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Always anxious new cockatiel

ElphietheC

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Today we picked up a cockatiel from Big Chain Pet Store. I know we shouldn't have bought from a pet store but we've seen her there huddled in the corner covered in poop for months now while everyone else got sold. We had been thinking about getting a bird after losing our lovebird two years ago and couldn't forget her. We convinced the manager to let us take her home at a discount since she's been there for so long and because she's a mess. Honestly I think she broke some rules to get this cockatiel out of there, since she said Elf has never calmed down while there and was always high strung and seemed super excited since we're trusted regulars.
So now I think we might have a high strung terrified and cage bound bird. They had basically nothing for her to play with, a crappy tiny perch, and I think she's never had a bath in her life. They told us she's about 6 months old so she's young but also terrified. She hasn't moved in the 12 hours she's been home, even when left alone.
Any tips on making her comfortable and slowly introducing ourselves to her? How do you teach a bird to play when they're new to toys? I feel like the whole world terrifies her. We really never saw her relaxed at all in the dozen times we saw her in the past months.
 

Khizz

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Awww you did a good thing here, I'm happy you rescued this lovely baby. I hope we get pics soon :)

My Jeff was similar, he seemed absolutely terrified of us in the beginning. Even now, he's particularly cautious but he doesn't huddle to the far corner of the cage anymore, and will pop out to watch us most days. For a few days just leave her and don't interact too much if you can avoid it. Just let her observe.

Is she eating and drinking? She likely won't do this at all in front of you for a few days, but if you see empty seed kernels or scattered food then she has been eating. That's the main thing, give her a day or two.

After that it's slow, baby steps. Basically you go from her body language. It might be that you are just sat in a corner of the room for a few weeks reading or drawing, coming as close as she feels comfortable with.

In terms of playing with toys, I don't have a lot of experience with that, so some other member might help you with that :p
 

Leomcc

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Long road ahead for sure, my advise is take things very slow and most importantly be consistently trustworthy.

I have just spent 6 months gaining the trust of a bird that would fly at me beak first and rip holes in my hands and face but now after slowly offering treats he gets up on my hand and lets me spray him gently with water . It’s a long road and lots of trust , she will come around .
 

CeciliaZ

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Thank you for taking her into your home. Cockatiels can be very resilient. Take it slow - talk to her softly. Let her cage be her "safe place" Offer her some millet spray through the cage bars. For now - do not overload her cage with toys but do offer something she can shred or chew. My tiels like simple toys - I string together a few toy parts using leather strips or a skewer made for food or toys. Mine like easily shreddable items - balsa, finger traps, palm, mahogany pod slices. Check out our vendors here described in the Marketplace section.

For now - feed her the food she is used to. Introduce new foods slowly. Mine love sprouted wheatberries.

Try misting her using a spray bottle or place a shallow container in her cage with water. Most of my tiels prefer to be sprayed but will also bathe in a shallow container. I use a glass baking dish
13 x 9 most of the time.

Good luck - I think she'll come around as she begins to feel safe and trust you.
 

Zara

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Welcome to the Avenue! :starshower1:

What a wonderful way for Elf to start the new year - being given a loving home :)

You have received great tips from other members, a nice spacious cage and just a couple of toys will keep your bird happy while adjusting to her new home. If she's scared, you can drape a blanket over the back and one side of the cage to create a safe corner.

Happy new year to you and Elf :)
 

sunnysmom

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Thanks for helping Elf. Maybe try hanging some millet spray near her so she doesn't have to move to eat. You can cover her cage on 3 sides leaving the front open to make her feel more secure for now. Also she's probably used to noise. So play some soft music or the TV for her. Then just spend time sitting by her , even reading to her so she gets used to your you in a nonthreatening way.
 

rocky'smom

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Thank you for taking this little one home. She is very frightened from the sounds of this. Start slowly, this quiet talking to her, tell her what you are doing, whether feeding, watering, changing tray paper. Another thing I found use is reading to them from children's books. Try sitting on the floor with cage a little higher then you. Talk to Elf and have treat ready if she comes down to investigate.
Make sure to get vet check as soon as you think she can deal with it. This starts a baseline for weight, health beginnings.
 

Tiel Feathers

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You already have some great suggestions so I just wanted to say thanks for giving her a loving home, and just be very patient and talk to her as much as possible while you go about your daily tasks. You’ll have to post some pictures when you get a chance!
 

ElphietheC

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Thanks for all the replies guys! We discovered today that her wings were clipped way too short, she can't glide or jump from perch to perch and she fell from trying. I'm not sure if we should lower the perches in case she falls. It would also make them closer together so she can use shorter jumps to move around.
She also definitely hasn't eaten since the food hasn't moved since yesterday. How long can she go without eating before it's an issue?
She didn't lunge at my hand or anything when I moved her water bowl to be more accessible which is good.
I'll definitely take it slow with her. I don't think she's ever had a good experience with a human in her life. They told me they grabbed her with a towel to clean her cage. I really think these stores should be banned from selling birds, although I also appreciate the manager who helped us by lowering her price. Since it's anonymous on here I'll also note, she also gave us a flight cage for free. She wasn't suppose to give us the cage (it was a return that was scanned out as a loss even though it was in perfect condition) or discount her but she did anyways.
 

Dorcas George

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Aww, poor scared little Elf. I’m so glad you brought her home. Wishing all the best as you gain trust and find out more of her true personality. I’m sad about her wings and I think your thoughts on lower/closer perches is right.
 

Monica

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Can you place the dishes around the perch she's sitting on so she doesn't' really have to "move" to get to them? And hang a sprig of millet on the same perch?
 

rocky'smom

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I also would suggest as many sprigs of millet as possible set up for her convenience. One on either end of perches. You will need lots of patience with this little one. Take it slow.
 

ElphietheC

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She is not eating the same thing as in store. They were feeding her some kind of Kaytee mix that was super pricy and mostly sunflower seeds. So we got her the fruity Supreme since she's use to colorful pellets. She has started eating though and seems to actually like them. Last night she climbed into the food bowl and went to town so I'm not worried about that anymore.
I watched YouTube videos beside her cage yesterday and my husband talked to her. She seems a little calmer around us and didn't hiss when I went to check her food bowl this morning as well.
It's very odd having her be totally silent. I'm so used to our loud clingy lovebird who was very confident. She was handfed and we would visit her every day starting from when she was a couple weeks old until she came home, so she was super comfortable with us. Having a bird shake in our presence makes my heart hurt.
 

Monica

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It's great that she's started eating! Cockatiels should receive about 50/50 of their dry diet to be seeds and pellets.... or 50/50 pellets and sprouts along with fresh foods.
 

Sodapop&Co.

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She is not eating the same thing as in store. They were feeding her some kind of Kaytee mix that was super pricy and mostly sunflower seeds. So we got her the fruity Supreme since she's use to colorful pellets. She has started eating though and seems to actually like them. Last night she climbed into the food bowl and went to town so I'm not worried about that anymore.
I watched YouTube videos beside her cage yesterday and my husband talked to her. She seems a little calmer around us and didn't hiss when I went to check her food bowl this morning as well.
It's very odd having her be totally silent. I'm so used to our loud clingy lovebird who was very confident. She was handfed and we would visit her every day starting from when she was a couple weeks old until she came home, so she was super comfortable with us. Having a bird shake in our presence makes my heart hurt.
I understand that feeling. Sounds to me like you're doing great with her though! Best of luck.
 

ElphietheC

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Elf took millet from me! I went to check on her since she started screaming for the first time ( got scared by our rats) and she acted somewhat interested in me once she calmed down. She didn't back away and her crest was down. I figured to was worth a try so I held up a tiny sprig of millet and she chowed down hard! And it's not a fluke, she did it again later! 3 days and she's doing so much better than I thought she would.
Also are fumes from a new mattress a huge worry for her? I know her lungs are sensitive and the mattress really smells. We moved her to another room but the rats seem to be scaring her when they play. Any idea when it's safe to move her back?
 

Monica

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I don't know about new mattress smells but if you can air out the room until it doesn't smell anymore that would probably be okay?
 

Cynthia & Percy

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Once the smell is gone in the room has been aired out she can go back if you can move her or the rats away from her ASAP the rats can go in through the room while the mattress smells if need be
 
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