• 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

My cockatiel (3 year old male) won't warm up

Metapuns

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
7/26/20
Messages
3
Real Name
Victoria
Hello, this is my first post so I hope I'm doing this right!

I have a 3 year old male cockatiel I've had for 2 years now. We adopted him after his owner got a new dog that scared the poor little guy too much. He definitely was never hand tamed as when the cage was approached, he'd either move away or get into a defensive stance.

We've had him for awhile now and slowly tried to approach him (hand feeding, practicing stepping up, letting him sit on our shoulders, etc.) but he's still completely flighty and defensive. He will step up but only half the time and always tries to fly off of the hand immediately. He will eat out of the hand but with much hesitation and when approached often opens his mouth and flattens his crest. We do think he enjoys our company because he sings when he is around us but he has a lot of anxiety in general. At the sign of any movement or noise, his crest shoots up and his body goes flat.

Is my cockatiel never going to be tame or is there something I can do to help him warm up?
 

Zara

♥❀Livin´ in Lovebird Land❀☼
Super Moderator
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
TAILGATING
Cutest Bird Ever!!!
Joined
1/8/18
Messages
31,545
Location
Reino de España
Welcome to the Avenue Victoria :)

I think this link will help, though he is not a ¨new¨ bird, it can be helpful to rivisit the tips listed;

@Khizz
 

Khizz

Rollerblading along the road
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
3/31/19
Messages
4,495
Hey welcome to the forum!

The little fella sounds like Jeff! But hey, you've made progress already! Some birds just need a lot of time, especially those adopted when they were older. Mine have been with me for a year and a half and only recently stepped up for the first time. On the other hand, you can have a bird that never behaves like a "tame bird". However, if he still sings and does all the moves of a happy bird, there's no reason to think he doesn't love you!

Is he like this out of the cage? Sometimes being approached inside the cage makes mine feel "cornered". They prefer interactions on their door perch. Also I found having a fixed routine has really helped a lot.

Also I think it's @sunnysmom who had success offering an arm of elbow instead. @Ripshod meanwhile has opted to take a more "relaxed" approach and aim to become one of the flock through taking a step back and enjoying his birds' company. I was really inspired by that and did the same, and think that's a factor in the birds' recent spurt of confidence.

There's lots of variations you can try, but in the end try enjoy being round your bird even without any direct contact. They love watching me, and it's gotten to the stage where they copy my routine. I eat, they eat. I nap, they nap. Unfortunately I haven't quite mastered "I clean the flat, they clean the cage" :lol:
 

sunnysmom

Ripping up the road
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
9/16/13
Messages
28,893
Location
Pennsylvania
Real Name
Michelle
Welcome! As @Khizz mentioned, you can try a modified step up method. It's pretty common for small birds to be scared of hands. With my first tiel, I started him with stepping up on a pillow (he got carried around like a little Sultan, lol). Then we moved to an arm covered by a towel, then no towel, then finally stepping up on the back of my hand out flat. Even after he become not scared, that was still his preferred step up method. He never liked stepping up on fingers.

Does he come out of his cage on his own? You can put a perch just outside of his door and hang some millet or a favorite toy to encourage it. It sounds like he just needs to build his confidence up a little more. Also, having a designated play area outside of the cage can help too (or a play stand on top of the cage). I find that sometimes new birds just don't know where to go when they get out and that can cause anxiety.
 

Metapuns

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
7/26/20
Messages
3
Real Name
Victoria
Hey welcome to the forum!

The little fella sounds like Jeff! But hey, you've made progress already! Some birds just need a lot of time, especially those adopted when they were older. Mine have been with me for a year and a half and only recently stepped up for the first time. On the other hand, you can have a bird that never behaves like a "tame bird". However, if he still sings and does all the moves of a happy bird, there's no reason to think he doesn't love you!

Is he like this out of the cage? Sometimes being approached inside the cage makes mine feel "cornered". They prefer interactions on their door perch. Also I found having a fixed routine has really helped a lot.

Also I think it's @sunnysmom who had success offering an arm of elbow instead. @Ripshod meanwhile has opted to take a more "relaxed" approach and aim to become one of the flock through taking a step back and enjoying his birds' company. I was really inspired by that and did the same, and think that's a factor in the birds' recent spurt of confidence.

There's lots of variations you can try, but in the end try enjoy being round your bird even without any direct contact. They love watching me, and it's gotten to the stage where they copy my routine. I eat, they eat. I nap, they nap. Unfortunately I haven't quite mastered "I clean the flat, they clean the cage" :lol:
Thank you for your reply! He definitely is a lot more nervous in his cage but I've always considered that typical bird behavior. He exclusively sings when he's out like he wants the whole world to hear! I think I will definitely try and include him into my day-to-day routine to make him feel more comfortable when he is out and around everyone.
 

Metapuns

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
7/26/20
Messages
3
Real Name
Victoria
Welcome! As @Khizz mentioned, you can try a modified step up method. It's pretty common for small birds to be scared of hands. With my first tiel, I started him with stepping up on a pillow (he got carried around like a little Sultan, lol). Then we moved to an arm covered by a towel, then no towel, then finally stepping up on the back of my hand out flat. Even after he become not scared, that was still his preferred step up method. He never liked stepping up on fingers.

Does he come out of his cage on his own? You can put a perch just outside of his door and hang some millet or a favorite toy to encourage it. It sounds like he just needs to build his confidence up a little more. Also, having a designated play area outside of the cage can help too (or a play stand on top of the cage). I find that sometimes new birds just don't know where to go when they get out and that can cause anxiety.
Thank you for your reply! Its strange because he's just on the edge of being a tame bird but still has this nervousness about him. He does come out of his cage, has his own perches outside, and enjoys his time out but he's very easily spooked. I feel like he's more afraid of where we will take him when he steps up than actually sitting on our fingers.
 

scrape

Rollerblading along the road
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
5/4/19
Messages
2,504
Spend plenty of time with him and just keep trying. Food and favorite foods come from you, nowhere else.
 
Top