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Separating Siblings - Need Advice

Tiel Mama

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9/11/19
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Hello!

I have two ten month old cockatiels, Ham and Rosie. I got them from a private owner who said they'd be hand tamed and were not at all when I got them, so I had to start from scratch with getting them used to me. Wanted to start off with that so you'd understand that their sibling bond probably got stronger than ever when they came to me and were scared to death of me and everything else. I started them off in the same cage and read a lot of different advice about keeping them together vs separating them. Rosie will get on my finger after all this time, but Ham still won't. About a month ago, I stumbled upon them mating and called my bird place (whom I trust) and was told that it would be best to separate them. She also mentioned that separating them will likely accelerate their training (i.e. perhaps Ham would finally be able to be finger trained now that he isn't so close with Rosie).

Now they are in separate cages, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to keep the cages next to each other or put them in different rooms. I tried leaving them next to each other, but all they did was cry to each other most of the day (no joke...it was incessant and they would pace back and forth for so long each day). I attempted moving Rosie's cage in another room. Interestingly, Ham started singing most of the time at that point. He stops singing when her cage is near his. Rosie's training has made progress in just a few days (getting on my finger more quickly, staying on it longer). Ham is as skittish as ever and has gone backwards in his progress during this transition - understandably so - and I am back to putting my hand in the cage with millet and waiting awhile for him to come back over to nibble some. Working from home due to COVID has given me the opportunity to spend time with each of them in their separate rooms so they aren't just all alone. I go back and forth a few times during the day, making sure I'm with them an equal number of hours during this transition.

I have been putting their cages near each other at night so they can sleep together, but it takes awhile for them to stop crying to each other when they're first back together, and right when I remove their cover in the morning the crying starts again.

I don't know if I should keep their cages near each other and simply wait for them to get used to this new life in separate cages (will they eventually stop crying and pacing constantly?), or if it's healthier for them to be apart (separate rooms). Ham singing so much when they're apart is very interesting to me - it's like his personality comes alive when he isn't distracted over missing Rosie. And if anyone thinks I should keep them in separate rooms, does that mean nighttime, too?

I so appreciate any advice you can give me. I love them dearly and really just want what's best for them and what's healthiest, too.

Thanks so much to anyone who can chime in with experience they've had!
 

Tara81

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When their cages are together are the cage bars right next to each other ... do you have perches on that side of the cage so they can both sit very close to each other ? That might calm them a bit. My bonded budgies are okay with being in seperate cages if their cages are lined up and theres a perch on the same side of the cage. Then they are sitting close to each other. Honestly I would let them be together supervised, and when its time for training then seperate them. They are social birds and do need friends close by for most of the day. If they eat vegetables and/or sprouts and pellets , you can remove seeds for a couple of hours and then entice them to eat millet spray from your hand every 30 minutes - hour as well. If they do not eat vegetables and sprouts, your best bet is to slowly transition them to a healthier diet so that food bribery will make it easier to tame them. They won't be as interested in seed if they eat seed all day. Plus this isnt healthy for them. Once the female is 18 months old, You can let them mate and then replace eggs with dummy eggs , unless the female lays too often then keep them seperate unless supervised. Boiling the eggs after they are layed will stop life from forming. The eggs do not have life until the birds incubate them.

Also giving them more things to do in the cage can prevent them from mating as well. Like shredding toys, foraging dishes, foraging toys, cactus wood perches, anything they need to destroy to find food inside.
 
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Tiel Mama

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9/11/19
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When their cages are together are the cage bars right next to each other ... do you have perches on that side of the cage so they can both sit very close to each other ? That might calm them a bit. My bonded budgies are okay with being in seperate cages if their cages are lined up and theres a perch on the same side of the cage. Then they are sitting close to each other. Honestly I would let them be together supervised, and when its time for training then seperate them. They are social birds and do need friends close by for most of the day. If they eat vegetables and/or sprouts and pellets , you can remove seeds for a couple of hours and then entice them to eat millet spray from your hand every 30 minutes - hour as well. If they do not eat vegetables and sprouts, your best bet is to slowly transition them to a healthier diet so that food bribery will make it easier to tame them. They won't be as interested in seed if they eat seed all day. Plus this isnt healthy for them. Once the female is 18 months old, You can let them mate and then replace eggs with dummy eggs , unless the female lays too often then keep them seperate unless supervised. Boiling the eggs after they are layed will stop life from forming. The eggs do not have life until the birds incubate them.

Also giving them more things to do in the cage can prevent them from mating as well. Like shredding toys, foraging dishes, foraging toys, cactus wood perches, anything they need to destroy to find food inside.
 

Tiel Mama

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Their cages are very close to each other and the perches that they sleep on are exactly the same height so they’re pretty much as close as they were when they shared one cage.
They do eat a pellet and seed mix and I offer them veggies, fruits, and different chop recipes regularly (I have yet to find one that’s a hit with them but I am determined to keep trying).
I didn’t know that about the dummy eggs. I’ll consider that for sure. I just honestly thought it was best to separate them for training as well.
They have tons of toys that I rotate regularly to keep them busy.
Hmmm...just not sure what’s best
I so appreciate your input. Many thanks! You’ve given me some new things to consider.
 

Tara81

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I just honestly thought it was best to separate them for training as well.
Yes it usually works out better this way until one is tame enough to be around you and help convince the other to come around you as well. ;) I guess what I mean is, when you can't be with them, it's ok to let them be near each other in seperate cages ;) In the evening they should relax more . If you let them out together during the day for an hour or two , they can get exercise and probably wont miss each other as much (be as anxious to see each other) when put back in their cages.

Yes do keep trying . Once they eat sprouts or vegetables enough you can remove the seed. Then this will really entice them to come to you for millet. Try hanging kale leave or weaving it between cage bars, brocolli stuffed between bars, shredded carrot mixed with brocolli florettes, peas, corn, cooked green beans (Anything that looks like a giant seed sometimes gets them interested !) . Fruits are actually not essential, higher in sugar and should only be fed once every 2-3 days in moderation.

If they absolutely refuse vegetables after 1-3 months you can also try sprouting (or anytime really). Sprouting is the growing of organic seed to make it more nutritious. Also gets them more familiar with wet food. I sprout seeds my bird normally eats and mix them with dry seed for 2 months to get 1 stubborn tiel to finally eat sprouts. But in the end it worked.

You have to be really persistant with changing their diet for it to work. Once a week wont cut it. It has to be offered daily. :) Good lucK !
 

Tara81

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And maybe others can give you more advice as well :)
 

sunnysmom

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I too would let them be together and then just work on training with them individually.
 
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