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If you have a cockatiel...

(32 Posts)
Home77 Wed 27-Feb-19 18:20:42

Is it a funny jolly one? DC have one inspired by Youtube clips of them doing peekaboo and cuddling their owners. Ours is quite grumpy (although loud and chatty) and tries to peck the if too close. It is early days but just wondered. I read online they can be a bit like cats and not all are cuddly.

GlamourBear Wed 27-Feb-19 18:36:15

We have one and he can be grumpy too, like most animals/birds really. They need a lot of time and attention to gain your trust from my experience , I also grew up with one. Once they get over the trust barrier with you they are such a lovely pet. Ours will sit on you and request to have the back of his head rubbed until he almost falls asleep. They do need quite a lot of attention too though, they are very social birds.

Home77 Wed 27-Feb-19 18:37:26

Thanks. I think ours might have come down with conjunctivitis in one eye, will take to the vets this week. Maybe that is making him cross.

PoliticalBiscuit Wed 27-Feb-19 18:46:15

Pleased to see this thread, I've seen so many wonderful videos of them but have no idea what they're like as pets. I'm aware I've seen a lot of nice videos of monkeys as well and know they're savage beasts at times!

Cockatiels seem quirky and charming. Would love to know more!

Tattybear16 Wed 27-Feb-19 18:52:50

They need time, interaction and company. I’m a safe house for birds that are given up by owners that become bored with them. They have a wide range of personalities just like us. I too have a victor meldrew, he can be a lot of fun, and some times he can be a right grumpy little boy.

The position of his crest feathers can tell you his mood. Straight-up crest feathers can mean he’s startled or highly curious. A defensive cockatiel will hold its crest feathers flattened close to his head, and he might be stressed if he hisses. A relaxed cockatiel will have slightly held back crest feathers, as well as fluffed cheek feathers and you might also hear him contentedly grinding its beak.

They normally like to forage on the bottom of the cage so make sure he’s got plenty to do, and food to discover. They also love a mirror.

Puddingmama2017 Wed 27-Feb-19 18:55:23

I’ve just rehomed the sweetest Quaker parrot for my son (not quite the same I know!) and she is lovely and soppy. She comes everywhere possible with us. She love the car.

The Parrot club forum has been great for advice. Nice to see a thread on birds.

Dellow Wed 27-Feb-19 19:08:36

Hi - Have loads of birds here. They are really lovely if handreared, that’s how they end up being so friendly and interactive but you do need to put the time into them to get the best from them. You mention that you think yours has conjunctivitis - this could be a vitamin deficiency ( vit A) manifesting itself - particularly if the bird is on a seed diet. An avian vet can give you something to sort it but sorting out his diet/ adding a vitamin & calcium supplement will be best in the long

Home77 Wed 27-Feb-19 19:12:45

Ok, we do give him Millet as well as the seed mix, and things like apple and other foods also. I am dreading taking him to the vet and being told to put drops in his eye. He will panic at that and bite. Maybe we can get a spray or antibiotics to go in his food perhaps.

Dieu Wed 27-Feb-19 19:54:50

Ohhh, are they the ones with the white quiff? I am hopelessly jealous (but have enough on with my existing pets!).
I have seen videos of them sitting on breakfast bars, throwing treats down to the dog! They're unfeasibly cute.

jarviscockatiel Wed 27-Feb-19 20:40:07

As my username suggests, I have a cockatiel - he's our fourth. They have all had huge personalities with our current one being the most intelligent. He's currently snuggled on my chest enjoying head rubs and beak kisses. He's generally very affectionate but when he's having a hormone surge he goes through periods of nasty biting. He's lots of fun - enjoys playing hide and seek behind curtains, whistles Happy Birthday to my toes and chews everything he can get his beak on. He is free to roam in the house and is not locked in his cage, yet chooses to spend his days sitting on our shoulders. We wouldn't be without one.

stayathomegardener Wed 27-Feb-19 23:01:05

My fine feathered friends.

whatwouldyoubelikeat28 Wed 27-Feb-19 23:11:38

They can be cheerful little fellows but hey are desperately full of energy and need lots of attention and affection, and can get very needy and shout if not given it. That said, they are not always cuddly, they may just want to be near you.
Seed based diets can amp them up, a bit like steroids for birds. A diet of mixed pellets, fresh fruits and veg, shells and cuttlefish etc, and lots of toys to play with will help keep them healthy and entertained.

Frequency Wed 27-Feb-19 23:16:12

DD1's has anger issues. It spits seed at people when it doesn't get its own way but is very affectionate and charming when it is being given the attention it demands 24/7. We found that rotating toys so there was always something new in the cage minimised the seed spitting issue. DD2's is still a baby and in the process of being tamed.

Home77 Thu 28-Feb-19 08:56:33

We let him out and he climbed up high and sat on the top pf a cupboard all afternoon! Any thought on whether clipping the wings is better or not? I'm not sure how we would do it though as he hates being picked up.

I found some special fat / food balls we already have which are enriched in vitamin A and other vitamins. He wasn't keen on these I think, but have replaced the seed mix for today to see if he will eat some. he does like a piece of apple to eat in the side of the bars.

i wonder if there might be a spray for the conjunctivitis or drops to put in his water online. (to save the stress if the vets) or maybe can take a photo of him to show them! Not sure.

they do seem like sweet birds. Yes ours is a yellow colours with a yellow quiff and orange cheeks! My favourite call is a coo-ing one, but he also drums his beak at times on the perch. The children made him a house out of a box and we put it in the cage but he is very wary of that and seems to sleep in the branch. The other thing, he does like is a kind of cork log we bought for him which he likes to pull moss off- he doesn't seem to enjoy the little bells and others toys we got though.

Oh, he is eating the fat balls, good. His nose is also a bit funny so wonder if he has a slight infection, we were away over half term and not sure if water was changed as much. (did have someone looking after but not sure if as frequently as usual- twice a day is usual). he has a habit of sitting on it and using it as a toilet at times!- lovely.

Home77 Thu 28-Feb-19 08:58:14

Yes, frequency they can be a bit like toddlers I read. Funny and cute but demanding! Ours doesn't like hands- and goes for them...puts the DC off a bit. Trying to have them stop putting hands near and stay back a week bit for him to come to them.

Home77 Thu 28-Feb-19 09:00:06

Jarviscockateil did you have yours from quite young, does that help in taming them I wonder? What would you say was your best tip for starting with one (who is maybe a but timid)? Thanks.

Enchomage Thu 28-Feb-19 13:41:15

Good for asking,and finding out all you can.
Like others have said:they are as individual as humans,and as prone to be in different moods.
Be patient,give him time to settle in,and it will take time.He has a lot to learn about his new home and the people.
He will have flown up high as it's natural behaviour to be safe and to have a vantage point.
His cage will also be a safe place,that he should be allowed to choose to retreat to (and not hauled out of to be company if he doesn't want to,not that you sound as if you would)
Please do not try to clip his wings.No vet would do it for you,it is literally crippling the bird and no longer done.You could also risk causing deep trauma and haemorrhage.He could justifiably fear you ever after.He needs his flight for safety.It's up to us to protect them against the risk of escape and of predators..Clipping used to be done to limit the risk of flying far if escaped.Not a good idea a cat could be just ready for a disabled bird.
The eye problem etc does sound like a vitamin deficiency.Spinach has vitamin a,dark greens are good.Seed diets are over fatty,(they love millet,but is is especially so,so is just as a treat) They need their seed mix to be balanced with fresh fruit and vegetables,or substituted for a reputable parrot mix.
You need a vet who can handle the needs of birds,not all can or do,so ask when you ring.
A bird who is not used to being handled,and a new owner who has not had to administer meds to a bird before may not be prescribed eye drops,nor actually need them if it's dietary.
Enjoy your bird!They are great pets.
Off to talk to my 2 small parrots,and try to distract the latest rescue budgie from endlessly and it seems gleefully, reciting what I exclaimed at him last night when he nipped me for not paying him enough heed !

Enchomage Thu 28-Feb-19 14:10:31

Went to refresh food and water for my birds and thought:how could I not have said:
Easy management of vitamin needs:
Daily Essentials 1,powder added to the drinking water.

It contains Vits A,D3,E,C, also B1,B2,B6,B12,K,and essential minerals.They all seem to like it,it colours the water yellow.Just add the correct amount to 200 mls of water.There is also Daily essentials 3 but it goes onto food as I remember and I find it less simple to use.

I get mine on line,it's made by The Birdcare Company.E Bay prob. has suppliers,I go to Northern Parrots.They also do a huge range of different feeds,treats and endless toys.

Rowgtfc72 Thu 28-Feb-19 15:11:19

We got Billybird off a friend of a friend when he was 15.
Took about a year but eventually he would put his head on your shoulder to be rubbed and he would lay flat in your hand while you tickled him.
He was that chilled a couple of times my mum went to put the washing out forgetting he was on her shoulder.
Favourite photo of him was in his cage in the garden with two cats snoozing underneath.
Didn't do too bad,he lived to 33.

Home77 Thu 28-Feb-19 15:36:22

Thanks for the tip Echo about the vitamins - I will try and get some of that. He's been eating quite a bit of the new ball type food which is good. He does seem more perky today so wondering if this might help the eye as well.

I read they like brussels sprouts so got home a few at the market stall. I'm feeling a bit sorry he was a bit neglected while we were away attention wise also, so have been chatting to him today. He also enjoyed a youtube video of some birds (they have them 3 hours of birds for cockatiels!) as did the zebra finches as well (we have them in a seperate cage, a male and female).

Oh, I'm confused about the wing clipping, seems some mixed opinions there as our book says a very light clip can be helpful, so they can fly but not too much.

Enchomage Thu 28-Feb-19 18:02:53

Good for hesitating about wing clipping.
The world famous Dick Vet School in Edinburgh will not do it.

It is sadly, a brutal practice that maims a flighted creature by the very people who should be protecting it.They can't fly properly and safely with clipped wings,it's why they are clipped!To hamper flight.You would be stopping them from keeping themselves safe.That alone is stressing for a bird,it's an ongoing stress.

There is the risk of cutting blood feather which effectively open an artery and lets it flow like a tap.You can accidentally harm the bird while handling it ,or even kill it.

People will tell you "we've always done it"
That's no reason.
As Dr Johnston once said:"The longevity of an abuse should not excuse its continuence" !

Any other argument apart,there is simply no need for it.Let your little bird settle in calmly and enjoy the relationship you will build.

Enchomage Thu 28-Feb-19 18:21:50

Here's a thought: if you are afraid you'll loose your bird because it escapes the house,here's where your helping it feels secure that its cage is a safe place to be comes in.
You cart the cage outside and place it in view.Most escapees don't go far,they are not prone to shooting off into unchartered territory.Birds are cautious beasts.
Let them return to base.
I have successfully rounded up a canary ,(the same escape artist twice!),a small parrot and a zebra finch in this way.
Your tame cockatiel will want to return to you.
I was once in a pet shop in the States where they had an escaped zebra finch flying about.All it took was to gently usher it towards his cage and his mates and be ready to swiftly open the hatch to let him back inside when he clung to the bars.You'll know that works.

Home77 Fri 01-Mar-19 10:19:13

We live in a city centre flat, would just keep the windows shut I guess.

he's been flying out twice and both times went up high and wouldn't go back in- we needed to pick him up and he squealed and bit, to go back (not very nice) not sure how to get him back in otherwise.

Enchomage Fri 01-Mar-19 11:16:36

When I have a new bird I get them to move onto a stick,a spare perch will do,they soon get used to the command "step up" as you approach it towards their legs,just a wee bit higher than a perch parallel to where they are sitting,if that makes sense?,so as you get nearer to them, their inclination is to step up onto the branch rather than stumble.Then you gently carry them still perched,to their cage.
Mine actually come now(launching themselves across the room, if I call "taxi" as they see it as transport to whatever interesting is going on!
You do have to be very disciplined about windows,but you'll get into a routine of windows shut before bird is out,I have mosquito mesh across the window in the room my birds are in so I can open it in hot summers.Otherwise it's make sure there is no access to any room with an open window.
P.m me if you like.My late father was a vet,I have had rescue and pet birds for more years than I will admit to.They are great pets,much smarter than dogs and cats,though I like them too.

Enchomage Fri 01-Mar-19 11:41:09

2 more techniques that help,in early days,I have a small lightweight cage , that sits near their big cage,so they are used to it.It 's used so that I can hold it up to a bird perching and tell them to "step on".A piece of that tempting millet on top of it can help.Then carry them back to their own base.(it's how I rounded up that travelling canary)

Have a section of the roof of their own cage covered with a towel so they have a nice safe covered corner where they know hawks or whatever predators they imagine can't get them! Seriously it makes them feel extra good about their home,and happy to return to it.

If you really struggle to get them down or have a bird you are trying to round up from danger and can't see how, have a large soft cloth,a pillow case will do,gently drop it over them and quietly pick them up keeping their wings to their sides and carry them home.Give them a treat when they get there.

My parrot escape happened when I was unaware that I had a bird on top of my towelled head after shampooing my hair, I went to the back door and off went a conure.The taxi stick was my saviour.I stood under the apple tree and said,"not funny,taxi!" With beating heart.Down she came. Conures are jesters,she had to sit and run her beak along a branch and do her conure chuckle first.Now I routinely check for passengers.

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