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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We've had our Gracie, a ten year old male human-imprinted tame cockatiel, since November 1st of last year. I am his primary caretaker, but I also live with my aunt and grandmother and he sees them every day too. Up through February, Gracie was a very nice and mild-mannered, very sweet and gentle bird who never caused trouble. He loved to sing, play, chew things up, fly all about the house, and get head-rubs from anyone and everyone. He would fly to me on command and always stay by my side, visiting relatives downstairs but loyally following me upstairs as I went. He was a great pet, in other words. During this period, Gracie would only be caged to sleep at night - a full 12 hours in darkness. He otherwise behaved so well as to be allowed free-flight in my upstairs apartment.

Sadly, Gracie gradually became incredibly possessive, rather suddenly, and has gradually become very, very aggressive, to the point where he screams and attacks me if unconfined, and he no longer likes me at all, favoring my aunt - he was long indifferent but suddenly adores her - which is unfortunate because I am his sole caretaker in all respects and it is I who must brave his cage and his once sweet, suddenly blood-letting beak to clean and feed him. It is also only with me my aunt is comfortable letting him out of the cage, and since he came to dislike me, I am not able to let him out, so he is confined all day, which I don't like. This week I just moved his cage downstairs to be by her most of the day, which has caused him to dislike me even more, but at least provides him more company since at this time he cannot be allowed to fly freely.

I thought long it was hormones causing his issues and it would subside, but it's worsened steadily over the months, even though he has been on 14 hour long nights since March. His aggression gradually began as small things - first he would suddenly get upset if I dusted the furniture while he sat on my shoulder, which before he didn't mind. So I stopped letting him on my shoulder as I did that. Then it was the computer - he suddenly attacked my ear if I paid attention to it and didn't play with him at this time. He never did that before. Eventually, I couldn't dare look away from him or he'd fly at me and attack my head (he is utterly fearless); if caged, he'd let loose ear-piercing screams from ****. He became unmanageably needy. He became horrible, to put it short. But only very, very recently, once he moved downstairs, did it completely change, and he no longer wanted any of my attention, now WANTING me to leave him alone and attacking me if I don't. Before he was bonded to me, but simply to an impossible-to-handle level a human cannot manage for a bird. He is now bonded to my aunt. Though she doesn't handle him if I'm not able to get him out of the cage (she won't do it herself and I am not lately since he attacks me), and I care for him, she sweet-talks him all day. She's his person now. I'm just his slave. For some reason, his new bond with her is friendly and well-adjusted, like his was before with me. I almsot wanted this, to get him to form his mate bond with someone else so I could become his "indifferent" friend, which would be a much healthier relationship - give him some pets, sing some songs, but not be his constant source of companionship. But he went from obsessed mate to viewing me as enemy #1 and outright despising me overnight. It's been a lose-lose for me both ways.

Gracie's cage is not too small - it's 30 x 18 inches, with a number of natural perches and enrichment opportunities, including regularly changed-out boxes and papers, leafy and flowering tree branches, and commercial bird toys to play with. But it's not big enough to fly in, and he clearly still wants out to fly. I'm still providing him a healthy diet with daily chopped leafy greens, fruit, and broccoli, boiled eggs and whole-grains in addition to a seed mix and pellet mixes. I clean his cage daily, always give him new toys, and change is water every morning. He gets natural sunlight. He's being taken care of in as best a way as I think a cockatiel can, it's just that because of his behavior, he's now a bird that is unsafe to let out of the cage, and that makes me sad as I never planned to keep him as a caged bird, but I don't know what to do. I want my old Gracie back. The bird I have now is not my Gracie. The bird I have now is extremely unstable, and I don't know where I've gone wrong, or how to get back the well-adjusted pet I adopted and once knew.

It's not that big a deal to provide for Gracie as a caged pet and let my relatives give him all the attention he craves - they're happy to and it's not too much work for me - but this isn't the arrangement I bargained for adopting a tame friendly cockatiel, and though it's all his fault, due to his aggression, I feel guilty caging him.

Is extreme, bipolar moodiness typical for cockatiels or is my bird just problematic?
 

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Cockatiels are extremely moody when they are hormonal, in pain, or angry. It could be he is getting too much protein right now. Which can put them into breeding mode. It could still be hormones making him attack you and favor your aunt. It fits the time of year Spring time. My 'tiel was hormonal for months because of an injury that confined her to a hospital cage and the high protein content of millet. I would limit the amount of protein he is getting by reducing the amount of pellets(especially if high potency) and taking eggs out for a while. Warm, soft, high protein food like eggs trigger hormones and he should not be getting them daily. Eggs are more of a once a week/every few days food for 'tiels because they are high in fat and protein which most bird's diets of pellets and seeds already have. Also because much protein can hurt their kidneys. I would give him a few more veggies to make up for the eggs. :)

Maybe also rearrange his cage a bit to cut down on the hormones. If he is getting 12-14 hours of sleep in a quiet dark area to reduce hormones I would keep him on that schedule.
http://www.thelaughingparrot.com/hormones.html

Edit: Forgot some extra hormone links that might be helpful! :)
http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=32330
http://littlefeatheredbuddies.com/in...-hormones.html
http://www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/b...n/hormones.php
http://www.neitokakadut.com/en/cocka...tielaggressive
http://www.birdchannel.com/bird-beha...cockatiel.aspx
 
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