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Thread: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

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    'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    My neighbour caught me unawares last week and said 'do you want our parakeet - we're going away a lot these days and it's not fair to keep leaving it behind ?'.

    Always a sucker for unwanted pets and wildlife, I inherited the 'parakeet' which, a few seconds after researching the internet twas revealed to be a male cockatiel. His name is Ozzie.

    Unfortunately, the history of the bird is extremely unclear (asking the neighbours the name of the bird caused come degree of memory recall difficulty, and I never got the answer to 'how long have you had it ?') but I believe he must be at least three years old (the neighbours used to put him in the garden in his cage and I certainly recall hearing him every summer for the last three years), but it seems they never found the time to train or tame the bird or even let him out of the cage, actually a fair-sized rectangular affair with plenty of room.

    So, essentially my first ever cockatiel has until now been cage-bound and, understandably, is a very grumpy, very scared bird (trembling like crazy when I first moved him - a lot calmer now).

    I feel I'm making some very gradual headway with him - in the morning I spend 10-15 minutes or so responding to his morning calls with whistles and 'hellos'. I'll sit next to his cage for a few minutes at a time a couple of times a day and read, snack or watch TV and he's not backing away as much as he did. I pay him lots of attention and always try to respond when he calls out.

    He also absolutely adores me spraying him with water (and takes pleasure in licking the droplets of water on his cage), after being a bit dumbfounded as to what it first (another pleasure that was not made available it seems), and opens his wings to let me spray all over him.

    However seems as the day wears on he gets grumpier and grumpier until the evening when he hisses at me if I go anywhere near him.

    I leave a radio on when I go out, and cover him at night. I have added a swing, a mineral block and a cuttlefish. I've treated him with a few centremetres of millet a day, and also tried him on apple (a few pecks), brocolli (couple of pecks but ...meh) and carrot (again, couple of pecks and a ...meh)

    Just some basic questions :

    • he is in the living room, where at night I turn out the lights to watch TV until 1am at latest - should I cover him ? (I don't watch the TV excessivley loudly)
    • What is the best way of presenting fresh vegetables to him (he has two seed feeders on either side of the cage and doesn't seem to favour one over the other) - should I chop them up into small squares, or just give fair sized chunks ?
    • I'm in most days but soon will be returning to study for two full days per week - should I leave the radio on all day for him when I'm out, and leave him uncovered (bearing in mind the evenings are now getting darker) ?
    • Is gradually gaining his trust, by sitting next to him for a few minutes at a time, the best step towards making any vague attempt at training him or allowing him out (unclipped wings) ?
    • Any other advice for a new owner of an old, grumpy bird ?


    Your help would be great.

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    Foraging Mad Moulting Mythara's Avatar
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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    Quote Originally Posted by clayts View Post
    • he is in the living room, where at night I turn out the lights to watch TV until 1am at latest - should I cover him ? (I don't watch the TV excessivley loudly)
    I would definitely cover him or if possible, set up a night cage for him in another room. It sounds like he's getting tired as the day goes on, which makes him grumpy - kind of like a young kid. Typically our birds are left alone, covered in a dark room from 10pm - 7.30am which gives them enough sleep, and also helps to control any hormonal urges they may get.

    Quote Originally Posted by clayts View Post
    • What is the best way of presenting fresh vegetables to him (he has two seed feeders on either side of the cage and doesn't seem to favour one over the other) - should I chop them up into small squares, or just give fair sized chunks ?
    If you head over to the food and feeding section, you'll find loads of threads that deal with this. di_dee's "Battle of the Titans" thread is a good one to read, but there are others too. Basically it comes down to persistance, and offering the veg presented in different ways, until they accept something. =)

    Quote Originally Posted by clayts View Post
    • I'm in most days but soon will be returning to study for two full days per week - should I leave the radio on all day for him when I'm out, and leave him uncovered (bearing in mind the evenings are now getting darker) ?
    Definitely leave the radio on. It'll make he feel more comfortable. In the wild, silence and being left alone mean danger. Can you buy a timer switch? We have one that a lamp is plugged into near the bird cages, so the light comes on just before it gets dark, and the birds aren't left in darkness.

    [
    Quote Originally Posted by clayts View Post
    • *]Is gradually gaining his trust, by sitting next to him for a few minutes at a time, the best step towards making any vague attempt at training him or allowing him out (unclipped wings) ?
    I would get his wings clipped if you can. If you taken him to the vets, they should show you how to do it yourself in future, and it would be a good idea to get him checked over to see how his general physical condition is. It would be best to get his wings clipped before letting him out, as if he's unclipped it may be difficult to get him back into the cage, causing stress to you both, and possibly destroying any trust you've built up. It will also increase his dependance on you.

    Continue sitting and talking to him. If he shows interest in you, then try offering him a treat, like millet through the bars. Once he gets to the stage when he doesn't panic when you put your hand into the cage, try to get him to take food from your hand, and as he gets more confident get use it as a lure to get him to step up, either on to your hand, or on to a perch that you're holding.

    Here's a thread on taming: http://www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/c...ad.php?t=67849

    Quote Originally Posted by clayts View Post
    • Any other advice for a new owner of an old, grumpy bird ?
    Patience and perserverance. Good luck. =)

    Feathers and Forage - New Post - 08/02/10 - Cat balls and Corn Cobs

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    Thanks - some very helpful pointers indeed there.

    I forgot all about the miracle of timer switches ! Yes, I do have one somewhere - time to dig it out again

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    Yes, I would agree with Myth on this... he just sounds like he gets grumpy as he gets tired.

    Mine sleeps from 9pm to about 7am, then takes a nap around noon. If he stays up even an hour past bedtime he gets really grumpy and starts nipping me everytime I move my hand.

    if you don't move him, certainly do cover him. I cover mine and make things quiet while I stay up on the computer - if he can still see me, he stays awake with me and then is cranky all day.

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    Yes, I've taken the advice - I will now move him upstairs to my bedroom at 8pm so he gets a good four hours or so before I tumble into bed. I've covered him so hopefully I won't disturb him - and he'll reciprocate by not disturbing me at silly o'clock in the morning

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    Lol, that's a good solution. If you're just getting into bed, then he should be fine. We occasionally disturb the 'tiels when we go back into the living room for something we've forgotten, and they just hiss/cheep and us, then go back to sleep. =)

    Feathers and Forage - New Post - 08/02/10 - Cat balls and Corn Cobs

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    If he is about three years old he is just a young one. Some can live until they are 25 years old. Good luck!

    Cockatiels are like potatoe chips....it's hard to have just one!

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    the only thing that I can add here is that I have had great success getting our fids(feathered kids) to eat green leafy veggies by hanging them inside their cage. Sounds like you are doing everything right, and Ozzie is very lucky.

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mythara View Post
    Lol, that's a good solution. If you're just getting into bed, then he should be fine. We occasionally disturb the 'tiels when we go back into the living room for something we've forgotten, and they just hiss/cheep and us, then go back to sleep. =)
    A resounding success - his sleeping perch appears to be his new swing. No fuss at all moving the cage to my bedroom at 8pm (reassured him as I walked up the stairs), partly covered his cage and he relocated to the swing. When I retired some hours later (I was watching hedgehogs until the early hours of the morning !), he didn't even stir when I turned on my bedside light and read for 10 minutes.

    Not a peep out of him during the night (well none that woke me up), and again no flapping or panicking as I relocated the cage downstairs.

    Very chirpy and cheeky this morning - wanted a mist shower straight away, got very excited and responded to a treat (2 cm of millet), which is a significant step forward. Also no flapping around as I pulled out the bottom tray to replace the newspaper - normally it sends him into a rage.

    Seems Ozzie has definitely benefitted from a decent night's kip (And more importantly I could have my TV a bit louder last night )

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    Foraging Mad Moulting Mythara's Avatar
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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    That's great. =)

    Feathers and Forage - New Post - 08/02/10 - Cat balls and Corn Cobs

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    Wonderful! Unfortunately my tiels have to stay out side 1. The cage is a small aviary and 2. my mum won't let me have them inside!

    Ozzie sounds like a lucky bird!

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    Re: 'Inherited' a tiel - grumpy in afternoons/evenings

    Congratulations.

    Sounds like the birdy got a good new home. He should start being easier to tame now that he is sleeping soundly at night.

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