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Discussion Starter #1
We got Pip as a 5 month old baby and have had him since August. He has bonded quite strongly with with me, but it took a very ... very long time and I have many bite marks on my fingers to show for it.

Now, though, he lets me touch him, pet his head, give him long deep skritches on his head, crest and neck and preens me constantly (including pulling out beard hairs which hurts like ****.) He steps up and hangs on my shoulder happily.

But he refuses to bond with anyone else in my family. He won't step up to my wife, and my 8 year old is afraid of getting bitten, for good reason. This morning, he bit my 4 year old, hard. We had made some progress with she and Pip. If I was petting his head, she could kind of pick up where I left off and he would let her do it for a few seconds. But this morning, he let her do it for a second, and then just kind of looked up and nonchalantly hissed and chomped down hard. He doesn't seem scared or skittish, he just bites. Hard. He does this to my wife and both my kids. It's very disheartening for them, because they love him and he shows no love in return, whatsoever.

We bought the cockatiel based on countless recommendations of them being good family birds, and I hate to say that Pip is not showing any signs of being this kind of pet.

I'd love some advice on how I might turn Pip from being a one-bird-guy, and what the heck I can do about him biting the people who love him.

Thanks in advance.
 

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When we first got Sunny, he was not fond of my fiancé at all. One thing that helped was to have my fiancé be involved with his daily care. I would let him change Sunny's water, hang his millet, etc. I also worked with him to have him get Sunny out of his cage when I wasn't home. Although Sunny wasn't thrilled at first, I guess he figured being out with anyone is better than being in his cage. It took a little while but now they're friends. :)

Also, your four year old may be too young to handle your tiel. Often children move too quickly for tiels and it frightens them. I don't have young children myself but that's just what I've read. Hopefully others with smaller children can offer advice.
 

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I blow in my Pip's face when he tries to bite. I'm not sure if this is recommended practice or not, but it works, especially when it is my face he is trying to bite!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Also, your four year old may be too young to handle your tiel. Often children move too quickly for tiels and it frightens them. I don't have young children myself but that's just what I've read. Hopefully others with smaller children can offer advice.
Thanks, Sunnysmom.

She is too young, and she is rarely allowed to get too close to him, since he is a bitey bird. A few times, however, when Pip is snuggling with me and getting a super mellow head scratch, Ill let her try to take my place and gently pet his head. It has worked once or twice, and today ended up with a bite. :(

Part of the issue is that it is me and the four year old home with Pip most of the day. My wife and our 8 year old are usually home only in the early morning and late afternoon/evening. I realize its hard for him to bond with my wife when she's at work all day, but still.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I blow in my Pip's face when he tries to bite. I'm not sure if this is recommended practice or not, but it works, especially when it is my face he is trying to bite!
Your tiel has an absolutely adorable name, by the way. :love::love::love::love:

I haven't blown in his face yet, although I have heard of that practice. I do an awful lot of shoulder shrugging, though, when he gets too rambunctious in his grooming of me. :eek:
 

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It's not uncommon for this to happen, particularly with a lone cockatiel. It's likely that in his head you belong to him, and anyone trying to get in between needs to be chased off. You might find hormonal behaviour reducing techniques like increasing his sleep time by a couple of hours could take the edge off it.

The other thing worth bearing in mind is that he has a bond of trust with you, it doesn't mean it transfers to anyone else. If your other family members want to be close with him they might have to start from the ground up. Spending time near the cage, speaking to him softly, offering treats... you know the drill.

With regard the face blowing, I'd say think about it from his point of view first. Generally biting is the last resort of a frightened bird, in which case punishing him for it is not going to achieve anything positive. Better to try and address the root issue of why he feels threatened.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
With regard the face blowing, I'd say think about it from his point of view first. Generally biting is the last resort of a frightened bird, in which case punishing him for it is not going to achieve anything positive. Better to try and address the root issue of why he feels threatened.
And I'm 100% certain that the face biting is not biting due to being threatened. The face biting he does with me is overly rambunctious grooming. He sees a pore, or a facial hair (especially the facial hair) or a blemish and thinks he is doing me a service by trying to remove it. So he bites and pulls! Yow. I know that he isn't being aggressive here (unlike the hiss-chomp he does in regards to fingers) but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt like ****! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's not uncommon for this to happen, particularly with a lone cockatiel. It's likely that in his head you belong to him, and anyone trying to get in between needs to be chased off. You might find hormonal behaviour reducing techniques like increasing his sleep time by a couple of hours could take the edge off it.
This a helpful perspective, thank you!
 

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And I'm 100% certain that the face biting is not biting due to being threatened. The face biting he does with me is overly rambunctious grooming. He sees a pore, or a facial hair (especially the facial hair) or a blemish and thinks he is doing me a service by trying to remove it. So he bites and pulls! Yow. I know that he isn't being aggressive here (unlike the hiss-chomp he does in regards to fingers) but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt like ****! :eek:
Oh yes, I'm very familiar with that too - if I forget to shave Nigel is always the first one to let me know!

I meant to refer more to when he gave your daughter a nip. Something probably set him on edge, possibly that he doesn't know he can trust her yet.
Due to our schedules I've had a lot more time with our new girl Nyra than my other half has, and as a result she's happy around my hands but will hiss if Laura gets close. I thought having her take over mid scratch might work, but as soon as Nyra realised it wasn't my finger she got defensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Due to our schedules I've had a lot more time with our new girl Nyra than my other half has, and as a result she's happy around my hands but will hiss if Laura gets close. I thought having her take over mid scratch might work, but as soon as Nyra realised it wasn't my finger she got defensive.
Sounds JUST like Pip! Glad to hear we aren't alone!


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I was in a situation very similar to Sunnysmom's. Bubu hated my partner's guts for the simple reason that he saw him as the intruder. I am Bubu 's and he'd chase and bite Paul until I grabbed him and calm him down.
The situation has changed in better without me doing a lot about it. I suspect both maturity and the arrival of other birds played a role in calming him down.
Blowing on his face when he is in attack mode is gonna make him furious.
I am sorry for the whole situation, your kids must be so disappointed :-(
Pip loves you very much, he is not a bad pet.

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Discussion Starter #14
Pip loves you very much, he is not a bad pet.
Please don't misunderstand, I do not think he is a bad pet. I do, however, feel like he is a slightly atypical 'tiel, and that has been a challenge (we researched and bought a tiel based on their reps as gentle creatures and good "family" pets). Pip definitely has an attitude that has proved tricky to navigate around. And as a first time tiel owner, I have lots of questions. :)
 

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My boyfriend (the original owner of our tiels) is convinced that the birds developed worse attitudes when I came into his life. Granted, they had loads of problems already, but I believe him when he says I probably made it worse (and he doesn't intend to sound mean when he says that, just honest)... they had gotten accustomed to only him trying to get to know them (well and his roommates when they wanted to play pranks involving the birds) and so having someone else talking to them and wanting to hold them was NOT welcome. One of the reasons why I've been so a***ant about wanting to train them is that having me move in at all made them even more difficult and hostile than they already were so I feel like it's my responsibility to help turn them around.

So basically... everything I've read indicates that you can't guarantee a cockatiel will get along with everyone in the household and there may be people (or other pets) whom they just flat-out dislike. I've heard this cited in the "con" column of pros/cons about deciding to get cockatiels... that there is a chance they will not be OK with having multiple humans in the household and that this is something to consider especially if it's a household with children.

But I agree with the above poster who said that having other members of the household start from the beginning on building a bond will at least maybe have some luck.
 
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