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My tiel Asa is a shy nervous bird. It's always been a struggle to get toys for him, because he's easily overwhelmed. Over time, I developed what I thought was a good system of introducing the toys during playtime outside of the cage. I would play with the toy in front of him until he seemed interested, then give him an opportunity to come over and check it out. Usually if I get to the point of holding the toy so he can play with it, it's then safe to put in his cage and he'll play on his own, though sometimes having it in his space is still upsetting even though he seemed happy enough with it minutes before. Sometimes I can reach in and give it a nudge to reassure him it's safe. This system of slowly introducing toys has worked fairly well for years. Anything he absolutely will not play with can usually go to my linnie, as she'll play with just about anything.

Now, however, I'm running into a different problem. On some occasions a toy would be left in his cage for too long and he'd start to sing to it and become very possessive, not wanting to come out during playtime and being extra cage territorial. It wasn't too much of a problem. I'd just take the toy away and try and replace it with a new one as soon as possible (sometimes difficult if he wasn't close to being okay with the toys I had laying out for him to get accustomed to). Now it's becoming a problem... any toy I place in his cage, he becomes possessive within a few days of it being in there.

At this point, I have no idea what to do. He gets 12 hours of dark/sleep time, and I don't know what else to do to try and keep his hormone levels down. I've tried introducing the toys more quickly (reducing the usual routine of acclimating him to them with out-of-cage play) but all that does is upset him, because he still has a fear of new toys. I've also tried rotating the toys inside his cage to different places every day or so so there's change, but not too much newness. He still fixates within a few days. It's gotten to the point where I don't have any toys to put in there, because the only ones he's not scared of are ones he wants to mate with... I can't just leave the poor bean in there with no toys!
 
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