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Jodie9
07-01-2005, 12:06 AM
I am interested in getting a Tiel. I have a few questions that I need answered.

Why do you do if your Tiel nips at you? - The website I was on said to tap its beak of hold it, I don't agree with this at all so are there any alternatives?

How do you teach it the "step up" or "down" (step on/get off finger) command?

Do you think it is okay to buy a tiel from a pet store?

What are the pros and cons of getting a female?

Since I am a first time owner should I be getting a female or male?

Thanks!

Oh, and if anyone has some good websites, I would love to check them out!

Logan
07-01-2005, 06:08 AM
Hi. I do not consider myself a Cockatiel expert, but I do have two of them so I'll try.

Why do you do if your Tiel nips at you? - Our male is the one who will occasionally nip. I never do what you read. I do tell him "No biting , Roger" and put him back in his cage immediately. It doesn't happen often but it is painful when it does. He usually does it when he wants to do something he shouldn't be doing like chewing on a computer cord, etc

How do you teach it the "step up" or "down" (step on/get off finger) command? You'll want to put your forefinger right in front of his legs where he is perched and say "step up", and touch his legs just a little to make him want to pick his leg up off of his perch. We found this very easy to do with bofh of ours. I have never taught "step down".

Do you think it is okay to buy a tiel from a pet store? Both of ours came from a pet store. I would look around and make sure you are comfortable with the level of cleanliness, their abiliby to answer your questions, overall appearance of the pets they sell, especially the birds. If water bowls are nasty that might be a red flag, also if the birds are plucking their feathers alot or just look scraggly in general, be careful. We felt very good about the quality of the birds we looked at and Roger immediately respodned to my daughter and walked up her arm. It was love at first sight.

What are the pros and cons of getting a female? Well, our female is much more quiet than our male. She also is not as outgoing. But I don't know if that is a female trait or just a Milly trait. Milly is sort of a rescue bird, although I paid for her. She was an owner turn in after her owner was placed in a nursing home and her son didn't like the bird. She is quite shy and had never been trained to step up while inside the cage. To this day, she comes out on her own, but then will step up for me. I don't think all females are like Milly. She was an excellent mother when we allowed them to have babies last year.

Since I am a first time owner should I be getting a female or male?

Depends on what you want, I guess. We have both. And the 3 babies that we raised (Roger and MIlly raised) consisted of 2 girls and 1 boy. One of the girls talks incessently, just like her daddy. The other is more quiet. They live in the same home. The male is owned by a fellow pet talker, Amber. She can tell you how he is. I think he is a talker too, if I remember correctly. Our Roger was our first one and I am glad we got a male for the first one. He is dalring when he talks and whistles his songs. He doesn't have a huge vocabulary, but it is sweet to listen to. I would say that if you don't have a major preference, see which bird responds to you first and best. That's certainly how we chose Roger. He walked up Helen's arm and sat on her shoulder while she walked around the store. Love at first sight, I guess.

Wish you the best of luck! Other than the mess they make, I have never been disappointed with bird ownership and I"m so happy they have such long, full lives.

Logan, Roger and Milly

Jodie9
07-01-2005, 12:25 PM
Thank you :D I really appreciate it!

K9soul
07-01-2005, 12:50 PM
I don't have too much to add, but I'll throw my own comments and experiences in :)

Why do you do if your Tiel nips at you?

I would also not do the beak tapping thing, it could have a reverse effect in making the bird more confrontational as it would see you as "pecking back" at it. If a bird bites/nips, I think it's important first of all to have as little reaction as possible, jerking away or yelling might have a rewarding effect as the bird might see itself as dominating you or winning its way by making you remove your hand. If it's a fearful bite, I'd simply try to ignore it and be persistent with getting him/her to step up by saying in a neutral voice to "step up". If it's aggressive biting then I'd say putting the bird back in the cage and giving it no attention for awhile would be good.

How do you teach it the "step up" or "down" (step on/get off finger) command?

I taught Dawn the same way Logan talked about, but I did not teach her a step down command either. When I lower my hand somewhere she seems to know it is to put her down and she will generally just step down on her own.

Do you think it is okay to buy a tiel from a pet store?

I got my tiel Dawn from PetSmart. At the time, the birds there looked really nice and they sold hand raised chicks. (They have since changed management and I don't care for how their birds look now). I also agree with Logan to just check the store out and see how the birds look.


What are the pros and cons of getting a female?

I was not sure when I got Dawn if she was male or female, but she turned out to be a girl. :) Females are usually quieter (in my case, Dawn is physiologically mute). I have had a male and female tiel and both were sweet natured but my girl Dawn has always been much more cuddly. It probably has a lot to do with how they are raised and socialized when babies. Dawn is a VERY affectionate and cuddly bird, she loves to snuggle :)

Since I am a first time owner should I be getting a female or male?

I also agree with Logan that it depends on what you want, but also realize that with tiels unless you get DNA testing done you cannot for certain tell the sexes apart when they are young. There are always exceptions of course, but males are generally more vocal and more likely to whistle and talk, but also make more racket in general ;). Again in my experience females have been more docile, less likely to bite, and more affectionate but I have not had lots of tiels and this could vary from bird to bird.

Hope this helps and good luck! Tiels are generally very sweet and good natured birds and make wonderful pets! :)

KBlaix
07-01-2005, 12:58 PM
I like everything Logan said but wanted to add to it.

As far as "step down" it's not as natural for a cockatiel as "step up". To get your bird to step off your finger simply place him in front of his perch (or wherever you want him to go), only a bit lower than the perch and he will step up the same as he would have if it were your finger. (I hope that made sense.)

Male vs. Female- I too find that females are usually much more quiet then males are. I personally like the noisy males, but you may not. Also males are more likely to talk and whistle. The major downside with females is even a female who has not mated with a male can lay an egg (it of corse would not be fertile). The problem with that is that they can become egg bound (wether the egg is fertile or not) , which often results in death.

K9soul
07-01-2005, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by KBlaix
The problem with that is that they can become egg bound (wether the egg is fertile or not) , which often results in death.

That is true and something I forgot to mention, however the risk of this can be diminished drastically if the bird is receiving a proper and well balanced diet (not pure seed diet) with plenty of fresh foods like fruits and veggies as well as always keeping a cuttlebone and/or mineral block for calcium supplementation. I lost a bird to this before I was really educated about the risks and the preventative methods :(. Here is a very informative and detailed site that has to do with egg binding, with links at the bottom on preventative measures. http://www.cockatielcottage.net/binding.html

popcornbird
07-01-2005, 07:09 PM
Everyone's advice is great, but I do want to add something regarding male vs. female tiels.

I have a male cockatiel, and a female cockatiel, and both are wonderful, sweet birds with such great but different personalities. Popcorn (my male) is very outgoing, very 'spunky', curious, LOVES to sing/dance. He's a CLOWN and can keep you laughing for hours. He loves giving people kisses and making a kissie sound along with it. He walks and dances to 'gracefully' like a king, and it is hilarious. Males tend to whistle/talk/vocalize more than females, in general.

Muffin, my female, is also a wonderful bird. She's very much a 'velcro birdie', and LOVES to cuddle, snuggle, and get scritchies on her head/neck/everywhere. She loves rubbing her head against my cheek, and will sometimes fall asleep doing that. It is SO sweet. She tends to be more quiet than Popcorn, and only makes noise when she needs or wants something. She's extremely loving. Unlike Popcorn who seems to love people, in general, she's more into 'one person'. She loves the whole family, but she really loves me......follows me around the house, cuddles with me, and calls me. I 'think' females are like that...quiet and shy, and bond most to their favorite person. Males tend to be more outgoing. Of course it depends on the bird too, but in general, this is what I've noticed.

I *love* both my birds, and love having both a male and female, because they are so different, but both SO sweet. I guess your decision on the gender is really up to you. The cons for males might be too much singing/talking/whistling if you don't like that, but Popcorn only whistles in the morning, and I *love* his voice, so that's a pro for me. Cons for females could be egg laying and egg related problems, but that too, shouldn't be a problem if they are in good health and fed a well balanced, nutritional diet.

I personally love tiels, males and females. They make wonderful pets. Good luck!

Jodie9
07-01-2005, 07:13 PM
Thanks everyone. You are all really helping :D

Egg binding- Is there a good chance that she would have trouble with this? Im also wondering if she would be protective over the eggs and if I would be able to take them away from her? Is there any specific time when she would lay an egg? Would it be very often?

I also read that they go through a sort of "puberty". In this time the males get very agrressive. Does this happen to every tiel? And is it hard to train them back to their old self?

Is there is a differnet between the gray and the yellow ones? ( i dont know the official names for them)

I got this from a website, do you think it is fairly accurate?
· -25% vitamin fortified cockatiel seed mix
· 25% pellets or crumbles for cockatiels
· 25% vegetables, fruits, and dark leafy greens
· 15% rice/beans/corn mix (available commercially or create it yourself)
10% table scraps, munchies from your hand, bread, pasta, etc



Sorry, i know im asking a lot of questions so I hope Im not bothering anyone I just really want to make everything right and get second opionins. I read alot of websites but I dont always trust the things they say

K9soul
07-01-2005, 07:36 PM
Hopefully she would never start laying eggs, a lot of hens don't. If she did, but was fed a well balanced diet (and the one you posted there sounds very good to me), she would be at very low risk for it. This page explains very well what to do if your hen lays eggs and how to get her to stop. You are supposed to leave them in because if you take them out before she loses interest, she will lay more to replace them. Anyway this page explains very well the steps to take for it should the hen start laying.

http://www.cockatielcottage.net/questions.html

I really didn't experience a "puberty" stage but I never raised a male from a chick before. There is real difference between the different colors in tiels, they are all the same species, just different colors the same as, for example, yellow labs and black labs.

Please don't apologize for your questions, I think it's great you are researching and questioning before getting a tiel, so that you are prepared to deal with anything and everything that is involved :)

Jodie9
07-01-2005, 07:38 PM
I just found a website that said that during the first month of breeding season males get agressive. Is this true?

Do you think I should get two so their not lonely? I do plan on giving them lots of attention though, and I dont work so I will be home with them. If I end up getting to do you think it is better to get two males or to females? and should they be in the same cage or seperate?

edit- I just read your post, thanks for the info.

Jodie9
07-01-2005, 09:57 PM
I hear that a common problem is night fright. Would it be better to let him/her sleep in a seperate and quiet room, with the light on? Or should I have him/her by me?

chrissycat21
07-02-2005, 07:30 AM
Originally posted by Jodie9
I just found a website that said that during the first month of breeding season males get agressive. Is this true?

Do you think I should get two so their not lonely? I do plan on giving them lots of attention though, and I dont work so I will be home with them. If I end up getting to do you think it is better to get two males or to females? and should they be in the same cage or seperate?

.

So far I have had my male cockatiel (I'm pretty sure he's a male) for nine months and have not seen any hint of aggression. If your worried about that, have your cockatiels wings clipped so then they are more dependant on you and can't fly away or feel like they are the boss, etc.

If you get two they might bond with each other instead of you, but that is just what I've heard. You might want to talk to PCB or Logan, since they both have two tiels.;)

For night frights- Keep your birds cage covered really well. I keep Buttons' cage in my room so that if he does have a night frights I can be right there to uncover the cage and make sure he is ok. He has only had 3 since I got him, and two where my fault. (I was trying to find my way out of my room at 4 in the morning:rolleyes: )

Also, I'm pretty sure Buttons' is a male, he is very, very vocal. But unlike some males, he is extrememly cuddly and would rather fall asleep on your shoulder or have head scratches then anything else!

Good luck finding a cockatile! :)

KBlaix
07-02-2005, 08:52 AM
Originally posted by chrissycat21
For night frights- Keep your birds cage covered really well. I keep Buttons' cage in my room so that if he does have a night frights I can be right there to uncover the cage and make sure he is ok. He has only had 3 since I got him, and two where my fault. (I was trying to find my way out of my room at 4 in the morning:rolleyes: )

That's the exact opposite thing you should do. I have 4 cockatiels and a dove (who also suffers from night fright) I would never cover their cage. In fact I leave a night light on for them. Also they are kept in a back bedroom at night away from anyone or anything who could scare them. I close the blinds on the window so nothing outside will scare them either. Don't leave a bright light on because they need it dark to sleep, but a little night light works wonders- It's still dark enough for them to sleep, yet not dark enough for them to experience night fright.

KBlaix
07-02-2005, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by K9soul
That is true and something I forgot to mention, however the risk of this can be diminished drastically if the bird is receiving a proper and well balanced diet (not pure seed diet) with plenty of fresh foods like fruits and veggies as well as always keeping a cuttlebone and/or mineral block for calcium supplementation. I lost a bird to this before I was really educated about the risks and the preventative methods :(. Here is a very informative and detailed site that has to do with egg binding, with links at the bottom on preventative measures. http://www.cockatielcottage.net/binding.html

You're so right. My RB Sunny died from being egg bound. She was always "chewing" on her mineral block and cuttle bone, but she would never touch her pellets. She only ever ate the seeds. I did however give her daily vegetables which she did eat, but maybe didn't eat enough of. Sunny was 5 before she tried to lay her first egg, unfortunately she died trying to lay it.

You can help them lay their egg if they're having trouble. Boiling a bowl of water and holding them over the steam can really help. You just have to be really really careful not to hold them too close to the water, the steam can burn them if they're too close to the water. I've had eggs laid in my hand doing this. Unfortunately it doesn't always work.

popcornbird
07-02-2005, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by KBlaix
That's the exact opposite thing you should do. I have 4 cockatiels and a dove (who also suffers from night fright) I would never cover their cage. In fact I leave a night light on for them. Also they are kept in a back bedroom at night away from anyone or anything who could scare them. I close the blinds on the window so nothing outside will scare them either. Don't leave a bright light on because they need it dark to sleep, but a little night light works wonders- It's still dark enough for them to sleep, yet not dark enough for them to experience night fright.

Actually.............

My birds get night frights when they're NOT covered. When they are covered, and its pitch dark, they sleep comfortably. Its when they can see things that they get scared, so I make sure they're covered well at night. I've had them for almost 6 years now, and so far, they have only had 3 night frights....and those night frights all happened on nights when I felt it was too hot to cover them and didn't.

I guess it depends on the birds too. My birds are so used to being covered that they demand their 'blanky' at night. They start screaming for it at their bed time, and won't stop until they see me bringing it. Then they sigh with relief. :D LOL!

Jodie9
07-02-2005, 09:43 PM
Does anyone know if pet stores typically have male cockatiels or female cockitiels?

KBlaix
07-02-2005, 09:54 PM
Originally posted by popcornbird
My birds get night frights when they're NOT covered. When they are covered, and its pitch dark, they sleep comfortably. Its when they can see things that they get scared, so I make sure they're covered well at night. I've had them for almost 6 years now, and so far, they have only had 3 night frights....and those night frights all happened on nights when I felt it was too hot to cover them and didn't.

I guess it depends on the birds too. My birds are so used to being covered that they demand their 'blanky' at night. They start screaming for it at their bed time, and won't stop until they see me bringing it. Then they sigh with relief. :D LOL!

I guess it does very from bird to bird. I've had birds for 13 years and only ever covered my cockatoos. I've never even considered covering my cockatiels. It's something I had always read and been told not to do.