Aka “stupid” questions (hint: there’s no such thing!)
WHY IS MY COCKATIEL SCREAMING AND HOW CAN I STOP IT?
It’s very common for birds to develop that screaming/crying behaviour when you are not in the room. They’re doing this to get your attention and they can literally go for hours if they know you’ll give in. Theoretically it’s very easy to solve, but it requires some determination (and maybe ear plugs or a trip to the shops).
To get him/her to stop the screaming when you leave the room you have to
1) Completely ignore it. Don’t even look at the bird until they’ve been quiet for at least 10 minutes (and I mean 10 minutes, not 2. 15 would be better).
2) Best to leave the room if you can and not come back until they’ve been quiet for at least 10 minutes. If you *have* to enter the room, do not look at them or give them any attention. Try not to talk. Leave as quickly as possible.
3) Know this can be heartbreaking for you and your bird can literally do this for hours on end. Leave the house for an hour or two if you have to.
4) Do not give in. If you do this you should start to notice a difference within days and it should be solved within a week.
5) Do not give in! If you do they’ll know they can eventually win your attention.
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.
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.
As usual I refer you to Cockatiel Cottage for more information. This website is a fantastic source for all information on Cockatiels.