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Surprise cockatiel

Coradams

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9/15/20
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Hello, I came home the other day to find that we now have a cockatiel. My sister-in-law was given one a couple of months ago and realized that it was not a good fit for her family so she passed it on to us. Other than the fact that this poor bird has had three homes in a short time, we don't know much about her. She is an adult but her exact age is unknown. She is understandably skittish. My first question is: if she is not tamed to sit on a hand (I am sure it is too soon to tell but I really don't think so), is it possible to train an older bird to do so? Also, what are some tried-and-true favorite treats that would be good for making friends? Any info and suggestions is appreciated!
 

iamwhoiam

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Yes it is very possible to work with an older bird and teach them to step up. Just takes a lot of time and patience and the amount of time and patience varies with the bird. Let her behavior guide you and don't force her to come out of the cage and step up.
Most 'tiels seem to like millet so you could tempt her with a piece of millet spray. Lafeber Avi-cakes are also good to use for training purposes.
Congrats. on getting the 'tiel. What is her name? Post a photo when you get a chance.
 

mak

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Hello! Yes it is probably too early, and yes it is possible to train an older bird.
Some treats my tiel likes are pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and pistachios.
 

Coradams

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Thank you so much! I have read that they like fruit so for the last three days I have been offering apple slices which was treated with suspicion. Today, I offered a grape. Perhaps she is not accustomed to fruit. It sounds like seeds may be the way to go. Right now I just want her to decide that she is in a good place!
 

mak

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My tiel happens to like apple but I have heard from others that in general they are not big fruit eaters.
 

sunnysmom

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Thank you so much! I have read that they like fruit so for the last three days I have been offering apple slices which was treated with suspicion. Today, I offered a grape. Perhaps she is not accustomed to fruit. It sounds like seeds may be the way to go. Right now I just want her to decide that she is in a good place!

Cockatiels in general don't eat fruit. You can try vegetables instead- leafy greens, broccoli, squash, cooked sweet potatoes, etc. My tiels also like Higgins Worldy Cuisine Mixes. Also millet spray is usually a big hit with all tiels. All of my cockatiels have been older. (My 2 now are 20 and 30.) They definitely can learn, bond, etc.
 

Tiel Feathers

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Congratulations on your new bird! With time and patience your tiel will be able to form a wonderful bond with you. They are such sweet little birds. Just remember to never force her to do anything, but find a way to make everything her choice. My tiels don’t like anything too wet, and their favorite treat is millet. I have also used safflower seeds for training a tiel before. When you do find what your tiel likes the most, save it just for training/taming. You can cover part of her cage while she adjusts to the new household, and sitting by her cage and reading aloud to her will help her to get used to you. You’ll have to post pictures when you get a chance!
 

Coradams

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Thank you! The care sheets I found online suggested fruit as a treat but I have been led astray by online care sheets before! I have removed the grape and hung some millet in her cage which she regarded with suspicion. But I just peeked around the corner and she was eating on it! I'm so happy!
 

Coradams

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What is her name? Post a photo when you get a chance.
I think we're going to name her Klara after my aunt who was born in Hungary but was displaced during the madness of WW2 (as was my grandparents, mother and uncles.) She eventually ended up in Australia and became a doctor. It seems appropriate given that Google tells me tiels come from Australia. I tried to take a pic with my cell but she backed away like it was the scariest thing she has ever scene. I guess she is not ready for her closeup yet. lol
 

Flokirocks

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I think that's a perfect name for your tiel :cheer:
Just give it time, she'll get there!
Enjoy your new friend!
 

Tara81

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Cockatiels usually dislike fruit. Mine does. She only likes dehydrated apple and strawberry. That’s okay because, fruit has sugar and is not needed. Vegetables like kale, brocolli, dandelion, boy choy, green sweet peppers, orange foods have vitamin a like carrots, cooked sweet potato, raw orange peppers. cooked green beans are fantastic foods for them. If here isn’t much produce diversity , at least offer them brocolli , kale and carrot. Kale is amazing and the best source of calcium, along with boy choy. You can also attempt sprouting , millet, kamut and sunflower sprouts have a wide range of vitamins with low fat content. Vitamin b,d,a,c can be found in sprouts along with protein. It will take time to transition a scared bird, so work on that first and once your bird finally eats a new diet, it will appreciate treats like millet spray much more, and become more brave.

Also, transitioning to a new diet can take a long time. All too often people feed their parrots only seed, which isn’t a healthy diet. As a bird gets older, their natural instinct is to not trust new foods after a certain age, to protect them from eating poisonous or inedible materials in the wild. So , you will have their wild instinct working against you. I suggest chopping vegetables up very tiny and mixing it with seed for three weeks, if they show no interest in the veges. After three weeks, put the seeds lower in the cage, and the pellets and veges near their favorite higher perches. This gives them more time to explore their new food, as they tend to trust things higher up in the air. You have to be persistent and offer it daily or they will never transition. It could take months, sometimes years.
 
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Tara81

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I once transitioned a old seed eater tiel to sprouts by tricking him, I mixed his favorite dry seed (millet, safflower, oat groats, kamut , sunflower) with newly sprouted seed of the same type, with the tails still short, I mixed it 60:40 dry seed:sprouts for 2 1/2 weeks , so the bird would become familiar with wet foods but he would still dive into the bowl because there were dry seed there too. Every time he would pick up a sprout he would flick his head, as he was too wary of wet foods, and scared of wet texture. He got tricked a lot. Lots of sprouts clung to the wall , what a messy boy :D . But I was happy it was working. After that I changed the ratio 50:50 for another 3-4 weeks, by the end of two months, I noticed he finally started to eat a sprout.., sometimes. That is when I again lowered the ratio. More sprouts to dry seed, 70:30 sprout:dry seed. After another four weeks, he was finally eating sprouts and I was able to remove dry seed completely during his morning sprout meals. It took a total of 3 months.
 

Coradams

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I once transitioned a old seed eater tiel to sprouts by tricking him, I mixed his favorite dry seed (millet, safflower, oat groats, kamut , sunflower) with newly sprouted seed of the same type, with the tails still short, I mixed it 60:40 dry seed:sprouts for 2 1/2 weeks , so the bird would become familiar with wet foods but he would still dive into the bowl because there were dry seed there too. Every time he would pick up a sprout he would flick his head, as he was too wary of wet foods, and scared of wet texture. He got tricked a lot. Lots of sprouts clung to the wall , what a messy boy :D . But I was happy it was working. After that I changed the ratio 50:50 for another 3-4 weeks, by the end of two months, I noticed he finally started to eat a sprout.., sometimes. That is when I again lowered the ratio. More sprouts to dry seed, 70:30 sprout:dry seed. After another four weeks, he was finally eating sprouts and I was able to remove dry seed completely during his morning sprout meals. It took a total of 3 months.
What a great idea! Did you sprout your own seed?
 

LouieTiel

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Isabella
Yes you can definitely train her to be friendly and to step up, it just takes a lot of patience. Millet is a great treat for them, and also nutri-berries are fine too! Mine loves them because he’s obsessed with seeds and he doesn’t get a lot of seeds. Good luck!
 

budgieluv3

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I would suggest firstly going to the vet. If you don`t know where they came from, a vet checkup will be helpful to determine if they are healthy. What is her or his diet? Millet is a great treat for outside or training. I would stay away from those kaytee yogurt dipped treats, they can have too much dairy for the bird. Seed it also a good TREAT for the bird, if your doing hand feeding. Lastly patience, some birds are not cuddle birds. my bird loves to be talked to and will eat out of my hand, and play games with me, but she is not a shoulder bird, or cuddle bird. and thats OK. :budgie2: There is so much more, but I am not as knowledgeable as some other people, so I don`t want to give misinformation.
 

Coradams

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I would suggest firstly going to the vet. If you don`t know where they came from, a vet checkup will be helpful to determine if they are healthy. What is her or his diet? Millet is a great treat for outside or training. I would stay away from those kaytee yogurt dipped treats, they can have too much dairy for the bird. Seed it also a good TREAT for the bird, if your doing hand feeding. Lastly patience, some birds are not cuddle birds. my bird loves to be talked to and will eat out of my hand, and play games with me, but she is not a shoulder bird, or cuddle bird. and thats OK. :budgie2: There is so much more, but I am not as knowledgeable as some other people, so I don`t want to give misinformation.
Good advice! Thank you
 

Tara81

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What a great idea! Did you sprout your own seed?
Yes , it is more safe to sprout at home :) sprout organic seeds. I soak for 10-12 hours, I rinse three times a day, first rinse of the day comes with a diluted 4:1 water:apple cider vinegar rinse, wait five minutes then rinse. Acv is good for birds in small amounts, naturally cleans off sprouts, but does prevent sprouts from growing so you must rinse it off. Also, smell your sprouts daily, they should smell earthly and sort of grainy, like wet cereal. If they smell funky or sour or look moldy or mucky def toss them. Lastly, I like my sprouts to last a little longer so I put them in the fridge so they grow slower at night. Also prevents them from drying out at night when you cannot rinse . In all my years of daily sprouting, I never had to toss a batch yet! I sprout hagens cockatiel mix and tops all in one seed mix. You have to sprout organic seed that hasn’t been mixed with debris like pellets/dehydrated veges etc.
 
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