• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

At My Breaking Point with Screaming Cockatiel

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
Hi,

I hate to say it but our family is at their breaking point with our cockatiel. We've done everything. Scream trained, daily scheduled play sessions, new food, new toys, new cage, new location. She spends hours a day screaming at us to take her out of the cage. Nothing seems to work. I just can't spend more time with her than I already am and that's HOURS a day.

We're taking her to the vet this week to ask for advice or to see if something is truly upsetting her but if this is how she is, then we have no choice but to give her up. My quality of life is diminishing, I can't focus, I'm so frustrated because I've done EVERYTHING. I have books, I've searched the internet up and down. I really don't know what else to do but give her away. It doesn't seem there's anything my family can do to make her happy. Maybe she needs more birds to keep her attention or more stimulation but I have neither the time nor the funds to do so.
 

April

Joyriding the Neighborhood
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
3/21/10
Messages
19,796
I'm literally going through exactly this with my Conure. Unfortunately I had to find him a new home though I did everything in my power like you to stop this non stop screaming. I can't have any more birds I don't have the time,space or mental fortitude for yet another bird to be screaming. I would spend 3 to 4 hours with Tobias every night with constant one on one attention and nothing satisfied him. Now he screams until 10 pm at night and that was the final straw I couldn't make a single move without an hours long screaming fest happening.
When he's out with me he's perfectly quiet and content the happiest sweetest bird but the second he's alone in the cage with the door shut he just doesn't stop screaming.
My entire family including my innocent dog was suffering and I was getting absolutely no sleep and dreaded coming home because all i had to look forward to was hours of screaming.
I am truly sorry that your also dealing with this,it's never easy to know that we aren't the forever home we wanted to be. My heart is absolutely shattered but my quality of life is terrible and I'm miserable every second of the day. Sometimes as much as it hurts us we are just the stepping stone to a more permanent place.
 

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
I'm literally going through exactly this with my Conure. Unfortunately I had to find him a new home though I did everything in my power like you to stop this non stop screaming. I can't have any more birds I don't have the time,space or mental fortitude for yet another bird to be screaming. I would spend 3 to 4 hours with Tobias every night with constant one on one attention and nothing satisfied him. Now he screams until 10 pm at night and that was the final straw I couldn't make a single move without an hours long screaming fest happening.
When he's out with me he's perfectly quiet and content the happiest sweetest bird but the second he's alone in the cage with the door shut he just doesn't stop screaming.
My entire family including my innocent dog was suffering and I was getting absolutely no sleep and dreaded coming home because all i had to look forward to was hours of screaming.
I am truly sorry that your also dealing with this,it's never easy to know that we aren't the forever home we wanted to be. My heart is absolutely shattered but my quality of life is terrible and I'm miserable every second of the day. Sometimes as much as it hurts us we are just the stepping stone to a more permanent place.
Thanks so much for this. We hate the idea of rehoming her because we've had her since she was a month old and we know birds make noise. We prepared to have that noise but we NEVER prepared for constant screaming. I've never had a bird like this and there's just something she wants we cannot give her even though we're doing the most we can. We prepared to make this amazing life for our bird but it's just not what she wants. We'll see the doctor soon and talk in person with some specialists before we really decide because I want to keep her so much but it is becoming dreadful at this point :(
 

April

Joyriding the Neighborhood
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
3/21/10
Messages
19,796
Thanks so much for this. We hate the idea of rehoming her because we've had her since she was a month old and we know birds make noise. We prepared to have that noise but we NEVER prepared for constant screaming. I've never had a bird like this and there's just something she wants we cannot give her even though we're doing the most we can. We prepared to make this amazing life for our bird but it's just not what she wants. We'll see the doctor soon and talk in person with some specialists before we really decide because I want to keep her so much but it is becoming dreadful at this point :(
It's like we have the same bird seriously! I've had Conures for 15 years this is not my first Rodeo as it were and he is unlike any other Conure I've had. He just needs constant attention and someone there with him and unfortunately that's just not healthy or possible. I have a life meager though it maybe I work and have a dog and family members that I have to spend time with as well and he just will not accept that. He has as big of a cage as I can give him(HQ flight cage) and more toys and perches than a toy store would have and he plays and destroys each and every one of them but it's still not enough. He clearly needs a flock around him constantly and that's never going to be something I can give him. 1 bird is my limit for a variety of reasons and my other Conures were all perfectly fine and satisfied with that,they would call occasionally of course as I expect them too but his is just non stop hours long screaming at the smallest slightest noise if he's alone in his room. I understand he wants a flock and birds aren't meant to be alone but even flock calling back to him did nothing my other Conures figured it out within days and would copy the call and settle down.. not him it doesn't even phase him in the slightest he just keeps on screaming.
I sincerely hope you will have better luck then I did to curb this behavior.
 

Sparkles!

Rollerblading along the road
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
12/9/20
Messages
1,890
What does she want to do when she’s outside of her cage? You say she’s screaming to be let out- have you tried just letting her be out on a safe spot such as a playstand?

If a bird is screaming out of frustration- it’s a very easy fix if you can bring the frustration down. A bird screaming to be let out is either bored, or feels the need to be someplace other than the cage it’s currently in. The feelings can be so strong it leads to neurosis they can’t control.

First thing I would do is let her out. Where does she go? If she just wants to go to a window to look out at native birds? No big deal. Certainly allow her that, rather than talk of re-homing.

Many, many birds on here get their cages opened in the morning and are allowed to travel themselves or are loving placed on a tree/gym/playstand in front of a window (or some other interesting place in the household) and left there to enjoy their day. This is especially important if you have a singleton bird who innately feels lonely. They need to be able to be someplace other than their roost (the cage in which they sleep) or it can lead to neurotic repetitive behaviors, such as screaming. Birds do not naturally stay at their roost the majority of the day, they are hard wired to want to move. Add in needing to be around flockmates- whether human, furry, or other birds, and that drive is a powerful force.

I would just let her out, maybe on a day that’s low key and where people will be in and out of the home the majority of the day. See if she just wants to be somewhere other than caged. Hopefully you have a tree stand or play stand that has water, food, and toys available on it. If not, that would be a great investment.

I wouldn’t assume she isn’t safe to leave out- most Tiels actually are very good and don’t get into trouble, comparatively speaking.
 

Sparkles99

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/9/20
Messages
4,135
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'm sorry to hear about this from both of you, Efebird & April. I believe there are some instincts/ behaviours/ urges that cannot be simply redirected elsewhere, no matter how enriched the environment is. Stories like this are a large part of why I encourage everyone to get smaller birds & did so myself.
:sadhug2::sadhug2:
 

The_Mayor

Sprinting down the street
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
9/3/20
Messages
518
Location
Washington, DC
Real Name
Martha
Hi,

I hate to say it but our family is at their breaking point with our cockatiel. We've done everything. Scream trained, daily scheduled play sessions, new food, new toys, new cage, new location. She spends hours a day screaming at us to take her out of the cage. Nothing seems to work. I just can't spend more time with her than I already am and that's HOURS a day.

We're taking her to the vet this week to ask for advice or to see if something is truly upsetting her but if this is how she is, then we have no choice but to give her up. My quality of life is diminishing, I can't focus, I'm so frustrated because I've done EVERYTHING. I have books, I've searched the internet up and down. I really don't know what else to do but give her away. It doesn't seem there's anything my family can do to make her happy. Maybe she needs more birds to keep her attention or more stimulation but I have neither the time nor the funds to do so.
Have you considered working with a behavioral consultant?

The challenges I was having with my birds are completely different than what you're experiencing. But, I had things that I wanted to change and no matter what I did I couldn't get any traction.

I reached out to Pamela Clark. She asked me to fill out a lot of information about what Mustrum and Esme's daily life was like.

We met over zoom for one long session and then a bunch of shorter sessions (included in the initial fee). We're still working towards my ultimate goals, but I can see the progress.

I wasn't sure if it was even practical to work with a trainer who never met my birds in person, but I'm a believer now.
 

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
What does she want to do when she’s outside of her cage? You say she’s screaming to be let out- have you tried just letting her be out on a safe spot such as a playstand?

If a bird is screaming out of frustration- it’s a very easy fix if you can bring the frustration down. A bird screaming to be let out is either bored, or feels the need to be someplace other than the cage it’s currently in. The feelings can be so strong it leads to neurosis they can’t control.

First thing I would do is let her out. Where does she go? If she just wants to go to a window to look out at native birds? No big deal. Certainly allow her that, rather than talk of re-homing.

Many, many birds on here get their cages opened in the morning and are allowed to travel themselves or are loving placed on a tree/gym/playstand in front of a window (or some other interesting place in the household) and left there to enjoy their day. This is especially important if you have a singleton bird who innately feels lonely. They need to be able to be someplace other than their roost (the cage in which they sleep) or it can lead to neurotic repetitive behaviors, such as screaming. Birds do not naturally stay at their roost the majority of the day, they are hard wired to want to move. Add in needing to be around flockmates- whether human, furry, or other birds, and that drive is a powerful force.

I would just let her out, maybe on a day that’s low key and where people will be in and out of the home the majority of the day. See if she just wants to be somewhere other than caged. Hopefully you have a tree stand or play stand that has water, food, and toys available on it. If not, that would be a great investment.

I wouldn’t assume she isn’t safe to leave out- most Tiels actually are very good and don’t get into trouble, comparatively speaking.
Hi! Great question. Thanks for your input, it really settles my nerves. I cry just thinking about rehoming her because I love her so much and the advice really helps :) Our cage allows her to have a perch that opens, allowing for outside exploration. We have toys and perches on the outside of her cage to allow her to walk around it and play etc. She used to play on her cage sometimes and sleep there during the day but for the past year, every time she comes out, she immediately starts flying at anyone in the room. She MUST be on someone's shoulder and if she isn't, she's flying wildly about the room.

I love letting her hang outside the cage and she's pretty good when she's not in a mood trying to dive-bomb everyone. Now, when she's out of the cage she's REALLY good. Hangs out on our shoulders, cuddles, explores, is generally happy. Recently, she cries, she constantly leaves our shoulders to get into just about anything she can. I put foraging toys in and outside her cage, and she has little to no interest in them. I hide treats in them and generally try to show them to her so she knows they're there. She's interested for a couple of minutes and then it's crying and flying.

We tried a playstand and she's so afraid of it. She's afraid of the weirdest things

When she is in a room alone, she's better behaved but I don't want her to be in a room alone for hours at a time. Is it bad that she's with my husband and me all the time? We work from home a lot and are home all the time. Is that making her too attached? Should we allow her time to be alone with her toys and out of cage exploration? At one point she would be on her cage and play and eventually, she would put herself to sleep! I don't know what happened!!! :( Is she just a bird that has months long episodes of terrorizing behavior! XD Is there a pattern to this maddness?
 

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
How old is she? Could she just be hormonal right now?
I thought this too! She's 2, just a baby. It's been happening for over a month now. How long do these hormonal episodes last? She always wants to mate with me, as much as I avoid touching anything that isnt her head. She seems to get more hyper with millet too.
 

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
Have you considered working with a behavioral consultant?

The challenges I was having with my birds are completely different than what you're experiencing. But, I had things that I wanted to change and no matter what I did I couldn't get any traction.

I reached out to Pamela Clark. She asked me to fill out a lot of information about what Mustrum and Esme's daily life was like.

We met over zoom for one long session and then a bunch of shorter sessions (included in the initial fee). We're still working towards my ultimate goals, but I can see the progress.

I wasn't sure if it was even practical to work with a trainer who never met my birds in person, but I'm a believer now.
Thanks for the name, I've been looking into this. We're going to a vet this week and then to a bird specialty store to ask some questions. Hopefully, we'll get some answers!!!
 

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
I'm sorry to hear about this from both of you, Efebird & April. I believe there are some instincts/ behaviours/ urges that cannot be simply redirected elsewhere, no matter how enriched the environment is. Stories like this are a large part of why I encourage everyone to get smaller birds & did so myself.
:sadhug2::sadhug2:
Thanks for this :( I really don't want to seem like I'm doing nothing because the LAST thing I want to do is rehome my baby. I love her so much and she brings me so much joy when she's at her best and even sometimes at her worst she still makes me laugh. We had small birds at first and thought we had graduated to maybe a cockatiel. I also had one as a kid and remember how great that was. I really enjoy birds! Hopefully, we can ask some specialists for help. This forum has also been so helpful, thank you all <3
 

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
It's like we have the same bird seriously! I've had Conures for 15 years this is not my first Rodeo as it were and he is unlike any other Conure I've had. He just needs constant attention and someone there with him and unfortunately that's just not healthy or possible. I have a life meager though it maybe I work and have a dog and family members that I have to spend time with as well and he just will not accept that. He has as big of a cage as I can give him(HQ flight cage) and more toys and perches than a toy store would have and he plays and destroys each and every one of them but it's still not enough. He clearly needs a flock around him constantly and that's never going to be something I can give him. 1 bird is my limit for a variety of reasons and my other Conures were all perfectly fine and satisfied with that,they would call occasionally of course as I expect them too but his is just non stop hours long screaming at the smallest slightest noise if he's alone in his room. I understand he wants a flock and birds aren't meant to be alone but even flock calling back to him did nothing my other Conures figured it out within days and would copy the call and settle down.. not him it doesn't even phase him in the slightest he just keeps on screaming.
I sincerely hope you will have better luck then I did to curb this behavior.

I know exactly what you mean. I think some birds are more wired to be like this. It could be evolutionary or hormonal or both! Social animals are so complicated! My tiel was raised with a bunch of other tiels and birds so I'm wondering if that's why she's craving the attention. Or it's because she's a hand raised. She was really spunky when we bought her-they called her pistol at the store because she was nuts. It's probably a personality trait of some birds, I guess!
 

Shezbug

ASK ME FOR PICTURES OF MY MACAW!
Super Moderator
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/28/18
Messages
19,567
Location
Vic, Australia
Real Name
Shez
What happens when she’s screaming at you? Do you go let her out or tell her to be quiet etc?

Has she been taught and encouraged to play independently? Does she have things she likes to do/toys she Enjoys playing with in her cage?
 

sunnysmom

Ripping up the road
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
9/16/13
Messages
27,042
Location
Pennsylvania
Real Name
Michelle
I thought this too! She's 2, just a baby. It's been happening for over a month now. How long do these hormonal episodes last? She always wants to mate with me, as much as I avoid touching anything that isnt her head. She seems to get more hyper with millet too.
I am thinking hormones. Have you tried increasing her hours of sleep by two hours for 2 weeks? She should be getting at least 10 already. So add 2 to what she is getting. Also make sure she doesn't have anything nest like. No sleep huts, etc. Also, what is her diet like?
 

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
What happens when she’s screaming at you? Do you go let her out or tell her to be quiet etc?

Has she been taught and encouraged to play independently? Does she have things she likes to do/toys she Enjoys playing with in her cage?
we never tell her to be quiet or take her out of her cage when she’s screaming. When she’s quiet outside of her scheduled times, I let her on top of her cage. When it’s her time to come out of the cage, like in the morning or evening, I let her out after she’s quiet.

she used to play with her toys but now she’s not interested in them. Ive gotten new ones and switched them around. I’ve put millet in them so she at least looks at them. No interest. Right now at this very moment she’s crying so much, she has even ignored breakfast. Idk what’s changed about her
 

Efebird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
12/5/21
Messages
19
I am thinking hormones. Have you tried increasing her hours of sleep by two hours for 2 weeks? She should be getting at least 10 already. So add 2 to what she is getting. Also make sure she doesn't have anything nest like. No sleep huts, etc. Also, what is her diet like?
Thanks so much! we’ll try more sleep! We never encourage nesting, No sleep huts here
 

Fuzzy

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/30/10
Messages
4,061
Location
Jersey, Channel Islands
Real Name
Roz
Sounds like people might be unintentionally reinforcing the behaviour if she’s calm and quiet(ish) when alone. I wonder if she is getting attention (bad or good, it’s still attention) for her “hyper” behaviour?

Have you tried giving her attention in a completely new way, for example, target training? This is teaching her to touch something (maybe the end of a chopstick) with a body part (usually the beak) for a reinforcer (a treat works well). You’ll open up a whole new way of communication with her.

Good idea to take her to the vet to rule out any physical problems.
 

Lady Jane

Ripping up the road
Avenue Veteran
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/25/12
Messages
25,652
Location
Maryland
Real Name
Dianne
I reached out to Pamela Clark
Pam is one of the best and has written many articles on parrots, including screaming. It is not always the birds fault.



 
Last edited:

Princessbella

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
7/20/14
Messages
6,479
Real Name
Theresa
Hi,

I hate to say it but our family is at their breaking point with our cockatiel. We've done everything. Scream trained, daily scheduled play sessions, new food, new toys, new cage, new location. She spends hours a day screaming at us to take her out of the cage. Nothing seems to work. I just can't spend more time with her than I already am and that's HOURS a day.

We're taking her to the vet this week to ask for advice or to see if something is truly upsetting her but if this is how she is, then we have no choice but to give her up. My quality of life is diminishing, I can't focus, I'm so frustrated because I've done EVERYTHING. I have books, I've searched the internet up and down. I really don't know what else to do but give her away. It doesn't seem there's anything my family can do to make her happy. Maybe she needs more birds to keep her attention or more stimulation but I have neither the time nor the funds to do so.
Could she be hormonal. With both of my female tiels, there were periods of ear splitting screaming that would stop when they weren't hormonal. When Bella was in that screaming phase, I would put a toy that she didn't like near her and that seemed to dampen her mood. In my case, it was a stuffed turkey toy.
 
Top