Finger training

Tiff4734

New member
May 11, 2022
3
0
Parrots
Cockatiel, budgies
Hello!
I have a year old cockatiel that I purchased. According to what I was told, she was hand fed but after that, was not held. She will take food from my hand and comes close in her cage area to where I am working but if I try to touch her, she will bite (and it hurts:(. I would like to work on finger training and being able to hold her. I know they are very smart birds. I am just wondering how to start this process. I do let her out of her cage on toys outside of her cage but if she flies down, which hasn't happened much because she figured out I have to get her back, I use a wood stick to pick her up, which she gets on with no problem. I googled stuff but it's all inconsistent with the suggestions like using a glove or using a tiny pointer wooden stick to divert their attention. Any help would be awesome! I know I will have her for a long time, and I want us both to be happy and enjoy each other!!

UPDATE:
Sooo...I ended up perch training her. And it worked! I also started off by only petting her neck. Then she started hanging upside down and resting her head in my hand while I pet her (neck up only). If she flew off cage, she would step up but if she was already on her cage, she would only step up on a perch. Well, about a week ago, she started stepping up all the time on my finger! I am so excited to have this bond with her. She is also trying so hard to learn the cat call to call me but it seems very difficult for her to master. She keeps trying. I am just so happy to keep moving forward with her. She is becoming so affectionate:)
 
Last edited:

JimsBrother

Supporting Member
Mar 3, 2022
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Uncle to Beebee and Amy
I think it's a matter of familiarity and trust. Cockatiels are very much people birds. They love attention. Talk softly, scritch her head, become the person she needs in her life.
 

wrench13

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Nov 22, 2015
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Hi and welcome. No glove, please! If she is OK with stepping up with a stick, thats not so bad. Training parrots is a matter of slow incremental steps, with frequent back steps. Use her fav treat to coax her from the edge of the cage entry door onto your outstretched hand. I always offer the hand, fingers held together tightly, index finger up. It looks more substantial than just 1 finger. As you progress, always look for tiny improvements and reward when there is positive movement, so like if she lifts a foot but won;t step up, well thats an improvement from just standing there. Reward immediately, have the treat ready. Always use the same verbal or hand signal to request the action, dont confuse the bird. Be consistent.
 
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Tiff4734

New member
May 11, 2022
3
0
Parrots
Cockatiel, budgies
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
Hi and welcome. No glove, please! If she is OK with stepping up with a stick, thats not so bad. Training parrots is a matter of slow incremental steps, with frequent back steps. Use her fav treat to coax her from the edge of the cage entry door onto your outstretched hand. I always offer the hand, fingers held together tightly, index finger up. It looks more substantial than just 1 finger. As you progress, always look for tiny improvements and reward when there is positive movement, so like if she lifts a foot but won;t step up, well thats an improvement from just standing there. Reward immediately, have the treat ready. Always use the same verbal or hand signal to request the action, dont confuse the bird. Be consistent.
Thank you for your input. I have only had her for a little over two weeks. I will try your suggestions:)
 

HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
2,165
3,083
I think once she’s more comfortable with you she will probably run up the stick onto your hand and arm. But she’s only been with you a little while and needs to get to know you.

So soon you can practice stepping off the perch onto your hand. But maybe after your bird is less nervous.

Have patience! It will happen soon. And one idea—I have often started petting my birds using my nose to rub their head. The nose is less scary than the hand. Of course it’s also worse to get bitten on the nose, but you can try, or you can begin to give kisses.
 
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Tiff4734

New member
May 11, 2022
3
0
Parrots
Cockatiel, budgies
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #6
I think once she’s more comfortable with you she will probably run up the stick onto your hand and arm. But she’s only been with you a little while and needs to get to know you.

So soon you can practice stepping off the perch onto your hand. But maybe after your bird is less nervous.

Have patience! It will happen soon. And one idea—I have often started petting my birds using my nose to rub their head. The nose is less scary than the hand. Of course it’s also worse to get bitten on the nose, but you can try, or you can begin to give kisses.
That is a good idea, too! I definitely can get very close to her. She is very curious. Thank you!!
 

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