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ADOPTED A NEGLECTED COCKATIEL (help)

Victoria96O

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Victoria Orellana
Hi everyone,

I recently adopted a male cockatiel named Fedi from a neighbor who could not keep him anymore as she was moving. She mentioned he was given to her from another owner so I’m not sure how old he is. He may be around 10-15 years old. My family was is so delighted to have Fedi as we know he’s the cutest boy ever and we want him to be very happy in our home. Our problem is the neglect we noticed that’s hes survived over the years. This bird has never been given a bath, nevertheless taken out of that cage. The cage is a really nice size , looks expensive and it had a few old toys in there and a big mirror (oh no!) but there wasn’t many places for him to stand on and explore his cage so I bought him more perches and moved everything around and I got him a bunch of new toys (which he doesn’t pay attention to). I even got him vitamins, some millet and some treats. So from my observations, this bird was given the bare minimum. A really big cage he couldn’t explore, given toys but the old owners never moved them around or rotate them. He was given seeds for food :(. He’s terrified of hands and humans. His only companion was that dirty old mirror which he’s obsessed with and very protective over, which is a problem he now has a cage full of toys and more places to go but he won’t play with anything else. He hates it when I play music, he gets aggressive when I go near his cage. He doesn’t like the sounds of birds outside because I can tell he’s a little freaked out he immediately opens the feathers on his head when he’s threatened. I did my research online and there’s a lot about what to get your cockatiel and the care but a lot if is for baby or young tiels. I’m not sure how to go about a tiel that has been neglected for so long. He’s never been outside that cage I can definitely tell because I open it all the time and he’ll just go to a corner and hide behind his mirror. So I’d really appreciate tips and advice on how to :
1. Earn his trust
2. Earn his trust enough to where he lets me take him to the vet for a check up.
3. Give him a bath for the first time
4. Get him accustomed to his new food which he won’t even look at.
5. Hand feed him
6 get him out of the cage for a few hours so he can explore the house
7. Take the mirror away without him getting depressed that his “friend” is no longer there
8. Introduce him to a partner perhaps a female so he can socialize.
Also when will the right time be to get him a partner?
9. Give him pettings without him hissing and biting my hand
10. How to I give this tiel a better life after all the neglect he’s suffered. If I can’t meet any of these points I wanna hit and accomplish with my tiel, I want to at least know there’s hope of improving his happiness which I know there is but how do I even start?

I have a lot of time on my hands, my mom, dad and my two brothers absolutely love Fedi too. I work from home right now so I have all the time and dedication right now to make this right for him. So please, any advice will be greatly appreciated. :)
 

Hankmacaw

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Thank you for taking in this poor guy. Just be aware that it does take a lot of time to gain a bird's trust. Especially a bird that has been neglected or abused.
 

Garet

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1- You have to go slowly with neglected birds. Talk to him sweetly, spend time around him, whistle a tune. He'll let you know when he's ready for hands. With my neglected birds, I noticed that at first, they'd rather run away rather than give you warnings (bluffing and biting). When they got more comfortable around me, rather than just running away, they'd start warning me that I'm invading their space. It's like they come to trust you enough to know they won't be harmed for telling you 'I don't like this'. You might get bit, but you should just ignore any biting. And remember; not all biting is bad. If he's never been out on a hand before, he might latch onto your fingers. Birds bite perches they're uncertain of to test and see if they're sturdy and can hold their weight.
2- IMHO, you shouldn't wait for then to take him to the vet. Most avian vets know how to handle frightened or unfriendly birds. If you don't want to be the 'bad guy', get one of your siblings to gently towel him and put him in a pet carrier.
3- Tiels love showers, but in moderation. Showering too often can damage their feathers (my girl likes a shower once every few weeks to a month). You can try misting him with a spray bottle by pointing it up in the air.
Can you move his cage into the bathroom when you shower? I did that with all the birds that will let me to acclimatize them to the noise of running water. After a while, Mims grew comfortable enough to step up onto my arm and join me when I shower. Just make sure the water's not too hot and not too cold if you do this. They also have shower perches you can pick up.
4- This can take time. Try mixing it in with his old food and gradually reducing the amount of old food you give him.
5- Spray millet. It's a treat and not a meal for them. They tend to go bananas over the stuff. Offer it through the bars and wait to see what he'll do. If he's ready, he'll accept the bribe. If not, leave him a little and try again another day.
6- I just leave the cage door open for my birds. When they were ready, they came out of their own accord.
7- 8 will help with this.
8- You should get a second cage for your new bird and quarantine her for about a month unless you can get her a clean bill of health. Birds have to chose to live with one another, they don't do well when they're just put in a cage with a total stranger. If they get along, they'll go exploring eachother's cages. If not, they can just enjoy their neighbor's company. Two of my lovebird girls live alone in their cages because they don't want to share. I have two boys who share and a lovebird and a tiel who share (this is not recommended. I only let them share because they're a bonded couple and the lovebird in question is gentle, old as the hills, and thinks he's a tiel, while the tiel was raised with lovebirds and thinks she's one of them).
9- This takes time. Don't try this until he lets you know he's comfortable enough to let you pet him. Hissing is his way of saying 'I'm not okay with this and I don't want this, please stop'. Biting is his attempt at smacking your fingers away. You have to remember that birds don't use their hands to preen eachother, but predators will use their front paws to grab at them. It takes a great deal of trust to get to this stage, and you start building that trust by respecting his space and listening to him when he tells you to stop.
10- Fresh fruits and vegetables can help, as can mineral blocks and cuttlebones. Birds also require natural sunlight, though if you do bring his cage outside, you have to be there to supervise. My tiel also loves her natural wood perches, dowels can be very hard on their feet. Platforms might also help him if he's an older bird. My tiel also enjoys scrambled eggs, whole grain pasta, brown rice and plain, unsalted unbuttered popped popcorn. All of these things should be in moderation. You can make vegetable skewers and string popcorn on save strings.
 

Catherine89

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Thanks for rescuing this sweet baby. It will take time to earn his trust you just have to be patient. Definitely take him to the vet. My female hates to be handeld. She will step up but retreats to her cage if we try and take her out but our vet can get her out on about two seconds with a towel. I would eventually take away the mirror , and it might help him pay more attention to his new toys . I had a male ‘teil who loved his mirror and it made it hard for me to earn his trust because he spend all his time in the mirror . I took it and he them became more aware of what was happenings around him. Try sitting next to his cage and reading out loud or sing to him . Again it takes time and patience but it sounds like your off to a good start. Good luck.
 

Tiel Feathers

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Thanks for taking in this sweet bird. As already mentioned, it will all just take time. Another cockatiel instead of the mirror would be a good idea, but as mentioned, you have to do introductions slowly. Even if they can’t share a cage, they will enjoy each other’s company. Then you could take out the mirror. Also, if the new cockatiel is tame, it might help make Fedi open up more.

I would start by dropping millet in his food cup every time you walk by, and save the millet only for this. Also, reading aloud by his cage is a good idea. You can try misting him some sunny morning by letting the water fall gently from above, but if he shows any sign of distress, stop. I can’t wait to hear all about his progress!
 

nu2birds

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Welcome Victoria to AA, You've got some great advice so far, good luck with your new friend and thanks for taking him in.
 

TikiMyn

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Welcome and thank you for rescueing this sweetie. I Will give you advice based of my experience with the cockatiel I rescued:)
1. Earn his trust
I would drop a treat in his bowl every time you walk by or enter/leave the room, sit close(but not to close, sit at a distance where he seems comfortable) and read/sing/talk to him. Talk to him a lot, softly and gentle Will likely work best. Respect him, that is very important I think. When he shows fear, show him you understand and back off, don’t look at him directly and perhaps even go a bit to the ground if his reaction was extreme. This shows him he can comminicate with you.
2. Earn his trust enough to where he lets me take him to the vet for a check up.
It might be a good idea to do this right away, if you open his cage and hold a travel cage in front of it, do you think he Will get in? If he seems a bit unhealthy I would just towel him and bring him to the vet. If he is not overly scared of you, and you have faith you could get him into a travel cage soon, you could also wait. Look into target training, you basically teach the bird to touch a stick. My birds all got it in a day, that way you could perhaps target him into a travel cage.
3. Give him a bath for the first time
I would try spraying water from a spray bottle, spray not onto him, but near him so he can choose to get under. When he trusts you more you could also try spraying directly on him, that might Flip the switch in his mind. My cockatiel didn’t get the spray untill I sprayed one spray a bit on him, then I sprayed next to him again. He spread his wings and got soaking wet. Other things you can try is wet leafy greens, a big shallow dish and later take him into the shower or let him bath in running water in the sink. Perhaps he does bathe in his water dish already, my cockatiel did that too.
4. Get him accustomed to his new food which he won’t even look at.
Try offering it first thing in the morning, mix it with his old food, try to bake a birdie Bread with it, or pretend to eat it yourself. Be persistent, keep offering it. I find plates work better then food dishes for introducing new foods, so they can forage through it. Here is a picture to show what I mean: 10CE60FF-3666-495D-80D1-D429965B0F31.jpeg
Because they are ground foragers this is quite natural to them and mighty entice him to eat a new food.
5. Hand feed him
What exactly do you mean? If you mean taking a treat from your hand, I would add an extra dish to the cage. A special treat dish. Every time you walk by dorp a treat in it. After a while, that could be a day or weeks, he Will expect a treat and walk to that place to recieve it. Then you can try offering it to him instead of putting it in his dish.
6 get him out of the cage for a few hours so he can explore the house
I would wait. If he seems uncomfortable, you might have trouble getting him back in and that won’t do your relationship any good. Wait untill he is comfortable in his new environment and seems to want to come out.
7. Take the mirror away without him getting depressed that his “friend” is no longer there
I am not sure, if that is the only thing from his old setup that is still there I would wait a little bit before removing it perhaps.
8. Introduce him to a partner perhaps a female so he can socialize.
Also when will the right time be to get him a partner?
It is not sure he Will get along with a friend. That is always a gamble. I like seeing birds in pairs and think it would be a good thing, but you Will have to at least start out with two cages. So when you are ready I think:)
9. Give him pettings without him hissing and biting my hand
He might never like that, my Tiel nevermind did. I could Kiss his wing after a few years thoug. One of my lovebirds doesn’t like physical affection either, that js just the way he is.
10. How to I give this tiel a better life after all the neglect he’s suffered. If I can’t meet any of these points I wanna hit and accomplish with my tiel, I want to at least know there’s hope of improving his happiness which I know there is but how do I even start?
There defiantly is, hus life is already better. Give him time, be patient and respectfull. Don’t force him and let him determine what happens next. With my cockatiel, in the beginning there was a lot of just sitting close to Each other, talking, me laughing at things he did, giving treas once he accepted them etc. Try foraging with him, foraging was the big love of my cockatiel! His favorites were a sunflower seed stuffed into a straw, a grass mat with a few seeds spread on it and a coffeefilter twisted shut with seeds inside.
Good luck and Again thank you for helping him. Post a picture when you get a chance!
 

Victoria96O

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Victoria Orellana
Omg!!! Thank you so much for the advise. I’m definitely following everything and taking your kind words with great joy. I’m going to take him to the vet this Monday even if he puts up a fight we’ll be gentle and patient with him as long as we have to. I’m so excited to see his progress too. The reading thing definitely intrigued me. I need to read more so that helps both him and I. My dad sings to him every morning haha and tells him how beautiful he is. So grateful for this forum! Thank you all.
 

iamwhoiam

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Thank you for taking Fedi into your home. He's a nice looking 'tiel. Looks like you got some very good advice so I have nothing to add.
 

Garet

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It looks like it’s not a bird mirror but we removed it from his cage and he’s been fine :)
Oh, that's great news! Human mirrors really aren't the same as bird mirrors. There's probably no telling if that one was made of safe materials or not.

How goes the search for a friend for your little man?
 

Tiel Feathers

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Awesome your hand is so close to the little guy while you feed him, and he’s awfully cute!:heart: Also, your dad sounds like a great guy!
 

Victoria96O

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Oh, that's great news! Human mirrors really aren't the same as bird mirrors. There's probably no telling if that one was made of safe materials or not.

How goes the search for a friend for your little man?
I went to this store called Petland nearby my house today and they had some amazing options. All the birds are so friendly. I’m going to hold off on it until next week. I want to make sure he’s a healthy boy on Monday first when we go to the vet before we make the commitment of getting another but I’m excited to get one soon!
 

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Lady Jane

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Welcome to AA and you now know we love Cockatiels. Bless you for improving his life 10 fold. I would not jump right in and get a buddy for him. I would wait till he feels more secure in his new home and family. Please update us often on your progress.
 

rocky'smom

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Welcome to AA. I have rescued male tiel named Bebe. He lived in absolutely horrible conditions b/4 I got him into my home. Bebe was addicted to his mirror also. We are still working through his baggage from his former home, but we are getting thru it daily. He will now come out of his cage on his own. Please get your new friend to a vet, I found out after I got Bebe that he has permanent liver and kidney damage from being fed human junk foods. Everytime you walk by his cage put a treat in a special dish, call his name give the treat. I carried snack size baggie in my pocket for weeks. Thank you for taking him in, love him as much as possible, and take baby steps with him.
 

rocky'smom

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His mirror is now a treat .
 

tielluver

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I too had rescued some neglected tiels. it just takes time, patience. bless you for rescuing him. he's a cutie. a bird mirror is not a bad thing for him. I have had birds many years, parakeets and tiels and they all had a bird mirror, and all were/are very bonded with us as well. it is good company for a lone bird, but a friend (bird) is better, but since he's so used to his mirroir (but get one made special for a bird) I would see first if he bonds with another bird and seems to be going to the mirror less and less before removing it. just take things at his pace. good luck.
 
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