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Thread: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

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    Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Hi Everyone,
    I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.

    7 months ago I purchased my first cockatiel (Kiko) for my wife.
    The bird was a sweetheart. He would play with us and we would play with him.
    A pleasure to be with. He was so attached to both of us that my wife and I would have to alternate spending time with him since he wouldn't leave us alone

    3 weeks ago everything changed.
    He would get aggressive and try to bite us, especially after we expose him to other cockatiels on the web singing. This is how he learns his tunes.
    After he stops singing he lunges at both of us - we have to use a towel to pick him up and let him cool off in his cage.
    He sings to napkins and if we remove it he gets aggressive again.

    Today it got to be too much. We can't even take him out of the cage. He calls to us (we think) but we can't approach.

    What happened to the bird that wants to be with us? I'm worried we would have to give him to someone. He's intolerable.

    We were thinking of getting him a friend cockatiel but don't want to take a course of action until we know more about his change.

    I would appreciate any advice. We are new to caring for a bird. It's been great for 6 months now it's not.

    The only thing that's different (I think) is that he has now fully grown out his flight wings.

    Edit: Forgot to mention that when he's enraged he devours everything in his cage. I mean everything is torn apart. He's even eating away at his perches. sigh

    Thank you.

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Hi, and welcome! Your bird is experiencing hormonal behavior, for the first time in his life, and it can happen overnight, and at about his age. They do change personality so fast, we do wonder if it is something we did to cause it. You have had a great friendship with him so far. Hormonal behavior can be very aggressive. Also, biting will be fierce, so watch carefully. They can draw blood. If out of cage, they can also get into dive bombing your head as well.

    This behavior can last for several weeks. It usually happens about once a year, but can occur more often. After these feelings in him subside, he will pretty much go back to his more docile behavior, but, some of the changes in him will continue. Many caged birds use objects in the cage for hormonal urges. I would not attempt to stop them, because it is a thing of Nature. But I never encourage them on my hands, because birds do like to use our hands for their urges. If that happens to you, while he is out of cage, I would return him to his cage. They usually have a favorite toy, or other items like the perches, or perhaps a swing which they like to use when this happens. Roughing things up, goes with it. My tiel also gets very loud and boisterous. You also may see a change in the poops getting more watery, and more often. My tiel, also likes to chew the paper towel on the cage floor, and likes to chew where he has pooped on the paper! Ugh. This never happened until the big hormone change either!!

    I suggest giving him about 10-12 hours of sleerp every night. Do not feed egg food, eggs, sweet potatoes, cooked, or any soft foods. I have read of some owners taking the bird into an Avian vet, for a wellness check, and often a vet tech will slightly clip the wing flights! That seems to help the macho attitude they have at this time. It is interesting you say his wing flights grew longer! Lolol

    I think the first time of experiencing hormones for them, is just as confusing, as it is for us, not knowing or understanding their personality change. Trust me, it will get better. But for awhile, be on guard. They really are in need of a real mate, at this time of hormones, and that is the main cause of the behavior.

    Quite honestly, I think you were lucky you do not have another one at this time. I would wait a few more months before considering getting him a friend. Right now, I think that would be challenging for you two, and for him.

    I hope this info is helpful to you! We welcome your questions and updates anytime.
    Last edited by maxollie; 07-19-2019 at 09:05 AM.

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Thank you for the reply maxollie.

    You hit every point on the head. Everything you said is exactly what is happening.
    His "urges" started yesterday. Or at least I noticed them yesterday. He has picked a favorite toy. actually 2.
    We tried letting him out of his cage, "carefully" but after about 10 minutes my wife passed by and he went after her, flying right to her head with his beak open O.o .
    As funny as it looked I had to catch him with a towel and put him back in the cage.

    His pecking has been getting more aggressive. He destroyed all his toys. And I mean destroyed. I have more toys for him and will carefully replace the broken ones except the ones he "likes."

    I will take your advice and give him more time to sleep. He's been getting the usual 8 so i'll increase it to 12.

    We did find a way to calm him down. He falls in love with napkins; he sings to them and is calm as long as it's near him. Once we remove it, his aggressive behavior returns. We at least have a way to calm him when we need to get close.

    Thank you so much, this was extremely helpful; we were worried we'd have to give him up because he's intolerable now. But if this is natural, he has no fault in this and we will wait it out. We love him too much to lose him.

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Awww!! I know it is not easy. But, it will get better. I compare the change to a child who suddenly turns an adolescent, and has to try everything at least once, and thinks he has graduated to bigger and better behaviors! Lololol

    Let him have the napkins. They are a substitute for a real mate! And the same with his toys. Let him have his two favorites, but there is no use to having to by many more since right now he is on a path to destroy them! Lolol

    You know, I feel sorry for caged birds at that time of their lives, because they never got to experience living in the wild in such places as Austrailia, where there are flocks of beautiful males and females, trees, fresh berries, and other natural foods to eat, and freedom all of the time.

    But, I would never trade all of the love and joy I have had for many years, with my cockatiels and budgies! I have learned lots of things about life, observing and caring for them, and like you and your wife, love them dearly.

    Please keep us posted. If you have questions, present them. It will all work out. Time and patience are on your side!

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I left the cage door open so he can stretch his wings while I watch carefully where I am in relation to him. So I don't get pecked.

    He flew from his perch to the ground and then ran after me. I thought to harm me but he just wanted attention. He finally let my wife and I hold him.
    He seems back to normal but still a bit on edge. So we are being extra gentle and careful.

    He was so aggressive this morning and this evening he's back to his cuddly friendly self.

    Feels like an eternity since we played with him; I hope he remain this way for a while and doesn't revert.

    Thank you so much for your advice and information.

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Hormones do horrible things to our birds. My daughters sweet boy Tikki who is a conure full on attacked her husband when he reached his first hormonal rage. It was awful and so bad they had to keep him caged so he didn't full on attack poor Cole. It got better and thankfully with age they learn how to control themselves better. Boomer our love bird had a special stuffed animal that served as his girlfriend so he didn't "rub his you know what's" on us.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Everything Ellen told you was spot on. I have a male and when he is hormonal, watch out!! Like you, we wouldn't trade him for the world.

    I would also like to suggest that sometimes changing their environment may help them snap out of the hormonal phase a little quicker. Perhaps you can place your cockatiel in a different room in the house. Also, making sure that they are covered for at least 12 hours during the hormone cycle will help. We call it the "Feathered Monster Syndrome " in our home. Just be patient, it is not going to happen overnight, it may take a week, two or even three.

    One more thing, refrain from handling your bird during its hormonal stage. Petting your cockatiel will only encourage more hormonal behavior. Just wait until you know your bird is back to it's normal self.

    Please keep us posted!!

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Looks like he's out of that phase. There's the occasional aggressiveness but it's only for a few seconds. Now the only thing that worries me is that he is no longer singing.
    He's quiet all day. Sometimes I put some other cockatiels singing on Youtube and he sings along for a few seconds but it doesn't last.
    He used to sing all day. Now he's way too quiet. Hopefully he'll snap out of this phase too.

    I took him to the vet and the doctor gave him some antibiotics for 10 days. He's on day 4 and he's more lively but no singing.

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    The antibiotics could be causing him to be quiet, because like humans, meds for birds also have side effects. Hopefully, after the meds are all finished, he will be ready to sing and be more active. We will watch for updates.

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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Update.

    All is well. Kiko is finally 100% back to normal ( 1 week ago ). In fact, he is even more lovable than before.
    Thanks all for your invaluable information.

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    Tailfeather
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    Re: Cockatiel Suddenly Very Aggressive

    Yaaaay!! I am so happy for you that Kiko is all healed and back to good health. We will welcome your updates anytime!

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