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  1. #1
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    Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    My bf and I recently got a young cockatiel pair - one that's 4 weeks old and the other 2 weeks. (I'm assuming the seller meant "out of nest"? 2 weeks hatched sounds a little too young.) We've had them for over a week and though I have had lots of experience keeping cockatiels in the past, it was never more than one at a time. We want them to bond with us as well as with each other. So far, they seem to have bonded with one another already - they preen one another, prefer to be together at all times, and so on.

    The Set-Up:
    They have a very roomy cage but we only place them in it at night and if we're leaving the house to go out. For the majority of the day, they are on their playpen that sits beside our desk area and the living room area - the places where we spend most of our time. They are never left unsupervised when out on their playpen. We interact with them as much as we can. They are accustomed to being on the playpen since the pet store we bought them from had them with other tiels and small parrots on one huge playpen and similarly, they were only caged for the night there as well.

    Concerns:
    We feed them mainly when they're out on the playpen. They know to come to the entrance of the door of their cage for breakfast in the morning, but they're wary of hands so it takes some time to pick them up and place them safely on their playpen since we're careful not to chase them around and stress them out. The only time they will voluntarily "step up" is if they can't reach a perch or if they have managed to really wobble off a perch and need help climbing onto the playpen again. Any other time a finger or hand approaches them and no matter how slowly, they tend to move back right away.

    Just yesterday, we began picking up one tiel each and going in separate rooms to spend individual time with each one since we noticed that when in the same room they're too distracted trying to get back together. But maybe that's too early for this stage... Not sure...

    A lot of the forums and articles I've read through recommend separate cages entirely, but we're concerned that it will just stress them out to be separated completely. We want them to bond with each other, but also to bond with us. We're wondering if anyone out there has any successful methods for training cockatiel pairs. We really wanna do right by these two babies and any advise from experienced handlers would be much appreciated!

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    If they are fully feathered and eating well on their own, yes they would not be 4 and 2 weeks old, odd that the person would call them that though. Usually tiels are weaned at about 8 weeks.

    It sounds like you are doing things right. Yes you do want to do one-on-one time away from their partner and cage, but it's fine them living together. Do you know their gender though? If they are male/female you may want to look up information on preventing breeding if you do not want babies, once they mature (around a year, sometimes they are "early bloomers" though) they will want to start. Birds breeding without the owners understanding exactly what is required of them is dangerous to the hen and the chicks. You have plenty of time now, if they are opposite genders, to learn all you need to know to keep them happy and healthy. I only offer this warning because we have had a lot of members through the years who had accidental clutches and some of them sadly lost the chicks, or their hen from it.

    To get them to step up a lot of people start out with asking them to step up onto a perch until they get more comfortable with hands. You can usually bribe them into liking hands more with treats of millet spray held in your hand. It just takes time for them to get used to you. Give them only positive interactions with you and your hands and if you do have to pick them up for any reason to be held (nail trims, vet visits, etc) use a small hand towel instead of your hands to avoid the traumatic experience being linked with hands in their eyes. It usually takes a few weeks to get a bird comfortable with their new flock, but sounds like they are doing well so far.

  3. #3
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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    I totally agree with Marrie. And I would add that you may wish to do DNA testing on them so you can find out their gender. I believe you can buy DNA tests on-line. Not sure of any website, but if you google "DNA testing kits for cockatiels", I think you would come up with some places that sell them. And of course, you could also take them to an Avian vet, and they would do the DNA testing.

    It sounds to me like you have two beautiful baby tiels. Tiels are soooo special, very intelligent, and also very entertaining. Hope to see you around the forums, and further, we all LOVE to see pictures, so I hope you will post a pic of them one of these days! Wishing you the best as you become "best friends" with your two little ones.

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    DNA test kits can be found through avian biotech, if they are available in your area.

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrie View Post
    If they are fully feathered and eating well on their own, yes they would not be 4 and 2 weeks old, odd that the person would call them that though. Usually tiels are weaned at about 8 weeks.

    It sounds like you are doing things right. Yes you do want to do one-on-one time away from their partner and cage, but it's fine them living together. Do you know their gender though?

    It usually takes a few weeks to get a bird comfortable with their new flock, but sounds like they are doing well so far.
    Thank you for your response, Marrie. We appreciate that you took the time for it. When I compare them from my past tiels and gauge the behavior we've observed so far, one is definitely male and one female. Been reading up on the breeding aspect so thanks for the tip and if you know of any good resources, it'd be much appreciated. I worked for a pet store for a long time and we lost one of our tiels from egg binding so I'm hellbent on making sure that never happens with these two.

    My past tiels took about a week and a half to warm up to me but that's because it was all one-on-one. I guess I'm a bit more anxious since there are two of them and my bf and I are hoping to get them used to both of us, so that's a lot of pairs in this equation.

    Totally unrelated, but I'd love some advice nonetheless:

    When we got the female, she was all tired and fluffed up. I know it's normally a sign of illness in birds, but she's also undergoing molting and so we chalked it up to that. She's been eating and drinking well since we got them. She seems very young and unsure of herself and has managed to fall off her perch multiple times trying to follow the male around as he's much more active, adventurous, and vocal. Sometimes I get the impression he's chirping at her, egging her on, "Follow me! This way! Hurry!"

    Today, we noticed that she's keeping her left foot up and seems to be limping, favoring her right. She doesn't squeak or anything when she steps on her seemingly hurt foot, just walks gingerly on it when she has to.

    I hate to jostle her around and cart her to the vet if it's something she can recuperate from on her own, but at the same time, I prefer she heals properly and as soon as possible and depending on the injury, it might indeed call for a trip to the vet. Is there a way that one can visually tell if it's a minor sprain or a severe injury? If there's a way to tell and it's only a sprain, should we just wait it out and let her recover?

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    Without training to be able to feel the foot and know if something is damaged inside of it, it is pretty hard to tell. It is a good idea to get a well bird check up when you bring home new babies anyway, so a vet trip is probably a good idea for both of them. It gets them familiar with the vet, the carrier and gives the vet a base line for your birds so he can more easily tell when something is abnormal for them. Falling off perches is not normal, even when they're playing, so she may have had an injury already that just got worse by falling. And if you take them together, they can keep each other company and offer support.

    The #1 thing that causes egg binding, from my research, is diet. A female uses a lot of calcium in laying eggs, so a good diet of fresh foods vs supplements is needed if she is going to lay. Pellets/seeds/cuttlebone is not enough. There are tricks to help prevent breeding though - removing nesting materials (shredding toys, etc can be used as a nest when they get hormonal), increase night time hours with a cover, humidity level and temperature control, etc. It's not tiel based, but there are a lot of tips in the lovie forum section that fits any bird for helping to stop breeding/laying, if you browse around. Mask offered advice and also a few other lovie owners had serious laying issues with their hens and shared tips on it, a lot of the same tricks can be used for tiels as well. It's worth a look through (you can use the search feature top right to search). If you have a good breeder in your area, or an experienced avian vet, they could probably offer tips as well.

    http://www.cockatielcottage.net/index.html This site has a lot of good information as well on various things. Including breeding, egg binding, health issues, diet, etc. You can also find a lot of books on the subject if you search online, they aren't usually carried in book stores though unless there is a good bird community in your area, since most people don't buy them.

    How long it takes for them to get comfortable with you varies by bird, past experience, how much they were handled as babies, etc. My tiel was from a breeder, but he was naturally a bit shy, so it took him a month to get comfortable with me and he was solo. Birds will hide behind their partner, or be anxious if they are in the room, which is why it is best to work with them one-on-one. Remember to keep the training sessions short though, so as to not stress them, you want it to be a positive experience. Usually 5-20 minutes at a time, multiple times a day is recommended. I'm sure they'll come around soon to you, but bonded pairs often do not bond as strongly to humans as a solo bird would, so don't expect the same relationship with them as you would your past tiels. You'll still be the flock, but the mate is #1 in their affection. You'll be kind of like the Mother after a son/daughter gets married... they love you, but they aren't in love with you.

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously



    They're wonderful birds indeed. Here's a pic of them mucking about on their playpen. We were lucky to find a local breeder who builds them.

    The DNA Testing would be cool to do! Thanks for that great idea. Not sure exactly where to find that as I've recently moved to a totally different country and still navigating my way around. I'm sure the vet will know though.

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    I remember that site! One of the best sites I have ever found for Cockatiel Info. Now it seems she's totally fine again. We just took them out for breakfast and both are climbing all over their playpen, nibbling at the hanging toys. Both are terrific eaters - they're eating sprouts sprinkled with some snips of oregano and citrus thyme. I was surprised at how much they love citrus thyme, actually. They will be seeing the vet soon nonetheless since we want to make sure they're completely healthy, happy babies. Thanks for all the advice and for helping ease our minds by answering the many questions I've posted.

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    Aww, they're adorable. And that is a nice play gym. I see the one at the top is a white face, that one will be easy to tell gender for once it molts, since females faces darken and they have bars on their tails. If you are interested in DNA tests, your vet can do them, if there is no company for it in your country.

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    Pika and Lina are doing awesome! Pika sings and chirps and screams - especially when Lina is slow to follow his lead. Both are still running away from hands, but they will eat from one. Should we handle them more regardless of their fear of hands so that they realize there's nothing to fear? What do you guys think?

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    Re: Taming Two Tiels Simultaneously

    I would continue feeding them out of your hands and maybe even put the treat up your arm so they have to "step up" onto the hand to get their food. But I wouldn't force your touch on them. Positive reinforcement to me is the best way to train an animal. IE: If they step up tell them they are good birds and give a treat.

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