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kaylanfloy

Moving in
Joined
10/27/20
Messages
8
Real Name
Kaylan Floyd
I rescued this female cockatiel about a month ago, and she’s absolutely petrified of me. She was never really handled and was pretty neglected for the first 4 years of her life so I get I’m scary. She will eat millet from my hand, but she will not step up or come anywhere near my fingers. She hisses when I get too close. I really need some words of encouragement cause I feel like I haven’t made any progress with her, if anything I feel like she’s MORE scared of me now. I’ve been so respectful of her space but last night she flew out of get cage because something scared her and hit the wall a couple times, so I threw a towel over her to put her back in so she wouldn’t hurt herself and I feel really bad and she’s even more scared of me now. I spend about 6-8 hours with her everyday because she’s in my room, but she still hates me. Is there hope for taming her? Is she always going to hate me? How long is this gonna take? I’m really discouraged right now
 

MC_Hahn's

Walking the driveway
Joined
3/20/20
Messages
263
Real Name
Marie C.
First off, are her wings clipped?
Secondly, don't sweat it--It's only the first month. I adopted my cockatiel, Colby, in August. He was very shy his first month, but after a while he began to relax and show his true colors. Something useful may be target training. Use a chopstick or other small pointer that you aren't using for any other purpose, and place it through the cage bars or near where your bird is perched. Remember to introduce it slowly, and remain calm even if she is frightened. Hold the millet or other treat near the end of the stick. Once she is comfortable touching the stick in exchange for a reward, you can teach her new tricks and make your bond with her stronger.
Some cockatiels take longer than others to trust people. Judging by your situation, I'd expect this to take two months at the very least to get her moderately tame.
By moderately tame, I mean that she steps onto hands willingly and doesn't hiss quite as frequently.
I read to my bird and allowed him the choice to come out of his cage. A t-stand may be helpful for such purposes, if you need to transport your bird around your house or for training. Is your bird comfortable being on a parrot play gym? Is her cage large enough? My cockatiel was very territorial of his cage until I got him a larger one. Does she enjoy preening toys? I've read that most cockatiels do.
There are several YouTubers that have some good information, but remember to take some of their advice with a grain of salt. I've found that ElleAndTheBirds has excellent information on bonding, taming, and dietary conversion of birds. Other members of the Avenue have plenty of knowledge to share as well.
I have used a towel to catch my birds when they weren't tame in the past, but with a bigger bird it can be difficult to do so. If you feel that their could be underlying issues or behavioral problems, you should consult an avian veterinarian or your local bird rescue. The Parrot Problem Solver by Barbara Heidenreich discusses many of the problems that you have mentioned. But please understand that it can take years for a bird to trust you. Don't give up on her or yourself! You've made a lot of progress already. Please keep the Avenue updated on your progress with her in the future :)
 

scrape

Rollerblading along the road
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
5/4/19
Messages
2,437
I rescued this female cockatiel about a month ago, and she’s absolutely petrified of me. She was never really handled and was pretty neglected for the first 4 years of her life so I get I’m scary. She will eat millet from my hand, but she will not step up or come anywhere near my fingers. She hisses when I get too close. I really need some words of encouragement cause I feel like I haven’t made any progress with her, if anything I feel like she’s MORE scared of me now. I’ve been so respectful of her space but last night she flew out of get cage because something scared her and hit the wall a couple times, so I threw a towel over her to put her back in so she wouldn’t hurt herself and I feel really bad and she’s even more scared of me now. I spend about 6-8 hours with her everyday because she’s in my room, but she still hates me. Is there hope for taming her? Is she always going to hate me? How long is this gonna take? I’m really discouraged right now
"Taming her" is going to be relative. Try having a hands-off relationship for now, she sounds frightened. It'll take as long as it takes, please try not to rush it. Use millet and/or sunflower seeds to have positive interactions. Use a long millet stick if she seems uncomfortable. Work up to letting her out of her cage. Have playstands and fun things for her to be comfortable. Outside-the-cage time is important, if she's ready for it. Just give her safety, show her you aren't going to hurt her, and that everything is on her terms.:)
 

kaylanfloy

Moving in
Joined
10/27/20
Messages
8
Real Name
Kaylan Floyd
First off, are her wings clipped?
Secondly, don't sweat it--It's only the first month. I adopted my cockatiel, Colby, in August. He was very shy his first month, but after a while he began to relax and show his true colors. Something useful may be target training. Use a chopstick or other small pointer that you aren't using for any other purpose, and place it through the cage bars or near where your bird is perched. Remember to introduce it slowly, and remain calm even if she is frightened. Hold the millet or other treat near the end of the stick. Once she is comfortable touching the stick in exchange for a reward, you can teach her new tricks and make your bond with her stronger.
Some cockatiels take longer than others to trust people. Judging by your situation, I'd expect this to take two months at the very least to get her moderately tame.
By moderately tame, I mean that she steps onto hands willingly and doesn't hiss quite as frequently.
I read to my bird and allowed him the choice to come out of his cage. A t-stand may be helpful for such purposes, if you need to transport your bird around your house or for training. Is your bird comfortable being on a parrot play gym? Is her cage large enough? My cockatiel was very territorial of his cage until I got him a larger one. Does she enjoy preening toys? I've read that most cockatiels do.
There are several YouTubers that have some good information, but remember to take some of their advice with a grain of salt. I've found that ElleAndTheBirds has excellent information on bonding, taming, and dietary conversion of birds. Other members of the Avenue have plenty of knowledge to share as well.
I have used a towel to catch my birds when they weren't tame in the past, but with a bigger bird it can be difficult to do so. If you feel that their could be underlying issues or behavioral problems, you should consult an avian veterinarian or your local bird rescue. The Parrot Problem Solver by Barbara Heidenreich discusses many of the problems that you have mentioned. But please understand that it can take years for a bird to trust you. Don't give up on her or yourself! You've made a lot of progress already. Please keep the Avenue updated on your progress with her in the future :)
Hi!
No her wings aren’t clipped I’m reluctant to clipped her wings but i feel like it might be the best bet to keep her from injuring herself. As of now she does have a cage on the smaller side, but she’s always allowed out when I’m in the room. She won’t play on her play gym but she will sit on it and watch tv. She really likes foraging toys
 

Tiel Feathers

Joyriding the Neighborhood
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
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Joined
9/15/14
Messages
19,798
Location
Quincy,CA
Real Name
Deanna
She will soon learn the safe places to land in your room, so no need to clip her wings. Just make sure the window is covered. She doesn’t hate you at all, she’s just scared of you and her new surroundings. Watching tv is a great activity to do with her, as is reading to her. Just slowly build her trust in you over the next several months, and I’m sure she will relax and get more used to everything. When she does settle in more, just keep in mind that some birds don’t like to step up onto a finger, but would rather step on a perch, the back of your hand, or your arm. She may or may not ever like scratches, but you can still have a wonderful bond. Just respect her body language, reward all desired behavior, and never force her to do anything if you can help it.
 

MC_Hahn's

Walking the driveway
Joined
3/20/20
Messages
263
Real Name
Marie C.
Hi!
No her wings aren’t clipped I’m reluctant to clipped her wings but i feel like it might be the best bet to keep her from injuring herself. As of now she does have a cage on the smaller side, but she’s always allowed out when I’m in the room. She won’t play on her play gym but she will sit on it and watch tv. She really likes foraging toys
It's great to hear that her wings aren't clipped, although it all comes down to personal preference :) I love the recall training aspect of full flight feathers and my birds are overall more confident than they were with clipped wings.
 

Chomskypom

Walking the driveway
Joined
4/27/20
Messages
255
Location
Texas
Real Name
Chom (pronouns they/them)
I've had my similarly un-handled and presumably neglected tiel for almost a year now (time flies!) and he still hisses at me. Usually for waking him up with my bizarre human insistence on moving around before the sun is up. I agree about this, it makes me hiss too :p
It took him a few weeks to even be bold enough to sing. A month is nothing in adjustment time for them, even though it feels like a long time for us. I'm glad you've got foraging toys for your girl! I found them to be a huge confidence builder for Jas. Being able to do something for himself seemed to be a new concept but once he figured out that he could do things and make choices, his personality really blossomed.

Also, something I find super important with him is consent/letting him set the terms, like @scrape said!
For example, some stuff is almost always okay, like "no touch" company where I just sit with him and talk or play animal crossing so he can yell at the crafting sound. We both really enjoy that time together, and I can see that he's comfortable and happy. Some other stuff he has to be in the mood for, like training and stepping up. If I see any discomfort in his body language, I tell him "another time then" and back off. He knows that I'll respect his no and that actually seems to make him more willing to work with me.
Some of it has taken observation on my part, too. For instance if I see him fidgeting a lot on his playstand, that usually means he's ready to go back to his cage. Since it's in another room he needs my help getting there. Asking him to step up for the heck of it is one thing, but if I ask "are you ready for bed?" he will actually offer me a foot sometimes. This all sounds like tiny, minor stuff to a lot of bird owners, but it is HUGE progress for me and my un-tame bird! When we first got him home I didn't think he'd ever let me touch him. Because of their past experiences, maybe neither of us will ever have a "cuddly" tiel, but finding a middle ground that's happy for human and bird seems like a really good goal.

**sorry this got really long, I love talking about my little feather duster :o:
 

jh81

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Joined
8/13/15
Messages
2,221
Location
Arnhem, Netherlands
Real Name
Jan
First off, i firmly believe hate is an emotion that belongs only to the humanoid species.

a month is nothing in a birds life :) you rescued her from a bad place, give her some time to catch up with the better world. I would just leave her be for a while now. No handling whatsoever. Just let her be in her cage, see if she likes to come out. Let her explore her new world on her own terms. Then in a few weeks, start with the hand feeding again. But only that! She needs to learn that hands are good. You want to give her lots of threats (relatively speaking Ofcourse) by hand. And only then see if she’s into stepping up on a stick. Thats always the first thing i advice. Learn them to step up on a stick. That way you can always get her to where you want. Away from bad situations.

read some books about parrot taming, this forum has some great resources! You will do fine :)
 

elitys

Sprinting down the street
Joined
4/29/20
Messages
371
Location
OR, USA
Real Name
Elise
I also recommend target training as a starter. Some birds are even terrified of stepping up onto a perch, so target training should help transition into that. Target training will also help you get her into her cage and avoid the dreadful toweling situation. You can target train while she's in her cage through the bars so she feels safer. There is a particularly good tutorial for this on the YouTube channel Flock Talk (Flock Talk Target Training Video).

You've gotten lots of great advice so far, so I will be brief. Good luck with her.
 
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