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Single tiel showing signs of territorial behavior and nesting again?

moonlightt

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post on this forum on this account. Can somebody please help?

I would like to point out that my tiel is on her own, so her eggs are unfertilized. This is the situation: since a week or so my bird is showing signs of breeding behavior again. Since she only once laid eggs once about a year ago I can’t tell if she’s ready to do it again or if she’s currently carrying.

She often makes soft noises while pressing against the cage and while I’m trying to discourage her from doing it, but she does it a lot recently. What worries me the most is that last year, when she was about lay eggs and it was all new to me she would be digging in the sand on the bottom of the cage and find a corner to nest in and now that she’s doing it again I’m concerned she wants to lay eggs. But there is some time between the times she does it and the egg laying process. Is it so that if she’s trying to nest in her cage (or trying to) she already has an egg in the making? I’ve been told I can discourage her breeding behavior by rearranging her cage, but is it too late now? I can’t tell if she is carrying or not and I’m not looking forward to the whole egg process as I’m constantly worried for her and I think it’s sad overall.

Last year when she was brooding on her clutch of eggs, she was sitting on the corner of the cage on them and as time went by her health declined. She got real tired and didn’t move much. I had to handfeed her until she recovered and then I decided to remove her eggs and had no issues since. But now, it looks like she’s up to it again as she’s very protective of her territory and goes down a lot after she ate (she does check the bottom of the cage before eating) or went out of the cage. She’s also acting very aggressive because she wants to protect her territory. I’ve been covering her cage with a blanket for the past two days, of course not fully, but to give her a sense of nighttime. And when it’s covered, she doesn’t go down no more and goes to sleep faster.

I need some help with this. Can I start rearranging her cage and discourage further breeding behavior to prevent the process or is it too late and should I let her nest further?

Also if she does happen to lay eggs, how can I prevent her health/energy decline? Because even though she ate well, she had some pain stretching and after a few weeks she was so tired that she could barely fly and move.

I hope you were able to understand my situation. Thanks in advance for your help.


- Nick
 

Ember-Tiel

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Whats her bedtime like? Start increasing her time in the dark and see if it makes any difference. Since she seems very hormonal so start putting her to bed at 6 or 5pm if you haven't already. Make sure you do not touch or pet her on her back at all and try rearranging her cage as you said you planned to.

This can help with the rearranging, Tone Down Cockatiel Hormones

@Tiel Feathers ?
 

sunnysmom

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Welcome to the forum. I have only ever had male tiels. So, I will tag some people. (Also, I know this wasn't your question, but I have never heard of having sand in a tiel's cage....)

@Monica ? @Birdbabe ? @CeciliaZ ?
 

CeciliaZ

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Decrease her daylight hours. Rearrange her cage - what has helped for me is to move the cage to a new spot. Not necessarily in another room but another place in the same room. Also, I have found that if I leave the cage covered even if only 3 sides - it leads to more nesty behavior. I only cover the cage totally at night.

If she does lay - leave her eggs in the cage. Do not remove until she stops sitting on them. That may be a few weeks.

A healthy diet is important but so is exercise. Is she clipped? All my tiels are fully flighted and are allowed out of cage time to fly.

Good luck and welcome!
 

Tiel Feathers

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I would also rearrange her cage and take away any potential nest areas. I also don’t think sand on the bottom of the cage is a good idea. Do you have a grate? It’s more uncomfortable to nest on than sand, and more sanitary if you use paper under it.
 

Zara

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Welcome Nick :)

I don´t have much to add. I would do all of the things already mentioned:
-shuffle the cage, moving all toys perches and bowls
-move the cage, even if only in the same room
-11 hours day light (full light), 13 hours completely covered - no more partial covers
-increase foraging opportunities
-add a new toy
-if you can add a grate, do so

If she lays, don´t allow her to sit for more than 21 days
Bring the food bowl closer to her
 

moonlightt

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Hello,

Thank you all for your kind help. Although I couldn't respond, I read all of your advices and suggestions.
I managed to rearrange the cage a bit, moving some perches rotating the cage horizontally. I also removed the wooden perch that triggered her hormonal behavior and while she's still trying to do it, she can't succeed (she cant find the balance) and does it way less. I covered her cage partially at 8 pm, a lot earlier than she would sleep before and she definitely needed to get used to all of that cause she was pacing around her cage for a few hours. I noticed she kept looking down (for light probably) and became even more active when I tried to cover the cage fully.

Welcome to the forum. I have only ever had male tiels. So, I will tag some people. (Also, I know this wasn't your question, but I have never heard of having sand in a tiel's cage....)

@Monica ? @Birdbabe ? @CeciliaZ ?
English is not my native language so I should've explain things more as it's not plain sand. I think it's called shell sand if I'm not mistaken, people at the pet store recommended me using that for cage covering. Now I'm not so sure if it's any good but I would love to know what else I could use that's better. Please let me know.

My bird was really hyperactive today from the moment she woke up. That behavior is similar to last year. When she wanted to get out of the cage, I let her. But she didn't really listen to me as she kept trying to find spots to settle in as well as the things she normally does. When I tried to get her to me with food, she ignored it was kind of more aggravated. She didn't eat much while outside but she was really, really active. It took me so much time and energy to eventually get her in again, but when she got tired she finally gave in. Is this also something that belongs to hormonal behavior? When she was finally in, she rested a little but I noticed she has a different stance and her tail was lightly shaking. But soon she would finally get something to eat and then she started pacing again and tried to get stimulated but like I said, I removed the wooden perch she usually does that at. So after a while she stops. And then she would get back on the bottom of the cage being territorial again while digging (nesting?) in a corner with her tail up and only goes up when I am around her cage. She also loves to pick food while shes there. I would love to know how I could discourage the nesting behavior and I wonder if she continues doing this in the corner of the cage, what are the consequences? Will it help if I covered her cage fully? Because for now she's pacing around and gets scared when I do that, but maybe I should leave it for a few hours. I'm afraid she won't get any sleep if it keeps her up. I'm also still not sure if she's carrying an egg, but it's becoming much more apparent.

I'm sorry for asking so many questions, I feel like I should've known more about this but I'm getting worried about her behavior and I really appreciate your takes. I hope I explained myself well. I will try to move other things in the cage if she continues doing this. Thank you guys

- Nick
 

sunnysmom

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We're here for you to ask questions. It's fine. :) Does your cage bottom have a grate? I just put newspaper under the grate of my cage. Some people I know don't use the grate and just put the newspaper on the bottom of the cage. Again, others can better answer the female tiel questions than me but how many hours of sleep/darkness does she get? Typically tiels should get 10-12 hours of sleep. When a tiel is hormonal, you can try to increase it by 2 hours for about 2 weeks to kind of trick them into thinking it's "winter" (longer hours of darkness) and not "spring" (when it's time to lay eggs).

@Birdbabe ?
 

moonlightt

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We're here for you to ask questions. It's fine. :) Does your cage bottom have a grate? I just put newspaper under the grate of my cage. Some people I know don't use the grate and just put the newspaper on the bottom of the cage. Again, others can better answer the female tiel questions than me but how many hours of sleep/darkness does she get? Typically tiels should get 10-12 hours of sleep. When a tiel is hormonal, you can try to increase it by 2 hours for about 2 weeks to kind of trick them into thinking it's "winter" (longer hours of darkness) and not "spring" (when it's time to lay eggs).

@Birdbabe ?
Thank you! :) No, the cage bottom unfortunately didn't come with a grate. Are newspapers better than shell sand? It may be quite rough on their feet. I think she gets around 10 hours of sleep, sometimes it can be interrupted by someone as they pass through the living room. The problem is that when I want to increase it, she actually gets more active as she isn't used to it but maybe it's no issue when it becomes a routine.
 

sunnysmom

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Thank you! :) No, the cage bottom unfortunately didn't come with a grate. Are newspapers better than shell sand? It may be quite rough on their feet. I think she gets around 10 hours of sleep, sometimes it can be interrupted by someone as they pass through the living room. The problem is that when I want to increase it, she actually gets more active as she isn't used to it but maybe it's no issue when it becomes a routine.
I think newspaper is better. I'm not really sure how rough shell sand is. I also would worry about her ingesting it. The other nice thing about newspaper is you can see the droppings better. Checking droppings is always a good idea because abnormal droppings is often a sign of illness. Ten hours is good typically. If she's acting hormonal though bumping it up a couple hours may help (just for a couple weeks, it doesn't have to be permanently).
 

moonlightt

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Hello guys,

I have an update: she laid her first egg. and unlike last time she's already sitting/brooding on it. Last time she would sit on them starting with the second egg. I think it was @Zara who told me that she can't sit longer than 21 days, so does that start from today? She's very protective of her egg and won't let me do anything. I managed to put the food bowl close to her. She's very quiet and only moves to position her egg correctly so she can sit on them in the bottom left corner of the cage. I forgot to ask what kind of bowl or plate I could put the eggs in so she can sit on them comfortably, because now she's constantly positioning her egg and I guess her stance isn't the best. Or should I leave it like it is?

I'll try to up her calcium intake with some leafy greens like bok choy and soon I'll be able to get more. I can't get to pet store for calcium supplements for a few days, so I guess I gotta do with greens for now. I wonder if she'll go up to stretch for a bit, because I'll get worried if she'll remain in the same position all day. I also looked into getting some newspaper as it seems way better than what I use currently.

I'm so worried that I'm doing the wrong thing and that she won't move enough, but I also don't want to annoy her as she seems very territorial and protective of her egg. Please let me know if I missed something. Thank you all for helping me.
 

CeciliaZ

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I just use some paper towels when mine lays. I do not give her a bowl or plate for her eggs. They usually lay an egg every other day. Let her sit on her egg or eggs. She will abandon them eventually. Usually about 3 weeks. They can be very territorial. She will get up and stretch. And also she may hold her "droppings" all night...so much larger than usual. Mine does not like to mess in her cage by her eggs.

You are doing fine. Offer her leafy greens. She will let you know if she does not want you to bother her. There are times when mine will accept some petting on her head as she sits on her egg and other times - she will lunge at me.
 

moonlightt

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I just use some paper towels when mine lays. I do not give her a bowl or plate for her eggs. They usually lay an egg every other day. Let her sit on her egg or eggs. She will abandon them eventually. Usually about 3 weeks. They can be very territorial. She will get up and stretch. And also she may hold her "droppings" all night...so much larger than usual. Mine does not like to mess in her cage by her eggs.

You are doing fine. Offer her leafy greens. She will let you know if she does not want you to bother her. There are times when mine will accept some petting on her head as she sits on her egg and other times - she will lunge at me.
Thanks for your reply. It is reassuring to know I'm doing good. I will let her sit on it. I tried to offer her leafy greens as she hasn't eaten much (only ate a bit from her food bowl) and is so focused on her egg, but she got really aggressive so I just put it nearby with her food bowl and also water. She hasn't gone up to stretch for a bit either and she didn't want to come out of her cage either. I wonder when I'm able to put the egg on a paper towel, but we'll see.
 

CeciliaZ

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I just use the paper towels - I think anything else - like a bowl, basket or small box will only make her more nesty. The paper towels or newspaper hopefully will cushion the egg enough against the cage grates (which I have) so it does not break. I have had some eggs crack and become stuck to my tiel's (Lily) chest.

My birds - 6 tiels and 2 parakeets are fully flighted. They get out of cage time daily. When Lily is laying she does not come out much. I just make sure there is newspaper under her when she does. Then she goes back in...
 

Monica

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Your English is fine! :)

What worries me the most is that last year, when she was about lay eggs and it was all new to me she would be digging in the sand on the bottom of the cage and find a corner to nest in and now that she’s doing it again I’m concerned she wants to lay eggs.
Can you either figure out a way to put a crate in the cage or find a cage that comes with a grate?


I’ve been told I can discourage her breeding behavior by rearranging her cage, but is it too late now?
I have discouraged hens from laying even after they've already started laying.


I covered her cage partially at 8 pm, a lot earlier than she would sleep before and she definitely needed to get used to all of that cause she was pacing around her cage for a few hours.
If she can still hear noise or see light, she may not settle down well. If more sleep doesn't help, you may need to do *less* sleep, that is, leaving the light on for longer periods of time.


Is this also something that belongs to hormonal behavior?
Yes, hens can and do look for places to nest and can be quite determined in finding an ideal spot(s).
 
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