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Old 03-30-2016, 11:23 PM
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Unhappy Please help training Cockatiel so i can rebond with him

Hi there,

3 years ago i walked into a pet shop looking for a budgie and walked out with a cockatiel. he wasn't hand raised, he was older than the other cockatiels, and his cage had no toys and was only fed seeds. Inexperienced me didn't realise what i was getting myself into.

i would say we bonded quite well at the start considering. i was never allowed to touch him with my fingers, but he loved me head scratching him with my chin. we developed a flock whistle i think its called, and i taught him a few simple whistles that he took a while to get. unfortunately though, my job hours increased after a few months and my 8 hours 4 days a week turned into 10-12 hours 6 days a week. but we still enjoyed each others company in the mornings and at night. i made the horrible mistake though of falling asleep on the lounge one night with him on my chest, i woke up to him screaming at me and i think i might have swiped him in my sleep.. i never, EVER, allowed that to happen ever again and regretted it so much.

when we moved from that house after my breakup, and he lived in my new room. we would practice the guitar each morning, and he would ride shotgun on my shoulder singing to the radio in my car. our bond was great, but i was still never allowed to touch him unless it was my chin.

my next house was a shared house with 6 other people. he resided either in my bedroom at night with me, or in the main living area. he allowed everyone to pick him up, learned so many whistles and was a nice bird, except for the biting. never enough to hurt, but you would get a bite to pick him up. i knew it was a bad habit, but i wasnt sure what to do. he was in my care for a year by then, and was not eating anything but seed. even though i had tried different techniques. i stupidly gave up.

the next house after was with 4 shared people, some of which from the previous house. my room wasnt big enough for my bed and my chest of drawers, let alone my Rocky. so he lived in the dining room. he would often walk from the dining room to the living room, and sit with the boy while the played video games. another house mate almost stopped putting his alarm on, because Rocky would sit on his chest and sing to him around 7am almost every morning. he was truly a gem - except for the minimal biting and not eating anything but seeds.

my next house is when our world crashed. i started uni, and was working 2 jobs. i was barely home. Rocky also started having free range of my studio room night and day. he just seemed happier. the pet shop in my town also closed, so i had noone to help me clip his wings and was too scared to try on my own. i wish i could go back to then, and give our relationship more effort. i am truly ashamed.

then i introduced Rocky to my rabbit. My rabbit was recovering from his operation and spent some time in my room. I couldnt believe what i was seeing. Rocky was singing to him AND sharing his vegetables. the first time i had ever witnessed my bird eating something that wasn't seed!! i was shocked. and thats when things really hit rock bottom. Rocky wouldnt come near me, wouldnt let me near him. he would cry, hiss, and the biting became really hard. our bond went from minimal to non existent. i guess he over bonded with my rabbit.

we've moved again since then to my current house. and no, we wont be moving for a very long time. Rocky didnt want anything to do with my partner and i. and then he started becoming territorial over areas in our house, and would fly at us if he we went near him. i then did another horrible thing. i let him outside in the sunroom with my rabbits while i moved some things around the house. and he seemed so peaceful and was walking around the floor with my rabbits eating their vegetables. i was heart broken that he was more happier outside. so, i brought his cage outside and let him be. he was singing again and i just thought i was doing him a favor. when winter came though i brought Rocky back inside and realised i kind of neglected him.

its been a year since then. until last week, rocky has had free range of our living room and we have tried every day to sing and whistle with him. he rarely lets us pick him up. i can count on one hand how many times he has let me kiss him with my chin. i started to think maybe im just one of those owners that forum people ***** about. that maybe i should do something right by my bird and find him a better owner. one that does instead of tries. but, i remember the days when we were pals, and that it all went down hill when i stopped trying.

so.. im going to try.

a friend has helped me clip his wings and Rocky has been placed back in his cage. his cage is located in the most used part of our house next to our lounge. this is where we watch movies, and where i study all day long. its also next to the door, so we and our visitors dont forget to say hello and goodbye to rocky. we've also started to establish a bed time for Rocky.. its still in the making however, ive been listening out for when he grinds his beak and lifts up his leg and taking note of the time and then i cover him with a towel. its usually around 7pm, so around 645 i turn the tv down and some unneeded lights off.

To go back to basics i read to him when i study, and i think Rocky is now an expert in child behavior theories. i really want him to trust me again.

ive also visited my pet shop and have started him on some diet pellets to ween him off seeds.. he also has a bowl on the bottom of his cage with some different things in there to try when he is ready - it gets replaced everyday.

and apparently he loves classical music, its what i listen to when i need to focus on my studies. he dances and sings and i love it.

So after my horrible life story im going to ask you guys for something..


ive been a horrible owner and i need to make things right. im sure some people here wont like me, and will want to come save my little guy. for that im sorry. please help me connect with him again, to make him a happy birdy again..
i am willing to try any piece of advice and training technique you have, and go watch or read anything you guys can suggest. This is just one of my attempts to get advice, not my only attempt.. im constantly on the internet researching what i can do. so pls dont think im lazy or anything.

He is a male Cockatiel around 5years old.

Last edited by Charli.Hills; 03-30-2016 at 11:23 PM. Reason: wrote cant instead on can.. oops
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Old 03-31-2016, 11:10 AM
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Re: Please help training Cockatiel so i can rebond with him

I'm delighted to hear you are making positive changes for Rocky! IMHO, a better diet is one of the kindest things a human can do for a bird. It takes time and patience but it can be done and the benefits will last a lifetime. Fresh food is important too, I would keep offering lots of fresh veggies and a bit of fruit to Rocky.

Even a previously bonded, well trained bird will forget their training if it isn't reinforced on a regular basis. Your Rocky is only five years old? There is no reason you can't turn things around and offer Rocky a happier life. It sounds like you are making a good start. Parrots do well with a routine, I'm not saying a rigid schedule, but enough structure so they have an idea what to expect. It would be ideal if you could work with Rocky daily. The following link on bonding is for new birds but the tips are perfect for renewing a relationship with a bird at any time. As you mentioned, going back to basics is a great plan and one that has limitless possibilities.

Tips for Bonding and Building Trust

Best of luck with your adventure, please share Rocky's progress with us.

"She is not refined. She is not unrefined. She keeps a parrot." Mark Twain
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:33 PM
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Re: Please help training Cockatiel so i can rebond with him

Quick Question... From the time you got him, how long after did it take before you were good friends?
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