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Anxieties About Owning Cockatiel

Lollapot

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Hi everyone,

I just joined the forum and pretty much know nothing about posting as I've only ever read past threads - please bear with me :).

Little backstory. I am a PhD student in animal behaviour (I work with small mammals so don't be fooled - I don't know nearly as much about birds!), and I have always struggled with anxiety.

I recently went through a period of extreme loneliness due to separation from my loved ones (bc of COVID) and my dog whom I've had my entire life becoming aggressive due to old age (no more cuddling or playing). As a massive animal lover I decided to get a cockatiel- Kiki.

I absolutely adore Kiki and have turned my life upside down to make sure I take good care of her, spend lots of time with her, providing stimulation and enrich her life as much as possible. Spending all day at home working on my thesis was a blessing.

I currently live with my parents but since I am a student I don't know where I will be in the next year or two (graduating at the end of next year). As a result of the unknown mixed with being a new bird owner I have developed extreme anxiety which has been incredibly debilitating and is ruining my life.

Here are some of my anxieties:
- What if I end up getting a 9-5 job and Kiki will have to be alone in a cage all day?
- What if I get the internship of my dreams which will require me to leave home for 4 months? My parents will be able to look after Kiki but they work 6-5 bringing me back to my first point. In addition, they will not invest quite as much time and energy into her as I have since getting her.
- What if I want to move overseas in the next 5 or 10 years (currently residing in South Africa with ambition to move to US)?

So my questions are basically if anyone has any advice to help me overcome these anxieties, possibly anyone with similar situations and how they have managed to work through it or just testimonials about cockatiels being okay with staying home alone or relocating to a different continent. I have read posts about getting an additional bird but since I live with my parents and my only personal space (where I am allowed to keep her) is my bedroom, this is not possible. If I do relocate in the next year or two I may consider, but this complicates things when it comes to my third point about potentially moving internationally.

I don't want to regret getting her. I would never want to cause her any harm which is why I am worried that I will accidentally do so by simply living my life. But at the same time, anyone with anxiety here will know how much it can affect your everyday life and I just need to know that everything will be okay.

I will end of my post asking people to please be kind in response to my post. As mentioned, I suffer from severe anxiety and nasty responses as opposed to helpful tips can be very damaging.

I have many other anxieties so I am sure you will see me here with more questions soon :). But for now these are my biggest concerns and I would love any input from you all.
 

ellbell

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Welcome to the forum! I understand how you are feeling. If you do get a 9-5 job I’m sure Kiki would be fine staying in her cage for that time as long as she has things to keep her entertained such as toys. Just make sure you spend lots of time with her afterwards!
 

Porter

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I have a TV iny bird room that plays when I'm not in there ... It keeps Porter and Gose entertained c:
 

Mrs c

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When we go out for any length of time we leave the radio on. Just so the house isn't silent.
 

Zara

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Welcome to the Avenue :)

Lots of people work 9 to 5s and have birds. Some good suggestions in the comments above.

If you have to move abroad, I would suggest writing up some care sheets. Diet, what to feed your bird, what toys to give, how to make simple toys , vet telephone numbers etc Like a handbook you can leave with your parents. You could also suggest they join this forum, then they can ask here if they need help while you are away, there´s always someone online here to talk to.
 

Mizzely

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Lots of people have birds and work with no one home! It is doable for sure!

If you do move to the US, there are ways to bring your bird. I would look into the process now, so that you know what all is involved as it can be a lengthy process. The more prepared you are the easier it will be if you get to that point :)
 

Wardy

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Welcome to the Avenue

I would say just try and look at things short term at the moment. If you get a job and are away from Kiki between 9-5 then plan your routine accordingly.
Get up feed Kiki change her water and interact with her.
Ensure she has enough food and water to keep her going through the day and if she has favourite toys make sure she has them available to keep her entertained.
As above have a radio playing in the background when you are gone.
Look forward to getting home and give Kiki a fuss and enjoy your evening with her i am positive everything will be fine.
My two now understand routine they know when i work they wont see me for long periods of the day and wont be out of there cage until i finish work ( i do work from home however there are still long periods where they dont see me as i work upstairs )
You will see a lot of people on the forum whose birds are out for hours on end however thats not me they come out when i can facilitate it, when they come out they get lots of attention and enrichment and they both appear to be very happy.
Routine is the key for me and it is about finding a ballance for you both.
If my grandchildren visit they cant come out they used to get kranky about this now they appear to understand when theres little legs visiting they will be kept in there cage.

If you go away for 4 months cross that bridge when you come to it, if you have to move to another country cross that bridge then.
Birds i believe are more resiliant than we give them credit for.

And whilst i do have two birds now Mojo used to be alone and was good with a good routine.

Kiki is a great name by the way any pics of her ?
 

Lady Jane

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Here are some of my anxieties:
- What if I end up getting a 9-5 job and Kiki will have to be alone in a cage all day?
- What if I get the internship of my dreams which will require me to leave home for 4 months? My parents will be able to look after Kiki but they work 6-5 bringing me back to my first point. In addition, they will not invest quite as much time and energy into her as I have since getting her.
- What if I want to move overseas in the next 5 or 10 years (currently residing in South Africa with ambition to move to US)?


Congratulations of being a bird Mom. Cockatiels are truly spectacular birds to have in your life. Just remember those words.

As said by others working an 8 hour job should not be an issue. There are things you can do such as teaching her how to entertain herself and possibly getting another cockatiel for her buddy.

Leaving home for 4 months will be tough on you both. We have had members leave home for long periods of time and I remember that birds were in good hands and your bird will not forget you.

Like said you can begin looking into what is required for moving a bird to another country. People have done it!

Maybe get a new notebook and begin your research on each anxiety you have and then document the findings and your feelings. I find writing and being prepared is the best medicine for such things in your life.
 

April

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Welcome! I've had birds for 15 years now and worked the entire time pretty much and they have all been OK. I work 5 to 6 days a week sometimes from 7 am til 6 pm or later/earlier and each Faby has adapted to that schedule. Do I wish I could be home more of course but as sad as it makes me this time apart also helps to foster independent play and not being clingy both of which are good things. I give Tobias the largest cage that I can and keep it stuffed full of toys and perches that I constantly rotate and change to keep him as stimulated as possible and to help keep him entertained and active until I can get home to let him out and spend time with him.
As long as Kiki has plenty of toys to keep her happy and you spend the time that you can with her I don't see why she can't thrive with your companionship:)
 
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Shannan

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Welcome. As others have said, birds are very resilient, especially if you give them a chance. To give you some perspective, I have had my African Gray for 38 years. I was in High School when I got him so he stayed with my parents for my first year of college, we have lived in 5 different states with many more moves than that. He spent a summer with my best friend, we lived in a platform tent for a summer when he came with me to Girl Scout camp. He has had times where I was working three jobs and he barely saw me to being stuck with me 24/ 7 during lockdown. He has adapted to new pets, my marriage, raising two children and multiple cages and through this all he has thrived. Some suggestions is to teach him how to entertain himself, let him experience a lot of different environments whether that is driving in the car, visiting with friends, new rooms, new cages, new toys. The more his is comfortable with change, the more flexible he will be in your life. For Walter, he learned to trust me that I was going to take care of him and so he is very open to new experiences. You have him now so enjoy him and know you will likely be able to take good care of him no matter because it is important to you.

PS I love that you are studying animal behavior. I am a retired science teacher and animal behavior was always a love of mine.
 
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