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Cockatiel behaviours and questions :D

Pico-chan

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I just got my very first pet, Pico, two days ago.

It was the best day of my life.

However, in hopes of understanding it more, here's what I do after reading many guides about caring a cockatiel.

On the first day, Pico is so terrified that he didn't move for a few hours! So I sat next to his cage and hummed some songs to him and an hour later, he suddenly chirped/screeched (I can't differentiate) which scared the hell out of me. Then, he began moving around and chirping/screeching for 30 minutes before going emo in one corner again.

The next day, I stick a millet inside the cage and after 10 minutes, Pico finally dared to eat the seeds of the millet. I decided to go a step further and place some millet on my palm and sticking my hand inside the cage. Pico is very alert and after 15 minutes of making up his mind, he grabbed the millet out of my hand and ran far away from my hand. Then, it went emo in a corner again.

The next next day (today), I came home from school and saw Pico emo-ing in a corner again. I thought he might be already used to the environment, but during his emo period, his feathers always seem to puff out. But not until 5 minutes, he started climbing the cage as if he is excited about me coming home (Not a chance). Since he's kinda used to me hanging out around his cage and he even finally dared to eat in front of my face, I took another step further and removed the food bowl from his cage. I took some bird seeds and place it on my palm before sticking my hand in the cage.

Pico is very hesitant but he managed to eat some seeds out of my hand. He cautiously move forward, then moving backwards, then climb around, moving forward again and placing his cute feet on my palm and immediately snatch a seed.

Please repeat the process above for six times. It took about 30 minutes. My poor numb hands and my mouth is so sore for whistling his favourite song for 30 minutes straight. I've noticed his head feathers seems to be flattened down every time I whistled/sang his favourite song.

Pico is still moving away when my hands are near him (I'm trying to stroke his head). Oh, and Pico is a 4-5 months male which is hand raised, I think. He has never been aggressive, and he never bites/hiss.

Here are some questions:

-Why is Pico bipolar?

-Why did the shopkeeper told me not to bath Pico for two weeks first?

-Why does his head feathers flatten everytime I sing his fav song?

-What do I do now?

-When/how can I train him to stand on my finger?

-When should I cuddle/touch him? (The temptations)

That's all, I know there's quite a number of questions, but I'm trying to understand boku no pico.
 

sunnysmom

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Congrats on your new bird. Tiels can be somewhat cage territorial and afraid of hands initially. He might be afraid you're going to grab him, etc. Do you have a safe place to let him out of his cage? You could try putting a perch outside his cage with some millet, etc and see if he'll come out on his own. He might be easier to work with outside of his cage. Also, keep in mind that you've only had him a short period of time and he's still learning to trust you. So you kind of need to follow his lead and see what he's comfortable with. I'm not sure why the shopkeeper said not to bath him for 2 weeks except maybe he thought it might stress him out too much. It takes time for a new bird to settle in. Also, when you leave during the day, you can try playing some music etc for him. Sometimes total silence can be scary for a bird during the day as in the wild silence often means danger.
 

Tiel Feathers

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Congratulations on your new bird! I think you have to take things even slower. Don't try to pet him yet, and just let him get used to your presence and his new surroundings. It might take several weeks for him to become more relaxed. It seems like he's a little overwhelmed about taking food from your hand right now, so maybe for a few days just try giving him the millet from your fingertips through the cage bars or right at the door opening. Sitting and reading or talking softly to him is a good idea, so he can get used to you. Putting a perch by his door so he can come out on his own is a good idea also as @sunnysmom suggested. I wouldn't try getting him to step up until he is used to taking food from your fingers and not running away.
 

Laurul Feather Cat

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I know how hard it is to have a new pet and not be able to hold them and pet them and be their best friend. But birds are totally different from dogs and cats; they are prey creatures and any changes in their environment make them paranoid. The first thing you need to do is earn his trust, and you will not do that by pushing him too hard to interact with you. Sitting by him at least twice a day and being a flock friend is a great move. Giving him treats is also a great move. But insisting he take food directly from your hand really works against you right now. Patience is the key. Let him call the shots and slowly earn his trust.

Do the sitting and talking or reading, etc as often as you can. When you walk past his cage, offer a treat, then continue on your way. If he does not take the treat, leave it in his bowl. Once his is coming to the front of the cage in anticipation of getting a treat, then you can think about maybe letting him out. Remember, once you let him out, you have to get him back in the cage, and chasing him around the room like you are a predator will set back his socialization. Use the strange room idea and take him into a small room, like a bathroom. Make sure the toilet lid is down and there is no standing water for him to drown in. Open the cage and talk to him, put your hand in the cage and do the step up command and drill. When he steps up, remove him from the cage. He will immediately fly away. Let him fly till he is calmer, then go to him and do the step up command. See if he will ladder up your fingers with step up commands. This initial meeting should be no longer than fifteen minutes. Birds live on faster time than we do and you don't want to overwhelm him.

Some tricks to get a bird to go back to his cage are restocking the cage with food in his sight, catching the bird up in a towel and turning out all the lights, wait for the bird to land, then slowly pick them up when they go dormant. Do not turn on the lights until the bird is back in their cage.
 

Pico-chan

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Thanks for the suggestions! I'll try and keep my hands off him now. But I'm scared he'll crap everywhere once I let him come out by himself.
 

Tiel Feathers

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...and it's fairly easy to clean up!:wacky:
 

blewin

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The poops come every 15 minutes or so. They are (often) tiny, and if you don't catch them, you may not find them until they dry or you step on them. Super easy to clean up. Just watch the morning poop bomb!
 

Pico-chan

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I'll try doing that. I've gave him two millet seess every time I walk past him. Now, he's not hestitant to take the treats anymore! Thanks for the tip. But what I'm worried about now is letting him out of the cage by himself. I'm scared he will chase me and I'm also scared to lure him back to the cage D:
 

Laurul Feather Cat

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Taking him into a small room like a bathroom will eliminate you having to chase him; that is why I recommended it. You can also teach the step up command and get him habituated to step up while in that little room. Once he learns and obeys step up at least half the time you ask him to do it, you are well on your way of having a hand tame bird.
 
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Pico-chan

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Bad news, I accidentally scared pico :( Now, he's backing away everytime I walk towarss him. It has been a few days. I did sit next to him and accompany him. But he always seems to be tense and he just stayed in a corner without moving. He stopped taking treats from my hand too (I tried it just now and he bit me) Before I scared him, when he's 'emo' and quiet, he never dares to take treats from me. But when he chirps and becomes hyper, he dares to do so. Why? And it's been a week and he's still not trusting me. I'm so sad ;_;
 

JLcribber

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Bad news, I accidentally scared pico :( Now, he's backing away everytime I walk towarss him. It has been a few days. I did sit next to him and accompany him. But he always seems to be tense and he just stayed in a corner without moving. He stopped taking treats from my hand too (I tried it just now and he bit me) Before I scared him, when he's 'emo' and quiet, he never dares to take treats from me. But when he chirps and becomes hyper, he dares to do so. Why? And it's been a week and he's still not trusting me. I'm so sad ;_;

You can not establish a real "trusting" relationship with any bird in one week. It will take months to gain your birds trust and "years" to evolve it the way you want. You must "earn" your birds trust and respect over a period of time. There is no shortcut. This is not a race. It's a journey. Slow down. Have some patience and start making deposits into your bird's trust account. When your bird decides you are trustworthy, he will show you.

---> Parrot Trust Account
 

blewin

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Bad news, I accidentally scared pico :( Now, he's backing away everytime I walk towarss him. It has been a few days. I did sit next to him and accompany him. But he always seems to be tense and he just stayed in a corner without moving. He stopped taking treats from my hand too (I tried it just now and he bit me) Before I scared him, when he's 'emo' and quiet, he never dares to take treats from me. But when he chirps and becomes hyper, he dares to do so. Why? And it's been a week and he's still not trusting me. I'm so sad ;_;
This can happen. It happened to me when Buddy had her stroke and I was the medicine man. She's still a bit afraid of my hands, but I also make it very clear to her that everything is on her terms. It's just like people. You trust them until they do something to break trust, and then they have to earn back trust again. Millet helps, but the best is to just go slow and steady and not force things.
 
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