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Old 02-08-2019, 05:37 PM
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Question New Cockatiel Questions

So about a week ago I got my very first cockatiel and basically my very first bird thats my own. My only previous experience is the 2 little budgies my boyfriends little sister owns.
Anyways, we got what we believe is a her, from a local bird shop that hand feeds and raises them. My guess is that she is just barely older than the weaning stage but i need to go back to ask. they had a lot of cockatiels their they said where still about a week off from being able to go home so thats why thats my guess.
She is a albino cockatiel with a little bald spot behind her crest.
The behaviors that have me worried however are the following
She seems to prefer to sleep at the bottom of her cage, or be on flatter surfaces in general. when we perch her on our hands she doesn't have the tightest grip and often maneuvers her way toward the wider part of our hands. She seems to be getting a little better at this with practice but i wonder if its normal for young birds? when we got her at the store she seemed to stay on the lower ground where the bedding was and would only get on top of the thick branches on the ground (the set up was a big square cage with a tree with roots and a later and some toys etc,)
The other behavior is that she seems to have a hard time cracking the bigger seeds in the temporary food she is on. (sunflowers, buckwheat, barley, and the bigger ones like those that are in the mix, the pellets too) shes fine at cracking small things like millet but i want to switch her to mostly pellets soon and worry she wont be able to figure out how to eat them or apply more pressure to crack them >.<
On the topic of millet, shes also become very talkative and vocal about wanting some xD since we figure we have a girl I was trying to encourage any noise she made with millet, including this raptor noise she makes but now she does it ALL the time D: :P shes already acting so spoiled lol but she is sooo sweet and lets us pet and carrier her and loves being out of her cage with us cx
i just want to make sure these arnt things to be too concerned of or if its normal behavior.
I did notice too she would always keep her left eye closed for the first few days we got her but i haven't noticed it much at all lately. Sorry this is a lot!!
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:02 PM
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

Quote: Originally Posted by DaisyChick62 View Post
So about a week ago I got my very first cockatiel and basically my very first bird thats my own. My only previous experience is the 2 little budgies my boyfriends little sister owns.
Anyways, we got what we believe is a her, from a local bird shop that hand feeds and raises them. My guess is that she is just barely older than the weaning stage but i need to go back to ask. they had a lot of cockatiels their they said where still about a week off from being able to go home so thats why thats my guess.
She is a albino cockatiel with a little bald spot behind her crest.
The behaviors that have me worried however are the following
She seems to prefer to sleep at the bottom of her cage, or be on flatter surfaces in general. when we perch her on our hands she doesn't have the tightest grip and often maneuvers her way toward the wider part of our hands. She seems to be getting a little better at this with practice but i wonder if its normal for young birds? when we got her at the store she seemed to stay on the lower ground where the bedding was and would only get on top of the thick branches on the ground (the set up was a big square cage with a tree with roots and a later and some toys etc,)
The other behavior is that she seems to have a hard time cracking the bigger seeds in the temporary food she is on. (sunflowers, buckwheat, barley, and the bigger ones like those that are in the mix, the pellets too) shes fine at cracking small things like millet but i want to switch her to mostly pellets soon and worry she wont be able to figure out how to eat them or apply more pressure to crack them >.<
On the topic of millet, shes also become very talkative and vocal about wanting some xD since we figure we have a girl I was trying to encourage any noise she made with millet, including this raptor noise she makes but now she does it ALL the time D: :P shes already acting so spoiled lol but she is sooo sweet and lets us pet and carrier her and loves being out of her cage with us cx
i just want to make sure these arnt things to be too concerned of or if its normal behavior.
I did notice too she would always keep her left eye closed for the first few days we got her but i haven't noticed it much at all lately. Sorry this is a lot!!

Hello and welcome!

You are very smart to be cautious. Birds hide illness until they can do so no longer. In an adult bird, sleeping on the cage bottom is an emergency situation.

I don't know how old your bird is, but some babies do struggle a bit with perching etc. Either way, you need to take him/her to a certified avian vet to get routine testing done. You always need to do this when you get a new bird, so it has to be done (healthy or not). At some point in the near future (ASAP is you think he/she is actually sick), you should have the vet check her weight, feel her keel, check mouth/nose/beak and do a CBC (complete blood count) + a gram-stain. This is the bare-minimum for a decent check-up. Since your bird is on the younger side, you need to monitor weight and poop to ensure that she is eating enough. If you are able to feel her keel-bone, that is also a very rough way of estimating whether or not he/she is underweight--if super sharp, that is not good. Do you know how long ago he/she was weaned?
You should also get your other birds tested if you haven't, because you brought a new bird into the equation and because routine testing is the best way to treat/prevent illness and/or spreading of illnesses.

Anytime you get a bird it is smart to find out whether your bird was tested for illness before you got him/her and if not, I would also consider getting other important testing as well, such as test for PBFD, polyoma, psittacosis, PDD etc etc. There are many contagious illnesses out there than can be spread around by the dust, poop and saliva of seemingly healthy birds (some birds are carriers). I mention this because many people have purchased sick birds without knowing it, and many healthy birds cause others to become sick. Since you have other birds, this means that your newest addition could spread illness to them and they could spread illness to her (with or without symptoms). This is one of the reasons why a strict quarantine of new birds is recommended.

Make sure you have a variety of perch sizes and textures in her cage. If the perches are too large, that can be an issue, but variety of texture helps prevent bumblefoot.

Side note: As a new parrot owner, there are a lot of random dangers in/around your home that you may or may not know about. This thread is a good one for new bird issues and it also discusses the dangers of PTFE/PFOA/Teflon in detail. The entire thread is very relevant to owning a new bird in general.

Looking for advice

Keep us posted and good luck!

Last edited by noodles123; 02-08-2019 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:13 PM
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

Welcoming to you and your new baby. Babies tend to stay low at first and are more clumsy. But having an eye stayed closed the first few days, would have me taking them to the vet ASAP. Even though the eye is ok now??? I would still say you need an avain vet to give your new bird the once over.
As for food, offer veggies now, keep with your healthy seed mix, a d and have pellets free choice. Sometimes babies are forced weaned, which is very wrong. She might not be all the way ready for big girl food....
You definitely need to see a vet and discuss that as well, she might need some hand feeding of formula still...a d that has a lot of special requirements, best discussion with vet, and don't wait....that's my best advice
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:16 PM
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

Yes, that does sound like a young Cockatiel.
I raised 2 clutches of Tiels and the young take a while to be good at perching. in the beginning you want to keep the perches low so if they fall no harm will come to them.
It sounds like they are still learning to eat too. the parents normally show the young what to eat and how to eat it by eating in front of them on the ground where they are.

Might be a good idea to introduce them to veggies (warm and soft). get them use to eating healthy foods as soon as possible.

And a vet visit just to get a baseline of where your bird is at is also a good idea.

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Old 02-08-2019, 07:17 PM
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Currently I have two Budgies, Sam a blue/violet budgie and Charlie Our Green budgie :D but we are looking to get at least one if not 2 more and a cockatiel!! Update when it happens!
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

thank you guys for the awesome answers! going to set up an appointment with an avian vet to get her checked out and make sure she is all good as well as ask some of the questions you guys mentioned.
As for weighing, the bird store weighed her when we first purchased, they said she was 88grams. about 5 days later we weighed her and she was around 85-86. how much weight loss is normal or is of major concern. again going to set up a vet appointment just dont know if thats something to be too concerned about!
Also i HAVE been trying to introduce veggies and fruits to her. specifically ive started with some fruits since i thought she might like those more and wanted her to know that my hand gives her good thing (i also only hand feed her spray millet so she considers it a treat and helps with taming) but she seems terrified of them. For example I tried giving her some banana, pinched off a little piece and tried to hand feed her ( she WILL eat out of my hand, at least seed and millet) but she ultimately hissed at it and didnt want to try. i tried the same with strawberry but, while she didnt hiss, she seemed to sniff it or give it a small lick and not like it, and when i put it in her food she wouldnt touch her food. Someone said try warm and mashed? does that help a lot or are their suggestions for ones i should be trying instead (like carrots or zuccini etc) (or methods to feed it)
Im just barely getting our budgies to eat veggies but im chopping them up super small and trying to trick them into eating them. Mercy (my cockatiel) is kind of outsmarting this xD
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:30 PM
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

Google Certified Avian Vets --they aren't the same as "exotics" vets. A good exotics vet could do testing, but a CAV is trained for birds specifically and as a newer owner, that is important---experienced owners swear by them as well. I say this in case you have a choice---even a multi hour commute to a CAV can be worth it.

Last edited by noodles123; 02-08-2019 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:38 AM
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

It really does sound like you brought home a bird that was a bit too young to bring home...and that usually means that there may be some weaning issues, usually due to whomever is weaning/hand-feeding them either not being very experienced, or more commonly for a pet shop the peron or people have far too many baby birds to properly hand-feed and wean them, and as Laura said they unfortunately try to "Force" wean them, which is very bad for the psychological and neurological health of the birds...

The good news is that your bird is eating, just not eating with proficiency, which means that he/she probably just needs time to practice when it comes to the larger seeds and pellets. Cockatiels should not have any issues with the seeds you described, nor pellets if they are the appropriate size, so it's just going to take time for him/her to get the hang of them, as well as perching, etc. Imagine a young human toddler learning to walk, eat, etc. Same thing...

What is unfortunate is that it sounds like the pet shop did not introduce the birds to fresh veggies or fruits during their weaning process, and that's actually pretty common for breeders to do, they just give them seed-mix and/or pellets to wean onto, and they forget or don't even think about also giving them fresh veggies or fruit throughout the weaning process...So your bird literally does not recognize the fresh veggies or fruits as being "food" at all. So it's going to take time for her/him to realize that it's a regular food source (again, imagine a human toddler being given a new food they've never had before, and then spitting it out or throwing it)...What you need to do is to start giving him/her portions of fresh veggies and fruits every single day so that she gets used to them, loses her fear of them, and eventually starts eating them...It also sometimes helps to actually mix some millet seed into the veggies/fruit so that they end-up getting a good taste of the them while trying to get the seeds...
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:24 AM
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

Quote: Originally Posted by EllenD View Post
It really does sound like you brought home a bird that was a bit too young to bring home...and that usually means that there may be some weaning issues, usually due to whomever is weaning/hand-feeding them either not being very experienced, or more commonly for a pet shop the peron or people have far too many baby birds to properly hand-feed and wean them, and as Laura said they unfortunately try to "Force" wean them, which is very bad for the psychological and neurological health of the birds...

The good news is that your bird is eating, just not eating with proficiency, which means that he/she probably just needs time to practice when it comes to the larger seeds and pellets. Cockatiels should not have any issues with the seeds you described, nor pellets if they are the appropriate size, so it's just going to take time for him/her to get the hang of them, as well as perching, etc. Imagine a young human toddler learning to walk, eat, etc. Same thing...

What is unfortunate is that it sounds like the pet shop did not introduce the birds to fresh veggies or fruits during their weaning process, and that's actually pretty common for breeders to do, they just give them seed-mix and/or pellets to wean onto, and they forget or don't even think about also giving them fresh veggies or fruit throughout the weaning process...So your bird literally does not recognize the fresh veggies or fruits as being "food" at all. So it's going to take time for her/him to realize that it's a regular food source (again, imagine a human toddler being given a new food they've never had before, and then spitting it out or throwing it)...What you need to do is to start giving him/her portions of fresh veggies and fruits every single day so that she gets used to them, loses her fear of them, and eventually starts eating them...It also sometimes helps to actually mix some millet seed into the veggies/fruit so that they end-up getting a good taste of the them while trying to get the seeds...
thank you all for the input!! I was wondering about something on my tiels pet food they gave me that i thought was a bit strange but it was the fact that the ingredient list on the seeds they gave me (apparently made themselves as its labeled with their store name etc) but the first "ingredient" is millet, and its gotten to the point that i think thats almost all shes eating out of it. But maybe they made it like that so its more appealing as you say.

The bird store told me to keep her on only their seed mix for quite a while, like a few months while, which seemed really weird to me. I told them i wanted to get her on a mostly pellets and veggie diet and the lady who was helping me told me she was a big proponent of pellets but then turned around and told me to keep her on the seeds. So i dont know if there is a reason behind that or if its okay to start switching after only a week or D: I will ask the vet as well when we go

The bird store also told me to keep her in a smaller cage for the first few weeks because shed be too confused or overwhelmed in the bigger one, ive tried putting her in the bigger one now after about a week and she constantly just pecks at the door and climbs on the door trying to get out. I dont know if thats just because she wants out because she loves being out in general or because it really is just over whelming.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:26 PM
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

When I got BB he was 4.5 months old. The place I got him from sells just parrots and have their own breeding pairs ( except for budgies). BB was "old enough" that day to go to a home. He was weaned and eating Zupreem fruity pellets and was also tasting fresh veggies and fruits. They also made their own type of cockatiel seeds.
Millet is very appealing to cockatiels! His blend didn't have any mixed.
BB's CAV told me feeding millet is like us eating Mcdonalds hamburgs! NOT HEALTHY! To be used very sparingly as an OCCASIONAL treat!
When I do give him millet,it is a piece maybe about two inches long and that's it,and it's the first thing he goes for
He is now three years old but is still picky at what he likes. He'll gladly sample/eat what I'm having. He would pig-out on mac and cheese if I let him.
He likes brown rice too and a small piece of banana.

I make my fid's birdy muffin's now with all sorts of real 100% organic goodness in them and will nuke one for about 25 seconds until it is just warm then break it up into crumbles and give BB about a table spoons worth and the rest to the chow-hound Amazon.

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Old 02-09-2019, 06:02 PM
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Re: New Cockatiel Questions

All good advice above.
Offer the veggies all different ways, sometimes they like bigger pieces to nibble on, or cooked. Since she is young just keep offering all different kinds every day, even if she isn't eating them yet. Monkey see monkey do, so eat them and play with them infront of her. I think my budgies are do good at eating veggies because they watch the other birds.
My neighbor who I convinced to start feeding veggies has had good luck with broccoli, shaved carrots, peas, and peppers and romaine.
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