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Potential friend for Alfie

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Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Sarahk » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:32 pm

In a previous post I discussed getting friend for my six year old male cockatiel, Alfie. I have found a small rescue about an hour from me that has a two year old female, who like Alfie is semi tame.
I am hesitant though, because I read that cockatiels breed readily. I know that if they are on a solar schedule, they would only breed in the correct season, but I don't want babies.
Is it a case that they would only breed if I provide a nest box? Will I have to remove eggs and will the hate me if I do? I have never housed to birds together (yes yes I know, quarantine, slow introductions...) I believe she also has a male, so that would also be an option.
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby liz » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:18 am

Cockatiels do what Cockatiels want to do. I have a bonded pair that did not mate and did not lay eggs. They did sit on the fake eggs together (meaning both at the same time like) like playing house.

Long ago I had a lone female who laid 12 eggs in one month.

I have singles in my flock who are friends but don't mate. They are friends only.

So far I have learned to keep them on a low protein diet.
Give them a solar schedule.
Keep fake eggs on hand to swop out with the real ones.
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Pajarita » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:09 am

If you keep them to a strict solar schedule and expose them to, at the very least, 1.5 hours of twilight both at dawn and dusk AND feeding them a lower protein diet during the non-breeding season AND don't give them a lot of baths (frequent baths -rain!- makes them hormonal because, in the wild, they start going into breeding condition during the end of the rainy season so they can breed and raise their babies during the dry), they should only get hormonal during breeding season. When this happens, get them a nest and check in it every morning (they lay an egg every other day) and, when you find a new one, switch it with a fake one (they sell them online) and everybody will be happy! The birds will have a normal life with seasons as it should be and you will have no babies. Make sure you provide enough calcium and vit D3 (a cuttle bone and a multivitamin/mineral supplement twice a week PLUS a dosage of Calcivet in their water the same day you find the new egg will take care of that).

And THANK YOU SO MUCH for doing what would make Alfie VERY happy!!! :danicing:
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Sarahk » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:43 pm

Thanks.
I did not know that about the baths. OK, it sounds manageable, I think.

Do they get emotionally connected to their eggs? I know it's probably anthropomorphism, but would they be sad when their eggs don't hatch?
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Navre » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:24 pm

Sarahk wrote:Thanks.
I did not know that about the baths. OK, it sounds manageable, I think.

Do they get emotionally connected to their eggs? I know it's probably anthropomorphism, but would they be sad when their eggs don't hatch?


They will be defensive of them but When they don't Hatch, they abandon them after a while. It's important to remember that about 80% of eggs layed and babies born never make it to adulthood in the wild. They're hardwired to move on.
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Pajarita » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:52 am

John is correct. In the wild, reproduction is not that easy so they don't really dwell on eggs that don't hatch and, besides, animals are 100% pragmatic about these things which is great because they also don't dwell on handicaps, they just take one day at a time and keep on going.
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Sarahk » Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:17 am

Well, things didn't go quite to plan. The two year old female has found a home elsewhere, which is a shame.
I went to get Alfie a new seedmate feeder in the bird store. I intended to ask them about what hand reared babies they were expecting in the coming breeding season (I am in Australia, so we are mid winter at the moment). This store has really good reviews, so I was expecting great things from them. I was pretty disappointed, the guy was very nice and trying to be helpful, but he was fairly dismissive of my (I though) well researched ideas.

They clip the wings of the babies that come in - so they don't lose them in free flight around the store. I asked if it were possible to get them without a clip. He asked me why, I gave him a rant about all the advantages of not clipping and I wanted a baby that would have a chance to develop fully without a handicap. He was insistent that it would not make a difference. He said if I wanted an unclipped bird, I would have to contact them before they clipped them, but after the babies came in. I asked how would I know when they were in, can you call me. He said no... Then how am I supposed to get to you before they are clipped? Should I call once a week? It became pretty clear that he just didn't want to sell me an unclipped bird, so I dropped it. I didn't really want to buy the feeder from him a at this stage, but it was the only place I could get it.

While he was getting it for me, I was visiting with the birds, and there was a baby cockatiel female. (You know where this is going...) She was in a cage with her brother, a big lutino. She has a very untidy one sided wing clip, she is tiny, supposedly hand reared, but not hand tame. I know I shouldn't have given the store my business, but I hated the idea of someone else taking her.

So, now we have a juvenile female, we named her Bunny, because she looks like a dust bunny. She isn't too happy with me right now, but she is eating and exploring her cage. She and Alfie have been calling to one another from two rooms away. When she is done with quarantine I will try and get a side by side so you can see how little she is.

She is eating gloop, which I am pretty happy about, because Alfie is yet to be convinced about it. Despite her dodgy wing clip, she can glide pretty well, so I don't think I will do the other one. The sooner it's moulting time the better.

Needless to say, I will not be going back there. I cannot save all their birds, and despite my experience with the store, they are very well respected, the place was clean and the birds healthy, but they have very old school ideas of bird keeping. Maybe that is the standard in Australia, I don't know.
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:37 pm

Well, welcome to the forum, little Bunny! But how do you know it's a female? Because all babies look like females as far as I can tell... As to the petstore people being 'old fashioned' in Australia - hmmm, nope - I think they have the same obsolete ideas all over the world! I don't think it's so much that they are old-fashioned but that they don't really want to learn because, if they did, they would have to admit to their clients that what they are doing is bad for the poor birds and no businessman is going to do that!
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Sarahk » Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:32 pm

I don't know 100% that she is a girl, but for now, she looks like a girl, and her name is gender neutral, so we will see. When we got Alfie, he was maybe a little older but his cheek patches were already distinct, but he is a lutino, so maybe they are brighter.

If it turns out that she is in fact a he, perhaps it will be a good excuse to get a whole flock of cockatiels :D

I have had a hard time finding anyone with birds who will agree to sell me one unclipped- it's disgraceful, if some one wants to clip wings then that is up to them, but it should at least be choice. And, it is sad when some one, who clearly loves birds, is too stuck in there ways to make some changes for the welfare of there animals.

Anyway, Bunny is doing well, confidence is growing, she will come out of the cage by herself, though she still doesn't trust my hands.
Sarahk
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Re: Potential friend for Alfie

Postby Pajarita » Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:04 pm

Yes, you found the perfect word for the pet bird industry: disgraceful! Sounds like Bunny is getting used very nicely to her new home :thumbsup:
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