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Old 09-09-2008, 05:56 AM
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Question about a young cockatiel

I have a roughly 6 month old male cockatiel, and he's EXTREMELY antsy about coming out of his cage. I'll open the doors on the front and he can climb out on his own, but he REFUSES to "step up" and come out on my finger. He gets aggressive and bites.

The only way I can get him out with the whole "step up" is by taking the top of the cage off and it's such a pain to do this. How can I get him to come out the "right" way without him attacking me?

If I leave him in the cage and am doing chores, he talks to me and is really curious, and I'll sit down in front of him and talk quietly to him and whistle at him and he'll fluff up and coo, so I know he can't feel threatened by me.

He's also getting new feathers in, so I'm not positive if he's grumpy because of this, or because he's stressed out. I've had him for about two weeks. Once he's out of the cage he's.. for the most part friendly and chatters quietly and ruffles his feathers and snuggles me... He gets a LITTLE nippy if I try to pet him and he isn't in the mood.

What training techniques can I use to get him to be a little less nippy? It's not the love nibble that I'm used to, it's an actual squawk and bite. He gets a little frustrated too when I make him step up a couple of times.

The person I got him from gave me a clean bill of health. He's been vet checked on my own dime, and I've checked myself for mites. He's not plucking, and he doesn't go nuts and attack his toys, he has fresh food and water every day... can't think of anything I could be missing...

Thanks for any help

Last edited by missraywoj; 09-09-2008 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:05 PM
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Re: Question about a young cockatiel

Please be patient; two weeks isn't very long to a bird. Some birds are very territorial about their cages also. That may be why you have to take the top off the cage at this point. Just keep doing what you are doing (It sounds good to me.) and give him plenty of time. Birds know how hard they bite and it sounds like this bird is serious with his bites and not just warning you. Watch his body language. He'll let you know when he is going to really bite. If he bites hard, just say, "No." very firmly but don't yell at him. Then put him back in his cage immediately and/or ignore him. I know it is hard to keep your cool when you are bleeding, but you must to be successful. Birds crave your attention and will do anything to get it. Ignoring him is punishment enough. When he steps up, doesn't bite or any other behavior that you want to reinforce, give him a special food treat that you know he really likes right away. Keep them close by for these occasions. You will have to do this a lot (Think mentally slow two-year-old child.) and it may take more time than you would imagine. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:51 AM
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Re: Question about a young cockatiel

Quote: Originally Posted by nimuemerlin View Post
Please be patient; two weeks isn't very long to a bird. Some birds are very territorial about their cages also. That may be why you have to take the top off the cage at this point. Just keep doing what you are doing (It sounds good to me.) and give him plenty of time. Birds know how hard they bite and it sounds like this bird is serious with his bites and not just warning you. Watch his body language. He'll let you know when he is going to really bite. If he bites hard, just say, "No." very firmly but don't yell at him. Then put him back in his cage immediately and/or ignore him. I know it is hard to keep your cool when you are bleeding, but you must to be successful. Birds crave your attention and will do anything to get it. Ignoring him is punishment enough. When he steps up, doesn't bite or any other behavior that you want to reinforce, give him a special food treat that you know he really likes right away. Keep them close by for these occasions. You will have to do this a lot (Think mentally slow two-year-old child.) and it may take more time than you would imagine. Good luck and have fun!
Great. Thank you so much. I'll keep at it and see how it goes!
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