How you interact with your cockatiel in the first few days after bringing him home will directly impact the type of bond you will share with your new feathered friend. Earning your cockatiel’s trust is crucial to the bonding process and can help to establish a positive and rewarding relationship.
Give your feathered friend some time to adjust. While you may be eager to play with your cockatiel right away, he would benefit from some alone time in which to explore his surroundings and get settled into his new digs. Let your cockatiel hang out in his cage without disruption for at least a few hours after you bring him home so that he can adjust to the idea of being in an unfamiliar place.
Spend some time near your cockatiel’s cage. Once your feathered friend has enjoyed some alone time and explored his surroundings, make it a point to hang around him so that you are visible, but not directly engaging him. Take a seat near his cage and read a book, watch TV or do something else that you enjoy. Stay close enough for your bird to see and hear you, but not close enough to make him anxious. Pay attention to your feathery friend’s body language to determine his comfort level and sit as closely as you can without riling him up. The idea is to give your cockatiel a chance to get used to you being around.
Talk to your feathered friend. Using a soft and soothing tone of voice, say hello to your little bird and share a few kind words with him. This would also be a good time to make kissy noises or whistle a tune to your cockatiel that will catch his attention and pique his curiosity about you. Each time you interact with your bird, let his body language guide you so that you stay within his comfort zone.
Give your feathery friend a yummy treat. As your cockatiel becomes more comfortable with your presence, offer him something tasty like a sunflower seed or a piece of fresh fruit. Hold the treat close enough to the cage for him to grab it, but not so close that you invade his personal space. If he accepts the treat, wait a few minutes and try it again so that he begins to associate you with the positive experience of getting a treat. If he doesn’t accept the treat right away, spend a bit more time on the first three steps and then try again.
Let your cockatiel out of his cage for a play session. Once your bird is comfortably eating out of your hand, open the cage door and wait for him to step out. If he doesn’t leave the cage right away, keep the door open and give him time to assess the situation. Try to entice him by talking to him softly or holding a treat near the outside of the door. You can also slowly place an outstretched finger in front of him near the bottom of his belly while giving him a “step up” command. Once your feathered friend trusts you enough to perch on your finger, continue talking to him softly and make slow, deliberate movements that keep him at ease.
- Teaching your cockatiel simple tricks will not only entertain you, it can also help to strengthen the relationship you have with your feathery friend.
- Cockatiels who were not socialized at an early age will take more time to adjust. Be patient with your bird as he becomes familiar with you and his new home.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.