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Thread: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

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    Unhappy Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    I adopted a cockatiel from a friend about a week ago. She is about 10 years old. I have TWO questions.

    First, she won't do anything. She'll get on my hand and shoulder, but she won't play or do much but sit in her cage, on top of it or anyplace I put her, but she won't play. Does she just need time adjusting for a while? Her previous owner did not take her out of her cage or interact with her at all. Is there a way I can teach her to play? I had parakeets before and they played as soon as you put a new toy near them....so I'm not sure about cockatiel behavior.

    Also, I would like to change her to a pellet diet. She leaves LOTS of seeds....like the big ones...in her dish and I don't think she is getting enough nutrition. What is the best way to make the transition? Thank you.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    Congrats on the new fid. There are a few reasons she may not like her toys:

    #1 Some birds can be very picky about type of toy. For example, my tiel will only play with shredders or foragers, he doesn't like anything else.

    #2 She does need more time to adjust. Some birds are introverts, some extroverts... so the amount of time it takes for them to feel comfortable depends entirely on their personality. A week is a short time, she needs to settle in.

    #3 She may not have been given toys and the like so may not know what they are for, exactly. You can play with them in her view, that might spark her interest. Before I add a new toy, I make a big fuss over it and "play" with it by pushing it around with my fingers a bit before I add it into the cage, my tiel gets overcome with jealousy and rushes to see what the thing i'm giving attention to is.

    As for diet transition... that may take some doing. At 10 years old,if she is on seeds, she is likely a major seed junkie.

    Start out by contacting Harrisons and Roudybush and getting them to send you samples. My tiel LOVES roudybush crumbles, they are small like millet seeds but a natural pellet. Not sure what other companies offer samples, I know zupreem doesn't.

    Different people have had success in different methods - I prefer to offer new foods as breakfast, with no other options, to get my tiel to at least nibble. I always pretend to eat the food myself, since as with the toys, his jealousy over takes him and he HAS to have whatever I have. Never let your bird have anything your mouth has touched, but pretending to (or actually doing it) eat a food will often spark interest since birds are flock animals. This works well with veggies too.

    Some people mix the seed/pellet to try to get the bird to taste the new food while pushing around for seeds. Some leave it as the only option for several hours at a time throughout the day (make sure to offer enough seed so you aren't starving her though).

    Expect a lot of waste to start with, they can sometimes be stubborn about new foods!

    In the meantime, there are vitamin supplements your avian vet can give you to help with her nutrition needs while you get her to take to a better diet. You can also try a different seed, volkmans and dr harvey have gotten good reviews. She may eat more of the different kinds of seeds if there is a brand she likes better.

    Also, try to get her to eat some fresh foods... broccoli, corn, leafy greens (be careful with most of these, as a lot are mostly water or contain oxalic acid so should be given in moderation) and sweet potato were the easiest for me to get my bird to eat.

    The key to anything with a bird is patience and respect. You have to earn her trust, as that happens your relationship will become easier. Being a cage bound rescue, it may take more time than usual, but it is always rewarding to win the trust of a rescue even more so than a baby.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    I believe the root cause is the fact that her previous owner did not take her out of her cage or interact with her at all.
    She is 10 years old thus her behaviour can be institutionalized or worse compromised.
    Now,it is very difficult change her behaviour but you must at least to try.
    you have to insist you begin to leave that she chews your bracelet,ring, buttons of the shirt; thus you try to earn her attention through bright objects.
    if you wear the glasses then you can get close her to your face so she will begin to play with the glass and she will have a first contact with you..(only if you know that it is not danger).When the bird are near to eyes and he continue to have trust it means that the relationship begin to become strong.
    I would do so! I would begin with personal bright objects for stimulate her attention and for create an relationship with her.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    I think it's great you've given a second chance at happiness to a senior bird

    When you can, post a pic of your bird!

    I don't have much to add, you were given very good advice so far. Good luck with your new friend.
    Marie

    R.I.P. little Bailey

    Now slave to new budgies Dexter & Deb

    If birds of a feather flock together... don't stand under them!!!!

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    You have gotten some excellent advice! I want to add that female tiels I've had have been less inclined to play with or chew on anything, compared to males. Marc is right about jewelry, though - all females love jewelry : ) right ladies? Diet change may also be difficult in an older bird. Keep trying, though. I'm happy you rescued her and will give her a good place to live out her life.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    She's an older bird and hasn't been exposed to very much from the sound of it. She could just be overwhelmed by all the new things. The Quaker I adopted in July is 5-6 years old +/- and she is just now becoming more adapted to our household. She's started eating veggies, sprouted seeds and some fruit. She will also shake the bejeebees out of anything that has a bell attached to it - be it bell in a ball or bell at the bottom of a hanging toy. She also loves chewing up any woven wicker circles or any grass woven things. But this is 6-7 months later - she's also started to pick up new words (she started w/hello and kiss kiss) and has added aha! and a couple of other things we can't understand yet.

    At a week your girl is only just beginning to adjust to everything that is so new to her. She's in a new place and has someone who takes her out now. She is seeing so much more of the world she should have seen years ago it is probably mind boggling. If you'd been locked in a bathroom for 10 years and then were allowed out in the whole house wouldn't it be a little overwhelming?

    I wouldn't try switching her diet to only pellets as it could be dangerous to her health. Maybe havea dish w/pellets separately and then gradually add them to a seed mix. From what I've read so far the jury is out on an all pellet diet as much as they are on an all seed diet (depending on the bird species). I'd suggest maybe try her on broccoli florets - for some reason my tiels liked them without ever having them before - I suspec the colour may have something to do with it. Aslo corn and sweet peas and if you eat rice separate a little and try her on it. Sorry, way too long winded, just hope your lady is okay. Please keep us posted.

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    Thumbs up Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    Thank you all for the wonderful advice on helping my new Bella adapt. You're all right....she was not taken out of her cage or played with for a VERY long time. It breaks my heart to see her just sit in one spot for hours on end. I will take all of your advice....I get her up and out of her cage every morning FIRST thing. She's afraid of anything new right now....bright necklace, two new toys with bells, etc. But, I can tell she loves the new attention she's getting and perks up every time I walk by and talk to her....she knows her name is Bella now. Any time I leave for a time, I leave the radio or TV on so she doesn't feel alone. I had parakeets before and since they were babies....a different bird and older bird is a bit of a challenge. They always began playing with a new toy right off the bat. So thanks again for all the great advice. I'll post again when questions arise. Pleasant "tweets" to all of you.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    It's good she is starting to adjust I will caution you on one point - if you cannot ALWAYS get her out of the cage first thing in the morning, don't get her used to that, because she will expect it thereafter. Tiels get quite stubborn about what they think they deserve if you spoil them when you first get them. It is best to have them live by the schedule they will have usually, rather than get them used to one and then change it on them.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    You are so right, Marrie! Mine would scream if the schedule had to be changed.

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    Smile Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrie View Post
    It's good she is starting to adjust I will caution you on one point - if you cannot ALWAYS get her out of the cage first thing in the morning, don't get her used to that, because she will expect it thereafter. Tiels get quite stubborn about what they think they deserve if you spoil them when you first get them. It is best to have them live by the schedule they will have usually, rather than get them used to one and then change it on them.
    OH MY....I had no idea. Apparently there's a lot I need to learn between tiels and keets. So...this morning I just opened her door and left it up to her. She went back to sleep...go figure. Thanks for the heads up on the schedule thing. My keets had their own play area and just 'did their own thing together' most of the day....but I had them both since babies. I think Bella and I will both need to be getting used to each other. I just want to so make her life better than it was when she had NO attention and no playing....just sitting in her cage by herself all day. She may need a birdie psychiatrist.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    Hehe no worries, I just warn you to save you the scream battles when she settles in if you have to get up and get dressed or get breakfast before letting her out when she is used to being the first thing on your routine. My tiel gets let out right after I brush my teeth in the mornings and if I do something else before then after he hears my toothbrush go off (I use an electric) he will scream bloody murder that I forgot him.

    The upside to their love of schedules is that my tiel knows when it is bed time, he even puts himself on my keyboard since I am usually on the computer at night and sing sme his goodnight song to remind me!

    I'm sure you'll be all the care she needs to learn how it is to be a beloved pet than a thing in the cage that gets fed

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    Red face Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    OH....your tiel sounds very cute and very smart. I remember my two keets would scream at me if I didn't put even one toy, ladder, swing or whatever where they thought it should be until I saw my mistake and made it right. I'll be very glad when Bella does something....anything really.....she just wants to sit on one perch in her cage all day....that's all she would do if I let her. At her age, I hope she can learn to live a little....I hope I can teach her and not give up. Thanks for your posts. They are encouraging.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    Maybe if you played her some youtube videos of other tiels singing she might respond to that?

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    There's also a really cute showering tiels video on youtube w/a children' song performed by John Lithgow. You can see the tiels being sprayed and hear them.

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    Re: Adopted older cockatiel...she won't play or do anything.....????

    ZoZo does not play with traditional bird toys on his own. He will only play if me or my husband initiates it. He likes to play tug-a-war with a shoelace or keep away with a paper clip. Mainly he wants to sit on my chest and sing. If I stop and he still wants to continue, he lets me know by giving my bottom lip a tug.

    The only time he will initiate play is with one of my storage containers. He has taken over one of my kitchen cabinets and likes my 3 quart round container. He will get in the cabinet and get behind the container. He then grabs the lid it sits on and starts rocking it out. Once it gets to the end of the shelf he pushes it and it comes crashing down. He then runs to the end of the shelf, looks down at the container and says "come here". I then have to pick it up, hold it in front of him and tell him to give kisses. After he gives it a kiss, he will then back up and allow me to put the container back in and it begins again. This is his version of "fetch". He tosses it and I fetch. He has pushed this container out so many times that it has split all around and we duck taped it together for him.

    ZoZo is also not a fan of pellets. I mix pellets with his seed and he tends to eat around the pellets. Fortunately, mine is not a picky eater as he likes most fruits and veggies. Whatever we eat, he wants. My vet has told me that ZoZo is very healthy and to continue to do what I am doing.

    Talk to her, sing to her and praise her and I am sure she will be happy that she is now with you.

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