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Thread: Newbie questions

  1. #1
    I'm a birdbrain! Brand New Egg
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    Newbie questions

    Hi

    I've been doing some reading online and am starting to wonder how much cockatiel knowledge Gracie's former owner had! We got Gracie yesterday. She arrived in a 24 inch tall by 18 inch across round cage with no grate on the bottom over the paper tray, a dish full of grit, and a bag of parakeet seed (she won't touch sunflower seeds, former owner said) and some parakeet treat seed umn, bars, for lack of a better word. According to her former owner, she needs the grit, shouldn't have fruit or vegetables or pellets, all she needs is seed, doncha know.

    She also has a washcloth through the bars of the cage door, so she can perch on it, like. The old owner, Carol says that she likes to chew on it, and I am wondering, can this be safe and sensible? Threads in a cat's gut can literally kill them, what can it do to a bird?

    Carol also said that the bird doesn't mind cold or heat, just keep her out of direct drafts. Is this correct? Or is there an optimal room temperature that I should try to maintain? I notice that Gracie is fluffing up a fair bit and looks like she's shivering. According to some sites, this means she is cold, others say it means that she's frightened. Anybody?

    Also, can anybody recommend a good book for a newbie tiel owner?

    At this point I am discarding everything her old owner told me about caring for Gracie and starting from scratch.

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Always Awing Tailfeather featherjinxer's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie questions

    Take her to a avian vet!!!
    Regarding the food, supply her with cockatiel seed ASAP (If seed is all you know she eats, not pellets),
    and if she is that used to parakeet seed, you may need to mix some in to make sure she is eating enough.
    Give her the option of eating vegetables, make sure they do not spoil, change about every 2 hrs If whe has never eaten them, she probbably won't, but as she adjusts to you, she will explore and try them (I am talking months.

    Take the grit OUT, it is not necessary for cockatiels. You did not say if she had other perches, but I would remove the cloth until you find out if it is safe, and give her some other perches if she has none. If you want to use tree branches, most fruit tree (apple, pear etc) are safe, be very sure they have NEVER had pesticides used on/near them. It is a good idea to put them in the oven for a few min. at 250+ to burn off any pathogens, bugs, etc. that are microscopic.
    It is true cockateils can withstand temperature fluctuations, but should not be purposely exposed to them, indoor birds dofine in a comfortable human environment. Ex. You could survive in 40 degree weather bur probably get/feel sick, same at 110, right? Not good for the bird. Make sure she is not in a draft (check for this by placing a candle where her cage will be, watch the flame. Take her out of the room (in her cage) while doing this until the smell has dissipated.

    Round cages are not suggested because the don't provide a 'safe' corner for the bird, no "escape" from something scary where they will feel safe. As soon as you can afford it, buy the largest cockateil cage you can afford.

    It may be helpful to know- is she tame at all, I would expect not, but will she step on your hand or anything? If she dosen't, DON"T force her to, this will only further scare her.

    I am still kinda new to cockateils too, but have kept other types of birds for about 8 years now. The other members will have a LOT more to say to help you, I'm sure. Hope this gets you started. Gracie is EXTREMLY lucky to have you!

  3. #3
    I'm a birdbrain! Brand New Egg
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    Re: Newbie questions

    Already have an appointment for her at our pet hospital, they have two avian specialists on staff, thank goodness! She seems very perky and healthy, but I do want her checked.

    The grit is gone, as is the washcloth. I replaced that with paper towel, which this site says is a safe item for the cage. There are two natural wood perches in the cage, and a cuttlebone and mineral block. We're hitting the pet supply store tonight for pellets and cockatiel seed, and the grocery for some fresh stuff (I tend to use canned).

    We're buying a new cage tonight and this one is going in the trash. I won't pass it on to another person and make some other poor bird miserable. She really seems to love traveling around the perimeter of the cage with beak and claws, I hope that she adjusts well to a different shape. Also, in reading on this site and others, I have learned that this cage's bars are WAY too far apart. I am starting to wonder how Gracie survived ten years with her last owner.

    She is extremely tame. She likes me to rub her head and neck with my fingertip and she perches on my shoulder when I have her out of the cage. There are other animals in the house, two cats and one dog. The cats never, ever leave the bedroom (by their OWN choice!), and the dog spends most of the day outside, so Gracie spends a good bit of time with the cage door open - that's where the washcloth was that she perched on.

    While writing this, she just started mimicking me! I do the tcht tcht tongue/teeth sound when I'm talking to her, and she just started making it out of the blue. Former owner said she never mimics!

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    Re: Newbie questions

    First I want to say that you are doing a very very good job, don't quit !

    and we are all glad that you are taking all the right steps to a very happy bird

  5. #5
    I shouldn't let Dan change my title...he's not very creative Found a Mate flyingduster's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie questions

    you're doing everything right! yay! just a note about the tiel seed mix: most have sunflower seeds, but the fact she doesn't like them isn't a bad thing, they're fattening and she should only get a few at a time anyway! try adding pellets and fresh foods (which your gonna try anyway! yay!) yay that the round cage is going, they're horrible things. she may feel weird, having been in a round cage so long and going to a square/rectangle cage, but if it's in the same place, and has the same perches and toys etc, she'll be ok!
    congrats on the new tiel, they're wonderful critters, and it's awsome shes' tame! what colour is she? is she definatly female (just thinking about the mimicing thing, males tend to mimic more than females.... though that's not always true!) how old is she?
    anyway, congrats, and your doing great!

    FD

  6. #6
    I'm a birdbrain! Brand New Egg
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    Re: Newbie questions

    Definitely female, according to the former owner, who says that she occasionally lays eggs. Unless boy birds do something I never knew they did, she's a girl.. or unless the ex owner can't tell an egg from a poop, which may just be possible!

    We went to the vet late this arvo and he says she looks to be very healthy. He clipped her wings and talons and showed us how to do it, but I think we'll just pay him the $20 to take care of it, I'm afraid of hurting her. I asked him about her sex and he says that she can't be sexed by eye because she's a lutino pearl and you can't tell anything by color vividness there. He said we could do a lab test, but that it wasn't really all that necessary, so we opted to save the cash for when we have a real veterinary need other than curiosity. Besides, I reckon if she lays eggs like the old owner said, then we'll find out soon enough. Either way, her name is Gracie, regardless of sex.

    Went to the little upscale pet shop in town and bought some cockatiel seed, some organic pellets, a few toys. Carol (former owner) mustn't have known this bird well. She eats the sunflower seeds. There are several shells on the paper in the cage. She also seems to love the toys, she's been climbing around on them like anything.

    Carol had mentioned that she got the bird when her ex husband said no to cats and yes to birds. When they divorced six months ago she got the bird, and now also has two cats. I am starting to think that she didn't spend much time with the bird. The woman told me that a dozen sheets of newspaper cut into circles and laid in the bottom of the cage would last for, and I quote here, "months". Based on the mess in there this arvo, that's not exactly accurate. Months? More like a few hours! Husks, poop, bird down, the paper absolutely is going to get changed every day!

    We found a beautiful cage, simple lines, but nicely sized, 29 inches tall by 18.5 inches by 14.5 inches, can be hung up or placed on the stand that comes with it. We're buying it Friday, when we get paid. Also getting a birdy gym that clamps on to the top and has climbing stuff and spots to hang toys from.

    Every minute I fall deeper and deeper in love with Gracie. She seems to love perching on my shoulder and preening my ponytail. We got a book on tiels at the pet supply shop and that said that when they preen you they're happy. Yay!

    I am so glad I found this site. Sorry for being so verbose!

    BTW: Which part Aotearoa are you from? My hubby's family are from Christchurch and Auckland.

  7. #7
    I shouldn't let Dan change my title...he's not very creative Found a Mate flyingduster's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie questions

    hehe, i read your other post (in intros) that she supossably layed all the time, and saw the pic, she's a pied which is impossible to sex by looking at, like the vet said (though saying she's lutino pied makes no difference, as a pied and lutino pied would be the same thing!!!)
    wing clipping is easy as pie once ya get it right, but it's also just as easy to get the vet to do it!
    just a note: the abosolute minimum cage size we reccomend is 18"x18"x20"..... so no offence, but i think that cage you wanna get is too small. it might LOOK fine, and be a great cage and everything, propbably looks just the right size sitting there in the shop too! but it's surprising how they shrink once ya put a long tiel in them! it's the 14.5" that really gets me, that's really thin! they need to be able to sit on a perch, and do their little 'bend over and spread out wings and tail and flap about like a crazy bird" thing, without hitting the cage on any side....... heck, they need to be able to simply sit and not have their tail poking out the back, which i think, can't be done very well with a 14.5" deep cage... also, the cage is a tall narrow one right? tiels fly across, not up and down. though with lots of time out she will get the chance to hop across to perches etc, but when locked in her cage, she'll favor the highest perch, and pretty much ignore the bottom ones unless the food and/or cage door is down there. to get anywhere she'll have to climb down the side of the cage.
    one thing i've noticed with tall narrow cages is they also tend to have what we call 'gillotine' doors. they type that slides up to open. they're not reccomended either! and with tall narrow cages, there's not much option for placing perches!!! i know i know, i'm dashing what ya thought was the perfect cage! but it's better to find out now, before it's been bought, right!? look around, and see if ya can't find any bigger cages.... and give her LOTS of time out of that round cage..... though, having dashed this lovely innocent cage to bits, i gotta say it IS better than that darn round one!
    good luck!

    FD

  8. #8
    I shouldn't let Dan change my title...he's not very creative Found a Mate flyingduster's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie questions

    oh yeah, hehe, and i'm from way down south in dunedin, or there abouts anyway! chch isn't too far away.....

    FD

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