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My cockateil
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My cockateil

Hi, does anyone know how to make these birds happy? I inherited two of them (one has since passed away) I have tried to make friends with them,(now him) to no avail. The worst thing is the way he screeches almost all the time. Not happy chirping or singing. This is just SQWAUCK SQWAUCK Like a cry for help. If I go over and talk to him, he acts scared and hisses at me, altho I have been caring for him for over 5 years. Four years at his owners house, and more than a year at my house. My house is small, and the noise drives me nuts. Any advice here would be appreciated. Thanks.
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184674_tn?1360864093
Your bird has been through a lot of upheaval in the last year of his life; he lives in a new home and now his mate is gone.
You may want to start by assessing the environment where his cage is. If he's an anti-social bird (not too into human interaction), do you have the cage located in a social area with lots of stimuli, such as visitors, television, computer, etc? Or vice versa if he does want more stimuli, and maybe you have him in a back room that he thinks is too quiet?
Birds are usually social creatures, hence birds in the wild being part of a flock. In some cases, "friends" are made in the flock, or a social heirarchy is established, and some birds mate for life. Cockatiels are flock birds from the Australian grasslands. He may be shrieking out and squawking to call out for his friend (the previous owner) and his mate who has now passed away. You may not be considered his "friend" yet. I'm not saying this is the case...just throwing that possibility out there for you to consider.
The thing is, he's alone now and apparently unhappy. You may want to consider getting another bird for his company, but not housing it with him immediately; just put it in the same room. My last cockatiel was caged alone, but in the same room as my Senegal parrot (they'd kill each other if they were housed together). They were the best of friends in their separate cages. If I took one cage out of the room, the other left behind would call out and they'd keep squawking so they could hear each other. Getting another bird might help your bird feel more at peace.
Also consider if you re-arranged the room where you keep him, or even re-arranged his cage. Sometimes new surroundings can really upset a bird. Or consider if you switched food for him to something he might not like so well now.
Is he getting enough sleep at night? Do you cover his cage?
As unlikely as this may be, you may also want to check for molds or lead in your home, especially if it's an older home. These can cause behavioral changes as well, and are dangerous to everyone's health. A bird would show symptoms sooner because their bodies are so much smaller and more sensitive.
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441506_tn?1267537365
Thanks for the advice. Maybe he IS crying for his mate. I felt bad when she died, especially since they told me it was reproductive disease. I thought it was cute the way they loved each other, but I didn't realize it was killing her. The two of them were not social with anyone but each other. If I got a male would it have to be seperate? Would they fight in the same cage? The problem may also be over stimulation, as my house is very small, and the tv can be heard. But he gets a lot of quiet time while I am away at work. I don't cover him at night unless it is very cold, because he hisses when I put a cover over the cage. I was hoping he would be used to his new surroundings by now. It has been 16 months. I feel like I am not a good bird owner.
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184674_tn?1360864093
You sound like you're doing just fine as a bird owner. :-)

He would probably appreciate the company of another bird; it sounds like that could be part of his issue. If you get another male, you could house them together if they get along. If not, then a separate cage set in a place where they can see each other and "talk" to each other would work well. Even if you got another female bird, there's no guarantee they won't fight if they're housed together.

If you think he could be overstimulated at times, you could always cover his cage with a light cloth; a type of fabric that still lets most light through so he will stay awake if you cover him. I occasionally do this with my birds; if they get too stimulated and run and climb around and squawk like crazy, I cover the cage with a sheet and they calm down. Sometimes you only need to cover half their cage, and they'll calm down and feel more secure.
Hissing before covering the cage is typical of an anti-social cockatiel. My last female cockatiel hissed at me for *everything,*  even though she was tame. She just wasn't a "people bird." She'd even sometimes hiss at me when I put food in her dish, or even if I'd walk by her cage too close (she thought, lol). Anyway, hissing at you doesn't mean he's scared of what you're doing--it's more of an Alpha behavior tactic, or bluffing (appearing dangerous to scare off a threat).
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441506_tn?1267537365
Thanks for the advice. I feel better. It seems like you really know your birds! I got more help here than at a cockateil website that I had to pay to join. I feel bad for my poor lonely bird. I guess I may have to get him a companion.
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82861_tn?1333457511
I've had a cockatiel (Petey) for almost 23 years.  His cage has always been located in the living room so he can be a part of household life.  Same goes for our rescued Quaker parrot, Nick, who we've had for 3 years.  They're housed in separate cages about 3 feet from one another.  Cockatiels are pretty docile birds and while Nick isn't alll that much larger, he could easily accidentally kill Petey.  They became fast friends and if one bird is out of view, they start shrieking for one another.  They also shriek if they can't see me, my husband, or even the two dogs that form part of their flock.  :-)

One thing that might help your cockie do better is to keep the cage door open when you're home.  It's important for them to have some freedom and even flight time during the day.  Our birds have open doors from morning until bedtime but rarely choose to fly even though they're flight-capable.  If they see a hawk outside they'll take off for the dining room and hide under the table, or occasionally fly to the floor and walk around looking for human company.

Petey grew up with our first dog, Travis.  He absolutely worshiped that dog and followed him around on the floor every chance he got.  It wasn't at all unusual for Petey to fly down and clean Travis's whiskers and fuzzy toes when he was crashed out on the floor.  Travis even allowed Petey to perch on the edge of his food bowl at dinner time.   They had such a cool relationship, and it ended when Travis died a few years ago.  That was when Petey stopped singing.  All the beautiful songs he once sang just dried up and never came back.

We've always had dogs in the house along with the birds, and never once had a problem training the dogs to accept the feathered pack members.  Matter of fact, that behavior has translated to wild birds.  None of thee dogs blinks an eye at the flock of birds that congregate around the feeders.

You're doing just fine with your bird, so don't give up on socializing him.  Some birds just take more time than others, but it's well worth the effort - even if they do hiss and bite for a while.  :-)
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784382_tn?1376934640
my cockateil squaks ALL THE TIME as well... its just what they do ... that is a happy noise... they are noisy birds by nature....

i would put a towel on the back half of the cage but not covering the whole thing... it will give him a little hide out... i did that for mine and he loves it.. he sleeps in the corner that i have the towel on....
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441506_tn?1267537365
Thanks for the advice. That story about the dog and bird is so sweet! Did your poor bird EVER sing again? Birds mate for life, right? I feel bad for mine, since his cage mate/wife has passed away. I was the one who took her out of the cage, and he never saw her again, so maybe he just hates me? I don't know that much about birds, and did not realize that females can die from reproductive disease. I thought they were having fun together! Thanks again. I also like turkee23's idea about a towel on half the cage.
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82861_tn?1333457511
I know!  I miss seeing Petey following Travis around the house.  It was so funny when Travis decided he'd had enough of bird companionship and tried to walk away.  Petey followed him - although slower - and once he caught up, the look on Trav's face was priceless.  "You again?!"

Petey has only sung his old songs a couple times since Travis died.  Both incidents happened when my husband and I had been out of town for a couple days.  The moment we walked in the door he erupted in song for a couple of hours.  I hoped he would stick with it, but no.

At one point we did have a female cockatiel with Petey.  She was an escapee from somewhere around our neighborhood.  Couldn't find the owners so we kept her.  Initially, we housed her separately but near enough that she and Petey could see one another and communicate.  Well, Petey despised her.  Wanted nothing to do with her.  I imagine he was so imprinted on Travis that another bird was meaningless to him.  LOL!

I don't think your bird "hates" you; he just doesn't really know you yet.  When two birds are housed together, they tend not to be well-socialized with humans.  There are tons of books available about cockatiels and how to socialize and even train them to do entertaining tricks.  It will take some time for you to take the place of his lost mate, but it's not at all impossible.

We have always covered our birds' cages at night.  If they get completely worked up into a shrieking temper tantrum during the day, we cover them again for a short time.  Works like a charm.  The only thing I'm concerned about in providing a safe hidey-hole for your bird right now is that it reinforces that you are something to either fear or not respect, or both.  The goal is to socialize him to you so providing a hideout may not be the best way to accomplish that goal.

Have you ever seen Happy Huts at the pet stores?  They're basically tubes of fuzzy material that provide a safe roosting spot.  Talk about a hidey hole!  We got one for Petey and he refused to go inside after nearly a year of having it in his cage.  Nick the quaker parrot however, waited about 3 months to figure out it was a pretty cool place to hang out.  I'll never forget uncovering his cage one morning only to see... no Nick.  I was just starting to freak when out pops his head from the Happy Hut.  LOL!  He loves that thing and sleeps in it every night and sometimes during the day when he just wants to chill.  Didn't take him long to figure out how to hang his tailfeathers out of the hole instead of pooping in his hut.

Birds really are smart little critters.  Their little pea brains are packed with both smarts and personality.  :-)
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