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Angsty cockatiel gets hangry

BirbFriend

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I have a rescue cockatiel who is about 3 years old. He's been with me for 7 months. For the first 2-2.5 years of his life he was in (I suspect a very small) cage with another cockatiel. Then the previous owner got a cat and his friend died. Then he was alone for about 6mos-1yr before he went to the shelter. He lost about 10 grams while at the shelter, which he was at for about 2 months. He was super stressed to the point where I took him as an emergency adoption, he looked so bad. He was a plucker before he came to the shelter and ripped out a whoooole bunch more feathers while there.

After I got him home he stopped pulling out grown-in feathers but still went after new quills. He stopped doing that about a month ago, so he's pretty stable in that department. We've got him on sprouted seeds, veggie chop, and pellets and his weight is good. He has a full spectrum lamp over his cage and lots of toys. He's just started to be willing to step onto my arm to get him back to his cage if he flies somewhere he needs to be rescued from. This is pretty big for him because he's not very human socialized, at all. He isn't scared of people, but he doesn't really understand humans as companions as a concept. It was only after I started sitting with my conure on my shoulder next to him that it kind of clicked for him humans and birds could interact in that way, and that was when we started being able to get him to come out of his cage and sit on a perch that we could move away from the cage to where the humans were sitting.

The thing we haven't made much progress on is in the AM, if I can't get him to eat fast enough, he gets hangry and then doesn't eat because he's too angry to eat. I sit next to his cage and eat and sometimes that works reminding him that 'hey, I should eat' but sometimes it doesn't. And if it doesn't, he will spend the whole day angsty. His cage is right next to my desk so I will see if I can get him to take treats, tempt him over to his food dishes, see if he'll target or do tricks he likes to do and just generally cheer him up etc all day. When he's really bad he'll sit literally right next to his favorite treats and not touch them.

The obvious thing here would be that he has a health issue, but he's been checked out for all the things, even the rarer things. Giardia, ABV, vitamin levels, he's good. Avian vets (I went to two) think it's just a mood thing. On days where he's bad, if I can distract him successfully and he eats a little from me, he'll be like "oh right, I can go over to my food dish!" and eats a lot, then his mood change is dramatic and he becomes a happy cockatiel again, which also supports the mood thing.

Any suggestions?
 

Zara

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sunnysmom

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Do you give him access to food 24/7? My tiels always have food in their cages.
 

tka

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My beautiful feathery idiot also gets hangry. She has food available 24/7 but sometimes seems to forget to eat and gets angsty. I have to offer her a few pellets by hand and after she actually eats them (as opposed to throwing them on the floor) she seems to figure out that she is in fact hungry and that's why she's so cranky.

In fairness to her, I have to do similar with my wife, only she gets hanxious.

I don't have any help because I do the same - see if I can get Leia to eat a bit from me, or "reset" her by taking her into another room then back to her cage. I just thought it would help to know that you're not the only one with a cranky, hangry parrot who forgets to eat.
 

BirbFriend

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He's got food 24/7. I arranged his cage so that there's food everywhere he sits. He's got a flat wood foraging platform too so he doesn't have to go *all the way down to the bottom of his cage* Toys? food in 'em. His cage top? Food. It was hard to get his weight up until I figured out that unless the food is right in front of him all the time, he can't be fussed to get himself across the cage.

It's good to know he isn't the only hangry bird! I don't quite have him stepping up on command yet so I can't try that, but I'll keep it in mind when we get there. I wasn't sure if there was something to do any more than you can force a hangry kid to eat if they don't want to, but hey, can't hurt to ask.
 
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