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Trouble with Hand-Taming

PtsOliver

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I recently got two cockatiels. One of them used to take millet from me reluctantly, but now both just flee when I offer. They don't freak out, just retreat to the back of the cage/away from me. I don't know what I did wrong. I also don't know how exactly to start. I know I have to get them to eat from my hand, but how do I do that? Everything I find online has what to do after they can eat from your hand.
 

Ember-Tiel

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Maybe when they sit in their cages you could sit next to them and just talk to them every so often. I gained my birds trust just by sitting beside her cage and speaking softly to her, and putting some millet through the cage bars until she ate it.

I'm not the best with bird training either, but just continue to keep your patience with them and they will come around.
@Tiel Feathers might have some advice.
 

mak

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Did something happen to scare him? Did you grab grab him once to put him in the cage or something similar that would make him afraid of your hand?
 

Destiny

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If they are afraid of your hand, try offering a very long spray of millet so they don't need to get that close. Hold it still and read their body language to see if they are interested. Don't chase them with the millet. Let them come to you. It might take some time. Try again later, if you don't succeed the first time. Be patient.

If that is still too much, go ahead and drop the millet in the cage, remove your hand, and stand nearby talking in a happy voice. Spend time next to the cage doing other things. Offer millet through the bars without reaching inside. The goal is to make your hands and your presence near the cage have lots of good associations and very few bad associations. See if you can find any other favorite treats - sunflower seeds, nuts, bird bread, nutriberries, whatever. Be the happy treat-bringer for your birds. Encourage them and build up their confidence around you.

Any time they seem scared, back up a step or two and give them more distance until they feel safe again. Sometimes you end up doing some back and forth ... they accept millet from your hand today, but tomorrow it is too scary. That's okay. Expect some set-backs. Move at the pace that is most comfortable for your birds.
 

PtsOliver

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Did something happen to scare him? Did you grab grab him once to put him in the cage or something similar that would make him afraid of your hand?
I've never grabbed them, never even touched either with my hand. The only scary things I can think of are when he first got here one of my cats got in my room and they had a bit of nightmares I think. When the cat got in, he stood near the cage and looked up at the birds, didn't even touch the cage or stand. The nightmares happened the night after he ate millet from me. They both just started freaking out for no reason at random points throughout that night. Nothing had gotten into my room and nothing had happened to them.
 

PtsOliver

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If they are afraid of your hand, try offering a very long spray of millet so they don't need to get that close. Hold it still and read their body language to see if they are interested. Don't chase them with the millet. Let them come to you. It might take some time. Try again later, if you don't succeed the first time. Be patient.

If that is still too much, go ahead and drop the millet in the cage, remove your hand, and stand nearby talking in a happy voice. Spend time next to the cage doing other things. Offer millet through the bars without reaching inside. The goal is to make your hands and your presence near the cage have lots of good associations and very few bad associations. See if you can find any other favorite treats - sunflower seeds, nuts, bird bread, nutriberries, whatever. Be the happy treat-bringer for your birds. Encourage them and build up their confidence around you.

Any time they seem scared, back up a step or two and give them more distance until they feel safe again. Sometimes you end up doing some back and forth ... they accept millet from your hand today, but tomorrow it is too scary. That's okay. Expect some set-backs. Move at the pace that is most comfortable for your birds.
I tried sticking some millet through the bars and leaving it, but they seemed scared of the millet for some reason...
 

Destiny

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Some questions about diet:

Are your birds on a all seed or mostly seed diet? Do they eat pellets? What do they mostly eat?

Do they have food in the cage at all times or is it offered at certain meal times?

Do they like/accept some veggies? If so, what kinds do they like? Have you tried sprouting seeds?

Any favorite treats or snacks that they like to eat?

....

Most birds love millet, but some can be picky. For birds that don't seem to like millet that much, you might need to get a little creative to find something they love.

Timing your training sessions in the early morning or when the bird is likely to be hungry (before meals) can encourage a timid bird to be more bold in pursuing a food reward. Likewise, making sure that your bird is getting an appropriate amount of food (not over-feeding seed) can ensure that he has room in his belly for a few extra treats. If your birds are eating mostly seeds, encouraging a more balanced diet or converting to a pellet-based diet might be a long-term goal that could also help make millet more valuable as a training reward.

Just brain storming some possible approaches, since I don't know your birds and their exact situation.
 

Tiel Feathers

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How long have you had them? How old are they? How big is their cage? If they seem scared of long sprays of millet, just put a couple little berry type pieces in their food dishes when you walk by. Reading to them, avoiding direct eye contact, and never forcing them to do anything are ways to earn trust. Definitely keep the cats away. Do they ever come out of their cage? As for the night frights, they might be caused by shadows or lights flashing in the room from an outside source, like cars driving by. A phone light, bugs, mice, and sudden noises can also cause them. Having a dim night light, or alternatively keeping the cage or room pitch dark, might help with the night frights.
 
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PtsOliver

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How long have you had them? How old are they? How big is their cage? If they seem scared of long sprays of millet, just put a couple little berry type pieces in their food dishes when you walk by. Reading to them, avoiding direct eye contact, and never forcing them to do anything are ways to earn trust. Definitely keep the cats away. Do they ever come out of their cage? As for the night frights, they might be caused by shadows or lights flashing in the room from an outside source, like cars driving by. A phone light, bugs, mice, and sudden noises can also cause them. Having a dim night light, or alternatively keeping the cage or room pitch dark, might help with the night frights.
I've had them since Sunday, I don't know how old they are (people said maybe a couple years), and I don't remember the dimensions of their cage but Ik it is proper size
 

Tiel Feathers

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I've had them since Sunday, I don't know how old they are (people said maybe a couple years), and I don't remember the dimensions of their cage but Ik it is proper size
I think since it’s only been since Sunday, they just need more time to settle in and to trust you.
 
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Destiny

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Oh! I missed that they are new birds.

Honestly, that is probably a big part of the issue at this point. Trust takes time. A week is not that long, in the grand scheme of things.
 
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