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So I have had my cockatiel Ellie for years. She is now 9 years old, will be 10 this year. Here's her background story:
I was offered a free male cockatiel by a lady who had 18 cockatiels and couldn't care for them all anymore. When she found out I had so much experience with them she offered me another cockatiel. A female, that I named Ellie. When I arrived at the house I went in to meet the birds. She had two big flight cages which seperated the birds who were related. I guess she had had accidental breedings. Anyways, she told me Ellie liked to be held up to your chin and cuddled. So she took Ellie out and put her in the travel cage I brought. I got Ellie home and realized she wasn't taught "step up" she had always just been grabbed out of the cage. I didn't feel comfortable doing that to her so I just let her be. She is best friends with my other cockatiel Emma who was around the same age as her when I got her (3-4 years old). Anyways, I leave the cage open every day for them to come out, but Ellie never does. She has interest in me she chirps to me and paces like she wants to come out, but just doesn't. Now, she's no where near aggressive. She is one of the most harmless cockatiels, though she likes to act tough. I am able to catch her and hold her, but I've realized she gets very bad anxiety being out of her cage. I have never seen this before. She sits and shakes abrasively and flies around which she also has arthritis in her wings so then her wings her and she probably associates being out with pain. There are occasions where she will come out with emma and join in on some treats but after about 20 minutes she goes back in. Since her anxiety is so bad I will not force her out of her cage, it's her choice. I do believe that at her previous home they were never allow out of their cage so that is probably where it strands from.

Anyways, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to make her more tame? I feel if she could over come her anxiety she would be so much more happy and enjoy coming out to be with people.

Again, she is not afraid of me nor anyone. It's not people that give her anxiety, it's only being out of her cage. I made a pvc play gym and if I catch her and bring her out she will sit out on it (with Emma) for hours without trying to go back in. Which is a very good step for her! But again, I don't like catching her. I'm afraid she will hurt her wings flapping them and running away from me in her cage.
 

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Oh this sounds so familiar. Don't give up! I had a 'tile just like this. Just give it time and sit near her cage and talk to her a lot! She will in I bet a week start perking up to you. Tomorrow i will give you more detailed tips and instructions. I have much much experience in taming shy birds never taught to step up. So for now just keep talking to it in a low calm voice. Talk tomorrow!

~Skye


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Okay, thanks. I only have experience in taming aggressive cockatiels. Which luckily they were outgoing and would love time out of the cage so that made it a lot easier. Ellie is a very sweet bird though, as I said she would never bite anyone. Just not much excites her. She doesn't like toys. The only thing is millet.
 

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That seriously sounds like my female 'tiel I had named Pepsi. She would never bite, but never wanted to leave her cage, loved millet, super shy, and never played with toys.

So what you do here is first just talk to you. About 5-6 times a day at least 15 minutes each. In a calm low voice, tell you what you want to eat, all about your friends, what you did that day. Just get in a one way conversation. Your Cockatiel will sense you like her and are a good person that she has no reason to be shy.

Next you continue to do that. But this time give her Millet from your hand 3-8 times a day. You have to see how comfortable she is and see if she is OK with eating from your hand. If she don't eat from you hand the Millet at first. Just keep talking and eventually the temptation is too much and she will eat from you hand.

Third you have to put your hand in a way while feeding her that she has to touch you hand a little (with the bottom of her face or head) to see you hand=treats, and you are a nice calm person that wants no harm done.

If all these steps are going good than that is GREAT! From here you are going to now show she can come closer to you. So when you feed her Millet you use one hand to hold out the Millet and the other hand near her feet. Let her eat Millet like this and then slowly take the Millie t father and father where she has to stretch her neck to eat it. Then you Bring it far enough so that she must put one foot on your hand to get it.

I will post the details from here but to get that far it will take at least 1-2 weeks depending on your bird. I will also post a picture to help you see how to make it stretch for the Millet. So start working at it and i will post later!

~Skye
 
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