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  1. #1
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    Julie
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    Exclamation Biting Bird - from Humane Society

    Hello. Long ago, I had a cockatiel. This was a hand-fed baby that was very tame and very social. Its been decades since I have owned one, and since I was volunteering at the local Humane Society, someone gave up their bird (a male) and my husband (as a bird lover) expressed an interest, so I agreed to "foster" this bird for a week to see how he would fit in. Of course I interacted with the bird before reading all the information on the internet and like an idiot, I brought him out of the cage when he didn't want to - beak open, and biting. I used a gloved hand so he wouldn't hurt me, but he ended up biting both me and my husband.

    In my ignorance I hope I have not spoiled this bird. I have read a lot in the past few hours realizing that birds do not adjust well, are fearful and need time to adjust and gain trust. I am hoping that with this new knowledge and not handling him until he shows no aggression will help him become the bird we would want to save from a shelter. I am certain he has not had a proper night's rest since getting to the shelter knowing where they had him - big open room with lots of noise. We have moved him to our dining room where we sit a lot and is away from the TV and window (which is where we first had him). Of course giving him human traits, we thought being by a big window and our bird feeders would give him more comfort rather than the recommended corner. We feel we have done just about everything wrong a person could do, and are hoping to rehabilitate ourselves and this bird. Have we ruined this bird? He really is a delight, he barks, wolf whistles, chuckles and other things, so someone has spent some time with him, but the person surrendering the bird said they had no time for the animal, which is very sad.

    I would like any information and guidance you wise bird owners have to help this bird become a member of our family. We feel terrible about the interaction yesterday because the bird was not willing to come out of his cage, but once on the hand did come out and seemed to like being with us, but after reading what I have read, I now know we pushed the issue too quickly and should have just left him alone to adjust to his environment. We are starting over today, so please feel free to give your advice and guidance, because its obvious we need it. Thank you!

    Julie

  2. #2
    Livin the Good Life Brand New Egg sunnyvmx's Avatar
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    Sunny
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    Re: Biting Bird - from Humane Society

    I'm sure we all make mistakes at first. You are doing the right thing by starting over. He will start over too, but maybe you added a few more days to the process. Put him where you want him and then let him adjust. Preferably in the room where you spend the most time. You didn't say if he had his wings clipped. I fretted over this until I felt Pepe would tame easier and have more freedom if he couldn't fly away from me whenever I approached. Yes, I had to use a towel to hold him while a friend clipped the feathers, but he and I both recovered and started over again. Be happy with one new progress a day even it's very small. I remember I was thrilled when he ate in front of me and then preened his feathers. I put several toys in his cage at first and then took them out and started over with two non-threatening little ones. It tooks weeks, but now he plays with them everyday and even explored the new ones on his gym. Feed him millet with your fingers and if he's afraid or aggressive back away and try again later. Hold it still and let him approach it while you praise him. Your new friend just needs to find out how lucky he is to be in your family and he will.

    http://dementias-daughter.com Now over 32,000 hits.

  3. #3
    Brand New Egg
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    Julie
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    Re: Biting Bird - from Humane Society

    Hi Sunny - Thank you for your response. I guess I should feel privileged when this bird on his first day felt comfortable enough to preen himself, not only in the cage but while sitting on my shoulder, he also had his head buried in his bowl, and my husband has done research on what birds like to eat, so he gave him a Cockatiel salad with small bits of broccoli and shaved carrots. I will clean his cage today, but will not remove him from his cage and let him rest. I am thinking he has not had enough rest since his arrival in the shelter and now that he is in a quieter environment, he is relaxing (and sleeping). Thank you for encouraging us to continue and to start over and we will be letting him rest and not bother him for a few days, unless he gives a full indication he is ready to come out. He is facing us, and we talk to him, which I think is a good sign. We are educating ourselves to be better pet owners for a bird. Thank you again.

  4. #4
    First Clutch Hatching... maxollie's Avatar
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    Ellen
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    Re: Biting Bird - from Humane Society

    Hi! Julie, Rest assured, it is never too late to rehabilitate a little rescue tiel. Just consider the experience you had as part and parcel of learning all about him. He truly must have had a very unhappy life, considering he was in a big room with lots of noise. I have homed both tiels and budgies for many years. And I must say that usually, tiels do not like lots of constant noise. I find that my little Ollie doesn't like to hear the TV blasting loud, men's voices, loud music (she loves very low classical music), commercials on TV, etc. etc. And like most birds, she also doesn't like human hands. That is just a natural instinct for them because they are always trying to protect themselves from predators and other animals in the wild.

    Do you know if your new friend has been to an avian vet or a vet recently? Since you don't know much at all about his medical history, I would suggest you make an appointment with a vet of your choice (avian vets deal specifically with birds) and have him checked over. Your vet would also clip his wings carefully. There are ways to clip the wings that allow the bird to fly, but not as high or with such speed if they were not clipped. However, no matter whether a bird's wings are clipped or not, if for some reason they get out the front or back door, or out a window, it will be very difficult to catch them.

    Just pretend for a few moments that you are this little bird, and have finally after a period of time escaped from all of the noise and care-less atmosphere he has lived in. And now, you are in a nice cage, and it is sooooooo much more quiet, and you are beginning to feel like it is OK to take a nap, or go to sleep, because no one will hurt you. It is very encouraging to know he has trust enough in his new cage and environment to sleep. He probably is very, very stressed out and tired.

    Tiels are usually fed a pellet/seed mixture. Some folks feed just pellets. I feed the mixture. And tiels need and love other foods, including fresh veggies, (the broccoli and carrots are great), parsley (about 1-3 times a week), red leaf lettuce, celery and celery leaves, etc. If you go to a website called Cockatiel Cottage, you should be able to find any information you are interested in as to the foods, the seeds, and fruits, etc. they like. And there also is a page that will list the foods you never want to give to them because they will make them sick or in some cases they will get allergic to them and die. There also is lots of info on that website about the behavior of tiels, and how to interact with them. And of course, you can visit different areas of this forum, and read the posts too to get an idea of the care you will be giving him.

    Just sitting in a chair a short distance from him, talking to him, playing music, repeating words he might be speaking, and even eating some food, will encourage him to trust you.

    We love pics here, so when he is more comfortable in his surroundings post some for us to see. And come back often and give us an update on your progress. I truly feel that you and your husband and this little guy will end up being the best of friends. Good Luck!!

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