I have periodically posted about my own cockatiels, and my occasional cockatiel fosters, and am finally starting an ongoing thread for them--because I need some help!!
Short version: One of my cockatiels if very difficult to get back in his cage even though he steps up like a champ. He just flies off right away. Plus, I don't seem to be making much progress with my two untame fosters. Any suggestions welcome!!
My two: Simon is now 2 years old (hatched on Thanksgiving day, accidental breeding, surrendered to rescue). Simon is basically a sweetheart, but more interested in other birds--preferably cockatiels--than people. He still has a bit of adolescent obnoxiousness going on, but it's not severe.
Poppy is of unknown age, found outside. My guess is that he grew up as an only bird because he is much more people oriented. He doesn't really think he belongs with the other birds. ;)
I have two fosters at the moment: Bandit and Lugano. They were transferred to us from another rescue (long story that I will skip). Unknown age, not tame, though not (generally) frantic around people either.
I just got back from a vacation and while I was gone, my cockatiels seem to have lost their manners. Simon in particular is impossible to get back in his cage. He will step up repeatedly, and fly off repeatedly.... :hammer: He is MUCH better if it's evening and bedtime, but if I'm home earlier in the day I do like to let them out. I have always been fine with him being more bird than people oriented, but I'm thinking i need to work on that. Any particular suggestions for making returning to his cage easier???
The fosters: Comparing them to budgie fosters I have had, these guys just don't seem to be doing as well. Part of it is that they don't play with their toys, shred paper, etc.
I had spit the birds by species and moved the cockatiels to my room. However, some work is being done in my room, so I just moved the cockatiels back in with the budgies. While it makes the bird room a bit over crowded, I'm seeing some advantages. The cockatiel fosters are seeing me interact with the budgies, which might be helpful, and they all get to be out at once. The extra activity around them seems to be good for the cockatiel fosters and the budgies are encouraged to fly more.
It sounds really minor, but two breakthroughs have occurred while I have been typing this. One of the cockatiel fosters just explored a couple of things on top of the budgie cages and the other one is eating some seed that I just put down for him on a plate. :2thumbs:
You’ve probably already tried this but I’ll post anyway:
Simon - bribery, lol!
I have a canary (but she only pops out for a quick hop around and then stays ‘home’) and the 2 budgies. They’re quite easy to manage as they’ll follow each other and one of them is very food orientated.
If the cockatiels are all happy to come out of the cage without any particular incentive, then I would try to use Simon’s ‘currency’ to make his cage more appealing than freedom at bedtime, by teaching him that a treat has been put in there. I would leave all favourite foods in the cages if it’s not needed to tempt them out.
The Fosters - I’d try to use foraging to get them used to their toys. Eg. Little balls of millet placed strategically in/on toys. Their food bowls you can cover loosely with a sheet of paper towel with (initially) large holes poked in it so they can easily see the contents but will need to manoeuvre around the paper to reach them all. If you feel they’ll be scared of the paper towel, start by just adding a few strips in there with the seed, then gradually have a larger piece on the top of the seeds, until the bowl is covered. Make them work and search for their food and then they will be more inclined to search elsewhere too, hopefully encountering pleasing colours, sounds and movement from toys in the process.
I have to say though, that in your case, this all becomes more difficult, the more different bird personalities you have to cater for. If you’re tempting your fosters out of the cage with treats and then Simon is filling up on them and staying out with a full tum, then it becomes much more complicated and you may need to strategically plan your timings of things. Good luck! :)
I hadn't thought of foraging with the fosters. Great idea! Their non-credit foraging has just been the bottom of their cage and stuff put out in the room, but they might be ready for foraging 101. :)
Simon would rather pretend that he is part of a wild flock of cockatiels (with the fosters ;) ) than return to his cage for a treat. Though maybe I could try to find something higher value than millet or nutriberries, which use to work. I'll have to experiment.
Thank you! I'll let you know how it goes.
Update: A lightbulb went off a few days after I posted this. The budgies were also being difficult to get back in their cages one evening and I realized that I had been giving too many treats while they were out. I had a reason: I was using the flock mentality to get them tamer. However, when I was doing a little session with the budgies, Simon would usually fly over to get in on it as well. New rule became treats and training only in their cages. Budgies regained their manners very quickly and Simon has been much, much better. :clap:
I have been putting treats for the fosters under small amounts of shredded crinkle paper. I can't be sure who is eating it, but at least one of them is. They also don't hiss at me anymore when I put my hand in their cage to put a treat on their cage floor. :thumbup: They are going to a different foster home tomorrow. I will miss them, but the rescue needs me to take a couple more female budgies and I have a plethora of birds at the moment.
Yay! Well done.:2thumbs:
Good luck with the next bunch - I guess a fosterer’s work is never done! :innocent:
That is a great breakthrough which I'm sure will help in future fostering.
I'm glad to hear Simon has been much better with the new rule regarding treats!
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