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Thread: Adopted 10 yr old. seems sad,lonely

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    Adopted 10 yr old. seems sad,lonely

    Hi everyone. I recently adopted a 10 yr old female cockatiel who's owner passed away. It's been two months now and its apparent that she was never socalized. She does not talk, you cannot touch her and she wont come out of her cage. She lived in a cage much too small for her so I bought her a larger one with a playtop. Since she freaks and bites when I try to touch her I just butted the cages together and waited for her to move in. She seems to love the cage but even if I leave the top open all day she will not venture out. She just seems so sad and lonely sitting there alone all day. I talk to her all the time but she still hisses if I get very close.
    I want to get her a male friend for company but I was told she is too old to accept another bird. Is this true? I would like to adopt another cockatiel around the same age for her. Is this a bad idea? Do you think there is any hope for socalizing this bird? If so does anyone have any idea's on how? I've never owned a cockatiel before but I've had lovebirds, parakeets, finches and many years ago (70's) myna birds. I would really appreciate any input you guys can give me.

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    Egg's Cracking...
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    Re: Adopted 10 yr old. seems sad,lonely

    I would say that she just needs a bit more time. I've seen a lot of posts here with the same situation you are describing. It takes time for a bird to adapt to its new environment and new people. Try giving her something to eat with your hand and see how that goes. I'm not sure how she would react to another cockatiel, she will definitely have some company but it will not help you get close to her. If you do decide to get one, I'd recommended getting a hand-raised bird. She might open up to you more when she sees that the other cockatiel isn't afraid of you.

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    Tailfeather di_dee1's Avatar
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    Re: Adopted 10 yr old. seems sad,lonely

    Yes, after having my son's bird here a while they both learned from each other.

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    Re: Adopted 10 yr old. seems sad,lonely

    Thank you for the reply's. I tried hand feeding her but she just runs away and hides in the upper back corner. I dont care so much if she ever interacts with me, I'm more concerned that she's happy. I thought maybe a male friend would make her happy but I'm worried she so used to living alone she will fight with a new comer. I was also thinking along the same lines as you that if I get a friendly bird she might see there is nothing to be afraid of. Do Cockatiels generally take to other birds well?

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    Bird addict Adult TaffyWduck's Avatar
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    Re: Adopted 10 yr old. seems sad,lonely

    Well congratulations on adopting this bird, both because it is great to give a bird a home, but also because older pets tend to get overlooked for the cute little tame babies. 10 years old is a respectable age for a cockatiel and I am certain you are going to give her a good home.

    However, you need to consider that, especially because of her old age, you will need a LOT of time to get her to settle down and perhaps be a little more tame. I suggest you avoid getting another tiel *right* because it will mean you have less time and attention to devote to your special little friend here. I am not saying that getting another bird will never be an option, but it is not the ultimate solution to all issues with the older bird.

    As far as taming goes, you can refer to this article for tips and tricks. http://www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/b...ion/taming.php

    However, knowing you are working with an older bird, be aware that she might never be cuddly at all. You should still be able to get her to the point where she is confortable with you being around and moving her toys/food bowls around in her cage. Remember you have to take things very slow.

    1) Give her time to adjust to her new cage and surroundings.
    You just got her a little while ago after a traumatic event. She'd been with the same owner all her life and suddenly that person is gone and bam, new person, new home, new cage... that's quite a lot to take in, especially for older pets. Give her time in a quiet environment, talk to her from a distance, always appear calm and move slowly when you have to clean or change food bowls. Do not grab her or try to force her out, but do place treats in her cage so she can see that you are not trying to hurt her. Eventually she'll settle down a bit and get used to you, your voice and your habits.

    2)Not all birds enjoy play tops or play gyms.
    Do not try to force her out on the play top. It might look and sound amazing to you, but you are talking about a bird who spent 10 years in the same cage. She has her own habits and she'll need time to understand that not all new things are mean, cockatiel eating, predators. She might never take to it either, I remember buying a very expensive gym for my first cockatiel Baby 8 years ago and... well she *never* took to it, and neither did any of the other tiels I've had since then! They'd much rather sit on me or on anything else that didn't cost me an arm and leg. Therefore, don't see it as an issue that she won't use the play top... she might take to it one day, who know.

    3)Introduce new elements and toys slowly and one at a time.
    You don't want to overload her with new informations and items... plus, she'll likely see any new toy/item as a scary thing and it will cause her distress. When you introduce toys and such, make sure you place them near the cage for a few days, then perhaps on the outside of the cage and then eventually place it in the cage. Like that she will have time to understand that the toy is unlikely to eat her. I know it might sound silly, but cockatiels are prey animals and because of that very nature, they tend to be afraid from almost everything at first. Also make sure not to offer any toys that have mirrors or reflective surfaces. These usually impair taming process with any bird, but it could make it especially hard with an older bird.

    4)Birds are like people, some of them will easily take to others and some will not. You might have two birds who are adorable on their own, but who cannot be together without trying to kill each other and vice versa. It is always a gamble when you get a new pet because the older one might or might not accept it. There are ways to make the transition as smooth as possible, but as the saying goes... why not cross the birdge when you get to the river?

    Right now your best option is not to get a brand new tiel in the hopes that this younger and cuddlier bird (which he might not be, you never know what personnality the birds you get will have!!) will make the old one friendlier.

    For one thing, if you get a younger male, chances are it will put pressure on the older female to breed. 10 years old is not an ideal age for a female to lay eggs and it could bring about a whole other package of problems for both you and her. There is also a chance that she will become completely bound to that other bird, which would render your efforts to tame her nul and void.

    I'd say your best best right now is to work with her consistently for a couple of months and you should eventually see improvements. Then, when you are certain that she is at ease in your home, you can begin to entertain the idea of another bird, but only if you *want* to care for another bird... you don't get a second tiel to offer it to the old one, because then if they don't like each other it would only mean quite a lot of frustration for you!

    I'm sure she will eventually settle down and enjoy her new surroundings and home, but it will require quite a lot of time, love and care on your part.

    Congratulations again and please keep us posted about her progress!

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    Re: Adopted 10 yr old. seems sad,lonely

    TaffyWduck thank you so much for all the wonderful information. So far I seem to be doing everything right.
    I put the new cage up to her old cage and let her move in on her own, after 2 days of not returning to the old cage I removed it. Her old cage was only 16 X 12 X 20 and she very happily moved out. When I received her the cage was filthy and appeared to not have been cleaned in months, the food bowls were so dirty I couldn't even soak them clean and had to throw them out. I am under the impression that her owner had been sick for quite some time prior to passing.

    I go very very slowly whenever I go into her cage and I always leave new stuff outside the cage for her to see for a few days before I introduce it. I speak in very quiet comforting tones when I talk to her, she does seem interested when I speak to her.

    I was not aware however that it takes birds this long to get comfortable in new surroundings, I thought after 2 months she would be settled in.

    I wasn't planning on getting her a young bird as a friend, I figured I could adopt another old bird in need but I will wait and see how she does in the coming months before I adopt another. I've always felt that caged animals should have a cage mate because they cant follow you around the house the way free roaming animals can but given her age and circumstances it probably isnt a good idea.

    I cannot get her to eat any fruits or veggies, the only thing she ate that wasn't cockatiel food from a bag is a piece of corn bread. She stares at fruits and veggies like she's never seen anything like it before. I have been chopping them up into micro tiny pieces and putting them in with some seed mix to get her used to them. I am worried about her diet though.

    As for a mirror, she came with a large mirror in her cage and I moved it into the new cage for her because its one of her favorite things. I'd really hate to take it out right now because it seems to bring her comfort. She talks to the "other bird" often and this was one of the reasons I thought she would like a companion bird. Her other favorite toy is her bell.

    When I received her, her nails were very overgrown and I had to trim them in the first week because she was having trouble perching and was getting hung up on the cage bars. while I had her out I also clipped her wings because she is new and wont come back if she gets out of her cage but I do not intend to clip them again. I feel that birds were born to fly and we should not hinder that experience for them. That is the only time I have touched her and she was very freaked out about the whole ordeal. Yesterday for the first time I opened the play top and she went up on the top perch and sat with her head out of the top, she didn't come out onto it but she liked having her head out lol.

    I was wondering if I should be giving her a bottle spray shower. I gave her a bath bowl in her cage but she never baths in it.

    Thanks again for all the info. This poor birds been through enough and I don't want to make adjusting to a new home any harder than it needs be.

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