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My cockatiel has become very mean

LucasM

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Hello, I am new to this forum and I'm seeking some help with my cockatiels new behaviors.

I've had my cockatiel for about 3 years now and as of recently he has had a huge personality change. He is constantly biting me, hissing angrily when I walk near or when I wake him up in the morning. He now does an ear piercing screech; both when he wants something or is just sitting comfortable with nothing apparently bothering him, like taking a nap.

He is no longer the bird I've known for these years and I am not sure where this all came from. All the time he will appear happy and want me to come over to pet him, almost back to his usual self, but as soon as I do it he'll come back up and attack my finger, biting me. He is in love with any sort of object (i know this is bad and i dont encourage it) and always sings happily at them or his food when he sees it.

Also, he bites me when I go to change his food these days too. I reach for his bowl and he lunges at me trying to bite. I usually try to have him step up so I can change his food without him getting mad, but he attacks my finger without any other thought so it's been more difficult.

I am not sure what to do, I feel like I can no longer approach him or be friendly with him these days because I know he just loves biting and hissing now for no reason that is clear to me. It makes me feel pretty bad because he is my bird and at this point his bad behavior seems irreversible. Any advice? Am I doing something wrong that he suddenly hates me?
 

Tiel Feathers

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Are you sure he is a boy? Are there any perceived nests in his cage? Mirrors? If there is a toy he seems to be defending, I would take it out. Try to avoid getting bit and work with him when you can. You can start target training or station training so you can access his food and water without him biting you. Also, training will help strengthen your bond. Does his cage have feeder doors? Have you changed your appearance in any way or is there anything new in the room?
 

Lady Jane

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Why are you waking up your bird? Could it be your bird wants more sleep?
 

sunnysmom

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He sounds hormonal. How long has he been like this?
 
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Destiny

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As others have said, hormones are likely the cause of your cockatiel's personality change. The good news is that this behavior is perfectly natural and usually temporary. Most parrots have a breeding "season" that can be triggered by environmental factors, so the hormone surge will resolve spontaneously over time. The bad news is that now that your parrot is sexually mature, hormonal behavior is going to be an annual occurrence and you will likely need to adjust your own behavior to accomodate the parrot's adult needs. He is not a baby anymore and it is important to recognize how your actions will be viewed by a sexually mature parrot to avoid unfortunate and potentially hazardous misunderstandings.

I highly recommend reading up on parrot breeding behavior and hormonal aggression as a way of arming yourself with knowledge. Keep in mind that your cockatiel hasn't changed. He is growing up. It is a confusing time for a bird, because he is feeling strong instinctive urges to build a nest, find a suitable mate, and make baby parrots. This can result in territorial aggression as he tries to drive away potential rivals and protect his chosen nest site. It can cause destructive behavior as he shreds apart toys (and everything around him) or plucks feathers to create nesting material. It can lead to lots and lots and lots of screaming. And it can lead to the parrot becoming obsessed with a mirror, toy, or person who he has chosen as his "mate".

If this sounds like your bird, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that it will get better. But please also do more research and learn what you can do to help your parrot (and yourself) get through this difficult time.

 
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