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Is this normal for a female cockatiel?
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Is this normal for a female cockatiel?

I have a female cockatiel that I've owned for about six years. She's kind of tempermental and stand-offish, but she's very healthy and very adaptable to any situation.
But she has this REALLY annoying habit. She masturbates. She rubs her rear end on the bars of the cage while she's sitting on her perch and makes this loud, squeaky squawk for 2-4 minutes at a time. This habit used to be tolerable, because she'd only do it about once a month, maybe three or four times a day, for about a week.
In the past three weeks, however, she's been doing this CONSTANTLY--I'm talking about three or four times an hour, every hour! And the behavior has not subsided like it usually does. The only way I know how to make her stop is to cover her cage with a dark, heavy blanket on and off throughout the day. But as soon as the blanket comes off, five minutes later she's at it again! This morning, she started as soon as the sun came up!
The only "upheaval" she's had in her little life in the past month has been moving into a new house. Could this have anything to do with it? Is this maybe some kind of comfort/security thing she does for herself? She seems very well adjusted in every other way.
Is this normal for a female cockatiel (or any bird) to do this as often as she does?
She's driving me absolutely crazy! Is there any way I can make her tone down the masturbation, or just cut it out completely?
Any advice is appreciated, thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello

I have a male cockatiel and he does the same thing although not as much. During the times that he keeps at it I just simply say a firm NO and he usually stops with that and then i'll just take him out and let him walk around or fly around, do steps on my finger that type of stuff. So you might want to try that if its really awkward especially if friends come over! otherwise im not quite sure why your bird would do that so much? hope that helps!

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Thank you for the comment.

I have tried telling her "no" loudly and firmly, and she doesn't stop. She just looks at me and keeps at it, as if to say, "Why don't ya come over here and MAKE me stop! Ha!"

I've tried a firm tap on the top of her cage, clapping my hands, and even putting treats in her cage that might distract her from doing that so often. But boy, I'll tell you what, this little bird is *stubborn*!

What I will try doing, however, is taking her out of her cage to walk around. I didn't think of doing that, because she doesn't really like to come out of her cage or be held or interacted with much. She's tame, and pretty gentle, but she's very stand-offish and prefers her own space. She doesn't like to be petted or play "step up" on your fingers.

But perhaps being able to be outside the cage in an area where she's safe, but doesn't feel so secure, will be good for her during these "episodes."

Thanks again!
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Avatar_n_tn
Get your birds a mate. Some birds never really care about breeding, but for others it's that natural urge and won't go away unless they breed.  I had a lutino that did the mating squat-chirp constantly until I bred her.  She stayed friendly toward me despite the common misconception that AL breeders are mean/wild.

If your bird is already stand-offish, it shouldn't make a difference anyway.
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Avatar_n_tn
I thought I had a bird doing that, it turned out that she was "egg bound". Does your bird lay eggs? Mine was in labor basically, and didn't even realize it. Instead of yelling at her or punishing her maybe you should find out if she has a medical problem. My Tripper starting laying and wouldn't stop, because I was removing the unfertile eggs to please me (they smelled when they would eventually break) but everytime I took one, she would lay another. I never did breed her, but did give her a supplement that contained a mineral oil, don't remember what it was, but also an extra dose of calcium supplement. Please, if you love her, make sure she's not egg bound, not "randy". I have to wonder how tame she is if she never gets out of her cage or gets handled, either. That's not a normal definition for a "tame" bird. Cockatiels LOVE to be handled, hugged, cuddled, etc. I would definitely have her checked out. I thought that Tripper was "lonely" too, because of the way she backed up against the bars. I felt horrible when I found out she had an egg stuck. Have you ever been really constipated?  I am guessing it's a lot like that, except the size of a newborn. Poor bird!
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