Have you ever thought about having a cockatiel as a friend at home? It is extremely intelligent and will be an amazing partner to spend time with. However, knowing how to get a cockatiel to like you is important before you bring it home.
Although you think you need to train your new feathered friend as soon as possible, giving him some time alone is crucial. Rushing on the training will not help him to adapt to the new home.
And remember, parrots or especially cockatiels are very intelligent animals. They can be trained with routine and discipline to produce a bird that is fun to play with.
Best Time to Tame a Cockatiel
A cockatiel should be hand-tamed when he is at an early age. It is better to bring home a cockatiel that is eight to twelve weeks old. He will adapt easily to a new environment.
When a cockatiel is six months old or more, you will need more time and effort to hand tame him.
That does not mean the methods below cannot be applied to birds that are older. Rather, such conditions will require more patience, effort and discipline in their application.
11 Steps on How to Get a Cockatiel to Like You
A cockatiel will gradually learn to like his new environment, but it needs patience and effort. Here are some steps to do it.
1. Know the Background
Most of the cockatiel’s behavior depends on his previous interactions in the old environment. If your cockatiel was not hand-fed, hand-tamed, or socialized when he was a baby, it is hard for him to trust people. He might bite or be aggressive toward new people.
How to tame a cockatiel? Training a cockatiel that bites is much more complicated than one that doesn’t. So, if this is your first experience having a cockatiel, I suggest you choose one that is tame when he was a baby.
However, if you have no option, you should remember that biting or any aggressive manner is a sign that he is afraid of the new situation. So, make sure you have created the environment as comfortable as possible. Do not let anyone provoke him.
2. Visit the Veterinarian
Before taking your cockatiel home, bring him to a veterinarian. Ask him/her to trim the wings. This is crucial to give him some time to adjust to his new cage before flying around the house.
If he flies outside the cage before you tame it, you will have to chase and catch him. It will make him afraid of you and think that you try to harm him. Thus, the training will be more complicated.
Let the wing feathers grow after the training has finished and you are ready to let him fly.
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3. Give It Some Time Alone
How to make your new cockatiel feel at home?
After taking him to your place, let him be alone in the cage for several hours. Your feathered friend will have some time to observe the new environment. Do not rush to talk to him.
Make sure you place him in a comfortable cage. The cage should be large enough so that the cockatiel can spread its wings easily without touching the sides of the cage.
4. Sit and Say Hello
After some hours, you can sit next to his cage. Let him see and observe you.
Sit for 10 – 20 minutes and then start to say hello. Talk slowly and softly if it is your first time greeting him. Whistle and let him listen to you.
You will be happy to see him watch and move closer to you. And maybe you will notice they start to imitate what you say.
5. Talk to Your Cockatiel
On the following day, you can start to talk to him more frequently. When you are ready to talk to a cockatiel, do the following tips:
- You can say hello and good morning to greet your feathered friend, or bye-bye when you want to go.
- Get your eyes down to his eye level. Avoid towering over him.
- After several times chatting with him, place your hand outside the cage. When he is ready, open the door and put your hand and touch his feathers, but avoid touching his head.
If you talk to him frequently, he will know that you pay attention to him, and eventually will like you.
6. Offer Yummy Treats
All pets love treats, and your cockatiel is not an exception.
Try to have fun with him by giving him some yummy treats. Offer packaged seed, dry cereal, or spray millet.
If it is for the first time, put the treats on a bar near the cage. Next, you can start offering the treats from your hand. Your cockatiel will gradually move in to accept the yummy treats.
When he is eating, talk gently and quietly to show your attention.
Although giving treats can strengthen the bonding between you and your feathered friend, be careful not to give treats too much. They should be only a small part of his diet. This is because consuming too many seeds-based foods can lead to heart problems for him.
The video below is not a cockatiel. But the way the video shows is the best way to socialize with a cockatiel. Namely by feeding him directly with your hands.
7. Create a Play Session
Once he knows that you are his friend and show no defensive or aggressive manner, create a play session with him.
A cockatiel loves toys and flying around the house. He doesn’t like staying in the cage all long. So, if you have spare time, let him go out of the cage and play with you and other toys.
Some toys that you can introduce are mini balls, colored wooden popsicle sticks, shiny plastic toys, and fake branches. Playing with him once in a while will strengthen your bonding with him.
8. Schedule Regular Interactions and Training Time
If you are a busy person with loads of things to do every day, try to schedule regular interactions and training time with your lovely cockatiel. Some fun activities may include talking to him, petting him, or training him to do new tricks.
Plan at least an hour per day to interact with him. You will be surprised to see how he can be such a lovely friend.
Watch how he reacts to any activities that you offer. If you can interact with him in a way that excites him, the bonding will be better. It is also a way on how to get your cockatiel to let you pet it.
Even if it’s only a few hours of practice a day, if you do it regularly it will have a significant impact on your bird. Your cockatiels will respond better to what they are taught. It’s because they are accustomed to being disciplined with your workout routine. And this will be more effective than you train directly for a long duration but not done regularly.
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9. Learn the Cues
Make sure the cockatiel can relax in the new environment. If it shows one of the signs below, then you have to be more patient:
- Flashing eyes and fanning tail
- Opening beaks to bite
- Extending claws
- Rolling on its back
- Crouching with head forward, neck feathers up, and tail feathers spread
- Its body becomes very tense.
- Being aggressive when marching toward you
You may go back to the previous steps if the cockatiel shows the cues. Do not rush to the next training step.
10. Introduce It to Other Members of the Household
When you think you and your cockatiel have a strong bonding and good interaction, you can invite other members of the household to get to know him. Introducing a new friend to the cockatiel is easy when the bird is hand tame.
Put the cockatiel’s cage in the busiest room and let him observe the household slowly. However, don’t rush to introduce many people to the bird.
11. Turn on the Radio or Television
Just like you, a cockatiel needs entertainment. The good news is, he might like the sound of television and radio. So, when you are out all day long and nobody is at home to accompany the cockatiel, just turn on the radio or television.
You can play any good channel featuring animals for your feathered friend to watch. Another option is playing a CD with a nature theme. Chirping birds sound will be a good choice too.
It will help the cockatiel to feel happy in the environment. He doesn’t get bored or stressed because he thinks he is alone. You can talk to him again when you are home later.
With this method, cockatiels might also start whistling or even dancing with what they see on TV. So this is also a win-win solution for him and also for you.
Cockatiel Bonding Signs
After doing all the things above, you will notice some cockatiel bonding signs:
- He tries to preen your hair, as a sign that the bird likes you.
- Purring – just like the purring cat, purring cockatiel means he feels comfortable with you.
- Clicking tongue without aggressive manner.
- Flashing eyes while wagging tail that shows excitement.
- Relaxed body when crouching with head forward. When your feathered friend does it, pet or scratches him gently to show more affection.
- Marching toward you with his head up. He wants to invite you to play.
- Singing, chirping, chattering or whistling.
- Hop on to your hand after flying around the house.
When you have seen those bonding signs, you know that the cockatiel is tame and he likes you. And there is nothing better than having a pet that we like and like us.
Conclusion on How to Get a Cockatiel To Like You
Having a cockatiel as a pet is fun, but you need effort and time to tame it.
So, how to get a cockatiel to like you? Get to know the background of your cockatiel, take it to a vet, give some time for him to adjust to the new situation. Don’t rush, offer treats sometimes, give him toys, and interact wisely.
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