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Old 06-15-2020, 06:10 PM
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Exclamation Getting a cockatiel for mental health problems

Hi there,

My name is Sven, am 21.

I've got 2 other birds, 2 budgies, Coco  and Witje  . They're absolutely lovely!

I've been going through quite a rough time mentally for a while now, and have been contemplating about getting a cockatiel as a emotional support animal for about a year now. I'm having trouble dealing with some mental and anxiety issues now more than ever, -because of the lockdown-, and at this point i feel like getting a cockatiel would really help me.

So, my current situation is this:
I adore my current 2 budgies, they're really sweet, but they're not really interactive and thus not really helping me as much as -i would imagine- a cockatiel could. Coco's great, and a real talker, but he's not really a cuddler, and Witje is adorable, although quiet, and likes scritches on her belly, but not a real cuddler. She just does her own thing and sits in the cage for the majority of the day, even if i take her out, she goes back after 5 minutes. A bit of a loner. Doesn't make me love her and coco any less though.

I imagine a cockatiel would help me as i've heard and read that they're real cuddley creatures, and depending on personality, like sitting on your shoulder and staying near you.

Obviously, if i would buy a cockatiel i would buy the bird for life, not just 'because i'm having difficulty right now'. I very much know and realise this as well.

I also live with my boyfriend who's not sure about getting a third bird. I Would need to talk it over with him and my landlord.
What does everyone thinks about this?
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:14 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel for mental health problems

I am sorry you are struggling...seriously.

I definitely wouldn't get another bird until you are in a better place mentally. Adding another bird to the flock can present numerous health and personality/behavior issues to your current birds and it is a bad idea in my opinion...

They have the IQs of children, so if you wouldn't bring a kid into the world right now, I would focus on the 2 you have and try not to rock the boat with a new addition (as that could lead to all sorts of drama, disease and bonding issues).

ALSO---you must NOT cuddle them! It is literally foreplay/sex...yes, they love it.. so do people...cough...don't do it. It will create a confusing dynamic and potentially, a monster. It is very mentally unhealthy for the bird to view you that way (it can also lead to extreme jealously and aggression down the road). Head and neck petting only....forever..the rest is very inappropriate (even though it seems cute to us).
You also can create an overly dependent bird if you do not teach them independence (which is essential for their well-being)--so if you are in the mindset where you want cuddles and a constant companion, you could end up harming the bird mentally..

Mammals are safer for cuddles...500%

Last edited by noodles123; 06-15-2020 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:25 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel for mental health problems

Quote: Originally Posted by noodles123 View Post
I am sorry you are struggling...seriously.

I definitely wouldn't get another bird until you are in a better place mentally. Adding another bird to the flock can present numerous health and personality/behavior issues to your current birds and it is a bad idea in my opinion...

They have the IQs of children, so if you wouldn't bring a kid into the world right now, I would focus on the 2 you have and try not to rock the boat with a new addition (as that could lead to all sorts of drama, disease and bonding issues).

ALSO---you must NOT cuddle them! It is literally foreplay/sex...yes, they love it.. so do people...cough...don't do it. It will create a confusing dynamic and potentially, a monster. It is very mentally unhealthy for the bird to view you that way (it can also lead to extreme jealously and aggression down the road). Head and neck petting only....forever..the rest is very inappropriate (even though it seems cute to us).
You also can create an overly dependent bird if you do not teach them independence (which is essential for their well-being)--so if you are in the mindset where you want cuddles and a constant companion, you could end up harming the bird mentally..

Mammals are safer for cuddles...500%
Yeah, with cuddling i usually just mean scritches. and pets. Sorry for being a bit vague about it all.
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:34 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel for mental health problems

I just still think that you and your bird would truly be happier if you waited because if you are struggling, a bird that creates conflict or added stress (which can happen) could be very bad-- plus, new birds can be asymptomatic carriers of disease, and I have a feeling that on top of everything else, now would be a terrible time for a loss or veterinary emergency.
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:36 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel for mental health problems

Yup, fully agree with my good friend above... Far too many potential problems that may add to your current load.

You are much further ahead to spend additional interaction time with your current Parrots and Human. You maybe surprised at how much that may help relationships in general.
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Old 06-15-2020, 07:13 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel for mental health problems

I have had many cockatiels over the years as well as those that I have hand raised and sold on. I can't say that any of them have been "cuddly". From my experience they are a very independant bird. A few of the females seem to like a good head scratch but you have to be wary or it can lead to hormonal issues. The males couldn't have cared less if I was there or not as did the majority of the females.

It really comes down to the individual bird, even with budgies. Some are very interactive and affectionate but most not so much. Plus "cuddly" birds come with a whole range of other issues to face. They can become too needy leading to mental health issues for them. Seperation anxiety, feather plucking, self mutilation, aggressive behaviour towards others etc.

I suffer from mental health issues and have done for many years. This whole lockdown and covid-19 thing has not done me any favours believe me. Personally I would stick with the two budgies and continue getting "cuddles" from your boyfriend and re-evaluate when you are in a better state of mind.
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Old 06-16-2020, 01:38 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel for mental health problems

Thank you everyone! I will be holding off until when i'm in a better place, and will think about it for a while than as to not rush the decision.
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Old 06-17-2020, 11:31 AM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel for mental health problems

Welcome Sven, wishing you strength and perseverance managing the current lockdown.

Agree with all of the above, but keep the dream of cockatiel as emotional support companion aspirational. We have a long running thread dedicated to mental health issues and parrots. Might find some wise counsel within, particularly helpful with your budgies. Mental illness and owning parrots
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