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Cockatiel Rescue Still Adjusting??


Checking out the neighborhood
Hi! I'm new to the forum and wondering if I could get some insight. I've been a budgie owner for many years and this September I took in a cockatiel rescue. We are told he is about 10 years old He was poorly cared for for 7 years by an elderly woman and when she went into a care facility the son took him in and he hasn't had much interaction in the past few years I'm told. Apparently all he did was stare at his mirror for 3 years. We removed the mirror when we got him so he would try to bond with us. He is beautiful and such a talker! He says Whatcha Doing and lets us know for a good hour every evening that he is a PRETTY bird! :) The problem is that he still is so untrusting of us and as a first time cockatiel owner I just want to make sure I'm doing right by him. We call him our cranky old man. Sometimes when we walk in the room he hisses at us and other times he waits by the door for us to open the cage and talk to him and SOAKS UP EVERY word we say. He started a game with my husband where he taps the cage every time he sees him and my husband will tap back. He loves whistling back to me. But somedays he's a real stinker. He really is quite persnickety but full of personality.
So one main issue is--he doesn't fly. The previous owner told us "he doesn't like to," but it really seems like his wings were clipped wrong and he CAN'T fly. We leave the cage open for him to come and go as he pleases. We have bought t-stands and top of cage playgrounds. But all he wants to do it chill at the door of his cage. He wont climb to the top. He won't come to us. Occasionally he will jump from the cage on to the floor but he can't fly back up. THEN and only then will he let us pick him up and hold him. And he will hiss one minute and tell us he's a pretty bird the next. In the 4 months we've had him, we've only got him on our hand a handful of times.
We have given him new toys. He won't come near them. We have replaced the 2 wooden dowel perches he came with (that he slipped on ALL the time) with ropes and gritty perches and natural wood....and he's terrified of them. We finally got him to use a rope perch a couple months ago and he stopped slipping. We tried toys. He won't go near. Different popcorn treats, veggies, etc....won't touch them. And we have not made all these adjustments at once. We have added things to his cage slowly. The only thing he will take and gets SUPER excited about is millet. But even that won't get him excited enough to go on the top of the cage playground.
After his initial quarantine, we tried putting his cage near our budgies in the living room ...but its such a high traffic and noisy area and our budgie are SO BUSY all the time, he ended up being soooo cranky and tired. We moved him back to our media room which is part office/ part gaming room. It is still a busier room, but not quite as chaotic as our living room and has a timer for the lights so he can get the appropriate amount of sleep.
So after all my blabbing.....my question is....what can I do for him? Am I doing the right things? Should I try bringing him back into the living room?? We leave the door open almost ALL day. He just won't come out. He will make himself heard if we are doing something he is curious about. But we obviously don't live in our media room so sometimes he's alone. I feel so sorry for this little guy. For 10 years he just hasn't known what it's like to be a normal bird. Do I keep putting my hand to him when he's perched at the door to his cage? Everything I read says not to force it. So I don't. I will sit and talk to him and he just looks at me so sweet. I just want to make sure he is happy and we are doing the best we can for him. I know it's only been 4 months. I'm willing to be patient. I just want to make sure we are giving him a good life.


Ripping up the road
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