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Training and Bonding Give and recieve tips on training and bonding with your cockatiel here.

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  #1  
Old 12-28-2016, 05:22 PM
Abstdh Abstdh is offline
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Default Tiel dislikes stepping up and going out

Hello! This is my first time posting on this website. I'm a proud mother of two tiels, Fluffi (4 yrs old) and Sunny (2 yrs old).

I've been through a ton of stuff in the last year and haven't had a chance to bond with the birds a lot —mostly 15 minutes a day if that, longer on the weekends. Sunny was completely fine with those arrangements and is happy with the extra attention I've been able to give the birds recently, but Fluffi wasn't.

She's not scared of my hands; she'll happily accept scratches, as long as it's when I'm sticking a finger through the cage bars. I've worked with her the past month to the point where she'll (cautiously) let me pet her when I open te cage door and use my whole hand to pet her, but she absolutely will not allow being petted outside of the cage.

Fluffi also dislikes stepping up; she will sometimes, but she's verrrrrry wary about it. If I have her step up when she's inside the cage, it's nearly impossible unless there's a lot of food involved. Any time I offer her my finger (I don't force it on her), she hisses and/or runs away. If I have her step up when she's outside, she does it five times out of ten. If she does, she flies away 1 second later. I can't hold her or even have her standing on my hand for while.

This wan't always the case— when she was a baby (3 months old), she was fine with it, but after I had to spend less time with them, she closed up. I know this is my fault, and I'm hoping to undo the damage.

How can I fix this? Is it just a part of her personality, even though she used to be more trusting? I've looked at many things online, but all of them assume the cockatiel is completely terrfied of the person. Fluffi isn't. As I said, she'll let me pet her and she absolutely loves it, unless she's outside the cage.

Sunny went through the same thing as Fluffi, but she's still very friendly and cuddly in and out of the cage... not sure why.

Any advice?

Last edited by Abstdh; 12-28-2016 at 05:25 PM.. Reason: added some more details
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2016, 09:21 AM
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It is a trust issue. She may not like your fingers as much as you think. Tiels have to believe that the surface they are stepping on is stable, which is why they use their beaks to test things out. If she doesn't trust your hand is stable she won't step up.

The best way to work with this is with millet and away from the cage/other bird, like in another room. This way, her whole attention is on you, not on trying to get back to the cage or other bird. 15 minutes a day is a good time to work with her, it gives her time to focus without losing her attention. Ladder training worked well for me in training stepping up, as the bird was constantly stepping up and it was a game more than me making a request. I used millet to start but eventually that wasn't needed anymore. It's going to take time and patience to get her to trust you again.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:38 AM
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How does Fluffi respond when you are interacting with Sunny? I heard that raising a second bird (older or younger) can be easier when the first bird is already very tame, because the second bird will copy the behaviour of the first one.
Of course it would also depend on how much Sunny trusts you. Does Sunny always step up and let you pet her outside and inside of the cage, or does she also have her 'moments' when she doesn't do this?

I suggest trying what Roxy suggested and train with Fluffi separately, about 15 minutes a day. In addition you can still interact with both of them at the same time, maybe if Fluffi sees how much fun Sunny has interacting with you, she'll want the same and grow to trust you more again

Good luck, and let us know how things go with your fids!
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:50 AM
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Thank you both for your replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by roxy culver View Post
It is a trust issue. She may not like your fingers as much as you think. Tiels have to believe that the surface they are stepping on is stable, which is why they use their beaks to test things out. If she doesn't trust your hand is stable she won't step up.

The best way to work with this is with millet and away from the cage/other bird, like in another room. This way, her whole attention is on you, not on trying to get back to the cage or other bird. 15 minutes a day is a good time to work with her, it gives her time to focus without losing her attention. Ladder training worked well for me in training stepping up, as the bird was constantly stepping up and it was a game more than me making a request. I used millet to start but eventually that wasn't needed anymore. It's going to take time and patience to get her to trust you again.
I convinced her to start stepping up, both as a baby and now, with millet, so that should help. I'd really like to follow this advice, but I can't get her to step up at all when she's outside, let alone be able to do ladder training without her flying away.

I'm pretty sure my hand is stable when I offer it to her, but I'll keep an eye on that to see if that's the issue here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lore View Post
How does Fluffi respond when you are interacting with Sunny? I heard that raising a second bird (older or younger) can be easier when the first bird is already very tame, because the second bird will copy the behaviour of the first one.
Of course it would also depend on how much Sunny trusts you. Does Sunny always step up and let you pet her outside and inside of the cage, or does she also have her 'moments' when she doesn't do this?

I suggest trying what Roxy suggested and train with Fluffi separately, about 15 minutes a day. In addition you can still interact with both of them at the same time, maybe if Fluffi sees how much fun Sunny has interacting with you, she'll want the same and grow to trust you more again

Good luck, and let us know how things go with your fids!
Fluffi is so patient when I'm interacting with Sunny; she just kind of watches me interact and puts her head down to recieve petting, if she's inside of the cage. If she's outside, she just sits there with her grumpy-old-man-face, watching us, but if I offer her any attention besides gently blowing on her feathers (both birds love that), she'll hiss and/ir run.

[going a little off-topic here]
Sunny, on the other hand, is a super jealous little girl —even though she's my second bird, Fluffi was here first— and whenever I interact with Fluffi and not her, she'll climb/walk over and take Fluffi's spot, when the latter doesn't fight back and flees. I ignore Sunny for the bad behavior, but she persists, and it's a circle of me petting Fluffi > Sunny taking her spot > Fluffi moving to a new spot > Sunny taking that spot > Fluffi taking the old spot, and so on. I've been trying to work on this as well, since they hate being separated for some reason despite this.

Sunny's "moments" are very few, and I've learned to avoid them/what causes them, so she really never has them anymore. I would say Sunny does trust me a lot.

I will try and tran with Fluffi separately, and I have been interacting with them, both about 20 minutes every evening; Sunny outside, Fluffi inside. As I said, I'll be sure to start giving her individual sessions every day now ^^
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:10 AM
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Sounds like you've already worked up a bit of a routine in training, that's good!

Back when I had my Parrotlets (two young males, I sadly had to let them go to another house though) I tried to get them more used to my hands in the cage by offering millet. They would eat it out of my hand up to very close to my fingers. I never got them as far as to sit on my hand/finger to eat it off my palm, since they moved away before that. That's maybe something to try though, putting it on the palm of your hand and just wait and see if Fluffi is willing to step up on your finger or hand?
I used to rest my hand or arm on something for extra stability, and so that my arm wouldn't get tired and shaky after a while, hehe.

If Sunny gets jealous easily, she might interrupt your training with Fluffy. Maybe you can ask a friend to go play with Sunny in another room while you work with Fluffi in the cage. Or if that's not possible, you could put Sunny in a travel cage in another room, for the duration of the trainingsession with Fluffy (if Sunny is comfortable with that, though that would be good exercise/training too!)

Hope this helps! Also if someone disagrees with anything I say, do please say so. No hard feelings, I am new to owning cockatiels myself and still learning.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:28 AM
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The only way to really work with Fluffi is going to be when Sunny isn't around. Yes, you can spend time with them together, but you need to set aside time with Fluffi alone, in another room, away from the cage. She flies away when outside the cage because Sunny and the cage are right there and she knows them. Take her into another room (you can put her in a small travel cage if that makes it easier) and work with her there. When you are done, bring her back and give them both attention!
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