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Thread: Questions about Cockatiel Hormones / Teenage Phase

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    Questions about Cockatiel Hormones / Teenage Phase

    Hello!

    I'm trying to do research on cockatiel hormones. The problem is I'm finding some conflicting and/or incomplete info, so I thought I'd ask here.

    I believe my cockatiel is between 11-13 months old (born between July and September). I think he's being hormonal because he was super sweet and affectionate with both me and my husband, but he suddenly started biting my husband about 3-4 weeks ago towards the end of July or beginning of August. He refuses to let him pet/kiss him anymore. He's also stopped flying to him, which he used to do as soon as he saw him. He won't even go to him when called anymore. I think it's because he's chosen me as his mate and doesn't want to interact with anyone else anymore. He'll also call out for me more after I leave -- it used to just be a couple minutes of calls, now it can be up to half an hour.

    Everything else about my cockatiel is still the same. He still makes kissy noises at both of us whenever he sees us. He still does step-up with both of us, but will bite my husband within several seconds if he doesn't give him to me or put him somewhere. He's still sweet and affectionate with me in all the same ways.

    So first question, do cockatiels have a "teenager" phase when they get hormonal, and if so, at approximately how many months old does this happen, and how long does it last? I'm wondering if he's in that phase now.

    Second, when is the cockatiel "breeding season" when they tend to get hormonal? I've seen online answers ranging from Spring, Summer, Spring AND Fall, to anytime there's heavy rain. If I go based on that, it's basically all times of the year except Winter, so I don't really know.

    Third, what specific hormonal and/or breeding behaviors do cockatiels do? I know about heart wings and bowing, which he did to both of us, but it's only me now. He doesn't do outstretched wings with us or the soft calling I've heard in videos. I've only seen two videos talk about cockatiels reaching down and trying to lift up your fingers by the fingernails when they're perched on your hand, so I don't really know if that's a sign because he's been doing that since he was like 2-4 months old. I think him calling for me more often is because he views me as his mate, so in his mind, there isn't any reason for me to leave him. I haven't seen him masturbate on anyone or anything, so I don't think he's doing that yet. Is there anything else?

    Next, I've seen online to either not react to these mating behaviors, or to actively discourage them. Which do I do? I want him to have a relationship with both of us like he used to, but I understand if that's not going to happen if that's just his nature, and also since I'm the main one that spends time with him. I'd prefer it if he stopped biting my husband though. I've also been putting him to bed earlier the past week so the limited daylight hours lower his hormones, and will continue to do so for another week, but I don't know how long I should be doing this. I've seen recommendations to move his habitat, toys, and food around to discourage nesting, but I just got him a new huge habitat with a bunch of new toys a couple weeks ago. I've also stopped petting him on his back and wings. When I first got him, they told me to pet him all over so he'd get used to me touching him in preparation for the vet, trimming his talons, putting his wings in an aviator harness, etc. But now I'm just petting him on his head. Finally, I've seen suggestions that the "mate" spend less time with the hormonal cockatiel so they learn to divert their attention elsewhere, but we have a strong bond and hang out all the time, I don't want him to be lonely since he's a flock animal.

    I know behaviors vary between individuals, but I'm hoping I can get a more solid understanding of what cockatiels go through in general. Thanks for any info you can provide!
    Last edited by all.tiel.no.shade; 08-18-2020 at 10:41 PM.

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    Re: Questions about Cockatiel Hormones / Teenage Phase

    Your tiel is showing classic signs of hormones by displaying the heart shaped wings and bowing and yes, he is choosing you as a mate and not your husband. I do believe that as they age, they do go through phases in life, like you mentioned the teenage phase or I refer it to the "feathered monster" phase.

    Usually from my past experiences with males, they usually get hormonal in Feb-March and again in Aug-Sept. The best thing for you to do and it's going to be difficult is try not to handle your tiel. Once you start handling him and cuddling, kissing him and showing other signs of affection, it will only increase his hormones. If you have a mirror is his cage, remove it immediately and never put it back.. That is one toy a cockatiel should not have because it will set off the hormones.

    Limit the amount of daylight with your bird. I don't know what time you cover your bird for the evening, but the amount of daylight hours does trigger hormonal behavior. My male cockatiel usually is up around 6:30 am and is covers (we call it night-night) between 5 - 6 pm. He will be 9 in October and is now showing some signs of hormones. I also suggest that if the hormones do make his disposition on the "mean" side, put your cockatiel in another room of the home for a few weeks and cover him up earlier. This has worked for me in the past.

    Each bird has their own personality and how they handle hormones. Some snap out of it much quicker than others. It all depends on you and your tiel.

    I wish you the best of luck.. Please keep us posted.
    Tango / White Faced Pied Male: Hatched on October 09, 2011 - Homed on April 28, 2012.

    Tiels:
    Bows / Normal Gray Hen: 1976 - 1984
    Caesar / Normal Gray Male: 1977 - 1994
    Piper / Lutino Hen: 1994 - 2010
    Woodstock / Normal Gray Male: 2004 - 2011

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    Re: Questions about Cockatiel Hormones / Teenage Phase

    Thanks, Pipers Mom!

    I'll limit my time with him for a while then Makes me sad bc we spend so much time together, but if it'll decrease his hormones, that'll be for the best. I've never put a mirror in his habitat, I only give him a few minutes of supervised time in front of the bathroom mirror in the mornings and evenings when I'm brushing my teeth and such, but I'll stop that too while he's being a spicy chicken nugget!

    His daylight hours are usually 9am-12am, but I've been putting him to bed at 8pm lately instead of midnight. I'll continue that until I notice him being less spicy with the hubby.

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    Re: Questions about Cockatiel Hormones / Teenage Phase

    Quote Originally Posted by all.tiel.no.shade View Post
    Thanks, Pipers Mom!

    I'll limit my time with him for a while then Makes me sad bc we spend so much time together, but if it'll decrease his hormones, that'll be for the best. I've never put a mirror in his habitat, I only give him a few minutes of supervised time in front of the bathroom mirror in the mornings and evenings when I'm brushing my teeth and such, but I'll stop that too while he's being a spicy chicken nugget!

    His daylight hours are usually 9am-12am, but I've been putting him to bed at 8pm lately instead of midnight. I'll continue that until I notice him being less spicy with the hubby.

    I suggest putting your "Spicy Chicken Nugget" to bed even earlier than 8 pm. The less daylight, it should lighten up / ease hormone levels. Once the fall weather kicks in and your chicken nugget starts acting like himself again, then it will be okay to smother him with lots of love. Just remember, these birds instincts tell their little bodies what to do..
    Tango / White Faced Pied Male: Hatched on October 09, 2011 - Homed on April 28, 2012.

    Tiels:
    Bows / Normal Gray Hen: 1976 - 1984
    Caesar / Normal Gray Male: 1977 - 1994
    Piper / Lutino Hen: 1994 - 2010
    Woodstock / Normal Gray Male: 2004 - 2011

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    Re: Questions about Cockatiel Hormones / Teenage Phase

    Thanks, Pipers Mom! He did much better with my husband today, letting him pet his little head for a few minutes before the biting began. I can't wait to be able to cuddle him again, I feel so sad leaving him alone like this, but it seems to be working slowly. Will try putting him to bed around 6pm instead of 8pm then!

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    Re: Questions about Cockatiel Hormones / Teenage Phase

    It looks like our tiel is back to normal! He was sitting with my husband today, letting him pet him, and even getting up close for kisses -- no biting at all!

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