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Unhappy Cockatiel

BirdDad

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I have had a cockatiel for two months now (she is currently 6 months old.) and she seems terribly unhappy.
She has a sizable cage, a large selection of toys and I try to provide her with as much interaction as I can. She is hand-tamed although she doesn't seem to crave human companionship. I am more of a mobile perch and food dispenser than a friend. She seems terribly lonely/unhappy and there's almost nothing I wouldn't do to make her happy. I just am not sure how.
I could get another cockatiel but at the moment I'm just not ready for that. I already have her and a budgie (the two are pals but the cockatiel seems to not be completely satisfied with just his company.) and I'm happy with the two. That would only be a last resort.
Every attempt at befriending her has proved futile. I've done every suggested method with no success but I don't want to give up. I really want my bird to be happy and I feel like I've failed as an owner because I know she isn't happy like she's supposed to be.
Any suggestions?
 

Tiel Feathers

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Before you got her was she with other cockatiels? Was she bonded to other birds? She could be mourning her friends, or even her previous humans. What makes you think she is unhappy? Two months is not long enough for her to really get comfortable with you and her new home. She will probably bond more to you and play more as time goes on.
 

Jaguar

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Keeping a single parrot happy is a full time job, and a difficult one at that. No matter how hard we try, some parrots just aren't "people" parrots. I have been working with Puffy for over a year and he still doesn't want anything to do with me on most days. If another cockatiel isn't an option, there's not much you can do but to keep trying. Hopefully she will come around in time.
 

zoo mom

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I have 2 cockatiels who are not friends. They each have their own cage. They like to hang out on my shoulder, lap or back of my chair. But they don't really want scritches or any other interaction8. Yet I feel that they are happy. They chirp and whistle and fly laps around the room but almost always fly right back to me.
 

finchly

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If she is six months old, she's still young and learning her own likes/dislikes. And since you're a human perch, you're already one step toward bonding with her! It takes time to build trust. Be sure you aren't doing un-trustworthy things (grabbing her, forcing interaction, etc.) and do LOTS of trust building activities like telling her how good she is, training her, and offering treats.

One of ours mostly seems to want to ride around on the shoulder, refuses scritches, and often wants to just stay in the cage. I don't feel that she's unhappy, I just think that is her personality.
 

Lady Jane

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Cockatiels seem to like music and birdie dancing. Have you played cockatiel birds chirping from YouTube? Sing to her yourself while making dancing movements. She probable misses her flock from before. If this bird was from a breeder you could talk to I suggest you contact them. Knowing the situation she was in may help now.

 
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Calpurnia

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What are you seeing that makes you think she's unhappy? It's true that for some birds 2 months is not really long enough for them to settle into a new home, adjust to a new social environment, and/or bond strongly with any one person. OR maybe she isn't expressing "happiness" in a way that you are used to? Is it possible you are comparing her behavior to your budgie when in reality she just has a more subdued personality?

The fact that she seems to not really crave the attention of your budgie makes me think that getting another tiel won't necessarily solve your problem. How exactly have you worked with her so far? I know you say you've tried a bunch of different bonding techniques but maybe you've been bouncing between techniques too fast? Again, depending on her personality/past experiences she may need more time and patience before she is willing to really open up.
 

Danita

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Yes, what is she doing that tells you she is unhappy?
If it is a female, they aren't as interactive and fun as males are (in my experience)
So if you are looking at cute tiel videos, it is usually males you see.
 

blewin

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So she's willing to hang out on you? It means she's happy to have you around. If she didn't want you near her, she'd let you know in spades (and nips). Buddy is definitely a people bird, and there are days where she just does not want to come out and play.

You might just have a very mellow girl. Buddy loves us, but she's pretty content to chill out with her own stuff as long as we're near.
 

Laurie

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birds are just like people that just want left a lone from time to time
This may not have been meant to be funny but it made me laugh! It is so true :)
 

blewin

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Just wait until she insists to be with you every second, but only sometimes goes to her "exit the cage" perch, turning every other time into a game of "I really want out, but why should I make it easy on you? By the way, you don't mind if I chomp on you a couple times...?"
 
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