry about leaving him alone and night frights. If he broke a blood feather, etc. and you weren't there, that could also be really bad.
 

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When they have a night fright they with thrash violently around the cage. A tiel can acquire injuries such as broken blood feathers and in rarer cases broken wings, and in even rarer cases death. Cockatiels don't see well in the dark and spook easily and then have a flight reaction. With no where to go they thrash around.

You mentioned that when you get home he flaps around the cage and paces back and forth. He's probably very excited your home and a little nervous because he's still adjusting. Try calling out to him or give him a whistle when you first come in so you don't startle him. I think in time he shouldn't get that exited when you approach the cage. Mine just call out to me until i make myself known.
 

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Aaww, poor little guy has gone through a lot in the past week or so, just give him some more time. If you can, spend a lot of time with him over the weekend, so he gets used to you.
I would not leave him alone in the classroom at night. I would also be worried about chemicals that the cleaners may be using to clean around and everything. It's not good for birds.
Plus, if you take him home with you, then he gets some interaction with you for a few hours each evening. If you want to keep him tame, he needs a little more than just a few minutes a day of petting.
I have already talked to the janitors and informed them of the situation. They don't use any chemicals, they just sweep the classroom every evening throughout the week.
 

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Will you be going back at 7pm to cover him up for the night?
I honestly feel bad for the little guy being left all alone at night :(
Maybe you should of at least got two birds so they could keep eachother company.
 

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Yeah, I wouldnt leave him alone at night, one someone might steal him, and two... he'll get really lonely and be hard to tame again. I know if Rocky gets a bug up his butt and we ignore him for a few days he reverts to his untame ways and we have to work with him again its hard.
 

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Personally I think he would be fine in the classroom at night...with the janitors there he won't be alone for very long and he's going to be sleeping during that time anyways. Taking him to and from the school every day would be more stressful in my opinion.
 

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Personally I think he would be fine in the classroom at night...with the janitors there he won't be alone for very long and he's going to be sleeping during that time anyways. Taking him to and from the school every day would be more stressful in my opinion.
I agree, it's cold outside, and I think the car ride and transporting every day would be stressful.

I arrive in the morning by about 6:30 at school, I'm there until 5:00 at night most nights. That means that my 'tiel would have to be alone from 5:00-6:30 when he then goes to sleep. I understand the night fright argument, but personally I think spending 10 hours of the 12 hours that our birds are awake for is significantly more than most people spend with their birds every day.

I am concerned right now about the amount of time I'm spending with my 'tiel. I want him to be a friendly, social, tame bird for my class, and I want him to be comfortable and happy in the classroom, so I'm trying to wait for him to adjust, but in the mean time...if I'm at school from 6:30-5:00 and he's home, now THAT's a long time to be going without interaction. What signs would I look for that would tell me he's feeling comfortable and adjusted? Do you guys think it's better to leave him at home by himself right now, or get him into the classroom where it's probably going to be another adjustment?
 

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I have to say, I thought about your situation a lot today, it just keeps popping in my head. I just don't know... I am just not real crazy about keeping a tiel as a classroom pet. My son is in second grade and they have a gerbil as a classroom pet. The gerbil is pretty much indifferent to the kids, content to be on his own, yet cute and fuzzy looking, so the kids get some joy out of it. But a bird...I don't know, I just know that my cockatiels are like kids to me, I am not sure I would leave them alone anywhere else than at home for a few hours a day.
Plus, won't his whilstling and chatter distract the kids at work?
 
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