Several cockatiel behavior questions

KenC

Regular Member
Registered
He (Sirius, I'm an amateur astronomer) is about 15 weeks old (assuming 10 weeks for 'weaning' (I think I read that somewhere on the internet)). I received him 17-Sep-20.

The cage I have for him is 61" W by 19" D by 34" H. (That's 155 cm by 48 cm by 86 cm in rational units, but I'm an American <shrug>). The cage is on a stand 27" high (almost 69 cm).

I've provided him plenty of toys, to which he doesn't pay any attention. Hanging things with bells, swings, a ladder/bridge, little colored wicker-like balls, wadded up paper (plain newsprint, same as I use for pan liner) as well has several cockatiel safe plants.

So, after all that background, the questions.

1) Why doesn't he play with the toys? The toys are all placed near perches, but he never goes near them. In fact, he never uses the perches at all, save one (see below).

2) Despite having three different food bowls, he only uses one. Why? Same for water dishes. Of the three, he only uses one.

The space to which he has access is my open floor plan living room and kitchen (sort of "L" shaped) with high ceilings (~14 feet (4.3 meters).

When I let him out of his cage in the morning (~ 8:00 am), he makes 4 or 5 circuits around the space, then lands on a kitchen cabinet or a railing on the loft which overlooks the living room. Then nothing. He just sits there.

After 30 to 90 minutes of just sitting, he'll fly back to the cage, to the one favorite daytime perch, eats from the one favorite food dish, jumps down the cage to the one favorite water dish, gets a drink, jumps back to the one favorite perch and then just sits there for the rest of the day, until early evening (~ 5:00 pm) when he'll go through the eat and drink routine again before roosting for the night.

He doesn't attempt to leave the cage again, even though I leave the cage door open.

(Mind, in the morning he shrieks at me if he thinks I'm not opening the cage door fast enough after food and water changing, etc <wry grin>.)

3) I can't spend all of my time in the LR/kitchen, but I am in and out frequently. I always speak to him when I enter the room, jabber at him when I'm staying a while, and always tell him when I have to leave (but that I'll be back soon <smile>). What am I doing wrong?

He hardly ever 'talks back', although if I sit right by the food dish while he's eating, he'll attempt some muttering in his throat and the occasional whistle.

He doesn't seem afraid that I'm so close to the cage while he's eating, but he doesn't like me to put my hand in the cage. He doesn't bite or attempt to, but he definitely side steps down the perch away from my hand. Of course, he's young. I retain hope that he'll become more affectionate in the future. Nevertheless, what kind of life is this? Even for a bird?

I leave the cage uncovered all day, but I've started covering the top corner of cage in which he roosts with a towel at night. Mostly this is to help keep him warm. I have a space heater on the floor at that end of the cage and the towel helps keep the temperature in the corner where he's sleeping at ~75 F (almost 24 C).

If I place the towel on the cage before he goes up to his corner, he doesn't seem to mind it. However, if he's already flown up to his corner, he hisses at me when I place the towel on the cage. (BTW, the corner in which he roosts has a cuttlebone right next to the end of the perch that he's chosen. I think he's using the cuttlebone as a roosting partner <grin>).

4) The question I have has to do with his behavior after he flies (or climbs) up to roost. For several minutes after he gets up there, he rocks back and forth (sideways) before settling down. What does this mean? Is he uncomfortable about the towel? (I didn't start the towel routine until a couple weeks after I got him as it was very Summery here and I didn't think that he was cold. The last few of week have been getting more Autumnish, and so the towel).

Well this is getting lengthy, so I'll end, but he has other 'strange' behaviors that I'll ask about some other time.

Thanks for your time and any insight you can provide.

KenC
 

DizzyBlue

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Hi :)
You don't mention any handling so is he hand reared if not going back to his cage is unlikely for an aviary bred bird him allowing your close proximity also unlikely.... Makes me think he's older and already been a pet bird with little interaction perhaps....
Are you assuming his age were you told his age and can you really confirm his age?
Toys... He has no idea how to play or what they are for so likely never had them before or the toys are not what he likes to play with which is unlikely for a none aviary bird.
Food and water bowl wise if the contents of all are the same then location of them / what's in them is the reason. Scary toys or too many toys close by? Are the ones he chooses the highest ones? Does he get offered fruit and veggies?
Flight wise he's alone so if he's getting no interaction he's doing his exercise routine having a stretch and after getting bored heading back in to his cage.
Towel wise hissing is oi your disturbing me I'm trying to sleep here bog off!
Roosting wise they pick the highest point for safety reasons less likely to get eaten by predator the higher you go and you can survey your kingdom.
Cuttle fish roosting hmmm are all his perches dowel wood Try natural perches double check the underside of his feet in case of sores.
Try whistling to him from a contact call.
Hand wise read the training section regarding birds that are fearful of hands and start some training your doing nothing wrong as he is learning your routine. Likely the last hand allowed near him grabbed him very scary!
Rocking back and forth hmmm more than likely checking out any shadows in case of hiding lions! Settling down for the snooze normal to get comfy.
And you can be as lengthy as you like more description and information is always better than less :)
 

DizzyBlue

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
This thread @KenC
 

KenC

Regular Member
Registered
DizzyBlue,

Wow. Thanks for your thorough reading and taking the time to answer and to ask follow-up questions! How to respond is my dilemma.


I'll just copy your response and intersperse my own.

You don't mention any handling so is he hand reared if not going back to his cage is unlikely for an aviary bred bird him allowing your close proximity also unlikely.... Makes me think he's older and already been a pet bird with little interaction perhaps....
Are you assuming his age were you told his age and can you really confirm his age?

I got him from a commercial enterprise: The Finch Farm. I'm assuming that he's young because I had to wait 14 weeks from the time of my order until they shipped him. I assumed the 14 weeks was due to them having to breed him (and make sure he was male) and then be old enough to ship.

Toys... He has no idea how to play or what they are for so likely never had them before or the toys are not what he likes to play with which is unlikely for a none aviary bird.
Hmmm, yes I see, but could it also be due to his youth/lack of experience (assuming he really is as young as I've assumed)?

Food and water bowl wise if the contents of all are the same then location of them / what's in them is the reason. Scary toys or too many toys close by?
There is a hanging toy near one of the dishes, millet spray near the other. He does love millet seed.

Are the ones he chooses the highest ones? Actually the one he uses is at the lower level.

Does he get offered fruit and veggies?
I've offered him some fruits (orange and watermelon pieces), but he doesn't seem interested. He does take the occasional Cheerio (toasted oat breakfast cereal) from my fingers, but only if I offer it through the bars of the cage.

Flight wise he's alone so if he's getting no interaction he's doing his exercise routine having a stretch and after getting bored heading back in to his cage. That seems reasonable, but I can't just hang around in my LR all day <smile>.

Towel wise hissing is oi your disturbing me I'm trying to sleep here bog off! <smile>

Roosting wise they pick the highest point for safety reasons less likely to get eaten by predator the higher you go and you can survey your kingdom. <smile>

Cuttle fish roosting hmmm are all his perches dowel wood Try natural perches All but one of his perches have been dowels until lately. I've bought some more natural perches from Amazon, but as I said, he only sits on the one by his favorite food bowl and the perch on which he roosts. double check the underside of his feet in case of sores. And how will I do that without picking him up <chuckle>?

Try whistling to him from a contact call.
"contact call", British idiom?

Hand wise read the training section regarding birds that are fearful of hands and start some training your doing nothing wrong as he is learning your routine. Likely the last hand allowed near him grabbed him very scary!
That would have been the Finch Farm staff who put him in his shipping container. That trauma followed by three days in the postal service! I'd probably be shy of hands, too <wry grin>.

Rocking back and forth hmmm more than likely checking out any shadows in case of hiding lions! Settling down for the snooze normal to get comfy. <another smile>

Thank, again, for your responses. I love this forum. Such very helpful folk.

KenC
 

Lauraj

Regular Member
Hello and welcome 🙂
There are so many very experienced wonderful members on here who will be able to give the best advice!

I have a parrotlet and a grey. My parrotlet was around 14 weeks when we got her from what we believe, she also didn’t care for toys at the start. She did the same perching on one perch and didn’t move much until her confidence grew.
I got my birds a stand for when they leave their cages so if they just want to perch for a while they have a stand to do this, i have also attached plenty of toys if that’s what they fancy doing. My parrotlet comes out flys round then perches on either us or the stand until she goes to fly round again.

I started to introduce toys and play with them a bit myself before putting them into the cage, this sparked her interest and she started to want what i had, however she had become more confident around us at this point so when your bird gets more comfortable try playing with the toys first to show they aren’t that scary. I used to sit on the floor where my birds were higher than me and id play about and allow them to come to me to see.

Fifi my parrotlet also has her favourite bowls, she had a little pink one which had her pellets in but i broke this and she was not a happy girl.
Even though she has a favourite bowl for food and water she does use her others, she just prefers certain ones. I think this might be because they’re more comfortable for her to stand on and eat etc (i have ordered some more of her favourite ones)

Also perches have been mentioned, i make sure she has a selection for her feet. She has rope perches, natural wood, the perches which bend and twist, nail filing ones etc. Perches are so important for birds little feet to prevent sores and foot conditions 🙂
 

Lauraj

Regular Member
Sorry to double reply! I have just noticed your reply, in relation to fruit and veggies.

I started to get my birds to eat fruit and veggies by offering them bits of apple, little chunks of broccoli worked wonders too and also kiwi because the little bird loved getting the seeds out.
My grey started to eat fruit and veggies by eating mango and carrot haha. I just gave them a little selection in a bowl and let them dig round themselves and find what they enjoyed 🙂
 

KenC

Regular Member
Registered
Lauraj,

Thank you for reading and responding. I am hoping that Sirius will gain some confidence as your parrotlet did.

I am going to try a wholesale change out of the dowel perches for natural ones. And I'll try fresh fruits again, also. (I don't eat fresh vegetables myself, but perhaps I'll have to get some for him!)

Maybe I'll take the toys out and reintroduce them one at a time to see if the curiosity engenders his interest.

Thanks again,

KenC
 

dianaT

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Hi, all good advice given. Only thing I would like to add is have thought of making Sirus a stand he can fly to.
Easily made yourself with large or small bucket (depending if you want it table top or floor standing).
I have made floor standing ones in the past but for now we have a table top one. You can add as much as you want to it. Also add the odd toy/millet spray etcstickstand.jpg in due course.
 

Wendy Cooper-Wolfe

Regular Member
Don't give up on offering fresh fruit and veg, difficult if you don't normally have it but maybe you could buy a mixture. Dora our Senegal will refuse a particular fruit or veg for days / weeks then decide its her all time favourite for a whilel!
 

DizzyBlue

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
I'll just copy your response and intersperse my own.
doing the same back have removed the ones we have sorted and will elaborate on the others :)


You don't mention any handling so is he hand reared if not going back to his cage is unlikely for an aviary bred bird him allowing your close proximity also unlikely.... Makes me think he's older and already been a pet bird with little interaction perhaps....
Are you assuming his age were you told his age and can you really confirm his age?

I got him from a commercial enterprise: The Finch Farm. I'm assuming that he's young because I had to wait 14 weeks from the time of my order until they shipped him. I assumed the 14 weeks was due to them having to breed him (and make sure he was male) and then be old enough to ship.
the fact he returns to his cage..... I think he was already used to it .... Not something a baby does if hand reared he would be on you if aviary bred battering himself against cage bars to get away from you and very fearful .... But doesn't matter really plus cocktails Are easier to tell the sexes apart than other birds which need DNA testing.

Toys... He has no idea how to play or what they are for so likely never had them before or the toys are not what he likes to play with which is unlikely for a none aviary bird.
Hmmm, yes I see, but could it also be due to his youth/lack of experience (assuming he really is as young as I've assumed)?
possible but if your a baby you want to burn off energy and they are curious little sweeties

Food and water bowl wise if the contents of all are the same then location of them / what's in them is the reason. Scary toys or too many toys close by?
There is a hanging toy near one of the dishes, millet spray near the other. He does love millet seed. I
what happens if there is millet alongside all of them?

Are the ones he chooses the highest ones? Actually the one he uses is at the lower level.
is that where the millet is?

Does he get offered fruit and veggies? I've offered him some fruits (orange and watermelon pieces), but he doesn't seem interested. He does take the occasional Cheerio (toasted oat breakfast cereal) from my fingers, but only if I offer it through the bars of the cage.
no cherios! Try apple, grape, curly kale, broccoli, salad veggies like sweet crunchy Florettes salad (if you get it there?) Sweet corn or pomegranate

Flight wise he's alone so if he's getting no interaction he's doing his exercise routine having a stretch and after getting bored heading back in to his cage. That seems reasonable, but I can't just hang around in my LR all day <smile>.
True but does that mean he's doing things you don't know about? Has he had a spray misting my tiels adore a bath session.

double check the underside of his feet in case of sores. And how will I do that without picking him up <chuckle>?
when you see him climb up the side of his cage look at the underside of his feet for any bright red marks

Try whistling to him from a contact call.
"contact call", British idiom?
parrot idiom lol flock members know where their friends Are by keeping in touch with them with special calls that they use to identify each other and to greet returning flock members and try to make sure nobody gets lost.
 
Top Bottom