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Screaming Cockatiel

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Screaming Cockatiel

Postby HoldOnDodge » Sun May 27, 2012 8:29 am

Hi, this is my first post in the forum so please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong!

I adopted a 3 year old cockatiel 4 days ago from a family that did not have the proper time to care for it. They told me that they handled him often, but I'm starting to think that "often" was more of a "never".
He screams constantly, there really is never a point in time where he isn't screaming. At first I thought it was a sign that he wanted my attention, and although I know it isn't recommended to reward that, I was glad he wanted me. But whenever I go near his cage he paces back and forth, very unsure, and puffs out and shakes.
This is my first bird (other than parakeets when I was a child), and although I've been reading and studying everything there is to know about cockatiels, screaming seems to have fallen by the wayside and I can't find a proper article to help.
He knows how to say the name his old family gave him, which is smokey bird. He will say it every now and again but it's very random. I just want to be able to at least go up to his cage without him freaking out.
(Sidenote: I spend a large amount of time on my computer, which is less than two feet away from his cage in a living room where my two dogs and mother pass through quite often. He sees me for at least 5-6 hours a day, and my mother for at least 1-2.)
I know that I signed up for his toddler-like habits, and his morning/evening screaming. But this screaming has just gotten out of hand. Help!

Edit:

Okay, I know I just posted the last issue but I've just found another. The previous owner had told me that they would let him out and he liked to sit on his cage and observe the household. He also told me that his wings were clipped. Well, Dodge (I renamed him) was screaming and climbing on his door so I decided that maybe all his screaming was just so he could be let out. And considering how he's been in a cage for 4 days I couldn't really blame him. First thing the little guy does? Fly to the other side of the room. If his wings were ever clipped, it wasn't anytime recently. This guy can fly without any problem at all. He's currently perched on the window sill, and keeps threatening to fly when I go near him. Although he has fallen silent, I'm pretty sure he's just extremely confused/scared. Help, again!
Today is just not my day. :[
HoldOnDodge
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Male Grey Cockatiel
Flight: Yes

Re: Screaming Cockatiel

Postby liz » Sun May 27, 2012 8:58 am

You are right. He is confused and scared. He has only been there for 4 days. Letting him fly lets him know that you do not want to dominate him or force him to do something he does not want. When they have the freedom to fly they are much more well adjusted.
Let him go. When he sees that you are not chasing him he will come back to you. Maybe his cage is too close. No 2 birds react the same. Give him time. Cockatiels are the most beautiful of parrots.
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liz
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Location: Archdale NC USA
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BF Amazon Myrtle
4 Cockatiels in a flock
1 Lovebird
2 Budgies
Flight: Yes

Re: Screaming Cockatiel

Postby HoldOnDodge » Sun May 27, 2012 9:33 am

Thank you for your quick response. He landed on his cage after a while, but was reluctant to go inside. Of course this was when my neighbor started to mow his lawn so he started going crazy and flew into a few walls before landing back on the cage. I tried to get him to step up but he wasn't having it and bit repeatedly. I was able to get my hand under him and sweeped him into the cage as swiftly as possible. He seems totally fine, he's grooming and ate almost immediately after.
Will he ever trust me enough to step up? I am too nervous to let him out of his cage again until I know that he will come back to me.
HoldOnDodge
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Male Grey Cockatiel
Flight: Yes

Re: Screaming Cockatiel

Postby liz » Sun May 27, 2012 9:44 am

Myrtle was 1 when I got her. I have had her a year. Stepping up came long after tickle and peek a boo. She would fly to me and walk all over me before step up. She came skinny, dirty, dull and clipped and scared. Once she had her flight feathers and knew she had some freedom she became a completely different bird. When I got her I thought I would never be able to touch her but that was okay with me as long as she was happy.

Change in personality: She used to back off from my hands. This morning I found her under my blanket upside down and kicking me to wake me up. She is a joy but that is a rough way of waking up.

Don't worry. You already love the little bird and he is just learning that you do.
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liz
Cockatoo
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2676
Location: Archdale NC USA
Number of Birds Owned: 9
Types of Birds Owned: DYH Amazon Rambo
BF Amazon Myrtle
4 Cockatiels in a flock
1 Lovebird
2 Budgies
Flight: Yes

Re: Screaming Cockatiel

Postby HoldOnDodge » Sun May 27, 2012 4:15 pm

Oh that is so good to hear! I still wish he would stop with the screaming, he is especially loud when he see's that I'm eating a meal. Perhaps his previous owners fed him table scraps. I've also found that he is a better guard dog than my actual dogs, he screams before he can even see anyone in the window! I really hope Dodge can become as close to me as Myrtle is to you, that is so cute that he tried waking you up! Can't wait to hear and share more stories.
HoldOnDodge
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Male Grey Cockatiel
Flight: Yes

Re: Screaming Cockatiel

Postby pennyandrocky » Sun May 27, 2012 4:30 pm

any bird safe food you have for dinner put it in his bowel he'll love it.
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Re: Screaming Cockatiel

Postby marie83 » Sun May 27, 2012 5:41 pm

I've had a few rescue cockatiels and a couple of them have been extremely wild, they would thrash violently if I even went in the room, never mind near their actual cage. Everyone has their own way of doing things but I will just go through the methods I use, i never force them into doing anything they are not comfortable with.
For now I would try your best to ignore the constant screaming, I think he is just insecure at the moment and will calm down, if not I don't think there is anything you can do until he trusts you but in the meantime be careful not to reinforce it as it will make it harder to deal with later on.

Obviously you need to go near the cage for feeding/watering and cleaning but I suggest just getting on with it slowly and talk to him, tell him every little thing your doing 'I'm just going to get your bowl now/change your paper' etc I've found that gets them used to the routines alot quicker.

I also get a chair and sit at the nearest distance the bird is comfortable with for a while and gradually move closer until they are calm with me sitting directly outside the cage. I keep talking to them at each stage but try not to look directly at them so they dont see me as a threat. When I have to look at them I only take little glances and look away again straight away, eventually you will be able to look for longer periods of time.

Once you can sit directly outside the cage you can start to offer treats through the bars, sunflowers tend to be a big favorite of 'tiels but you will need to ration them because of the fat content, start by offering whole ones and as he learns to take them you can then break them up so a few sunflowers go further. Try to use other treats too if you can because like I said they are very fatty and not very nutritious but to start with it may be the only thing thats tempting enough.

When he is comfortable with you feeding him through the bars open the door and start giving them through the door. Let him come to the doorway to get them, don't put your hand right into his space. At this point I attach a perch to the outside of the cage, right next to the door and start to lure them onto the perch. Again wait til the birds completely comfortable with this and automatically comes to the perch to get his treats before you progress any further.

At this point you can either (1)use your finger as an extention of the perch and lure him further and further onto it to get him used to the feel of your hand, or (2)you can hold your hand parallel to the perch in front of it and lure him to step up that way. If he is particually nervous you may need to do 1 then progress to 2.

It will take time so you will need patience, take things at your birds pace, everything that happens needs to be his choice. It may turn out that you don't need to do everything I mentioned or you may need to do everything for days/months on end til he is confident. Hopefully he will settle down fairly quickly for you. Magic took a few days, Jack took a few months doing it this way (I think he just wasn't tame), same with a Rosella I had but Harlie has taken years (she was previously abused).
Once you have his trust and he is enjoying being around you then you can start working on other taming and training exercises, including the screaming issue. Hope this helps some and let us know how you get on.
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marie83
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Re: Screaming Cockatiel

Postby Cage Cleaner » Sun May 27, 2012 11:26 pm

The guy has just been taken from the only environment/flock that he's ever known. It's possible that he's calling out for them. Getting no response, he just tries harder.

Also, it's only been four days (at least at time of posting). The bird is still settling and needs to get used to his new home. In this case, it's likely that he just needs to realize that your place is now his new home. There is -nothing- there, aside from his cage, that is familiar to him.

Cockatiels, unlike the other larger parrots, operate on the n-survival curve. This means that they mass produce offspring with the intention that only a few survive. So, his flighty behavior seems appropriate. The larger parrots on the other hand, seem to be much better behaved when in new territory than they later become :P.

If you don't mind the poops, I would just let him fly, too. He's likely a) trying to find his flockmates, and b) trying to figure out where the heck he even is. Make sure he doesn't chew anything that would be harmful. Give him at least a month or two to chill and get used to his new surroundings. It will probably take that long, or longer. It definitely took that long with both my parrots when they first arrived.

Good luck. I had a common grey a few years ago. He died at the ripe old age of 18. They are really nice little birds.
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