Our cockatiel, Nugget, has recently taken up with boxes and all things box-ey. He tends to get a teeeensey bit territorial over them however…
You’re the one!
You make bath time, so much fun!
Taking our cockatiel, Nugget, into the shower is always an amusing part of the day. He eyes up the shower for a while and then does a little head bob-dance to get your attention and to signify he wants down and in the water. So we turn the shower head to the bathroom’s window ledge and set him down then let him go nuts.
He’ll hunker down and then floof out all of his feathers, doing this strange shower-dance with his head, lowering it, then rolling it back and forth over his back and wings then lowering it again. He’ll hold his wings out for maximum soakage and some times chitter little tiny brrrtbrrrt? noises.
I love Nugget, he’s definitely taught me to appreciate birds just a little more and love the smell of feathers!
If you can’t stand the bird that merrily chirps outside your window at six in the morning, every morning—if the high pitched whistle of the tea kettle drives you nuts? You aren’t really for a cockatiel. While it’s true that they are smaller than cockatoo’s, conures and other parrots, a ‘tiel whistle when they are being particularity happy, unhappy, bored, playful (every other mood, etc) can make your eardrums literally twitch. You may want to consider a breed of smaller song birds.
9.) You aren’t willing to splurge on a large cage.
Cockatiels need enough room for them to be able to spread their wings out to a full span and flap about. Not to mention the ability to crawl all over their cage and enjoy the things placed within it. Think of the cage not as a bed or a room, but the ‘tiels entire home, which to them it is. If you aren’t prepared to shell out for a cage, (because most second hand cages aren’t a healthy choice.) maybe you aren’t ready for a cockatiel yet. Just like the misconception that gold fish are perfectly happy in teeny, tiny bowls, birds are not happy being confined to tiny little cages.
8.) You aren’t willing to splurge at all.
Pellets, supplements, nail clippers, enough toys to swap out the old ones weekly to keep them from getting bored—styptic incase you trim their claws too low or break a blood feather, vet check up and bills, it all adds up fast. If you think a cockatiel is easier on your wallet book than a dog or cat, think again. Birds are as expensive, and in some cases when it comes to veterinarian bills, far more costly. If you aren’t willing to spend money to take Squeaker Jr. to the vet—you aren’t ready for him.
7.) You expect the bird to hop up onto your finger and start reenacting some sweet Disney-esque scene where your ‘tiel turns into the blue bird of happiness and whistles Zippity-doo-dah.
Puppies need to be trained not to go inside the house, how to sit, come when called and find out who is Alpha in the house. Birds need to know you are the Alpha bird at all times and like puppies, must be trained to step up and learn to trust you. Without time spent with your bird to teach him or her these things, you might end up with a bite-y bird no one wants to be around.
Shoving your monster of a hammy hand beast into his or her cage within three seconds of acquiring your new ‘tiel is a sure way to get yourself a bite—if you want a pet that’s easy to bond with immediately, a bird may not be your best choice.
6.) Cockatiel beaks were made to crack through tough outer shells. Your finger does not have a tough outer shell.
My ‘tiel, Nugget for example, has drawn blood from my fingertips several times as well as tearing out little chunks of skin when he’s feeling particularly ornery. If you can’t stand a few good pecks and missing skin, or are nervous about getting bitten—the bird can pick this up which can lead to all sorts of problems later on.
Getting bitten is just one of the of the wonderful parts and pieces of being owned by an animal. If bird bites particularly bother you, you should perhaps rethink getting a cockatiel.
5.) Cockatiel females and males don’t feel the “need” to mate with everything they see for fun and experience. Like we do.
They don’t “have the right to enjoy that wonderful experience of motherhood” nor do they really dig sex like we do. There are several horrendous issues that can crop up when breeding ‘tiels, one of the biggest is the little fluff heads becoming egg bound. If you want ‘tiels because you think you can breed them and make a buck out of selling their babies or are under the misconstrued impression it’s cruel to deny them the chance to breed—you aren’t ready (and you might not ever be) for a ‘tiel. There are enough breeders out there at the moment supplying pet stores, people, and unfortunately, humane societies with enough ‘tiels to go around. Don’t contribute to the problem!
4.) They aren’t really birds for mimicking speech.
Despite all the cute youtube videos, as well as all the youtube videos I have of Nugget saying, “Whatcha doin’?” Human speech mimicry is not natural to ‘tiels and some people have stated they’ve owned ‘tiels that simply never spoke—lots of birdie noises and happy singing, but no actual words.
If you’re going into the cockatiel acquiring business in a rush with the thought of having a troupe of little chatterboxes repeating everything you say to you within a few days? You might want to rethink that and understand that some ‘tiels don’t talk at all.
3.) It IS possible to teach them how to say something, but it demands your patience, time, and the ability to repeat the same thing over and over–
–and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over (breathes) again.
Get the point? Repetition, speaking in the same way in the same manner, praise, speaking calmly as well as rewarding them for making noise is all part of the process. If this sounds like torture to you—in addition to the thought of having that taught phrase repeated back to you for twenty some odd years? You aren’t ready for a cockatiel in your home.
2.) A healthy ‘tiel has a long life span compared to smaller birds—roughly twenty years.
That’s twenty years depending on you for shelter, food, love, attention and affection. ‘Tiels need interaction as well as your attention for AT LEAST an entire, solid hour everyday. If your life is upside down and side ways right now and you can’t see yourself being able to spend and hour with him or her everyday anytime in the near future? You definitely aren’t ready for a ‘tiel.
Bird poop. On everything and everywhere, because, obviously, you aren’t going to be cruel and keep him or her in their cage all day everyday, right? Birds poop every twenty minutes. They can’t really be 100% potty trained (But you can train them to go poop when you say, “go poop!”) and will poop on everything. Your shoulder, your hair, your couch, the floor, the bed sheets, your clean couch, the kid’s hair, on your hand…You name the surface, the bird will poop on it. If that lovely thought is leaving you green in the gills, then I am almost 100% sure you aren’t ready for a cockatiel.
There are so many rash decisions when it comes to getting a pet, many people rush out and purchase an animal because it looks cute without understanding the responsibility, effort, care and work involved. If you’ve read all this and are still wanting a cockatiel, here are several websites I’ve found that has helped me along the way. I hope they help you!
I also hope this saves someone the heart ache of realizing too late that a ‘tiel isn’t meant for them.
To those of you brave enough to honestly answer you weren’t ready for a ‘tiel, Nugget thanks you. 🙂
June 10, 2017
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