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  1. #1
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    Question Cockatiel Problems

    Hey all,
    I have a cockatiel that I adopted from the human society. They said he was surrendered by the family and that he was 4 yeards old. I have taken him in and he visits the vet on a reg basis. I have had him for about a year and a half. I am noticing some issues that I am unsure how to fix.
    1) Every time I hold him he flaps his wings out of control and pretty much tries to flap away. You cant hold him without him flapping crazily.
    2) He refuses to eat fruits and veggies, only his zupreme color blend.
    3) He doesnt like any toys. In the year and 4 months I have had him, I have never seen him play with toys.
    4) Sometimes he whistles but doesnt pick up on many other sounds. He use to whistle a lot more but now that he is in a bigger cage he is a lot more quiet.
    4) Can his cage be too big, too overwhelming?
    Any suggestions to these issues?
    Thanks!
    Last edited by EmilyJ; 05-23-2012 at 09:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
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    Re: Cockatiel Problems

    1) when he flaps is he trying to get away? How are you holding him? Does he step up? Birds do "flappies" which is normal but if he is afraid it may be the way you hold him. Often rescues have emotional trauma.

    2) birds are quite set in their ways if not taught to eat them when young. Best way is to grab a plate of veggies and eat a few pieces yourself in front of them, birds love flock meals. Also try different ways of presenting, often texture is more an issue than taste to start. Dehydrated goes well for new veggie eaters.

    3) are you trying just store bought? Tiels arent as playful as other birds but most like little things like toothpicks, shoelaces (nontoxic dyes), popsicle sticks, bells ... give my tiel a roll of toilet paper and a toothpick and he is happy. I have over $100 in store toys he never touches.

    4) takes a while for birds to adjust to a new cage, how long ago did he move? Usually its not the size of the cage but how it is arranged that can unnerve them if it lasts a while.

  3. #3
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    Re: Cockatiel Problems

    1) He is perfectly good with stepping up in the cage and anywhere else. It is once he is your your finger that I notice a problem. He flaps when he is just sitting on your finger. He also hates to be pet/touched anywhere, he just screeches and flaps. He could have trauma but it seems to me that I have noticed more recently. Is there a way to work around that? I mean I have had him for 16 months, he should trust me.
    3) I am just using store bought toys. I change them out in his cage sometimes to try to interest him but he still never touches them. I will try to TP roll and tooth picks. If you try to get him to play with a toy he just hisses at it and backs away.
    4) He has been in his new cage for about 7.5months. It is the size cage that an African Grey can comfortably live in. It is arranged in a normal non overwhelming manner. I have wood perches, rope perches, toys and proper food and water bowls. I also provide him a cozy corner that he has never touched. He sometimes moves around the cage but not to much.

  4. #4
    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
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    Re: Cockatiel Problems

    When he's sitting on your finger and starts flapping, does he grip your finger tight and just flap away with his wings? And does he do it 100% of the time? Not wanting to be touched is normal for some tiels, so I would try petting him with your nose/chin if he has issues with fingers. But if he is flapping on your hands just some of the time he may be doing "flappies" which is a tiels way of playing/exercising. My tiel did them a lot and always on my finger when he was clipped.

    Store bought toys aren't a huge hit with tiels, so yes try shoelaces, toilet paper and toothpicks. Even cardboard boxes, or bottlecaps (the plastic inside removed) so they can throw them off tables etc can be hits.

    It's possible he may not know what to do in a cage with so much stuff in it if he spent his whole life in a smaller one, especially if he's clipped (not sure if he is or not). We had a member with a little rescue tiel that didn't like anything but pretty bird pellets and his smaller cage, no matter how much she tried to spoil him, because he was just too used to being given no options. Rescues can be pretty damaged in odd ways.

  5. #5
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    Re: Cockatiel Problems

    He grips sometimes because he knows he can not fly, due to the fact he is clipped, but 99.9% of the time he does not grip and just flaps straight to the floor. He flaps all of the time. There is not a time where he will not flap, if you put him on ur shoulder he sits for a moment and then flaps and for a while when his wings were longer he would fly across the room.

    Would you reccomend putting him back into his smaller cage with maybe 2 hand made toys and switch those out ocasionally?

  6. #6
    Livin the Good Life Brand New Egg sunnyvmx's Avatar
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    Re: Cockatiel Problems

    Pepe did the same until I learned to carry him facing my chest and there was no place to fly to. I removed the larger more intricate toys and replaced with one small plastic bell and half a toilet paper roll. He has just started playing with them although he learned to ring the bell on command for millet very quickly. I have seen the most progress since I started taking him outside in his cage while I work in the garden. He seemed to come to life in his enjoyment of the outdoors. The wild birds of which we have many large ones caused him some anxiety until they lost interest in him and he gained more confidence in the surroundings. He abhors the large black hose I drag around when I'm watering and no longer panics when Snoopy comes by for a cookie and sticks her large nose up to the cage in greeting. He is a great companion while I work, singing and chirping for hours.

  7. #7
    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
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    Re: Cockatiel Problems

    Hm. That is odd. I am not sure how you would correct the flying away, if he steps up etc he does trust you. Try facing him to your chest like Sunny suggests.

    You can see if putting him back in his old cage livens him up again, then slowly work on him getting to the big cage. If it does liven him up, try removing most the things out of the big cage, just leave the perches you've noticed he likes to sit on. Then when he's out just leave the big cage around and open and see if goes into it on his own. If it is too far away for him to hop /climb to because of him being clipped, you can put a ladder toy up to it or attach it to the smaller cage via a rope perch, etc. He may just after so many years of being in a smaller cage (I assume he was in a smaller cage, most don't give a tiel such a large one) be a little unsure what to do with all that stuff. If it doesn't get him back to his normal livelier self, he may just be getting more docile as he gets more comfortable with you.

  8. #8
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    Re: Cockatiel Problems

    Great! Thank you for that advice to have him face me. Hopefully I can find some ways to interest him some more! Your birdy sounds precious.

  9. #9
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    Re: Cockatiel Problems

    Thank you so much Marrie for all of the advice. I will def try all of the suggestions you have made.

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