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New Cockatiel Parront Fear!!!

Oswald-Le-Tiel

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I just got a baby cockatiel a couple days ago from a really, really wonderful pet store. She was already extremely tame when I got her and loves to hang out on me and my family's shoulders, eat with us at the table, sit with me while I work on my computer, etc. During the day I'm okay, but at night I fear the worst. I don't know if it's normal, but I haven't found anyone else complaining about new bird anxiety. I'm truly anxious!

I'm a minor and I don't have a job yet, but plan to get one at a local Publix as soon as possible to keep up with food expenses and such. This is one of the few things that has me very very worried, as I am afraid I won't get a job in time and she'll get hurt or sick and I won't be able to pay for vet bills. Normally, my parents would help with expenses but money has been rather tight as my dad isn't working right now and the only person with a job is my mom. This may just be because I'm very likely suffering from some form of depression and anxiety, but I'm also very paranoid about something happening to my bird while I'm away.

I love my bird to death, and she loves me back (I hope), but the problem is she doesn't want to be away from me. I have a set time to put her to bed at night and sometimes she'll climb the bars, waiting for me to take her out. I have to play soft music to get her to sleep. In the morning, I wake up and wait a couple hours before letting her out to make sure she gets enough sleep, and I start off the day by picking her up, walking into the kitchen, and making her breakfast. She eats a little bit of it before standing at the edge of the top of her cage, waiting for attention. I'm always worried she'll stop eating altogether at some point. This is very alarming as before she came home, she was very chubby and was called a good eater. She also gets very cranky at night and I'm afraid it's because of too much stimulation.

Now this is going to sound very paranoid but let me explain; When I first got Ozzy, she was very clingy, mostly because it was a new place, I suppose. She'd met all of my family (those that are currently in the house) before picking her up so we weren't complete strangers to her. If I haven't previously mentioned, she's nearly 3 months old so she's just been weaned off baby food. The first day of waking up with her, I decided to go make some lunch. She was sitting on top of her cage and I left the room. She began screaming for me, and I thought it was okay until she decided to fly from her cage. Her wings are clipped so she can't fly far, and she can't get hurt, but she has a habit of chewing. This wouldn't worry me usually, but this worries me so much now because I'm going on a trip with my parents and younger sisters to see some other family. My brother will be home, but I'm afraid he's going to leave her alone and she'll hurt herself somehow.

I'm afraid of failing as a bird-parent, really, and I'm afraid of hurting her. I sat in the shower hyperventilating for half an hour last night and I'm hoping it won't happen again tonight. I just wanted some answers, maybe some comfort, and maybe some confirmation that I'm not the only one going through this new bird anxiety stuff.

Thanks, and I appreciate feedback.
 
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Holly21

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Holly likes to climb the bars at night trying to get me to let her out, I can tell when she is tired but she never wants to go to bed. What I have to do is keep the door shut and cover her and that pretty much ends her pacing she stops and goes to her swing.

Holly also screams when I leave the room and flys to me, I have her wings clipped but she still gets to me. I have worried about my birds when I go on vacation but I try to think positive when I go on vacation I say to myself “4 more days until I get to see Holly!!” And anything positive, because she loves spray millet I will say, “I bet she is eating all of the spray millet I gave her she is going to be chunky when I get home.” This is stuff I say to make my worries go away.

As far as hurting herself I don’t think she would, what I would tell your brother is during the night time, what ever room Ozzy is in make sure there is no light on and no one walks into the room because I had my computer on and I walked passed Holly’s cage, she fell off her top perch, was flapping her wings, and hissing I quickly turned the lights on and uncovered her. This is just a recommendation because I was sooo scared she was going to hurt herself...
 
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saroj12

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Don't go on the trip! Easy and effective resolution of your problem!
 

Shezbug

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Can you take your bird with you on the trip? Maybe that would help ease your anxiety about it all.
My bird hangs on the side of the cage wanting to come out when I put him in there for the night, he does it for a little while then settles down and finds a toy to play with or preens himself......I think they are like little kids in that they will learn very quickly how to get what they want from you by making the connection that if I pace or hang off the bars then I get to come out of the cage. Maybe if you just leave her for a while she will settle down without you fussing over her.
When I leave the room my bird calls out for me and I just keep calling back to him, when I do not call back he does get a little louder and sounds more frantic so I make a sound for him to hear and he settles down and does his own thing.
I think the best way for you to reduce your anxiety about if you are doing a good job of looking after her is to research and learn as much as you can about her species, needs, diet, cage requirements, health issues common to the species, natural habit, behaviors etc
Birds will often want to be with you, you know this and just need to make adjustments like not leaving the room unless you know she is happy to stay there and just call out to you. All the things you are stressing about can be settled down by you understanding and accepting a little easier, if you are afraid of failing as a bird carer then you need to educate yourself as much as you can so nothing is left to be guessed in regards to the care you are providing.
To me it sounds as if you are doing a fine job of caring well for your bird :)
 

Holly21

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My bird hangs on the side of the cage wanting to come out when I put him in there for the night, he does it for a little while then settles down and finds a toy to play with or preens himself......I think they are like little kids in that they will learn very quickly how to get what they want from you by making the connection that if I pace or hang off the bars then I get to come out of the cage. Maybe if you just leave her for a while she will settle down without you fussing over her.
I agree that is what Holly does before I put her away, I scratch her or give her millet that is why she hangs on the side begging me not to put her away. Sometimes you have to say no for the good of the bird and yourself.
 

Gazimon

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If its family that you haven't met in a while, then I do think it is important to visit. After all, you are a human and not a bird, so it is also part of life to maintain relationships with your family and friends. How long will you be on the trip?

If your brother can responsibly handle the basics such as daily fresh food and water, then you can perhaps consider asking him to switch on the radio to calming classical music for your bird in the day. If the computer is nearby you can play some youtube videos with the monitor screen facing the cage that has other cockatiels interacting and vocalizing for a few hours. You can buy a new toy and put it in just before you leave for the trip, so that she can entertain herself with it. [ Do read the safety thread on the AA forum for some tips on which toys are not as bird safe and require supervision. Eg. those with long threads or tiny holes that can trap toes ].

I'm not sure how bird-savy your brother is. If he's not familiar with birds, it may be better overall that he just deals with the necessities only. People who are not familiar with handling birds may unknowingly cause more behavioral issues if they hit the bars, or tease the bird by putting their fingers on the bars repeatedly to get a reaction out of the bird. et cetera.

Alternatively, you can search for someone familiar with birds who can care for your lil one while you are away. Any friends that are currently keeping pet birds or a local bird sitter around? How about asking the bird shop if they are willing to bird-sit if it is a short duration?
 

Oswald-Le-Tiel

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Holly likes to climb the bars at night trying to get me to let her out, I can tell when she is tired but she never wants to go to bed. What I have to do is keep the door shut and cover her and that pretty much ends her pacing she stops and goes to her swing.

Holly also screams when I leave the room and flys to me, I have her wings clipped but she still gets to me. I have worried about my birds when I go on vacation but I try to think positive when I go on vacation I say to myself “4 more days until I get to see Holly!!” And anything positive, because she loves spray millet I will say, “I bet she is eating all of the spray millet I gave her she is going to be chunky when I get home.” This is stuff I say to make my worries go away.

As far as hurting herself I don’t think she would, what I would tell your brother is during the night time, what ever room Ozzy is in make sure there is no light on and no one walks into the room because I had my computer on and I walked passed Holly’s cage, she fell off her top perch, was flapping her wings, and hissing I quickly turned the lights on and uncovered her. This is just a recommendation because I was sooo scared she was going to hurt herself...
Okay. Thank you so much this made me feel so much better to know I wasn't alone! I do cover her at night, but I'm afraid it will be too dark and she won't be able to find her way back to her perch and she'll panic so I wait for her to sit on her perch then I cover her and turn the lights off.
 

Oswald-Le-Tiel

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Chloe
If its family that you haven't met in a while, then I do think it is important to visit. After all, you are a human and not a bird, so it is also part of life to maintain relationships with your family and friends. How long will you be on the trip?

If your brother can responsibly handle the basics such as daily fresh food and water, then you can perhaps consider asking him to switch on the radio to calming classical music for your bird in the day. If the computer is nearby you can play some youtube videos with the monitor screen facing the cage that has other cockatiels interacting and vocalizing for a few hours. You can buy a new toy and put it in just before you leave for the trip, so that she can entertain herself with it. [ Do read the safety thread on the AA forum for some tips on which toys are not as bird safe and require supervision. Eg. those with long threads or tiny holes that can trap toes ].

I'm not sure how bird-savy your brother is. If he's not familiar with birds, it may be better overall that he just deals with the necessities only. People who are not familiar with handling birds may unknowingly cause more behavioral issues if they hit the bars, or tease the bird by putting their fingers on the bars repeatedly to get a reaction out of the bird. et cetera.

Alternatively, you can search for someone familiar with birds who can care for your lil one while you are away. Any friends that are currently keeping pet birds or a local bird sitter around? How about asking the bird shop if they are willing to bird-sit if it is a short duration?
Fortunately, yes my brother is pretty good with birds. While none of us kids really had a lot of the experience, we did have a bird before of whom I was in charge of feeding and giving fresh water every day. Yes, my family lives up in Wisconsin and we're all the way down in Florida so visits are rare because of out schedules, so this is an opportunity I can't pass up.
 

finchly

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You are so sweet! Your bird already has you wrapped around her finger....errr.... talon.

In the wild cockatiels call to each other as they go out of hearing distance. So just whistle back. I have a special whistle for my tiels and a different one for my caiques that are in another room.

How does brother feel about the bird, and about caring for it? If he's okay about it I wouldn't worry. You can ask him to send you video or photo updates.
 

Oswald-Le-Tiel

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Can you take your bird with you on the trip? Maybe that would help ease your anxiety about it all.
My bird hangs on the side of the cage wanting to come out when I put him in there for the night, he does it for a little while then settles down and finds a toy to play with or preens himself......I think they are like little kids in that they will learn very quickly how to get what they want from you by making the connection that if I pace or hang off the bars then I get to come out of the cage. Maybe if you just leave her for a while she will settle down without you fussing over her.
When I leave the room my bird calls out for me and I just keep calling back to him, when I do not call back he does get a little louder and sounds more frantic so I make a sound for him to hear and he settles down and does his own thing.
I think the best way for you to reduce your anxiety about if you are doing a good job of looking after her is to research and learn as much as you can about her species, needs, diet, cage requirements, health issues common to the species, natural habit, behaviors etc
Birds will often want to be with you, you know this and just need to make adjustments like not leaving the room unless you know she is happy to stay there and just call out to you. All the things you are stressing about can be settled down by you understanding and accepting a little easier, if you are afraid of failing as a bird carer then you need to educate yourself as much as you can so nothing is left to be guessed in regards to the care you are providing.
To me it sounds as if you are doing a fine job of caring well for your bird
Okay thanks! I would love to take my bird with me, unfortunately, my aunt is deathly afraid of birds. It's nearly comical xD but I'll try to convince my parents! And yeah I've tried calling back to her but she just keeps flying down. In fact, today she just tried to fly to my computer desk! She hit the side of it, but she did not get hurt.
 

Oswald-Le-Tiel

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You are so sweet! Your bird already has you wrapped around her finger....errr.... talon.

In the wild cockatiels call to each other as they go out of hearing distance. So just whistle back. I have a special whistle for my tiels and a different one for my caiques that are in another room.

How does brother feel about the bird, and about caring for it? If he's okay about it I wouldn't worry. You can ask him to send you video or photo updates.
Aww, thanks! :) Yeah, I've just got to figure out that whistle... and my brother feels fine about it, in fact he asked me yesterday to teach him what the morning routine is, etc. so I'm fairly confident he'll do okay.
 

Oswald-Le-Tiel

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Don't go on the trip! Easy and effective resolution of your problem!
I would stay, but this is family I don't get to see very often at all. They live in Wisconsin and we live down in Florida so it's not very easy for us to meet.
 

Holly21

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Also what I have is called a mimic me, what you can do is you record your voice in it and it will repeat every hour I put it beside her cage and what I say when I go on vacation is “Hi Holly, Mommy loves and misses you soo much!” And whoever watches my birds turns it on every morning and off every night while I’m gone!
 

finchly

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Good idea!
 

Pugwinkle

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Sounds to me like you have nothing to worry about. Your brother sounds capable and I'm sure he will take very good care of your bird. Go on your holiday and enjoy it. It's important to visit with family. You are very young and you have a lot of living to do. Please don't make the mistake of making your bird totally dependant on you for it's happiness. Your bird may live a good 20 years in which time you may get married and have children, all of which will take time away from your bird.
 

Holly21

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This is not true. Many birds with cut flight feathers get injured and can fly some. Be careful.
I agree Holly has clipped wings and she can fly from her cage to my curtain rod, sometimes she does not make it and crashes into my floor... It has to hurt...
 

tielluver

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It sounds like you are a good, caring bird owner. Go on your trip and try not to worry. Show your brother what to do. I would do the soft music playing sometimes, maybe some TV on to something with soothing sounds. I would leave a night light on every night you are gone. Baby birds are prone to night frights. It's where they get scarred, especially in darkness. They try to fly around in the cage, and are very frightened. When mine were that young they were prone to do that.If she should get one, do NOTopen the cage door. We made that mistake, he flew out and we had a hard time calming him down and back in the cage. Just talk to her in a soft, gentle voice, should calm down. We found leaving a light on is a way to prevent it from happening. Have your brother offer her millet spray or some other treats she loves before bed, leave regular light on in the room to give her time to eat it. Maybe some different toys she will like. Have him tell her she's a good girl whenever she listens. It's good she really loves to be by you, but this is a good way to teach her that there are other people too she can come by and play, get attention from and will also learn to amuse herself. It's amazing what they find fun to play with. Just make sure it's nothing she can get her feet, beak or wings caught in. Tell your brother to put her back in the cage when he goes out so she can't hurt herself, since her wings are clipped. He should tell her hello when he comes back and talk to her some.Like others say, you don't want the bird to be totally dependent on you to amuse her. It is easier for her to learn this when she is young, they catch on fast. I think things will be fine.
 

NirAntae

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You sound like a perfectly normal, devoted, first-time bird slave. Er, parront. ;)

Firstly, I wouldn't leave her loose when you leave the room. It's much too easy for her to get hurt - it only takes a moment to hit a window or a fan or decide a power cord looks fun to chew, etc. As long as she has a big enough cage with plenty of toys for mental stimulation, it's far better for her to spend a little too much time in her cage than to be left alone outside the cage and risk getting hurt while unsupervised.

As others have said, the louder calling when you leave the room isn't really panic because you're gone - it's called "contact calling". Establish a particular sound or whistle that is your "signature". Mine is a simple up-down whistle, like a reverse bobwhite call, or a very quick shortened wolf-whistle. When you go out of sight, they will call louder, asking if you're okay, basically. Make your 'signature call' back to her, and it should calm her right down, once she gets used to it. She'll probably call again periodically to check in with you... just call back with your whistle, same thing. It's how flocks keep in touch when they're foraging in the wild, like @finchly said. One of my Grey's sleep cage was in the bedroom next to our back bathroom, and every time she heard the toilet flush, she would mimic my call and my then-boyfriend's call (it sounded like a pennywhistle crescendo) to ask who was in the bathroom :hilarious: (When she died, I couldn't use that bathroom for months, cause every time I flushed and didn't hear the contact calls I burst into tears... it's the oddest things that'll get to you...)

Re: climbing on the bars at bedtime... Translation: "Moooom, just fiiiiive moooore minutes? ....Mooooooom, can I have a glass of water? ....Mooom, will you read me a story? ....But moooooom, I'm not tiiiiired... Moooooooooooom...." hehe. There's a reason people say becoming a parront is like adopting a permanent two-year-old. Essentially, be firm and just ignore it. She'll settle down soon enough.


And like the others, I wouldn't worry about her while on your trip. Sounds like brother won't have a problem, and even though she will no doubt miss you, she will be fine, even if she has to stay in her cage the whole time. (Again, as long as it's big enough with plenty of toys.)
 

Fergus Mom

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One of my Grey's sleep cage was in the bedroom next to our back bathroom, and every time she heard the toilet flush, she would mimic my call and my then-boyfriend's call (it sounded like a pennywhistle crescendo) to ask who was in the bathroom :hilarious: (When she died, I couldn't use that bathroom for months, cause every time I flushed and didn't hear the contact calls I burst into tears... it's the oddest things that'll get to you...)

Re: climbing on the bars at bedtime... Translation: "Moooom, just fiiiiive moooore minutes? ....Mooooooom, can I have a glass of water? ....Mooom, will you read me a story? ....But moooooom, I'm not tiiiiired... Moooooooooooom...." hehe. There's a reason people say becoming a parront is like adopting a permanent two-year-old.


That broke my heart reading about not being able to flush the toilet! I have had such similar experiences after I lost my Lab in 2010. I had him for 13 1/2 years, and I thought I was going to die after I lost him!

Love the translation of climbing on the bars... Moooom.... LOL!

@Oswald-Le-Tiel You are so sweet and caring to worry about your precious bird - but I do hope you have a great vacation and bring back that sweet brother a great memento for him caring for your baby! And something for baby too, maybe a branch from a bird-safe tree for a perch to give when you get home.
 
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