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Separation anxiety is harming my mental health

835 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  ziggybadans
Hey forum,
I love my bird, Pixel, she means so so much to me so please don’t get me wrong.
But her separation anxiety is legitimately harming my mental health and to a point my social life. If I want to leave the leave the living room (where the cage is), I have to put on my headphones on on noise canceling mode. If I want to take a nap I have to put a white noise video on very loud. I can’t even go to the bathroom.
I’ve tried all the standard methods of addressing this - ignoring the screams, rewarding the quiet moments, etc.. Nothing has worked. She has an absurd amount of toys she seems to enjoy playing with, food she seems to like, got her a friend has and a spacious cage.
For this exact reason I can’t invite people over since she will be screaming the entire time. I can put up with it for a little bit, but I wouldn’t want to subject a guest to it.
I had a roommate last year who had to wear headphones very very loud the entire day for her screaming. I felt awful and tried so hard to condition her but all efforts have failed.
I feel like crap even saying this, but I’m thinking of putting putting her up for adoption. It would hurt her so much. She loves and only me so much. No knowing how she’d deal with it.
Has anybody else ever dealt with this?
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I app
Firstly, and I know that this is definitely a last resort for you, but exhaust every possible option (even waiting just a bit) to not put your bird up for adoption! She definitely loves you so much by that behaviour, and you do too clearly so I'm sorry that it's gotten to this point with her!
  • It's interesting that you got her a friend and there hasn't been much change, but just like anything with birds it takes a long time for them to change, so if you only get her a friend recently possibly wait it out, they may grow closer and not need you as much. She may also simply like you more. My cockatiel (while definitely attention-seeking) doesn't bother me too much because I've gotten used to birds screeching loudly around the house and there are lots of cockatoos in the forest I live near that come around and entertain my cockatiel.
  • Also I'd be interested in how much out of cage time she gets.I totally understand that not everyone's situation allows for a bird to be out of their cage constantly or even part-time, but if possible definitely give them a chance to be out. Even if they have a spacious cage you'd be surprised the impact on mental health it can have on them just not being able to get out.
    • My cockatiel when I first got him was super clingy and I couldn't go to the bathroom either, but the more I let him out he got better, and he also found a permanent place he liked on top of the cage, which meant he could stay there when I needed to do something.
  • Cockatoos/cockatiels are extremely social birds. Many cockatoos live in gangs and have a chance to socialise constantly, and they scream loudly to mourn the death of a member. Loudness is just built into cockatiels (my one has been singing loudly the entire time writing this) and it's very hard to change that behaviour since you are a part of their flock, so they need social reinforcement from you. You're doing well by positive reinforcement for quietness. When she's squawking for your attention, try going up to her and if she starts singing or chirping instead (even if it is still a bit loud), reward her. She may not enjoy being completely quiet but she might enjoy chirping and singing if she gets a treat with it.
There are only so many tips I can give not knowing your bird and your situation, so talking to a vet might give some more concrete advice too! They are not just there for emergencies but also for general behavioural tips, and they've helped me with one of my budgies in the past when she was dealing with depression from the death of her partner.
I truly hope everything gets better for you and Pixel, and I hope this helped! :)
I appreciate the advice. They get a few hours a day. Some more than others. I’m guilty of zero if I get home at 11pm and have to get up at 5am. But that an extreme rarity. But in general a good amount. I don’t really keep track. I do still think it would be extremely unfair of me (to them) to continually have them cared for by someone other than myself. Consistency in their I think would be very important. If I’m traveling frequently, that wouldn’t be ideal.
The adoption agency I found recommended by my vet is about an hour and a half away from me and has a ridiculously thorough adoption process for potential new owners, and both of those would put me at ease. Why? Because giving them to someone I know would reduce the risk of me by like 100% of me running into them in the future and sparking old feelings (for them, I know I’ll be okay), and the adoption agency will make sure they go to the right people. Looking into them, they do house visits and everything before releasing them.
After meeting with my new contract managers today, I think it is the best option for them. I want them to have a happy, healthy and loving life. Something I know I won’t be able to provide. Tears will be had but that’s part of the process…
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