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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a cockatiel at a pet store two weeks ago. (Tbh it felt like a rescue, very crowded and noisy conditions). She has finally adjusted to her new home and is letting me put my hand near her. I have successfully taught her how to "target" and "step up" with a clicker and millet as her treat.

The only thing is....she is absolutely obsessed with millet. As soon as we start a training session, she will start crying for it and will eagerly do any of the commands to get it.

We did have issues getting her to eat when she was settling in (surprise surprise she only wanted millet), but she is slowly starting to eat a more balanced diet. We actually showed her videos of other birds eating and that helped her.

My question is, should I be worried about the crying for food behavior? Should I continue with the training, or wait until she is a little older and not as desperate for millet? I think she was too young to be sold, but here we are.

Would appreciate any and all advice!
 

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Crying for food is usually a sign that the bird is a recently-weaned baby that still has hopes of being fed by someone. When these young birds go to a new home, they often cry for food because they want reassurance that someone is looking after them, and not because they aren't able to feed themselves. I would feed her when she begs, whether she has "earned" it or not. She'll outgrow the behavior so you're not creating a monster, and in the meantime you're giving her comfort and establishing a bond with her.

It's possible that she hasn't fully learned to eat anything but millet, so she might actually be hungry. Millet spray is one of the first foods that babies learn to eat - it's attached to a stem, so it's less slippery and easier to grip than loose seed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
P.S. you can encourage her to eat other foods by holding the food in your hand.
Thank you! That is so helpful. I am noticing she prefers the smaller seeds and will pick those out of her food mix. I will try holding the larger pieces in my hand and see if she will eat them. Do they just learn to eat the larger pieces/seeds eventually?
 
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