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!Sorry for the long post - I just wanted to give all the details, theres a lot to this story!

A long while ago when I was starting 9th grade, I got Roco, this lovely female tiel (she is now around 6/7 yrs old). She was very hard to train cuz she was aggressive and anxious (she still is anxious, bless her) but we pulled through and now she is the loveliest little thing, I seriously cannot think of a more loving little creature! When she wakes up first thing in the morning she calls out to us to let her out (I mean - the entire day! I think I might've spoiled her too much, she is used to always getting her way and always being with someone). When she is out, she is always on a quest to find us in different rooms. When she gets scared of a loud sound or smth, she doesn't run away but she comes to me or my mom to protect her. As soon as she sees my hand approaching, she drops her head and begs for scratches, every single time. I think I could literally wake her up in the middle of the night and she'd be up for it.

Then I went to uni and decided to get her a companion so she wouldn't be alone, and this is where the trouble started. I have to admit, I made some mistakes so I think that's why now they hate each other (or she hates him).
When we got Puff, a male lutino, we kept them in separate cages alright, but it wasn't even close to enough (one day only). I saw that the both of them were very interested in each other, and Roco kept calling to Puff. Puff also seemed a lot calmer than Roco when we first got her, he ate on the first day when she didn't at all for multiple days, so I just assumed he was accommodating faster. I would soon find out it wasn't true - he was very scared but he didn't seem like it cuz he is very calm by nature, and Roco is a little bundle of energy at all times. Anyway, I let Roco into Puff's cage (the bigger one, which was to be their shared cage) and for almost an hour they just sat on different perches, staring. All fine. Then Roco started nibbling at Puff's feathers - not preening, and I believe maybe she didn't know that well how to behave since she had been just with humans for 4 years at that time. When she nibbled a bit at the feathers on top of his head, he just bumped her very hard with his beak smack atop her head, and she just stood there confused for a while, then she ran to the gate and started desperately screeching for me to let her out.

It's been 2 years since then and they are definitely not friends, although things are pretty calm. I believe that was the only time one of them managed to hit the other at all (and even that one time, the smack on the head, he didn't pluck out a feather or draw blood or anything). Roco is definitely holding a grudge against him, although he is completely dependent on her, he cannot go for a minute without her in the room or he goes completely berzerk, for as calm as he is usually. Now, all their aggressions are just lunges, but only pretend strike, they never actually strike, have never drawn blood or caused scratches or plucked feathers out, just yelling at each other and pretend-lunging, mostly Roco when Puff drives her off her perch. And she never fights him for the perch, she just goes to the other one, or same for the food bowl. They have 2, but if Roco is eating from one, Puff will, 10/10 times, go right there and she'd move. She ignores him completely, doesn't respond to his calls for her (which is sad cuz he thinks she does - he calls out to her, but she calls out to us to let her out of her cage).
And he is so very attached to her, it happened very quickly, the main reason we were afraid to give him up although she hates him. I still remember how, after a week or so, he kept trying to stay next to her, to birdily communicate. After a while, he'd bow his head and ask for scratches from her, and she'd just yell at him and pretend-lunge and then move away. And these 2 years he's been trying and trying to get her to like him, and even when we're gone on vacation and she only has him, still nothing (my grandma takes care of them when we're gone, but they both dislike her so it doesn't make a difference in terms of company). When Roco comes to us, sometimes he'd come too, but never ever alone, only to stay with her. And even when in the same room, he would go to the perch closest to her (never the same perch cuz she just runs away), sit atop the cage as close to her as possible without her flying away, all of that, and he seems so pleased when she is near. When she yells when something displeases her (and she does that a loooot), he is immediately on alert to see if she is okay. When he screeches for whatever reason tho, she doesn't even look up. I think he could literally die in front of her and she wouldn't be bothered.
He's also incredibly weird - she is crazy, always exploring, adventuring, running around, but he just follows her around dumbly and doesn't do anything, just watches. Like, for instance, when we aren't paying attention, she flies inside our book case, chews books and lays down chewed remains like a nest. He doesn't do a thing, he just flies next to her to watch. Sometimes he'd imitate what she does, like just sit on my chair when no one's there, without the reason she does it for tho (to sit next to me). It's a running joke in the family, that's he's a dummy, but it's also a bit worrying, how very stoic he is. Like, there was an accident once when someone dropped the cage door (it comes down) on top of his back cuz they were trying to make sure Roco didn't come out, and Puff didn't utter a single sound. Roco would've screamed her lungs out. Puff was completely fine fortunately, but I still think no reaction was weird. So silent, calm, stoic, and very, very fearful, still. He now lets me scratch him a bit every now and then, but I can see he is completely tense, like he is expecting something bad to happen. He lets me scratch him for 10 seconds, puts his head up and screeches (he doesn't bite, poor kind soul), and then puts his head back to be scratched some more, but still just as tense as ever. When I put my hand inside the cage, he seems to fold into himself, he is not just afraid and trying to run, he actually doesn't try to run, he just sits there, stoic and the picture of submission. All of these really remind me of abuse victims. I don't know if he's been abused prior to us having him, I just know that his siblings at the store were pretty aggressive (we saw that ourselves) and he was just there on the floor doing nothing whilst the others were fighting and yelling. I am making progress with him, very slow, but he is less afraid now. As I said, I can scratch him, he doesn't go berserk anymore when I handle him, he never bites, sometimes eats from my hand, sometimes comes on my finger. At the same time, he is so very tense, like he expects to be hurt.
There is one more thing that Puff does, but I don't know if it is related to anything, just that it makes no sense. Whenever I try to talk to him, he shakes his head as if the wind is blowing, no matter how far away I am. I could well be all the way across the room, so it's not like it's my breath stirring his feathers. I tried out different sounds, but they all get the same reply, then tried to speak as softly as possible. No difference there either. He reacts like this to anyone speaking to him, not just me. I also tried to put on movies to see if he reacts and he didn't. I have no idea why he does that when someone talks to him.

So, after all this time, Puff is still a dilemma. Firstly, I don't know what to do at all to get her to like him. There is no problem in terms of them being aggressive, from what I can see, yells and lunges birdily okay. It breaks my heart how he begs and begs for her affection tho. Secondly, I don't know how to go about taming him, he acts so weirdly, so silent and submissive and fearful. Any thoughts?
 

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Hello there and welcome to the forum!

Do you have them in separate cages at the moment or together? If I were you I would separate them. Of course they will protest at first but I think over time it will help to calm them both down. They can still be side by side but if Puff is showing continued aggression towards Roco, they need to be separate as poor Puff will be feeling very stressed out. You can give them supervised out of cage time together.

Cockatiels (especially males) can become aggressive if they are hormonal. There is a Sticky thread on hormone control here that explains what you can do to calm down their hormone levels.

In regards to the head-shaking thing when you talk to Puff: they do it when they don't like a certain pitch of a sound, or when a sound is too loud or too close to them. It is an odd thing that they do! My 'tiels do it sometimes when they hear certain sounds they're not familiar with. Can you whistle? Try whistling to him or playing him a video of someone whistling or even another cockatiel whistling and see what his reaction is.

On the topic of getting your two 'tiels to be friends: the short and simple answer is, you can't. They're often picky about who they pair up with so there's no guarantee that putting two 'tiels together will go smoothly. If a male is obssessed and can't get the reaction out of the female that he wants then he can start to bully her to the point where he won't allow her to eat (I've had it happen with two of my 'tiels) so the only option is keeping them separate to avoid any further conflict. It might do both Roco and Puff some good to be separated for a while, especially in combination with the hormone control methods.

In regards to taming Puff, you might want to check out this thread and also food bribery. There are also plenty of other threads on taming and training methods on the forum, you can search for them in the search bar.

Hope this helps! Feel free to post any other questions or queries you may have.
 
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