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Thread: He's a screamer!

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg
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    May 2012
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    He's a screamer!

    I adopted Max 3 weeks ago from a friend's mother.

    Max is an 11 year old cockatiel.

    Max is extremely angry about 90% of the time. Sometimes he will "mutter" or chatter real fast then it builds up into screaming for hours on end. I've tried covering his cage at night and uncovering it at 6 a.m. I've tried sitting beside his cage for several hours a day talking to him. I've tried leaving the radio on when I have to leave. I've tried setting him outside for a few hours. And today I am just fed up with his screaming. The neighbors are complaining about the constant noise. It sounds like Max is being tortured.

    What else can I do for him?

  2. #2
    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Thanked 315 Times in 311 Posts

    Re: He's a screamer!

    Since he is that old, it is likely he developed it as a habit because people responded to his screaming. After it is developed as a habit, it takes a lot of training to break it.

    First make sure he has everything he needs - 12 hours of sleep at night undisturbed, a safe area with no predators, nothing scary in his cage (some birds are scared of certain colors, so will scream in fear at say the color red), plenty of food, water, toys, out of cage time a few hours a day. Etc. Have him checked by a vet to make sure he is not in pain as well.

    Once that is done and you are sure it isn't he needs something. When he screams, turn your back and walk out of the room instantly. Do not say stop, do not talk to him, do not even look at him. If he is quiet for a few seconds (even 2-3) pop back in and say hello, if he screams walk right back out. When my tiel went through his screaming phase I did this and built him up to being quiet / making good noises for 10 seconds at a time by placing a sheet over the back end of his flight cage and stepping behind it if he screamed, then stepping out if he was good. Started with 2 seconds of quiet, then 5, then 6, 7, slowly working up to 10. Once he was at 10, he started to get the hint that screaming = being ignored. It took two weeks of one hour a day sessions, with never responding to his screaming, to get him to stop. Now when he wants me, he does a flock call or says "turkey bird"

    Others have had success in when they make a bad noise responding with a flock call they like and changing the noises to a subtle flock call or whistle.

    Which approach works depends on the bird, problem is, responding can make some birds scream more so I would recommend the ignoring approach first, then the responding if he doesn't get any better.

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