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Pictures Cockatiel Petting & Bonding Tips

Atiq

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Hi there, my wife and I recently got a hand raised cockatiel. We got the cockatiel when he/she (we don’t know the sex yet) was about 12 weeks old and we’ve had it for 3 weeks now. I think it’s gotten really comfortable with me since I work from home and I put the tiel on my desk while I work and he plays with toys, grooms itself and eats.

The cockatiel, stepped up since we got it and after a week of coming home it is completely comfortable eating out of my hand. It also seems to be comfortable when I touch its head crest and rub its beak (though it doesn’t seem to really care for it, since it just ignores it and continues to eat, play or walk around). I really want it to enjoy being petted and bond with me. Only twice it closed its eyes while I was petting it.

It took about 2.5 weeks for it to become curious and active and it’s been very curious and active these days.

Three days ago, for the very first time, I took him out of the cage and started stroking its head and amazingly it started bending it’s head so I can pet all over its head (top, neck, ears, chin, back of its head)! Then I left it for a bit and came back and it allowed me to do it again. Both sessions were like 30-60 seconds and both ended off on a good note with me rewarding it with millet. But since then every time I tried it kept ignoring it, yesterday when I tried it just totally ignored me. I really want to recreate that moment. It happened again once today and only when I placed it on top of its cage. Is there a way to train to do this anywhere?

I really want to get to the point where it bows it’s head for scritches or even just enjoys me petting it, rather than ignoring it. Is there anything I can do to encourage this behaviour and get it to bond with me?

Also, it hates when my wife tries to touch it, I think because of her nails (it steps and and eats out of her hand) but constantly bites her nails. Anyway to remedy that?

Screen Shot 2022-01-06 at 10.32.37 PM.png cockatiel.jpeg
 

Tiel Feathers

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What a cutie! Just give it time, your bird will probably want more scratches as time goes on. Just remember to never force them on her. Most birds seem to only want scratches when they feel like it, which might only be once in a while.
As far as your wife’s nails, your bird should get used to them eventually. She should keep giving your bird treats so she learns to think of her hands positively. If your wife’s nails are painted, you bird might react negatively when the color is changed.
 

Atiq

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Thank you @Tiel Feathers ! I really try not forcing and I'll keep trying whenever it's comfortable. For the nails, should we just let the tiel bite and get bored of them or does that create more biting behaviour? (Also I know I keep saying 'it', that's b/c we're not sure if it's male/female so we haven't decided at a name).
 

sunnysmom

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She's super cute. Time and patience. :) Try to let her set the pace. I kind of bend my finger and ask if my tiels want scritches. When they do, they bow their head. I try to let them decide.
 

Tiel Feathers

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Thank you @Tiel Feathers ! I really try not forcing and I'll keep trying whenever it's comfortable. For the nails, should we just let the tiel bite and get bored of them or does that create more biting behaviour? (Also I know I keep saying 'it', that's b/c we're not sure if it's male/female so we haven't decided at a name).
Is she biting hard and aggressively, or is it more of the rapid fire little nibbles that birds sometimes do? If it seems aggressive, I would try to avoid the bites. If it’s more like nibbles, you could try distracting her, or pairing the nails with something positive. Either way, it seems like the nails make your bird uncomfortable, so if it were me I would cut the nails down and take the polish off. I do understand that some people really like manicured nails, and wouldn’t want to get rid of them, but they might get in the way of building a positive relationship with your bird.
 

Atiq

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@sunnysmom neat! Was asking by bending your finger something you had to teach them or did they pick it up on their own?

@Tiel Feathers she says they're more aggressive but not painful (the head crest goes down fully when it bites). But is completely fine with my wife as long as the Tiel isn't able to see the nails. My wife can even stroke its beak and crest with no hesitation from the tiel if she uses her knuckles on her fingers. I heard blowing or moving your hand up and down helps, but we don't want it to be scared of us.
 

Tiel Feathers

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@sunnysmom neat! Was asking by bending your finger something you had to teach them or did they pick it up on their own?

@Tiel Feathers she says they're more aggressive but not painful (the head crest goes down fully when it bites). But is completely fine with my wife as long as the Tiel isn't able to see the nails. My wife can even stroke its beak and crest with no hesitation from the tiel if she uses her knuckles on her fingers. I heard blowing or moving your hand up and down helps, but we don't want it to be scared of us.
It’s great that your bird will allow some interaction if the nails are hidden. I would not do any blowing or moving to get her to stop biting, only positive reinforcement. Your right that it might make her scared of you, and she’s already scared of the nails.
 

sunnysmom

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@sunnysmom neat! Was asking by bending your finger something you had to teach them or did they pick it up on their own?

@Tiel Feathers she says they're more aggressive but not painful (the head crest goes down fully when it bites). But is completely fine with my wife as long as the Tiel isn't able to see the nails. My wife can even stroke its beak and crest with no hesitation from the tiel if she uses her knuckles on her fingers. I heard blowing or moving your hand up and down helps, but we don't want it to be scared of us.
I taught him but he picked it up really fast
 

Atiq

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Perfect, I’m going to try teaching my tiel this. Thank you!
 
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