FAQ’s on Cockatiels

Aka “stupid” questions (hint: there’s no such thing!)

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A MOULT?

1. Feathers EVERYWHERE – they may fall off when you pat them. Completely normal.

2. Fickleness / Moodiness – New feathers (aka pin feathers) are both painful and itchy. They may want MUCH less to do with you and you may hurt them when you pat them.

3. Their first moult is like going through puberty – extremely moody. It may seem like you’ve lost your relationship. Don’t worry, just give him space and he’ll come around.

4. Obviously they can’t preen the pin feathers on their face so they should love it if you help them, but be very gentle. Expect to be nipped at/bitten for when you do hurt them (it’s inevitable) and learn what does/doesn’t hurt them.

WHY IS MY 4-6 MONTH OLD MAKING A STRANGE, ‘DINOSAUR GROWL’ NOISE?

LEGALLY breeders aren’t allowed to sell birds until they’re at least 8 weeks AND fully weaned (ie eating enough that they don’t need any ‘top ups’ from their parents or hand raised owners). Many breeders think 8 weeks is too young and won’t give up a baby until at least 10-12 weeks. One reason for this is that the move is so stressful that young babies can backslide into not eating enough – which could be the case with your bub.
Your bird is calling out for food. Often young will do this even if they’re full. If that’s the case it’s OK and you can just ignore him when he does it and he should stop. But sometimes babies are sold too young (physically or mentally) which means they may not be eating enough.

SUMMARY: Please buy a pair of scales and weigh him every morning before he has eaten. If he is losing weight then he needs to be ‘topped up’ immediately – once or twice a day. If this needs to happen I recommend taking him back to the breeder until he is emotionally ready to be re-homed. I don’t recommend you do it yourself as it’s expensive, complicated, and easy for many things to go wrong.

 

WHY IS MY COCKATIEL ROCKING LEFT AND RIGHT AND MAKING A “CHEEP-CHEEP-CHEEP” SOUND?

Congratulations! Your ‘tiel is a girl! And she’s “clucky”.

If your ‘tiel is doing this in front of you, that’s not normal behaviour and is something you want to discourage. If you don’t there is a relatively high chance she will develop behavioural issues and health complications – some which may be impossible to resolve and/or result in death.
If she is doing this next to her male (or perhaps female) bird companion then it is less concerning, but still something you want to discourage – please see Breeding Behaviour – How and Why to Discourage It for more information.

 

 

EXTERNAL RESOURCES

As usual I refer you to Cockatiel Cottage for more information. This website is a fantastic source for all information on Cockatiels.

 

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