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My cockatiel won't become tame!

Discussion in 'Behavior Byway' started by Luna The Tiel, 2/8/19.

  1. Luna The Tiel

    Luna The Tiel Moving in

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    I re-homed this cockatiel recently from a lady who couldn't take care of her anymore as her dog was barking at it all the time. I suspect that that is one of the reasons why my tiel is so hard to tame. She is still very young so I thought it wouldn't take long to tame her. Her name is Luna and she is vicious. I still think she will eventually become tame but I just wanted to ask what I should do. I have done all my research on how to tame a bird but I don't know who's advice to take. Some people say you should punish your bird for biting, some say you should approach them slowly and some say you should just go for it and make them step up. I've had her for a few weeks now and I started off slowly. Eventually she started eating from my hand and it was amazing. She still hisses and bites though. Everything was pretty much the same for the next couple of weeks. I could stroke her beak while she ate the treat I gave her but she wouldn't let me do anymore than that. Last night, I decided I decided I was going to let her bite me because every time she hissed i would jump and pull back my hand which only made matters worse. I wanted to get over my fear of her bites so that I wouldn't freak her out anymore. It turns out, it didn't hurt at all and it looks like she was just threatening me because she didn't even pinch. This morning, I wondered if she would get over her fear of me if I just went ahead and made her step up. I pushed her belly very quickly and she was on my hand, but then, she just flew away and now she's even more scared of me. Obviously, I won't be doing that again and I assume that she'll be just like the way she was before in a couple of days but I just don't know what to do anymore. Yes, she was improving but will she ever become tame like all the other tiels I see on YouTube and what shall I do?
     
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  2. Feather

    Feather Rollerblading along the road Avenue Veteran

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    Slow and steady. Always take things at the bird's pace and absolutely throw out any advice you've gotten to punish her. That will make her fear you, not trust you. Everything about taming birds demands infinite patience, because at the core of it they are still wild animals.

    It sounds like you've made some good progress so far, but don't rush her onto your hand again. She needs to make that choice herself or it won't mean anything. Remember everything is still very new and scary to her.

    With time and patience and trust-building, you may have a very sweet little tiel on your hands, but Youtube is a poor meter for the reality of owning parrots. My cockatiel, Skyline, was abused in his previous home and it was two years before he trusted me enough to let me hold and pet him. Every bird's timeline is going to be different. Just don't put any unfair expectations on her and always be gentle and kind. She will reward you in the end.
     
  3. Zara

    Zara Jogging around the block I Can't Stop Posting!

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    I found a Aldora a year and a half ago. She likes her own space. She will not be told what to do. When she bites, she takes chunks of flesh.

    My man puts his fingers in her cage, and she bites him. Then she licks his fingers in a friendly way. She prefers him to me.

    I avoid being bitten. I don´t put my fingers in her cage. I let her out and she comes to me when she wants to. I´m happy with that. I havent been bitten in well over a year. She is out of her cage daily. She perches on my head or shoulder and gets rewards. She´s still not sure of hands - that´s my treat when she lands on my hand!

    She has never ever been punished. Nor forced to do anything she doesn´t want to.

    Try not to compare your bird to others. It´s like living your life dreaming of having a booty like Jennifer Lopez, it could happen, but you need to accept it´s ok if it doesn´t. (I´m not saying your bird won´t be tamed, i mean being tame exactly like those on youtube.)

    Good luck :)
     
    Last edited: 2/8/19
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  4. AutumnRain

    AutumnRain Sprinting down the street

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    It can take time to earn a bird's trust. I know it feels hard when you see all the tame tiels around, but try to remember, we all had to start at the beginning too. :shy:

    The people who said go slowly are right. If your bird seems uncomfortable with something, then don't force her to do it. Forcing her enough times will cause you to have to start all over again to earn her trust, which will make the process take even longer. She will also be more fearful of you if you do that, so it would take longer than before.

    You can start target training with her to help with getting her to trust you, along with giving her treats when you go near her so she won't have a negative association with you. It's great that you have her flighted as she feels more in control and safe that way since she knows she can fly away if need be. A suggestion would be to always think of step up as a request. Asking her if she wants to step up rather than telling her to will make a big difference since you're giving her the choice. If she shows any signs of not wanting to like lunging, hissing, or backing away, it's important to respect that.
     
    Last edited: 2/8/19
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  5. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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    A few weeks is really no time at all. Take things slow and move at her pace. And you shouldn't punish her for anything. Birds respond to positive reinforcement, not negative. And it's better to avoid the bite than to let a bird bite you. You shouldn't force her out of the cage or force her to let you touch her. Try to make it fun so she wants to be with you. Spend time sitting with her. Talking to her. Hand feeding her treats. And I'm not a fan of the push on the belly step up technique. Often tiels are more comfortable stepping up on the back of your hand put out flat. And they can step on it with being pushed to do so. It's good of you to have taken this bird in. I'm sure in time you'll be good buddies. :)
     
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  6. Luna The Tiel

    Luna The Tiel Moving in

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    Thanks for your replies. It really helped to know that not everyone's tiels are as friendly as the ones on YouTube and that it can take more than two years for her to become tame. It's not that I had been doing anything wrong before I rushed things. It was just that she was going at her own pace. I've never understood why people advise you to punish your bird for biting. In the wild, a dog would live in packs where there is a master but birds live in flocks where each of them are treated equally and that is how I want Luna to love me. This really helped. Thank you so much!
     
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  7. Tara81

    Tara81 Jogging around the block

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    Birds all have unique personalities, how old is your bird?

    A few weeks is really not that long. Don’t get discouraged :)

    You do have to go at the birds pace, but you can set yourself up for more success , if you put her cage close to where you hang out while at home so she can watch you do your daily activities. The more time you spend near, the sooner she will trust you. Also don’t stare directly at her all the time or tower over her, this is predator actions. Believe it or not, if u look away when trying to feed a fearful parrot from ur hands they will relax more then if u stare. When two birds are strangers and are fearful and meet, usually they look away from each other, and stay at a distance for quite awhile, inch to each other slowly. Except for budgies they are bold lol.

    They are social birds, so she will want companionship once she feels more comfortable with her surroundings and less fearful of you.

    What food is she eating, what is her favourite food?

    Food bribery is very successful, and for it to really work, you have to get your bird to eat more then just seed. So , I would work on changing his or her diet, leaving sunflower and millet spray branches, as treats your hands supply only. But I would not remove seeds until I’m sure my pet is eating healthy foods . This takes time.

    Once your tiel is eating a healthy diet, put a treat bowl near her favourite perch, and drop treats with ur hands into through the cage bars, in a non invasive way. In time the bird is going to rush the treat bowl , then u can try hand feeding. After days or weeks of hand feeding, then try step up by maneuvering ur hand so the bird has to decide to step on u for the treats.

    The bonding process even for a hand raised social tiel with no fear of hands still takes time. For example, my cockatiel was tame when I got her, would step on my hand when I presented a toy , paper, or millet. But she didn’t flock call for me or fly to me until she was with me for five or six months. The bonding process takes time, and some young tiels want their independence until they get older and settle more :)
     
    Last edited: 2/8/19
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  8. Tara81

    Tara81 Jogging around the block

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    Yes, you can’t punish for biting, it won’t work. Putting the bird in the cage just associates u with caging the bird, the bird doesn’t realize ur caging it because it bit.

    Clicker training can be very fun bonding activity for both u and ur pet, and they don’t have to be tame at all to be trained .
     
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  9. Ripshod

    Ripshod Sprinting down the street

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    She probably hasn't got vocal soon. But if she has or when she does try to mimic her calls and whistles. She should start showing a proper interest in you right there, thinking you may just be another tiel, but don't rush it. Keep at it and she'll show more and more interest in you and pay more attention to you in a good way. The point is to make her interested and want to get closer to you. Combine this with the other tips you've already been given.
    And never stare at her, that's what common predators will do, as is hiding behind furniture. Best tip I was ever given was to just do your normal stuff around her. Don't rush about, but don't be quiet for her either. She needs to be familiar with your 'normal'.
     
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  10. Luna The Tiel

    Luna The Tiel Moving in

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    Luna is around 20 weeks old. She eats sunflower seeds and veggies from my hand. She does have access to veggies but she doesnt tend to eat them unless i feed them to her. The last owner had moved her into a smaller cage to make it easier to tame her but I once met a tiel who lived in a huge cage that you could walk into. Her owners liked to scare her because they found it funny. After spending a couple of days with her, she flew down and sat on my shoulder but she was always terrified of my hands. I was wondering if Luna would do that so I was planning on letting her fly around in the bathroom. She would be able to choose when she wants to come out and when she wants to go back in because there will be no rush.

    Luna is on a seed diet but I have ordered some pellets for her to change to that. Her cage is in the sitting room and it has wheels so that we can wheel her into the kitchen while we are having lunch(if we haven't used teflon cookware). Sometimes I will hold out a treat in front of my finger but then she just hisses. I can tell that she knows that I want her to step up because she wouldn't hiss if the treat wasn't there. Her hissing is like her way of telling me go away, I'm not ready! I do think I will start clicker training.
     
  11. Luna The Tiel

    Luna The Tiel Moving in

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    When she's in a good mood, she will be intrested in me. She does think of me as company because she comes over to me when I come near to her cage. We have a sort of language together where I whistle to her everytime she does and then it repeats. It's very cute!
     
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  12. Ripshod

    Ripshod Sprinting down the street

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    That's great. You've made more progress than you think.
     
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  13. Tara81

    Tara81 Jogging around the block

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    I totally agree, this is great progress!

    Sprouting is a great way to get your pet bird to eat their veges as well, if the veges in the cage aren’t being eaten.
     
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  14. Luna The Tiel

    Luna The Tiel Moving in

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    Guess what! Letting her out the cage really helped![​IMG]
     
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  15. Luna The Tiel

    Luna The Tiel Moving in

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    IMG-20190210-WA0007.jpg She now sits on my arm and shoulder!!
     

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  16. Zara

    Zara Jogging around the block I Can't Stop Posting!

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    Great pictures :) ❤️
    You´ve made a lot of progress. Just be careful with a bitey bird on your shoulder. I like to use a compact mirror to keep an eye on my Aldora when she´s on my shoulder and I can´t see her.
     
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  17. Fergus Mom

    Fergus Mom Rollerblading along the road

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    Oh my gosh - I never expected to read this much progress from Friday until Sunday - sitting on your arm now? WHAT??!!!
    Fabulous! One thing I will caution you about is, I remember like yesterday when my sweet Lucy-bird was sitting on my arm or shoulder and I had on a sweater, and her toenail got caught. Scared me to death that she would panic so badly she'd pull a toe off or something. I tried never to wear sweaters or fabric like that again after that. Anyhow - Congratulations @Luna The Tiel :heart:
     
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  18. AutumnRain

    AutumnRain Sprinting down the street

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    That's so exciting, congratulations! :starshower1:
     
  19. Luna The Tiel

    Luna The Tiel Moving in

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    It turns out yes, she did get caught in that jumper. It completely ruined it when she tried to get away but she calmed down and managed to get untangled pretty quickly. I'm never going to use that jumper with her again! It did not put her off sitting on my arm again though! I made her step up by getting her to step up on a stick then putting her on my arm. She had the option to fly away because her wings aren't clipped and I did it very slowly. She didn't panic or fly away as soon as she was on my arm. It was great! I think what makes her seem untame is her phobia of hands but she's fine with everything else.
     
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