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New to the forum, new cockatiel owner!

outmaww

Meeting neighbors
Joined
6/7/22
Messages
36
Hi! I've been perusing this site for a long time, but I just recently decided to create an account because I took home the sweetest little grey cockatiel about two weeks ago. He was hand-raised and weaned onto a seed diet, and he's already developed a bond to me especially, though he still tolerates other people around him (I say he, but he could easily be a girl; his underwing patterns look like a female's, but he's been very vocal and expressive. I guess we'll just have to see). I just want to know if he's settled in well. He loves biting and picking at everything around him, and he hates being inside his cage. Whenever I open it, he always runs for my hand. I don't exactly want this, because he only plays with toys when he's outside the cage and around people. I want him to be able to have fun in his cage as well. He's not that picky of an eater; he likes apple, eggs, and spinach so far. I've been introducing him to foods slowly away from food bowls in preparation for a transition to a chop and pellet diet. My biggest issue with him so far is that in the evenings, say around 7, he gets very nippy and annoyed and only wants to be on my shoulders, and it's hard to get him off without him screeching and occasionally lunging gently. This could be him being tired (which is what I'm guessing is happening), and he doesn't seem to care about being on my shoulder at any other time of day, so he usually just chills on my hand.
My questions are:
1) How long should he stay on a seed diet before I transition him? He's a very young baby, only about 12 weeks. I don't want to screw up his weight patterns, and information about it has been hard to find. I talked to two different people at the bird store I bought him at: one lady said about a month, and the other said half a year. I'd like other people's opinions too.
2) How much sleep each night should he be getting? I try to make sure it's at least 12 hours, but should it be more for a baby?
3) How can I get him to really enjoy being in his cage?
4) What pellets are the healthiest for birds? Harrisons seem to be a favorite.
Honestly, I've been researching birds for almost half my life, and I was planning on getting a conure as my first bird, not a cockatiel. But he was just so sweet in the bird store and bonded to me there, and I really couldn't say no to him. I'm so happy I got him, he is so exuberant and fun-loving, and I just want to make sure I'm doing the best I can with him.
Sorry this is such a long post!! Thanks to everyone who read this far down, lol.
And by the way, his name is G.B. (pronounced "jeebie"), acronym for Good Boy. If he turns out to be a girl, I'll just change it to Good Bird : )
 

Craftydan

Walking the driveway
Joined
12/2/20
Messages
254
Real Name
Dan Crews
Hey Outmaww, Welcome to the Avenue!

Sounds like you've got quite the sweetheart in the making, and if that's him in your avatar, quite a cutie too!

1) No time like the present for introducing new foods. Sure, don't force anything or remove what he's used to, go ahead and offer him a lettuce leaf or green bean and see if he's interested. Take a moment to check on the foods you're eating and if it's bird-safe, share a bit. Fair warning, he'll likely be "stranger-danger" the first time you slip something in front of him, but gently -- present it, and back off if he appears uncomfortable. he may take a nibble today go "blech", and fall in love with it tomorrow . . . transition the diet later to minimize the millet, but start by giving him the chance to try more foods.

2) As much as he needs (yeah, we do 12 here too, but younger birds will *ahem* cat-nap through the day and get cranky at dusk). Essie (our older conure) is pretty good about telling us it's bedtime (and hits it within about 10min every day) just by the toddler-like mood swings . . . which for us, is about 6:45.

BTW, make life easier on yourself and start rituals you can live with at bedtime. we give Essie's cage a quick cleaning, dim the lights, set her on top of her cage, sing her a song (the Manamana song form the Muppets) and tell her "go night-night". she'll usually settle down in a minute or two and climb in. Jasper (our younger conure) is still learning this sequence, but he's pliant enough he will climb up on his swing and chill. Whatever you do, do things you can keep doing (even when the day's plans go weird), and the birds will fall right into that comfortable pattern.

3) hard question . . . by making it more fun? If he's velcro bird right now don't be shocked. you're safe to him, and that's a good thing to be. Getting him to be independent while still feeling safe will take time and encouragement, but it'll come . . . all too soon ;) Setup a few play-stands/trays/perches around the house so he's got a spot to hang out in the same room you're in. When he starts enjoying being on his own a little, then making his cages and stands "more fun than people" is reasonable, but until then, IMO, enjoy the bonding.

4) I won't claim my birds have the best diet, but I subscribe to what many rescue's typical advice: The best pellet is the one your parrot will eat. There is a quality and nutritional difference between brands but we're talking the difference between eating vegetarian vs. vegan, not McDonalds vs. Whole foods. (BTW, off topic, but they will eat meat and eggs, just not in large qty.) Getting the crappy Zupreeme fruity pebbles isn't as good as Harason's brown pressed blech, but either will give the bird a balanced diet. One better than the other, sure, but either will keep the bird fed with a reasonable diet. Also keep in mind slipping in a few fresh foods or chop when you've got the time.

Enjoy GB, and post a few pics of him, when you get a chance :)
 

Craftydan

Walking the driveway
Joined
12/2/20
Messages
254
Real Name
Dan Crews
(after rereading the post :facepalm: )

Sorry, skimmed over the part where you are offering foods. Great. Keep that up. Slip in pellets too . . . and make the seeds harder to find. Personally, I'd wait until his weight stabilizes closer to adult (weighing every morning is another good ritual), but so long as it happens gradually, he might not even notice the millet only shows up on special occasions.
 

sunnysmom

Ripping up the road
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
9/16/13
Messages
27,145
Location
Pennsylvania
Real Name
Michelle
Welcome to the forum.

Tiels are granivores. So I think they should always have some seed in their diet but you can start introducing new foods now. Pellets may be too hard for him right now so you can try softening them with some water. Try some mashed cooked sweet potatoes, chop, etc.

I think 10-12 hours is fine. It doesn't have to be at least 12 in my opinion.

If you haven't already, you need to spend time with him when he's in his cage too. You don't want him to associate "cage" with you going away. I always spend time with my birds while they are in their cages. It helps too because you also don't want him to think that every time he sees you he is going to get out.
 

outmaww

Meeting neighbors
Joined
6/7/22
Messages
36
@Craftydan and @sunnysmom, thank you so much for your feedback!
I've been recently learning GB's body language and his reaction to things, and it helps that he's become more accustomed to my home. He always makes a beeline for my shoulder whenever I'm making glasses, because he could be entertained for hours just playing with them. He's already learned to wolf-whistle thanks in large part to my sister, who whenever she's around him just constantly wolf-whistles at him, and it's the cutest thing in his little voice. And today, when I went by his cage, he was playing with one of his foraging toys, which was such a relief for me because I haven't seen him around it the whole time we've had him.

I don't think I realized exactly what it would be like owning a bird even through all my research, and it's been a little bit of a wild ride, but I love him so much : ) I've got (hopefully) a whole fifteen years left with him. Thanks so much for your time to reply to my badly written first post, lol. I hope to turn back to this site more in the future!!
 

FeatheredM

Rollerblading along the road
Joined
5/14/21
Messages
2,396
Real Name
Monique
Welcome! I hope you stay on the forum and keep updating us with pictures and stories of GB, he sounds like a great bird :)
 

sunnysmom

Ripping up the road
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
9/16/13
Messages
27,145
Location
Pennsylvania
Real Name
Michelle
@Craftydan and @sunnysmom, thank you so much for your feedback!
I've been recently learning GB's body language and his reaction to things, and it helps that he's become more accustomed to my home. He always makes a beeline for my shoulder whenever I'm making glasses, because he could be entertained for hours just playing with them. He's already learned to wolf-whistle thanks in large part to my sister, who whenever she's around him just constantly wolf-whistles at him, and it's the cutest thing in his little voice. And today, when I went by his cage, he was playing with one of his foraging toys, which was such a relief for me because I haven't seen him around it the whole time we've had him.

I don't think I realized exactly what it would be like owning a bird even through all my research, and it's been a little bit of a wild ride, but I love him so much : ) I've got (hopefully) a whole fifteen years left with him. Thanks so much for your time to reply to my badly written first post, lol. I hope to turn back to this site more in the future!!
I have a cockatiel right now that's 32. So, you can have a lot more than 15. :)
 
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