I feel really guilty for just owning one cockatiel.

Hyun-Ae

Member
Oct 25, 2021
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Parrots
Cockatiel
I am having a bit of a dilemma. I'm a new bird owner who has owned a 4-month-old cockatiel for around 3 months. I bought him from a family who had to re-home him because they didn't have room for him. I want to get him a friend, but I am a college student who lives with my family, and they will not be able to handle a 2nd cockatiel. I am planning on getting a second one when I move out, but that won't be for another year or two. I read that keeping one bird is abuse, and it makes me feel awful. Except for 2 or 3 times a week where I go to work for 8-9 hours a day, he's always out of his cage and I'm with him (that might change when I go back to on-campus). However, I often wonder if he's sad that he doesn't have a buddy, or if I'm not enough for him.

This is going to sound crazy, but what makes me feel more guilty is that he no longer plays with anything, and just wants to sit on my shoulder and either preen or sleep. I feel like he is or will get bored.
 

Littleredbeak

Well-known member
May 27, 2020
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You could play cockatiel videos for him. And play with the toys with him. My birds (I do not have a cockatiel) all have different toy preferences. Lovebirds loves bells and when I ring them as well. OWA& IRN are both not big with toys but love the rabbit natural balls and grass panels( they like taking it apart and destroying it). Sometime I will sitt with my OWA and we will take apart the grass ball together! She loves having someone to play with. Hope this helps.

As for the abuse part, I know birds definitely benefit from having a birdy friend (rescue told me having same species makes a big difference- I've had a budgie and lovebird who were amazing together tho). As long as you're aren't ignoring the bird and giving him lots of time and attention- I wouldn't call it abuse. Putting a bird in a cage and ignoring it majority of the time with no stimuli is awful. While your away maybe you can set up a birdy YouTube Channel for your bird to watch (this is what I did for my lovebird when he was by himself).

Hope this helps!
 
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Hyun-Ae

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Oct 25, 2021
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Cockatiel
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You could play cockatiel videos for him. And play with the toys with him. My birds (I do not have a cockatiel) all have different toy preferences. Lovebirds loves bells and when I ring them as well. OWA& IRN are both not big with toys but love the rabbit natural balls and grass panels( they like taking it apart and destroying it). Sometime I will sitt with my OWA and we will take apart the grass ball together! She loves having someone to play with. Hope this helps.

As for the abuse part, I know birds definitely benefit from having a birdy friend (rescue told me having same species makes a big difference- I've had a budgie and lovebird who were amazing together tho). As long as you're aren't ignoring the bird and giving him lots of time and attention- I wouldn't call it abuse. Putting a bird in a cage and ignoring it majority of the time with no stimuli is awful. While your away maybe you can set up a birdy YouTube Channel for your bird to watch (this is what I did for my lovebird when he was by himself).

Hope this helps!
For some reason, he hates hearing other birds if it's more than 5 minutes (unless it's from the birds outside), so I usually put on music or cartoons. I've tried to play with the toys with him, but he just stares at me in disappointment and then flies to my head. I didn't even know birds can give a disappointed look. I was thinking about getting a budgie. I think my parents could handle a budgie more than another cockatiel (they don't like the dust), but I'd rather wait until it's a safer environment for a 2nd bird.
 

Littleredbeak

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May 27, 2020
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If he doesn't like bird noises or watching other cockatiels he may not like other birds. All my birds love bird sounds and bird videos and seem to be pretty bird friendly. Maybe try clicker training and foraging fun/toy (hiding food so they have to forage for it) to add a little metal stimulation
 
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Hyun-Ae

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Oct 25, 2021
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Cockatiel
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If he doesn't like bird noises or watching other cockatiels he may not like other birds. All my birds love bird sounds and bird videos and seem to be pretty bird friendly. Maybe try clicker training and foraging fun/toy (hiding food so they have to forage for it) to add a little metal stimulation
I attempt to clicker train every day, but he just isn't interested. Believe it or not, he's not food motivated. I made him a PVC playground and a lot of toys, including foraging ones. He's watched me make the foraging toys, and I showed him how to get the treats, but he just doesn't care most of the time. I wonder if it's because he's young.
 

pizuPDN

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Oct 25, 2021
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The International Bedroom Zoo
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You could play cockatiel videos for him. And play with the toys with him. My birds (I do not have a cockatiel) all have different toy preferences. Lovebirds loves bells and when I ring them as well. OWA& IRN are both not big with toys but love the rabbit natural balls and grass panels( they like taking it apart and destroying it). Sometime I will sitt with my OWA and we will take apart the grass ball together! She loves having someone to play with. Hope this helps.

As for the abuse part, I know birds definitely benefit from having a birdy friend (rescue told me having same species makes a big difference- I've had a budgie and lovebird who were amazing together tho). As long as you're aren't ignoring the bird and giving him lots of time and attention- I wouldn't call it abuse. Putting a bird in a cage and ignoring it majority of the time with no stimuli is awful. While your away maybe you can set up a birdy YouTube Channel for your bird to watch (this is what I did for my lovebird when he was by himself).

Hope this helps!
It's recommended to actually not play bird noises because it could make him think "Yay there's a flock over there I can join!", but he'll never get to join them, it's like keeping a person in a cemented room and only talking to them. It's recommended to just give them lots of out time and play with them a lot, I have a budgie that has to be kept solo due to aggression!
 

Littleredbeak

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May 27, 2020
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My IRN and OWA do not like toys but enjoy the rabbit grass mat and balls. Sometimes you just keep trying new things until they find something they like. How old is your Cockatiel? I'm not familiar with baby parrots as all mine ate older but I've seen very you g birds play with toys on YouTube and from Posts.
 
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Hyun-Ae

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Oct 25, 2021
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Cockatiel
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My IRN and OWA do not like toys but enjoy the rabbit grass mat and balls. Sometimes you just keep trying new things until they find something they like. How old is your Cockatiel? I'm not familiar with baby parrots as all mine ate older but I've seen very you g birds play with toys on YouTube and from Posts.
He's four months. He was taken too early, and I had to teach him how to bird. I wonder if that's a major factor too.
 

pizuPDN

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Oct 25, 2021
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Pizu- Male Budgie
Daisy- Female Budgie
How long has be been without playing with toys? It could be he's bored of his toys or he's just taking a break as we do with video games etc.
 

Skarila

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Truly reminds of the 'tiel we fostered. Archibald was such a calm bird, I don't think he ever actually played. He very rarely would chew on some coconut fiber or the woven grass thing, maybe some rattan balls. He was a very young adult bird, very calm, loved sleeping on our shoulders all day. There was nothing wrong with him, that's how just what he liked. He would go into a whistling or shouting fit, or doing the "zoomies" around the room. Problem was, he was obsessed with his own shadow an any kind of reflection, that was such a sad sight. Many months after, his active searching for a friend made us pass him to a lovely lady who had exactly same issue - a rescue who wanted a friend!

Unless your bird really seems agitated and actively searching for other birds, I wouldn't worry. Try rearanging the toys around the cage, try getting some softer toys which a normal parrot would destroy within minutes. Maybe the cockatiel needs a break, too! My budgie also calmed down a lot and she just stopped shreding her wooden blocks, I guess she also needs a break.

Keep in mind getting a "friend" won't always be that. Maybe they will not like each other. You must have another cage from the very begining, you really never know with birds. Also I do not suggest budgie - rather another cockatiel. Mine hated my budgie, but the budgie just wanted to play... :(

I used to "force" Archie to go on the table. What he did love was destroying my phone case and my cables, I give him that.... It was very interesting to him. Otherwise just snooze on the shoulder all day.

I'd say give it time. Even birds have their phases when they're down. Moulting could be creeping on him soon so maybe that's why he's calm. Moulting can take a lot of bird's energy and it makes them moody. Heck, maybe my budgie will moult again, hence her crankiness.
 
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Hyun-Ae

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Oct 25, 2021
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Truly reminds of the 'tiel we fostered. Archibald was such a calm bird, I don't think he ever actually played. He very rarely would chew on some coconut fiber or the woven grass thing, maybe some rattan balls. He was a very young adult bird, very calm, loved sleeping on our shoulders all day. There was nothing wrong with him, that's how just what he liked. He would go into a whistling or shouting fit, or doing the "zoomies" around the room. Problem was, he was obsessed with his own shadow an any kind of reflection, that was such a sad sight. Many months after, his active searching for a friend made us pass him to a lovely lady who had exactly same issue - a rescue who wanted a friend!

Unless your bird really seems agitated and actively searching for other birds, I wouldn't worry. Try rearanging the toys around the cage, try getting some softer toys which a normal parrot would destroy within minutes. Maybe the cockatiel needs a break, too! My budgie also calmed down a lot and she just stopped shreding her wooden blocks, I guess she also needs a break.

Keep in mind getting a "friend" won't always be that. Maybe they will not like each other. You must have another cage from the very begining, you really never know with birds. Also I do not suggest budgie - rather another cockatiel. Mine hated my budgie, but the budgie just wanted to play... :(

I used to "force" Archie to go on the table. What he did love was destroying my phone case and my cables, I give him that.... It was very interesting to him. Otherwise just snooze on the shoulder all day.

I'd say give it time. Even birds have their phases when they're down. Moulting could be creeping on him soon so maybe that's why he's calm. Moulting can take a lot of bird's energy and it makes them moody. Heck, maybe my budgie will moult again, hence her crankiness.
My bird reacts to his shadow, but in a scared way. His own shadow scares him a lot. Sometimes, I would bring him over when I went to a friend's house because she had a cockatiel too. They somewhat got along at first, but after a few meetings, my tiel would try to jump onto her tiel's back. Her tiel got scared of mine.

I change his cage up at least once every few weeks, but I think it may be molting as other suggested. I didn't think it was molting since he's only 4 months, but he's been shaking out a lot of feathers.
 
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Hyun-Ae

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Oct 25, 2021
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Cockatiel
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How long has be been without playing with toys? It could be he's bored of his toys or he's just taking a break as we do with video games etc.
I get him new toys biweekly when I get my paycheck. I normally switch out his toys every week or every other week, but haven't done so recently because he's just so disinterested in toys at the moment.
 
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Hyun-Ae

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Oct 25, 2021
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Cockatiel
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It's recommended to actually not play bird noises because it could make him think "Yay there's a flock over there I can join!", but he'll never get to join them, it's like keeping a person in a cemented room and only talking to them. It's recommended to just give them lots of out time and play with them a lot, I have a budgie that has to be kept solo due to aggression!
ah, good to know. I didn't know this. No wonder he acts upset after a few minutes.
 

samirae

New member
Apr 5, 2014
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I am having a bit of a dilemma. I'm a new bird owner who has owned a 4-month-old cockatiel for around 3 months. I bought him from a family who had to re-home him because they didn't have room for him. I want to get him a friend, but I am a college student who lives with my family, and they will not be able to handle a 2nd cockatiel. I am planning on getting a second one when I move out, but that won't be for another year or two. I read that keeping one bird is abuse, and it makes me feel awful. Except for 2 or 3 times a week where I go to work for 8-9 hours a day, he's always out of his cage and I'm with him (that might change when I go back to on-campus). However, I often wonder if he's sad that he doesn't have a buddy, or if I'm not enough for him.

This is going to sound crazy, but what makes me feel more guilty is that he no longer plays with anything, and just wants to sit on my shoulder and either preen or sleep. I feel like he is or will get bored.
Most birds will bond with one individual. You can bond with your bird, and never need to get another bird. If you aren't able to spend time with your bird then getting a second one is a good option, but there's no guarantee that the two will bond. One of them might also bond with you, and then you'll have a problem with the second bird being left out and bondless.

I also have a parrot that never plays with toys, or seems never to, but once in a while all the toys will be destroyed suddenly lol. Keep providing enrichment, maybe foraging food options too. That does well to keep singular birds busy. Hope everything works out!
 
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