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Thread: Hello from Japan! First time Cockatiel Owner with a one month old cockatiel.

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg KittyKobori's Avatar
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    Hello from Japan! First time Cockatiel Owner with a one month old cockatiel.

    Hello everyone,

    To start off I'll give alittle information about myself.
    I'm originally from CT, USA, however my husband is Japanese and i live in Japan now.
    I have always grown up on the countryside raising animals, dogs, chickens, snakes, parrots, bunnies, etc, but this will be the first time i have ever owned a cockatiel.
    I do have experience and have raised birds such as a blue and gold macaw (my fathers), parakeet/budgie,rehibilitating a wild baby sparrow, and hatched and raised my own pet chickens.

    I have always been an animal lover. Most if not all my animals have been rescues or from shelters.
    I also use to help out and was friends with a wild bird rehabilitator back home, so the responsibility and medical aspects of caring for the avian variety is not unknown to me.

    However, not all birds are alike so when i decided that i wanted to get a cockatiel i did all the research about it i could.
    I looked at parrotlets, lovebirds, and a few other species but decided that a cockatiel best fit my situation.
    I have no other pets in Japan and being someone who grew up around animals all my life, its been very hard.
    I also have a chronic illness so i can't work and am home alot of the time, that is why i decided to get an animal for company.
    I find animals very therapeutic and they help alleviate alot of my stress.
    Since i am sometimes limited with what i can physically do, and considering i am living with other members of my husbands family, i decided on getting a bird because then i do not have to worry about "walking" it, or possibly having it "bother" other members of my family etc.

    Anyway, so i tried to look for bird rescues in Japan, because ideally i wanted to adopt.
    However it seems that birds are not a popular pet here and there are not many shelters or rescues for them within a reasonable distance.
    My other option was to find a reputable breeder, however that came up bare as well.
    In the end i had to get a cockatiel from a pet shop. (usually i don't like buying animals from a pet store because i don't like supporting the "pet mill" industry but i didn't have much of a choice this time).
    I ended up getting a very sweet baby cockatiel (about a 4-5 weeks old).
    Yes it still needed/needs to be formula hand fed.
    I was surprised a pet store would sell them so young, considering i don't think its very wise for people who have little to no baby bird experience to be hand feeding a baby bird.
    I was a little hesitate on getting one that young, but i had raised and hand fed baby sparrows so i was confident that with the right guidance and knowledge, i could handle it.
    So far its been going well, no sour crop, no burned crop, or aspiration issues.

    However!
    about a day after i got him he started sneezing!
    That was very alarming to me, because i know with that with chickens, they hide their illness and it really doesn't take long for some illness to take them down ( especially if its anything respiratory related).
    I started to worry if he had maybe aspirated some food, even though i had been very careful.
    I quickly brought him to the vet the next day. And the vet tells me the poor baby was thin/malnourished and the pet store i had gotten him from was most likely watering down his food too much, so he wasn't getting any nutrition (basically trying to cut back costs by feeding him the bare minimum. how awful! poor little guy!). He also had a mild amount of bacteria on his stomach.

    The vet advised me to feed him more and have provided me with vitamins and a mild antibiotic for baby birds.
    And good news! He is doing sooo much better!
    He has started to put on weight, no longer sneezes, has more energy, and has already started flying and weaning onto solid food.
    I named my cockatiel Natsu なつ (Japanese word for "summer") and he/she has become very tame and friendly.
    He/she come when i call them and already knows the "step up" command and as of recently is acclimating to a cage environment.
    Thankfully i caught the issue early and was able to correct it, but it really confirmed my dislike for pet shops even more .
    I am just so relieved and happy Natsu is doing better.

    So, i know that its hard to tell the gender right away or even at all without a blood test, but is anyone able to guess at what gender Natsu may be? Or please tell me the color and pattern he/she is? (Other than my avatar i have a photo gallery of him on my profile).
    Also some other questions: Is it too early to give him a cuttlefish bone to chew on? Any other advice you recommend for me?
    I do take him/her out of the cage to play and stretch for a few times a day, but because Natsu is practicing to fly and young, i don't feel comfortable leaving his door open for him/her to come out freely just yet. i don't plan on clipping Natsu's wings either because i'm going to train him to fly to me and such. eventually, when he/she is older i will get a harness for him/her to go outside with me.

    Anyway, sorry if my post is very long.
    Its nice to meet all of you and i hope we can have fun talking about birds together!

    -Kitty
    Bird Mommy to なつ  Natsu

  2. #2
    Tailfeather
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    Re: Hello from Japan! First time Cockatiel Owner with a one month old cockatiel.

    Hi, Kitty, and welcome to the forum! Your precious little Natsu is just beautiful. My opinion is that the mutation is a cinnamon pearl pied. By that I mean she/he has pearls on her wings (so gorgeous), and a cinnamon colored body, and a yellow head and she has a few white feathers on her wings as well. Pied birds are often hard to visually sex, but one good thing about Natsu is that she/he has the pearls on his body. At about one year of age, she/he will have what I call a hard molt, and if Natsu is a girl, then she will keep her pearls. If Natsu is a boy, then he will lose the pearling. He may retain some pearls but they will be much fainter in color.

    As I look at Natsu I would tend to think you have a girl. You can go on-line and find a DNA testing kit for cockatiels. They send you a kit that you use. You pull some feathers from certain areas from the bird, send them back to the company, and then they would provide you with the information . . . a boy OR a girl!

    Another way for you to determine the sex is to watch for Natsu making verbal jabber (like trying to speak words, making sounds like the sound of a puppy or dog barking (he might hear one outside), the sound of a telephone ringing (these are just examples), and also making what we call heart wings. He will put his head down and spread his wings to make them look like a heart. He is "flirting" with you when he does that. And he also will wolf whistle, and screech. My cockatiel Sunny gets into his screeches every now and then. He is a character. He barks like a little dog, whistles the Andy Griffith Song and the Mickey Mouse Song, says pretty bird, and LOVES to hammer and saw on the cage bottom, with his beak. He can get really loud on occasion!

    Now if Natsu is a girl, then you will see quite different behavior. Hens are very sweet and cuddly. They do make noise, and chirping sounds, but they generally do not learn to talk, nor do they make any sounds as I just spoke about in my last paragraph. They also do not do heart wings. I would suggest that early on, you refrain from touching Natsu on his body other than giving him head scritches. Even though he/she is still very young, touching them can cause them to become hormonal at a younger age. Do not worry that would happen now, because generally they are about 6 months old or so when they first begin to feel the hormones beginning to develop in their bodies. It seems that more and more single hens (those like Natsu who do not have a mate, nor have any other birds in the home) can begin laying eggs, some at a relatively early age. I had a hen that began laying eggs when she was not even six months old. Sadly, she became a chronic egg layer (laying eggs about once a month or every 5 weeks), and to prevent her from losing her health because of the stress on the body of a bird that lays eggs so often, I chose to rehome her to a bird aviary where she could be with other tiels. I was sad to have to rehome her, but I did not want her health to fail, and I do not believe in medical means to keep a hen from laying eggs because it can also cause medical issues, including death. So, my Ollie lives in an aviary and is happy there. I would not want you to have to experience this heart break, because it is very difficult to give up a precious little tiel. And your Natsu looks to be just as precious as my little Ollie was. So try to refrain from touching her on her body. And also limit feeding her soft foods, such as breads, cooked veggies (raw is fine), except for sweet potatoes, do cook them. They are excellent nutrition for a cockatiel. Also fresh veggies are great, as well as fresh fruits, although I have found that tiels do not care much for fruits other than fresh apples. You can go to a website called Cockatiel Cottage, and find tons of great information about cockatiels including foods you can feed and foods you never want to feed them.

    Yes, she/he can have a cuttlebone now. If it has a metal clip to put the cuttle bone in, I would not use that metal clip, but rather break the cuttle bone in smaller pieces and also you can chop or grind some of it and mix it with the seed. I had a tiel that got caught in the metal clip and cut his foot making it bleed, so I won't use the metal clip for sure. Also, if for any reason your bird would bleed because of a blood feather, or some other unexpected problem, you can use corn starch on the wound. That should stop the bleeding. Of course you would know to take him/her to the Vet for any emergencies.

    You were very fortunate to get him/her to the Vet and get the proper medication for her, and the proper care that the Vet has suggested. Yes, you are right, sadly, there are Pet Shops all over the world that are "bird mills", just like puppy mills we hear about here in the USA!

    Your training with chickens and other birds helped you to realize the sneezing was something that needed to be checked out immediately. I am hopeful that she will not have any more problems with the sneezing. Are you scheduled to go back for a follow up visit. I would watch her carefully for any sign of that sneezing and get her back to the VET ASAP.

    I feel you have chosen a wonderful pet in Natsu. And I love the name you chose for her. She really is a beautiful tiel. I love the cinnamon mutation. And somehow, her sweet face and body look like a girl to me.

    I hope to see you often on the forum. Your gallery of pictures is FAB! And I think your days will be filled with happiness with Natsu in your life and home. Thanks for sharing the story about Natsu. I will be looking for updates and progress she is making.
    Last edited by maxollie; 06-08-2015 at 07:16 PM.

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    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Japan! First time Cockatiel Owner with a one month old cockatiel.

    Hi Kitty, Welcome to the community!

    Natsu is one beautiful bird and also a lucky bird that you found him and took him home. Without you noticing that he has a respiratory condition he might not have lived much longer. How awful that they were underfeeding the birds at the store and even with the bad treatment he got there he sure is one fine looking bird. His feathers are beautiful and he looks very healthy to me in all your pictures in the album.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

  4. #4
    Brand New Egg KittyKobori's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Japan! First time Cockatiel Owner with a one month old cockatiel.

    Thank you everyone for the advice and greetings, its greatly appreciated!

    If it comes to the point Natsu is a female and needs the company of other birds in order to secure her health, i am more than happy to get another bird/cockatiel.
    I don't think my husband or any one else would be against it. They have all fallen in love with Natsu too.
    Natsu's friendly personality really helps with that.
    My husband (who is not really an animal person) even mentioned to me first about possibly getting another bird in the future, so if that's what Natsu needs to prevent an egg issue then its no problem at all :].

    I have read that being overly affectionate or petting the bird can make it confused and make it think you are its mate, so i'll try to prevent that so there is no complications or confusion.

    Yes, Natsu looks very nice and healthy now. Before Natsu's looked small and runt like and just generally not nourished. It wasn't anything major but you could just tell by the feathers, size, weight, and overall energy level that something wasn't right. At first glance i took it that he/she was just a growing baby going through that juvenile "stage" just before their feathers start coming in, but i quickly noticed that it was more than just that. especially when he/she started sneezing continuously. I was so worried, i couldn't sleep the whole night. I wanted to get him to the vet asap, but i had to wait till morning. It was a really tough night for me. Ive had chickens show symptoms randomly one day and die within a few hours, so in my mind i'm thinking that my baby might possibly drop dead or something while i'm sleeping.

    To the untrained eye everyone in the family thought he was fine and at most, had a "cold" and I'm overreacting but i know that with birds its the subtle signs that can be most alarming. Luckily in japan medical stuff is pretty cheap, including animals. Normally in the U.S i pay $50-$100 for a avian vet visit. In Japan i only paid $41 and that includes the visit, antibiotic, vitamins, fecal examination, and throat/stomach swab. The vet was very nice and didn't rush us at all. He gave us leaflets on raising cockatiels. We got to see a live video feed of Natsu's cells from under a microscope through the vet's tablet lol! my husband was worried all this high tech stuff was ganna be pricey, you bet we were very relieved when we found out otherwise.

    Natsu is now starting the weaning process (Natsu decided millet is better than baby food >_>), my husband is trying to get the kaytee extact conversion pellets so Natsu keeps a stable solid diet since he is starting to reject his hand feedings. I use to hand feed him 3- 4 times a day, depending on his weight and such. Now i am trying to only do it 2 times a day. But he may be eating too much millet in between because now he is rejecting anytime i try to hand feed him. He will only have a few bites of baby food then turns away and trys to walk off and do his own thing. I know millet is not "real" food for him so i'm trying to make sure hes getting enough real nutrition. He also just started flying, i heard they start eating less at this stage? I'm also in the process of introducing water. Should i worry about him staying hydrated?
    Bird Mommy to なつ  Natsu

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    Hatched! Birdi Lou's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Japan! First time Cockatiel Owner with a one month old cockatiel.

    Hello and welcome to the forum!! Natsu looks like a lovely bird! Great name - I had a friend in my childhood named Natsu (she was Japanese) but she moved away when we were about 13 and I sometimes wonder where she is now. Your Natsu sure was lucky that you came along.

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    Parent clawnz's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Japan! First time Cockatiel Owner with a one month old cockatiel.

    Hi Kitty welcome to the forum.
    Sorry I am not up to saying much more. Except this is a great place to be. Enjoy being here.
    I am glad others are helping.
    R.I.P my little ones.

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