Cockatiel seem extremely territorial towards anything paper


New member
Sep 18, 2020
Female Lutino Cockatiel named Luna
Make Cinnamon Cockatiel names Cin
So I write here a while back about how I got another member to my flock to keep my original cockatiel company and how he seemed very aggressive towards my phone + planners when I was using both.

Now that it’s been a while I’ve realized that it may not have been as connected as before. Zen seems to be very aggressive towards anything paper and not just my planners as I originally thought. If I’m sitting with something paper like you bet he will be right there. And while he’ll just sing a bit and stay focused on the paper for a bit, he’ll eventually go up to it and begin chewing on it and I’m at a complete loss at what to do.

I journal, that’s my hobby, which mean lots of paper and some of it stuff I get very sad if/when it’s destroyed like that. I’m also a student and heavily prefer studying in my room, which is also where my cockatiels lives and the cage is. And since I prefer to have my sources and other things on paper, it means I have quite a bit of paper spread out whenever I’m studying and he goes right for it, chewing it up and getting aggressive if I try stop it. And I’m fearing that unless I can break that habit I will have to give him up. While that would be a decision far out in the future, the fact it have to be an option like that breaks my heart.

I adore Zen, he’s wonderful and lovely. But I cannot continue on with him going for any and all paper like things (and there’s a lot). Latest episode was me studying with my papers spread out, the birds out as they always are during the day and everything peaceful. Zen came over, obviously focused in my papers and shortly after began attempting to chew on them. I tried to do what I’ve been doing to discourage behavior, removing him and telling him no. Which has partly helped establishing that there’s areas where he’s not supposed to be. Instead of stepping up as he always does though, he’ll flat out attack. My hand, arm and even face. He’ll full on fly over and attack me and get extremely pissed.

Removing any and all paper from him is not an option with my living situation and while I completely get he’s a wild animal with the instincts that fellows, it doesn’t mean that I can just remove something I very much need and constantly use to fit his behavior to that extreme. I did try accommodating it a bit, but have realized the extend I would have to go isn’t possible and part of it directly negatively impacts my life should I go through with it.

I’m writing here since I’m at a complete loss. I’ve tried reading up on anything even barely relevant to this and nothing has helped. I have Luna (my original cockatiel) and while she’ll occasionally attempt to nib at some paper, I can easily stop her. She’s never “knocked things out of the way and attacked humans (yes, it have happened once with someone else, it’s not a limited thing) because she wasn’t allowed to chew on anything she wants”

Do you guys know anything at all that could help here? My cockatiels aren’t bonded and while they tolerate each other, they aren’t so friendly that should I separate them it would be harmful for either of them (and trust me when I say I only want the best for both of them and am careful), worst come to shove they bond and I’ll have to say goodbye to both because of this doesn’t change eventually I won’t be able to deal with it.

Zen was almost 3 when I got him, where Luna was very young. I get he’s an adult bird coming here with baggage and I don’t know everything about how he grew up. I have given myself a deadline (this is many months out) to try for even the smallest improvement in this behavior and I hate how much it’s just needed so that I don’t end up in a situation where I can’t be myself to accommodate him.

I know about not reacting to things as any reaction can be a motivator for it to continue and am doing my best on that point. When he dive for me and attacks I’ve (unfortunately) gotten more used to it and don’t violently react, even if I can’t not react completely (I’m not gonna allow an attacking cockatiel access to my face). Along with discouraging behaviors to a degree, although I’m not sure what the best way to do that in this case would be either as from what I’ve read up on, there’s no clear answer.

Any and all help, tips and advices would be extremely appreciated.

EDIT: addition to an already long post. Should a get rid of them it would be my absolutely last resort. Luna is my best friend and Zen is a wonderfully quirky bird. What I’m seeking here is guidance, tips and advices any of you may have on how to best work on a problem that’s a big strain on my relationship with Zen and how I could go about at the very least lessen the aggression to a manageable point.


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New member
Sep 18, 2020
Female Lutino Cockatiel named Luna
Make Cinnamon Cockatiel names Cin
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I would just put them in their cages when I'm working with my papers. It's less drastic than getting rid of them!
I am doing this. And getting rid of them would be a last resort since while Zen is still new compared to Luna, Luna is basically my best friend.
But I guess I didn’t formulate it properly. This problem extends to more than just assignments. I have a lot of paper like things Zen wanna chew up and I can’t actually put it all away and some of the stuff needs to be out as I use it on a day to day basis. Which makes the “gonna chew it up or attack you” situation hard. And for assignments, sometimes I will spends most of the day working on them and that I feel is plain unfair for them as it would severely limit their time outside a cage


Well-known member
Nov 27, 2022
Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
I'm not sure if you can teach cockatiels like you can teach dogs and cats? I assume they have the capability for it since they're parrots and very intelligent. I'm teaching my cockatiel to stop chewing at the sides of my laptop with a little bit of success, basically by making him stop every time he does it. It's hard work but I know that with other animals it works so hopefully it will work with him and maybe with yours too? I know one of my conures is clever enough to know when I tell her off (and she gets angry and has a tantrum but won't do what I'm telling her not to do). My other conure isn't as bonded to me and is very independent so she doesn't listen much but I'm hoping to change that.

If he keeps attacking you then I'd remove him each time he does it, not to the cage but somewhere else that he doesn't want to be. If he gets put in the cage for doing something undesirable he may associate the cage with somewhere he doesn't want to be and that's not what you want at all. One of my conures also started playing up in order to go in the cage when she wanted some time on her own so that backfired on me in that way too :ROFLMAO:


Well-known member
Jan 9, 2023
Quaker, 2 budgies
For me, this would be a case where I give the bird his own paper. Have a certain spot ( or maybe a few spots) where you have scrap paper that he IS allowed to shred. Every time he goes after your paper, take him to one of these spots where he has his own paper to chew and praise him for shredding that paper. I use this technique a lot when training dogs especially puppies. Puppy’s chewing my table? Nope! Sorry puppy, you can’t have that but here is your very own hardwood stick to chew on! Cockatiels seem to love chewing and odds are you won’t be able to get your bird to stop chewing paper altogether. But you may be able to redirect him to a stash of paper that it’s ok for him to shred. Over time, he should be able to learn what paper is good to shred and what’s off limits.


Well-known member
May 16, 2022
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Charlie (M) - 23 yrs - Peach Front Conure
Redshift (M)-22yrs - normal Cockatiel
Moon (M) - 2 ys - wf pied cockatiel
Chara (F)- 1 yr - wf pied cockatiel
I second the re-directing of chewing. You can choose a particular color, hide bird treats in a crumpled piece of paper and re-locate the bird or a special cage just for the task :) . Good luck to you!

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