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Need Tiel Help

766 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Trippi
I would have posted this on Talk Cockatiels, but my account there is taking quite a bit longer than I expected and I wanted to start gathering opinions on this.

Here's my response that I already have typed up and ready to be posted on Talk Cockatiels *brick'd*

I have a hormonal cockatiel and I am at a huge loss at what to do. I've started putting him on 12 hours sleep cycles but it hasn't seemed to help.

He has several issues I'm trying to address, all seemed to be connected to him being hormonal. To be clear, we only got him 2 weeks ago, so I dont think we've ever seen him not completely hormonal, though he was pretty friendly with everyone the first few days we had him, which was surprising considering the supposed stress that comes with moving around a lot. He was previously given to the breeders I buy from because they couldn't provide the life they thought he should have. He'd only been there a few days when we walked in, expecting to by a baby but ended up walking out with this 7 year old sweetie.

Ever since those first few days he's been displaying to me with the heart shaped wings. Hes been huddling down at the bottom of his cage occasionally, nesting habits i'm assuming. Whenever I leave the room he'll call to me (not screaming) and climb to the top of his cage and he wont stop calling until I come back.

He's fully flighted and he does really well around the house, even with our cats. If I leave my desk (where his cage is) he'll fly to me if hes out. I've stopped letting him perch on my shoulder, only on my hand.

Also when he's out and my father is near me he'll fly to my father and try to attack him. He's bitten my father quite a few times and I can only assume he's trying to 'protect' me. Anyone else though, he just doesn't want to be around.

While he's in his cage he doesn't play with anything, which disturbs me because that means hes obsessing. He's only eaten when I'm around as far as I can tell.

The only way I've gotten him to play is by putting him on a play gym and being near by. I've tried to do that as much as possible because I know when hes playing he's obsessing less over me.

I've tried initiating training with him. However, when I'm trying ot train him he's too busy watching me to care about the millet i'm holding up to him making clicker training impossible.

I've tried so much and I'm at a loss for what to do with him. I understand that it may just be seasonal, but I want to see that sweet baby I know is in there. He has cuddled with me. My dad will let him out in the morning and he wakes me up. I know he can be a nice bird I just don't know how to get him there.

Other behaviors he exhibits:
He bangs on his cage occasionally, apparently more when I'm not around.
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I suspect that he may have been heavily bonded to a female before you got him. He now seems to have transferred that bonding to you. And his hormones may have been the reason why he was given to the breeder in the first place. Unfortunately for you that may have been the best place for him, in an aviary where he can breed, which is what he obviously wants to do. He would probably have been better going to a male owner and not a female, and no females around him. He may calm down after breeding cycle.

Unfortunately I really cannot suggest anything that you can do to calm him down. I suspect he was sold originally to a woman and that there where no men in the house or only the occassional male visitor, and the woman showed him lots of affection and he wasn't able to socialize with both sexes. When I was hand raising cockatiels I always made sure they were socialized with both sexes of humans and not just me. Even my pet Cockatiel would go to everyone even though he did prefer me and he was never aggressive with anybody.

Sorry I can't be of more help.
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From what I was told by the breeder, he lived with a couple, not just a woman. Also, I'm pretty sure that the breeder had no intention of ever breeding him, though they had only had him a few days. They got him from the couple on a Saturday and we picked him up Monday. Also, he's not mean to all men, just my father.

I may call the breeder or visit them soon to inquire about their thoughts.
I think Kate gave you good advice. I would just add that you may want to keep trying longer nights because the change won't be immediate. Sometimes it takes a week or two.
He is definitely hormonal, poor thing. They go in and out of that condition. They also get loud when they are hormonal, lol.
I will be continuing with the sleep patterns. Hopefully a combination of that and passing time will curb his behavior. I'm not going to give up on him so easily. He's still sweet, if only to me, even if I have to ignore some of that behavior.
I would personally try and deal with the hormone issue and less with eating and playing issue. Birds usually take several weeks to adapt to a new home and he has had a lot of change recently. During the first few weeks it is not uncomon for birds to not eat as much or as readily. Also, playing with toys comes with time when they start to relax and feel at home.

My advice would be to get him on a schedule, not just sleeping, but a routine. Comes out at this time, goes to bed at that time, gets fresh food at this time, etc. This helps birds know what to expect, relieves anxiety of the unknowns when in a new place, and so they settle in quicker. When he does the things you don't like, walk away or ignore him for a few minutes. If he flies to you, calmly put him back where he needs to be. Only let him be with you if you initiate it. This is just in the beginning during training and bonding. You may have to do these things a lot but it will work if you stay calm and non responsive and just keep putting him back in his spot.

About your dad, I would have your dad feed him and give him water for awhile. And give him treats etc. So that he can start associating him with positive things. If he acts badly toward your dad, walk away from him and leave him ignored for a few seconds or minutes. When you come back into the room, ask him to do something, like step ups and then praise him so that you can always end on a positive note. If you see him interact nicely with your dad, praise him. Encourage other people to give him treats too and interact with him and really act happy when he is nice to others.

Diet wise, cut back on high protien and or soy when birds are hormonal. Veggies are good to offer. You can also pick up avicalm to sprinkle over his seeds when he is like this.

Good luck and let us know how it goes. It is much to early to think it won't work, especially for an adult bird that has been rehomed. They can take months to really start being themselves again.
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Take away anything with a reflection of himself,toys, bells, feeding bowls etc. Look to see if there are any picture frames, tv screens (when off) or any other shiny surface he can see from his cage and remove those. Also make sure that neither natural nor artificial lights are casting his shadow anywhere he can see it. Make sure if the cage bottom is deep to have a grate so that he can not nest in there. Do not allow him to shred papers nor toys, this is why a cage grate works wonders. Continue to limit his daylight hours. It is very upsetting to have a loving sweet tiel one day and an attacking tiel the next. Hopefully the sweet, loving tiel will return soon.
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