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Aggressive old cockatiel

Alex S

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
1/2/21
Messages
4
Hi all,
first post here and in a bit if desperation (probably common for newbies). The backstory is not great, but I'm hoping people will see that I'm here trying to do the right thing.

The abridged backstory:
Poki is a 22 year old male cockatiel. He was bought for me when I was 10 as a replacement pet, but unfortunately no research was done. Poki was poorly treated for the majority of his life, yes in large part my fault. I recognize that and feel endlessly guilty for it, I assure you. I lived with him until college, where he since lived with my mother. I saw that he wasn't living well and took him back in an attempt to give him the life he needed/deserved and in hopes of repairing our severely damaged relationship. He is flightless. My mother used to get his wings clipped, but he either hasn't grown his flight feathers or loses them before they're long enough to do any good because he hasn't had long wing feathers in probably fifteen years.

What I've been doing since taking him back:
- I started clicker and target training which he caught onto surprisingly quickly. He will even ring a bell on command. This is the only good thing that has come of our relationship thus far.
- I've been trying to improve his diet. He was on an all seed diet the majority of his life. I switched him over to pellets as fast as I could, just to find out that the pellets I had converted him to were not considered good by the community.
- I am since in the process of switching him to new pellets, the ingredients of which are much higher quality. I also feed him sprouts, fresh broccoli, fresh swiss chard and cooked beans and peas every morning. I hope to add other foods once he starts eating some of the fresh stuff
- I have been endlessly and relentlessly watching videos, particularly BirdTricks, as they seem to have the most experience and the widest breadth of knowledge available on training, fixing bad behaviors, etc. I also bought their book on diet to try and make sure I am moving in the direction of a "perfect" diet.
- I have been trying to give him toys for shredding and foraging to keep him preoccupied.
- I work from home and we live in a tiny apartment. My bedroom is my office is Poki's home as well.
- I've been trying to monitor and understand his behavior/routine/body language. It's definitely helped me to understand his habits and helped our training, but I still have a long way to go.

What I'm really struggling with:
- Poki is extremely aggressive, especially towards me. I attribute this to my bad behavior, prior to understanding the proper way to train birds. But he is aggressive towards all people.
- He is extremely object possessive and gets attached to the strangest things. I made him a perch outside of the cage which we used for our training sessions. After a while, i realized that he had actually become attached to the metal nub on the inside of the cage that attached the perch to the cage. He would rub his face on it and cling to the side of the cage by it all the time. If I came close to the cage, he would attack it in what I can only assume was his instinct to "scare his mate away from danger". The problem was, he was actually attacking it so aggressively that it was causing damage to his beak, so I took it away. This of course makes me the bad guy for removing his "mate".
- since removing his mate, he screams non-stop. and I mean for hours. I tried the "leave the room" negative reinforcement technique but as I said, I work at home, as does my partner and we both have meetings throughout the day. Last week he screamed for three and a half hours straight, no breaks.
- I've been trying the positive reinforcement technique while remaining in the room where I click and treat after he stops screaming and returns to normal chirps. Doesn't seem to be helping. In fact, I'm wondering if it's actually reinforcing bad behavior.
- He is so aggressive that even when I try to treat him, even through the cage bars, he tries to attack, before, during and after partaking in the treat. I'm wondering if I should be removing the treat when he takes aggressive moves toward it (hissing/aggressive biting/wing spreading), or if that would just upset him more and break his trust in the reward process.
- I am trying the "power pause" as BirdTricks refers to it, in order to get him more comfortable with my approaching the cage. The progress is two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. Feels like two steps back most of the time.
- I stopped letting him out of the cage, as he just tends to attack either myself or the world around him when he's out and I don't want his outside cage time to be a long series of contentious interactions between us.
- He screams first thing in the morning, even though we have blackout curtains which I purchased for this reason. So I started covering him, but then he became possessive of the cover. When removed, he would scream frantically, climb to the bottom of the cage and run back and forth following the location of the blanket with his eyes and movement. And when stored away, he again screams relentlessly. When covered, he starts his flirtatious whistling. Why is he obsessed with his cover?
- He is terrified of being alone. I attribute this to a few things. 1, as I mentioned, he's been flightless for probably 15 years at this point, so he knows he's vulnerable to predators. 2, because of COVID, I've been working from home for almost a year now and he's used to me being in the bedroom 20 hours a day most days. 3, he's bored/lonely. He doesn't interact much with the toys I have for him. I've tried different things and I'm trying to reward him for interacting with them, but again, he hates me so I can't tell if me approaching the cage makes the situation worse.
- He has now gotten to the point where he screams even when I'm in the room some days, nonstop, whenever he feels like it. I assume this is because he wants me to interact with him, but the problem is, this hasn't prompted a reaction from me in years, so I don't know why he does it. And when I tried leaving the room to get him to make the connection that his screaming causes me to leave, that just causes him to scream more. The cycle continues.
- This bird is terrified of literally everything. Introducing anything to his cage or even nearby his cage is arduous. Nothing comes easy with this bird.

It's getting to the point where I'm really worried about getting thrown out of my apartment because of the screaming. My landlords live above us and rented out the space as a favor, but they're practical people, not pet lovers, appreciate their quiet and space and definitely don't need the income, so I'm waiting for the day when they say it's us or the bird. And anywhere I've looked for a place to rent and I ask about the bird, the first question they ask is "is he loud?" I know there are people who will probably suggest rehoming him, but he's 22 and the MOST crotchety old codger I've ever heard of, so I can't imagine someone willing to take him. Not only that, but in case it isn't obvious, I am truly willing to put the work in, I just don't know if my efforts are helping or hurting in most cases, particularly training. I have also considered getting a companion bird, obviously kept in a separate cage. My partner believes and I agree that the reason this has been so hard is because there are many years of trauma that I am trying to make up for. I'm wondering if fostering a bird with whom I could start the relationship off right would help Poki to see that I'm not the enemy. But my partner is obviously VERY hesitant about this because of her experience with Poki. And I'm very worried that his bad habits will carry over to any bird we foster, instead of the other way around. I'm also not sure my landlords would even allow it for the same reasons my partner is against it. I've considered getting a stuffed animal and just playing bird noises, but I'm not sure it would help. I'm also concerned that he'll become attached to anything, even outside the cage and become aggressive toward me again in his attempts to defend it as has happened with every other thing he's become attached to. I've tried music and bird soundtracks in the past and they don't help.

Is this relationship beyond repair? Is he just too old or the damage is just too much that it's pointless? Is there something I seem to be missing that could be preventing him from building trust with me or encouraging his screaming? If you made it this far, I appreciate it. I know this post is long.
 

camelotshadow

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How long ago did you take him away from your Mom?
I suppose he was supposed to be your pet & Mom was good enough to take care of his needs of survival by giving food so he has been most of his life by himself in a cage.
First of all some seeds for tiels is ok. They are seed eaters in the wild & pellets with seeds can be in the diet.
No sense taking away all seeds that he has had all his life.

Its been many years of his getting to this state & its not that quick that they can understand that life has changed & things will be better for them. He;s not used to people. Just have to have patience & understanding.

The screaming though for hours is not good for you or the apartment.

He can't both hate you & want you to interact him so he screams. Then maybe he can if he;s confused as birds don;t feel safe alone. If you are with him in the same room for 20 hours & he still screams then its a tough one for me. Basically you have to try to reward good behavior like being quiet. It takes a long time & consistency to make them learn quiet gets them treats while noise gets them nothing. Please try to ignore screams & only thing is maybe to leave the room when they do it but then again where do you go in a small apartment. Been there done that as a bird controls your movement it gets to you.

I applaude you for trying to give this bird a chance at a good life.

on.

Do you low play music or tv? Birds like some background sounds.
Have you tried to move his cage? Anything scary where he is window etc. Do you really think he is screaming for you to interact with him? Somehow this screaming got him attention & now he is using it to get more.

Even leaving the room is a reaction so could reinforce the screaming so do so a quietly & simple as possible

Maybe cover the top & back of the cage. See if it helps any?


Hopefully you will get some good advice to get you going in the right direction

Try treats he likes to get to his heart & show him you are a good guy.
maybe even popcorn
 

Aves

Rollerblading along the road
Joined
10/4/20
Messages
1,472
Location
Utah
I have been endlessly and relentlessly watching videos, particularly BirdTricks, as they seem to have the most experience and the widest breadth of knowledge available on training, fixing bad behaviors, etc. I also bought their book on diet to try and make sure I am moving in the direction of a "perfect" diet.
BirdTricks isn't good for these reasons: Opinions on BirdTricks? | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum
I suggest you check out these free resources from experts:
Free Training Resources | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum
 

MnGuy

Jogging around the block
Avenue Veteran
Joined
4/24/17
Messages
949
I don’t have any great advice but I’ll say when I was a teenager my younger brother got a cockatiel that hissed and lashed out to bite whenever you got near her cage and especially when you put your hand in her cage.

One day I braved it, stuck my hand in, kept it there and she hissed, reached out to bite me, stopped, gently explored my hand with her beak and was never aggressive again.

I know your situation is totally different; I’m just saying your bird could also be bluffing and that maybe your response is teaching him that it works?

Good luck.
 

scrape

Rollerblading along the road
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
5/4/19
Messages
2,504
Hi all,
first post here and in a bit if desperation (probably common for newbies). The backstory is not great, but I'm hoping people will see that I'm here trying to do the right thing.

The abridged backstory:
Poki is a 22 year old male cockatiel. He was bought for me when I was 10 as a replacement pet, but unfortunately no research was done. Poki was poorly treated for the majority of his life, yes in large part my fault. I recognize that and feel endlessly guilty for it, I assure you. I lived with him until college, where he since lived with my mother. I saw that he wasn't living well and took him back in an attempt to give him the life he needed/deserved and in hopes of repairing our severely damaged relationship. He is flightless. My mother used to get his wings clipped, but he either hasn't grown his flight feathers or loses them before they're long enough to do any good because he hasn't had long wing feathers in probably fifteen years.

What I've been doing since taking him back:
- I started clicker and target training which he caught onto surprisingly quickly. He will even ring a bell on command. This is the only good thing that has come of our relationship thus far.
- I've been trying to improve his diet. He was on an all seed diet the majority of his life. I switched him over to pellets as fast as I could, just to find out that the pellets I had converted him to were not considered good by the community.
- I am since in the process of switching him to new pellets, the ingredients of which are much higher quality. I also feed him sprouts, fresh broccoli, fresh swiss chard and cooked beans and peas every morning. I hope to add other foods once he starts eating some of the fresh stuff
- I have been endlessly and relentlessly watching videos, particularly BirdTricks, as they seem to have the most experience and the widest breadth of knowledge available on training, fixing bad behaviors, etc. I also bought their book on diet to try and make sure I am moving in the direction of a "perfect" diet.
- I have been trying to give him toys for shredding and foraging to keep him preoccupied.
- I work from home and we live in a tiny apartment. My bedroom is my office is Poki's home as well.
- I've been trying to monitor and understand his behavior/routine/body language. It's definitely helped me to understand his habits and helped our training, but I still have a long way to go.

What I'm really struggling with:
- Poki is extremely aggressive, especially towards me. I attribute this to my bad behavior, prior to understanding the proper way to train birds. But he is aggressive towards all people.
- He is extremely object possessive and gets attached to the strangest things. I made him a perch outside of the cage which we used for our training sessions. After a while, i realized that he had actually become attached to the metal nub on the inside of the cage that attached the perch to the cage. He would rub his face on it and cling to the side of the cage by it all the time. If I came close to the cage, he would attack it in what I can only assume was his instinct to "scare his mate away from danger". The problem was, he was actually attacking it so aggressively that it was causing damage to his beak, so I took it away. This of course makes me the bad guy for removing his "mate".
- since removing his mate, he screams non-stop. and I mean for hours. I tried the "leave the room" negative reinforcement technique but as I said, I work at home, as does my partner and we both have meetings throughout the day. Last week he screamed for three and a half hours straight, no breaks.
- I've been trying the positive reinforcement technique while remaining in the room where I click and treat after he stops screaming and returns to normal chirps. Doesn't seem to be helping. In fact, I'm wondering if it's actually reinforcing bad behavior.
- He is so aggressive that even when I try to treat him, even through the cage bars, he tries to attack, before, during and after partaking in the treat. I'm wondering if I should be removing the treat when he takes aggressive moves toward it (hissing/aggressive biting/wing spreading), or if that would just upset him more and break his trust in the reward process.
- I am trying the "power pause" as BirdTricks refers to it, in order to get him more comfortable with my approaching the cage. The progress is two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. Feels like two steps back most of the time.
- I stopped letting him out of the cage, as he just tends to attack either myself or the world around him when he's out and I don't want his outside cage time to be a long series of contentious interactions between us.
- He screams first thing in the morning, even though we have blackout curtains which I purchased for this reason. So I started covering him, but then he became possessive of the cover. When removed, he would scream frantically, climb to the bottom of the cage and run back and forth following the location of the blanket with his eyes and movement. And when stored away, he again screams relentlessly. When covered, he starts his flirtatious whistling. Why is he obsessed with his cover?
- He is terrified of being alone. I attribute this to a few things. 1, as I mentioned, he's been flightless for probably 15 years at this point, so he knows he's vulnerable to predators. 2, because of COVID, I've been working from home for almost a year now and he's used to me being in the bedroom 20 hours a day most days. 3, he's bored/lonely. He doesn't interact much with the toys I have for him. I've tried different things and I'm trying to reward him for interacting with them, but again, he hates me so I can't tell if me approaching the cage makes the situation worse.
- He has now gotten to the point where he screams even when I'm in the room some days, nonstop, whenever he feels like it. I assume this is because he wants me to interact with him, but the problem is, this hasn't prompted a reaction from me in years, so I don't know why he does it. And when I tried leaving the room to get him to make the connection that his screaming causes me to leave, that just causes him to scream more. The cycle continues.
- This bird is terrified of literally everything. Introducing anything to his cage or even nearby his cage is arduous. Nothing comes easy with this bird.

It's getting to the point where I'm really worried about getting thrown out of my apartment because of the screaming. My landlords live above us and rented out the space as a favor, but they're practical people, not pet lovers, appreciate their quiet and space and definitely don't need the income, so I'm waiting for the day when they say it's us or the bird. And anywhere I've looked for a place to rent and I ask about the bird, the first question they ask is "is he loud?" I know there are people who will probably suggest rehoming him, but he's 22 and the MOST crotchety old codger I've ever heard of, so I can't imagine someone willing to take him. Not only that, but in case it isn't obvious, I am truly willing to put the work in, I just don't know if my efforts are helping or hurting in most cases, particularly training. I have also considered getting a companion bird, obviously kept in a separate cage. My partner believes and I agree that the reason this has been so hard is because there are many years of trauma that I am trying to make up for. I'm wondering if fostering a bird with whom I could start the relationship off right would help Poki to see that I'm not the enemy. But my partner is obviously VERY hesitant about this because of her experience with Poki. And I'm very worried that his bad habits will carry over to any bird we foster, instead of the other way around. I'm also not sure my landlords would even allow it for the same reasons my partner is against it. I've considered getting a stuffed animal and just playing bird noises, but I'm not sure it would help. I'm also concerned that he'll become attached to anything, even outside the cage and become aggressive toward me again in his attempts to defend it as has happened with every other thing he's become attached to. I've tried music and bird soundtracks in the past and they don't help.

Is this relationship beyond repair? Is he just too old or the damage is just too much that it's pointless? Is there something I seem to be missing that could be preventing him from building trust with me or encouraging his screaming? If you made it this far, I appreciate it. I know this post is long.
I am not an expert, but I want to help. So take my advice with a grain of salt.
Most of the people on this forum don't prefer Birdtricks, but they are a good start.

First, my cockatiel is similarly attached to certain toys. I have found it is unhealthy when obsessive, but ultimately unpreventable. I remove objects monthly when they are a problem, my tiel will find another toy to "mate".

I don't have much to say about screaming. I too have a problem with my cockatiel being too loud. Foraging toys have helped my cockatiel a bit. And more out-of-the-cage-time/exercise.

For the treat problem, try dropping his treats in a specific treat bowl. Or have a little cup, or spoon you give his treats on. Or a long millet stick. Just keeping you away will make him feel more secure.

Although another cockatiel might comfort Poki, it isn't a good idea for many reasons. Too many things could go wrong and you'd be stuck with the consequences.

I'm assuming you spend time with him, since your desk is close. Things like reading to him, and singing can help. But out-of-cage time is very good for your bird. Playstands and toys are great motivation, as well as good ole bribery. An hour a day is a great starting place.
I hope this helps a bit:)
 

Alex S

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
1/2/21
Messages
4
Hey all, thanks for the quick and informative responses.

To clarify a few things, I do give him seed still, but in much closer to 10-20% of his diet, as opposed to 100%. He otherwise won't forage much in the veggie dishes i give him to try.

As for sticking my hand in and calling his bluff, i assure you he's drawn blood more times than i can count. The other day, I was training with him and things were going I thought pretty well. Then a few tricks in, i went to reward him and he bit me so hard i drew my hand back in surprise. He hung on so tight it pulled him off the perch, he bounced off my chest, i couldn't catch him and he fell to the floor. This was the worst incident in maybe a month, but he draws blood pretty regularly. I of course don't hold it against him, but it does make it frustrating when i can't really understand what it is that i'm doing to break his trust to this degree.

I took him from my mother about two years ago, but to be honest, it's probably only been a year since i started working with him heavily. But the frustrating part is that the more I work with him, the bigger his negative reactions have gotten both when interacting with me and when I'm not around.

I think what's happened is he understands that interacting with me means his favorite food, but he still doesn't trust me. So he screams for me to come interact, but then gets upset when I get too close to the cage or god forbid inside. His strongest phobia is definitely my hand. I've been trying to do things to desensitize hands for him. Haven't had much luck. I think he's actually started to scream more since I started rewarding his stopping screaming. He seems to not care how long he has to scream to get his way. He's been screaming for about five hours today and it's only 215PM where I am. And I've been home the whole day. The last few days have been similar.
 

MC_Hahn's

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Marie C.
Can you offer the treats in a small bowl or from a long millet/oat spray instead when rewarding him?

Has he ever been to the vet? Although he likely has behavioral issues causing him to vocalize, these could also be signs of something wrong with the bird.

Have you read The Parrot Problem Solver by Barbara Heidenreich? It confronts a lot of the general issues that you have listed.

I'll tag some more experienced 'tiel owners that may be able to help/offer advice: @Khizz @JewellBird @Tiel Feathers @sunnysmom
 

sunnysmom

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Welcome to the forum. I am on my phone right now but will get on my computer in the morning and try to offer some advice. All my tiels have come to me as older tiels. They can still learn and have positive changes made.
 

sunnysmom

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I would look at Good Bird for training help. I also believe in not putting hands in cage except for feeding etc. It's the bird's space and I try to respect that. I let the bird come out on his own. You can put a perch just outside the door with some millet hanging by it to encourage him to come out. Spend time just sitting by his cage and even reading to him. It gets him used to you in a nonthreatening way. With an older bird you have to go slow and move at his pace.
 

Alex S

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
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Messages
4
@sunnysmom I never put my hand in the cage (anymore) except to swap out the veggie platter in the morning. And when I do, I wait until he's in his favorite spot and in a relaxed mood. I go about it slowly and he doesn't seem to upset as long as I make no other moves. He actually does come out on his own. He's not shy about exploring around his cage, which doesn't make sense to me, but I'm happy about it.

UPDATE:
Thanks all for the resources. So I actually think I might have made a big step. After reading your responses and going through the resources provided, I watched all of the Phoenix Lands videos (I'm sad there aren't more) and an idea occurred to me. I've never tried hand feeding him seed by seed the way the woman does in the video with pine nuts or sunflower seeds (can't remember which). But I realized that I could actually do that through the cage bars and my hands would still be protected. Turns out it works REALLY well for, I believe, these three reasons:
1. The seeds are small enough that he has to get close to my hand. Now after only four days, it doesn't even seem to bother him most of the time.
2. He is forced to take the seed delicately. It naturally forced him to calm down and not take aggressive lunges at my hand because it would just knock the seed out of my fingers and onto the cage floor where he couldn't get to it. He figured this out pretty quick and he still makes aggressive moves once in a while, but after the first seed is lost, he calms down and his temperament changes. He also makes aggressive moves before the seed even gets inside the cage, but I pull my hand away when he does and then wait for him to calm down and he seems to have figured out that the aggression doesn't get him what he wants.
3. He's never really been good with sunflower seeds, I think probably because of their size. But what I'm realizing is that's actually a good thing. It's forcing him to think about how to open the seed without losing it. He won't hold the seed in his hand as I've seen other parrots do, but he's come up with two strategies. To pin the seed to the perch as he tries to open, or climb down to the base of the cage where the bars meet the bottom and pin it against a little lip where it can't fall very easily. So he's using his brain to get at it, which has to be good right?

The one downside, if you can call it that is that he's started focusing his screaming on wanting seed. So when he screams I know it's because he wants more, but I've been using negative reinforcement by getting up and leaving the room. It's worst first thing in the morning, but it only lasts a half hour or so at a time, and it's on and off, so in my opinion, huge improvement. He does scream the entire time I'm gone though if I step out to run an errand or something. I know that's a fear/boredom thing, but I'm going to be adding more foraging toys and trying to teach him how to use them once he's a bit more comfortable with me.

Does this all seem reasonable? Anything I could be doing wrong here? Every time I come up with a new strategy for trying to make progress it seems to have some unintended consequences. But it's been four days so far and things seem to be going well. I will be sure to read the Good Bird and the Parrot Problem Solver. Thanks again everyone for your input.
 

sunnysmom

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@sunnysmom I never put my hand in the cage (anymore) except to swap out the veggie platter in the morning. And when I do, I wait until he's in his favorite spot and in a relaxed mood. I go about it slowly and he doesn't seem to upset as long as I make no other moves. He actually does come out on his own. He's not shy about exploring around his cage, which doesn't make sense to me, but I'm happy about it.

UPDATE:
Thanks all for the resources. So I actually think I might have made a big step. After reading your responses and going through the resources provided, I watched all of the Phoenix Lands videos (I'm sad there aren't more) and an idea occurred to me. I've never tried hand feeding him seed by seed the way the woman does in the video with pine nuts or sunflower seeds (can't remember which). But I realized that I could actually do that through the cage bars and my hands would still be protected. Turns out it works REALLY well for, I believe, these three reasons:
1. The seeds are small enough that he has to get close to my hand. Now after only four days, it doesn't even seem to bother him most of the time.
2. He is forced to take the seed delicately. It naturally forced him to calm down and not take aggressive lunges at my hand because it would just knock the seed out of my fingers and onto the cage floor where he couldn't get to it. He figured this out pretty quick and he still makes aggressive moves once in a while, but after the first seed is lost, he calms down and his temperament changes. He also makes aggressive moves before the seed even gets inside the cage, but I pull my hand away when he does and then wait for him to calm down and he seems to have figured out that the aggression doesn't get him what he wants.
3. He's never really been good with sunflower seeds, I think probably because of their size. But what I'm realizing is that's actually a good thing. It's forcing him to think about how to open the seed without losing it. He won't hold the seed in his hand as I've seen other parrots do, but he's come up with two strategies. To pin the seed to the perch as he tries to open, or climb down to the base of the cage where the bars meet the bottom and pin it against a little lip where it can't fall very easily. So he's using his brain to get at it, which has to be good right?

The one downside, if you can call it that is that he's started focusing his screaming on wanting seed. So when he screams I know it's because he wants more, but I've been using negative reinforcement by getting up and leaving the room. It's worst first thing in the morning, but it only lasts a half hour or so at a time, and it's on and off, so in my opinion, huge improvement. He does scream the entire time I'm gone though if I step out to run an errand or something. I know that's a fear/boredom thing, but I'm going to be adding more foraging toys and trying to teach him how to use them once he's a bit more comfortable with me.

Does this all seem reasonable? Anything I could be doing wrong here? Every time I come up with a new strategy for trying to make progress it seems to have some unintended consequences. But it's been four days so far and things seem to be going well. I will be sure to read the Good Bird and the Parrot Problem Solver. Thanks again everyone for your input.
Hand feeding him seed is a great idea. I do that a lot with my foster birds. I don't think negative reinforcement is necessarily a good idea. And actually when a bird screams, they suggest not reacting at all - that includes leaving the room- because that's a reaction. Most say to give no attention at all to the screams/bird- and then praise the bird or reward when he's quiet. Do you play music or leave the TV on for him when you leave the house? I always leave something on for my birds as "silence" during the day can be scary. It sounds like you're making a lot of improvement! Good job.:)
 

camelotshadow

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Tiels rarely use there feet to hold food but its not unheard of. Have you tried popcorn. Some of them like it & its bigger & they might hold it or a single small piece of millet?

Congrats sound like improvement & progress. Good your research has made things easier.

I do walk out when Penny does her big loud call but she is not screaming its just her exhuberance or she wants something. It does stop her as she does not want me to leave but then again like said it is a reaction & any reaction positive or even negative can reinforce the behavior we are trying to lessen. You just have to see what works. Most times best to ignore but even easier said then done as I know my heart rate & respiration increases & if they can ene it just your body reacting can reward a bad behavior. Most often the best think is to retrain the bird to reinforce the quiet or behaviors we like. Let them know when they are quiet by praise & reward when they are not screaming etc.

Tiels can learn very easily with the hand giving good things thru the bars is a safe slow start.

This is Angel. He went to live elsewhere & is with a friend named Scooter. He also used to call incessantly for me as I was all he had.

Angel tiel.jpg


Angel was very fond of broccoli floret & he used to see them as a friend or mate. You can use a wooden clothespin & put some lettuce or other veggies stringbean etc on the cage bars to get him interested in other foods.
 
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Fuzzy

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Great to hear of your recent rogress with Poki!

If he's now taking seed nicely from you through the bars of the cage, when you think he is ready, maybe try teaching him to target also through the bars - ie. teaching him to touch something like the end of a chopstick or lollipop stick using the seed as a reinforcer. Just thinking that it would be a way for both of you to have some fun, you and he start to communicate in a different way, and he also gets to have some control - touching the stick gets you to give him a seed!

Then maybe you could ask him to do another behaviour (like targeting) before he starts screaming first thing, so that screaming isn't so necessary as he is getting his needs met in a different way.
 

Alex S

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@Fuzzy he is already target trained and i do use that once a day to keep him fresh on that. At one point I even had him ringing a bell on command. But when i'm only feeding him a single seed as a reward, he tends to freak out a lot more about my hand getting close. i'll pick up some more millet so my hand isn't so close to his face, but when i feed him seed after seed, he realizes he needs to be patient. i guess it's just time and habit forming. will keep at it for sure. the screaming continues, but he's definitely picking up that it means me leaving the room. so now instead of screaming more when i leave, he stops, at least temporarily. I come back and he immediately screams again. This goes on for about an hour first thing in the morning, again around 2 and again around 7, which makes sense because those are the times he is most active and feeding. i'll make the pauses between coming back in longer, as he gets better, but i just wanted to make sure he connected the screams to me leaving. He definitely still doesn't trust me, but I'm assuming it'll be months before his aggression wanes. I just want to make sure i'm not doing anything in the process that would break that trust. I've noticed that he also seems a lot more content now after the seed feedings. he's doing a lot more beak grinding than he used to and he looks a lot happier, so maybe there is something to this, despite the sharp increase in screaming, post "mate" removal.

@sunnysmom i did see that some people were against leaving the room when the birds scream, but I tried this approach for months. his behavior only got worse. whereas i've been doing the leaving thing for four or five days and it's shown massive improvement, so i'm hesitant to go back. In fact, there are times when I just can't leave the room because it is also my office and when he sees that i'm not leaving, he just screams endlessly. It makes meetings lots of fun.

@camelotshadow Poki is also a big fan of broccoli florets. He also love chard, bok choy, anything leafy really. i'm having a harder time getting him to eat legumes, carrots, etc. which is funny because i used to get the colored pellets that i have since learned are no good and he exclusively ate all but the green ones. he particularly loved the red and yellow so i figured red/yellow peppers and carrots would be easy peasy, but alas. nothing.
 
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