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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Ask An Expert > Answered Questions > How Can You Get A New Pet Cockatiel To Get Used To Its New

How can you get a new pet cockatiel to get used to its new surroundings and you?...

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Question: 
How can you get a new pet cockatiel to get used to its new surroundings and you? And as soon as possible?
Answer: 

Just like training a new dog, training a bird can take time. Here are some tips to help you out:
The secret to taming a bird, is simply gaining her trust. Here's how you can establish this type of rapport with your new bird:

Hand feeding treats - without moving too abruptly, offer her a millet spray or her favorite seed or nut from your hand. She may be more likely to accept this treat in the late afternoon as most birds normally feed at this time. With practice, she will be completely at ease with this feeding method.

"Step up" onto your hand - next, you'll want to teach her to step onto your hand or finger on command. Gently press your finger against her abdomen while saying "step up." You can reinforce positive behavior with a small treat, but only when she obeys the command. Repeat consistently, as often as necessary until she steps onto your hand anytime you press against her belly. If she has a tendency to bite, start by using a wooden perch instead of your hand.

Some birds may develop negative behaviors. With patience and training, these characteristics can be changed. Here are some typical behaviors and how to train a bird to behave differently:

Biting - birds use their beaks for climbing and grasping as well as to show affection. This is not painful biting and is typical bird behavior. If your bird bites hard, firmly say "no" so that she learns this behavior is unacceptable.

Screeching - it's natural for a bird to produce a certain amount of noise. You can help avoid excess screeching by giving her an adequate amount of attention and stimulation, such as plenty of toys to keep her occupied. Covering the cage for a short period of time, then uncovering it and socializing with your bird may also stop this behavior. Never yell at your bird, as she may consider this a favorable response.

Any stressful situation may cause a bird to pluck out its feathers. Here are some of the most common reasons birds pluck:

Boredom - this can be solved by more attention, a larger cage, moving the cage to a room that's more active, leaving the radio or television on while you're away, adding different or more toys, or even another bird.

Jealousy or lack of attention - some birds get very attached to one person. If the bird observes this person giving attention to other people or pets or does not feel she is getting enough attention, she may start plucking.

Inadequate diet - be sure your bird is eating a balanced diet with pellets, fruits, vegetables and vitamin/mineral supplements.

Parasites or disease - these can cause itching and irritation. If you think this may be the cause, take your bird to an Avian Veterinarian.

Lack of bathing - some birds will stop plucking if they are misted with water or given access to a water bath on a frequent basis.

If your bird continues to pluck her feathers, consult an Avian Veterinarian.