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standoffs cockatiel

dustyexner

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7/31/16
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dusty
Hello! About 3 months ago we got a young-ish female cockatiel. She is fully grown but they said she was only about 4 months old or so, which means she's still under a year old now. She had no training but since we got her she has become tame enough to step up (although she won't come near me if I put my hand in the cage, I have to coax her out with millet to get her on my arm).

When out of the cage all she wants to do is sit on my shoulder or knee. If I put her on the floor she doesn't really walk around, she will just sit in the same place for an hour or however long. Likewise, she just sits in the same place on my shoulder. She won't let me get near her for head scratches but I've tamed her to the point where I can put my fingers very close to her face/head without her biting me and she will tolerate my hands near her face, so I hope that with time I can increase that to touching her head.

My questions:
1. Its summer and we often have the windows open, and since she doesn't come willingly out of the cage (I can sometimes coax her with millet but sometimes she just wont) so she spends the majority of her time in the cage although we are always in the living room with her. I'm worried I'm not spending enough time socializing her outside the cage but I don't want to force her out and it's too hot in our apartment to shut the windows and doors long so our physical time together right now can be an hour or less a day. She seems happy in her cage and she likes playing with her toys but is this amount of time OK or too little?

2. Feeding: she eats millet seeds and bird pellets but so far just won't deal with any kind of fruit or veggie. I Chop things up as small as I can and try taking away all other food and leaving the fruit/veggies in the cage for hours to force her to try it but I don't think she does. She will eat unhealthy treats (so far she likes macaroni and cheese and small pieces of potato chips) but I really want her to have a healthy and varied diet. Should I worry if she just wont eat fruits and veggies?

3. She hasn't laid any eggs. Her cage is pretty spacious with a few different spots and perches she likes. Should I worry?

4. Bathing: at first I was spritzing her with a spray bottle through the bars of the cage which she occasionally seemed to enjoy (she would stretch out her wings ) but mostly tries to get away from. I read that you shouldn't force your bird to be spritzed but should help them learn to enjoy baths instead, so I've been taking her in the shower with me. She will either sit on my shoulder while I shower (and the water doesn't really get on her except a light mist ) or on a little shelf in the corner of the shower, and I dribble water on her. She doesn't seem to mind it...she just stays still...but she doesn't seem to like it either. I've done this twice and she tolerates it. Should I keep doing it? Also I'm concerned about using shampoo or any other shower products with scent while she's in there with me. I've tried a bird bath in the cage but she won't use it.

5. Cuddles - do you think she'll ever warm up to us? She seems pretty self sufficient and mostly just wants to chill by herself in the cage. I don't want to annoy or force her but everyone else's cockatiel seems to want so much interaction and attention, I'm just worried I'm doing something wrong?
 

blewin

Rollerblading along the road
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Ben
Hey DustyE,

First, pics of the baby, please! Under a year is not "fully grown," except for size. She won't be an adult until a year to 18 months (someone double check that one for me).

Second, Buddy is a girl, and when she's with me, she mostly just wants to chill out and sit. She's healthy and happy, she's just chill. The big thing is that your girl wants to be on you, and that's a good thing.

Third, you need screens on the windows, or the windows need to be closed. If she's flighted, open windows are a recipe for disaster. Even if she's partially flighted (Buddy has a light clip), open windows and doors are a recipe for disaster. We lost our first 'tiel to an open door, so take this one seriously. No window screens=no windows open when the bird is out. In terms of socializing, if the windows are closed (or there are screens), leave her cage door open. She'll come out when she wants to. Keep on bribing her with millet, and she'll want to come out more.

Food: Millet and pellets aren't horrible, but they aren't great. Keep it up with the chop, and consider getting a high-quality seed blend that includes dehydrated veggies, etc. Goldenfeast makes excellent ones.

Eggs: She shouldn't lay until she's at least a year. Don't wish eggs on yourself. She may never lay eggs. This is not a bad thing.

Bathing: If she likes shower time with you, awesome. Keep the soap off her, and the water on lukewarm, and she'll be fine. Again, you're socializing with her in the shower, too.

Cuddles: HEH. She'll want them when she wants them, if she wants them. She wants to hang out with you and on you...but it's only been 3 months, and you are doing a great job IMHO.

Send us some pictures and keep up the great parronting!

Ben
 

dustyexner

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dusty
received_10154100707416183.jpeg 20160723_144759.jpg Hey thanks for the quick reply! Yea we don't have any screens on our doors or windows but we never let her out when they're open and she even flew into the closed window once so now we only let her fly around if the blinds are closed too. Our sliding porch door doesn't have a screen door and we rent so I need to look into some kind of affordable screen alternative that's sturdy.

I'll look for that Golden feast! Re; eggs that's cool I just wanna make sure it's normal... she has an appointment for a check up at the vet this month anyway.

Here are some pics as requested...she's even buds with our dog, he mostly just ignores her but we are really vigilant when they hang out together to make sure he doesn't get the urge to treat her like a squeak toy. He's quite well trained and disciplined tho and has learned not even to sniff around her. He'll often sit in my lap while she sits on my shoulder and the other day she went up to him while he was napping and started playing with his tail fur and he just looked at her like "what you up to?" And went back to sleep haha!

Ps her name is Professor :)
 

Tiel Feathers

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She's adorable, and sounds like a sweet little bird. @blewin had some excellent advice. If I were you I would strongly look into seeing if getting screens would be okay. You can always take them off if you move. It's great that she is so comfortable with you, and I think it would be nice if she could come out more. Keep trying more frequently and try leaving her cage door open. You can even put a little perch outside her door to make it easier for her to get out. As for her sitting on you, that's what some tiels do. One of my tiels just sits in my husband for as long as he will let her. She won't even come off on her own to eat. My other female, she mostly likes to sit in all of us, but she will occasionally get off to eat or play. My male, on the other hand, is a little busy body. He doesn't like scratches either, where as my other two do. Your girl will probably warm up to being scratched sooner or later. I would keep trying the veggies, and I would add a good quality seed mix. Also, keep trying the shower, if she doesn't hate it, she might grow to love it.
 

sunnysmom

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She is very cute. Try to get her interested in things. I would sit with my tiel and go through mail. Pretty soon he would want to help aka chew it. So he had a junk mail pile and I had a pile. I would also sit on the floor (but you need to be careful with your dog) and sprinkle seeds and let him walk around and forage , etc. Also she might not know how to play so you can try playing with her toys with her to get her interested.
 

blewin

Rollerblading along the road
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Your tiel is adorable, and I'm not sure it's a she. Have you had her sexed?
BTW, the pics say it all, that's a very contented bird.
I don't know where you are renting, but here in New Jersey, landlords are responsible for putting screens on all windows that open. At any rate, if you mention that bugs get in the windows (you can always lie a little), I'm sure getting screens won't be a problem.
 

dustyexner

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dusty
I was told it was a female but also as far as loudness & personality she barely ever chirps and is very quiet and a bit shy so that falls in line with what I know about female vs male cockatiel. She's going to the vet for a check up at the end of the month tho so I can find out for sure then!
 
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