My Cockatiel won't let me touch his wings, what do I do?

Zack

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Clyde the male cockatiel and Bonnie the female parakeet.
My Cockatiel hates it when I touch his wings and I want to put a harness on him, so what do I do? :yellow1:
 
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Zack

Zack

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I tried training him with treats, but he still won't let me. He got his wings trimmed if that helps explain why.
 

ParrotLover2001

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I tried training him with treats, but he still won't let me. He got his wings trimmed if that helps explain why.
It's his instinct. When in the wild, if another animal got a hold of a birds wing that bird is basically done for. It will take lots of time and patients to be able to touch his wings, and having them clipped might make him fear people who try to touch his wings.

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Kiwibird

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Took over a year to be able to get a harness on our amazon. Lets just say, it's still not fully consensual either, though he seems aware it isn't going to eat him he does still have the "beaten puppy" look the whole time it's on:rolleyes:. He's been clipped his whole life (19 years), and is used to it enough he lets us extend his wings one at a time while he stands there on his perch to be clipped. Though, I could see a young bird who's been restrained and gotten their first clip being somewhat sensitive about the matter still! Our bird doesn't fear his wings being touched specifically, he just doesn't like being touched in general. Some parrots just do not like being touched and others are even more indignant about their plumage being ruffled by some kind of evil restraint device! Our parrot also doesn't like being petted or scritched. Some of them are like that. Just keep at it with your bird. The goal is earning his trust to place the harness on him, not to have him enjoy being touched per se.
 
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Zack

Zack

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He is only a few months old, he was about 4 months old when we got him in april, so that makes him 10 months old, and we got him with his wings clipped so I think it was traumatic for him, so he is scared of me touching his wings.
 

Kiwibird

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What is his reaction to being touched by the harness? Like if you tried to drape it over him but not put it on? Does he like to be touched anywhere else and he's just sensitive about his wings or does he plain and simple not like being touched? What is his reaction to being touched in lower lighting? Our bird is much more docile and easier to get the harness on in lower light.
 

LordTriggs

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does he like being scritched round the head/neck area?

My conure was a bit funny with being touched in some areas but when I started moving from his head to his belly then to his pits/wings he opened up quite quickly to it

also maybe have a treat on hand, you touch a wing, if he doesn't react he gets a treat. Don't rush the harness training. With winter fast approaching there won't be as much opportunity to go out so it's really good to slow down to a crawl with the harness
 

Pokemaster

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Trying to put the harness can risk to ruin the relation with the bird, with some birds. Some tiels has a prey istinct so strong that even touching with the hand from above without them freaking out becomes a challange and requires a lot of work. The harness is even worse, if it's the kind of tiel that has so much susceptibility to the "threat" you risk that he will associate your hand to the tentative to put the harness and you will lose your privilege to touch and hold it. Sadly i belive that those birds had to be used to the harness while they were still being hand fed.. other tiels are more relaxed and will get used to it even later.. of course i can be wrong, it's ust my belief.
 

LordTriggs

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not just Tiels but any bird can be more prone to fear from a harness, but like taming if the right time is spent and the bird sets the pace of training for the harness then any bird can be taught to wear one. The biggest problem that comes with harness training is without someone there to show us we're never quite sure at first how it all works and will inevitably make a mistake. I'd give anything to have someone with me and teach me how to do the training
 

clark_conure

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In my experience with cockatiels they LOVED being scratched on the head and cheeks but didn't take to the wings being touched. I would just take it slow and get him used to hands first.
 
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Zack

Zack

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Kiwibird, his reaction is reaching over and pushing my hand away or, just running away if he can. If I drape it over him he bites it. He likes being touched on his head and neck and he is ok with it if I touch his feet and claws but nowhere else. He is great in lower lighting.
Also LordTriggs, Yes he likes to be scritched on the neck and head.
clark_conure, he is used to my hand already.
 
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YUMgrinder

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My cockatiel squirms like no other when I inspect her wings. I have to do it often since she has an issue with feathers growing on one wing. she tolerates it but squirms like crazy. She also doesn't like her tail being touched. They are just a little more high strung than other birds sometimes and its normal. time is your friend, be patient and given enough time you'll be able to handle her wings with less struggle. I'd try to gently pull out each wing while softly talking to him keep telling him it's ok and what a good boy he's being. give him a treat afterwards. Every day do that. start slow and don't make a fuss if he doesn't allow it just reassure him you are only looking, he'll come around but I bet he will never fully be comfortable with it.
 

Inger

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Didnā€™t Wrench post some information on how he trained Salty to accept his harness? That would be a helpful starting point.


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Kiwibird

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If your bird is sensitive about his wings in particular, then you need to work on making him accept having his wings touched and manipulated and hold off on any further harness training until he's more accepting of his wings being touched. I've found working on touch with my bird generally works better in lower lighting (think fancy restaurant lighting, not near darkness).

Do you plan on keeping him clipped BTW? Because if you do, it is especially important he becomes comfortable with the wings being manipulated and (gently) extended. It will make clipping much less stressful in the future if he doesn't need to be restrained while he's fighting for his life kind of thing.
 
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Zack

Zack

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Clyde the male cockatiel and Bonnie the female parakeet.
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Yes Kiwibird he is mostly sesitive about his wings, and no I don't plan on keeping him clipped. But how do I get him to accept having his wings touched and moved.
 

LordTriggs

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slowly (as most things with birds) try going for scritches on his head/neck and move ever so slowly towards his wings my conure who was a cuddle big didn't like being touched all over at first but he enjoyed it as I slowly moved from zones he liked to the ones he wasn't too fond of
 
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Zack

Zack

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Clyde the male cockatiel and Bonnie the female parakeet.
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Ok, I'll try that!
 

SimplyBirdLover

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If your cockatiel isn't letting you touch his wings then I wouldn't even attempt to put a harness on yet and he definitely isn't ready to go outside.. He has to learn that it isn't a danger to him. he has to " put the harness on himself' What I mean by this is that he needs to start putting his head into the harness and getting comfortable around it. I would start holding the harness in front of him while hes siting on a perch out of the cage and hold a treat on the opposite side of the harness so that he has to stick his head through in order to get the treat. keep doing this until your able to take the harness near him without him pulling away or panicking. This will also help with the wing situation as well. reward him when he stays calm as your touching his wings.
 

Frozengirl

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Clicker training. My tiel didn't like me touching her wings but I got her used to pushing them out from her body to teach her the wings trick in small steps. The first three days I just put my finger near her wings and clicked then gave her a treat. Then I got closer til I could just barely touch her wing then a treat. Then underwing. Then slowly moving underwing outwards. That took two weeks. Once she caught on to the trick and spreading her wings herself, I stopped pushing her wings so she doesn't like me touching them again haha.
 

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