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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Ask An Expert > Answered Questions > I Have Had Two Cockatiels For About 6 Months I Am Fairly Ne

I have had two cockatiels for about 6 months. I am fairly new to the world of pe...

pajaritosgil2

Question: 
I have had two cockatiels for about 6 months. I am fairly new to the world of pets and especially to birds. The birds do not trust me at all, or at least that is what I feel. They are always hissing, snapping and biting at me whenever I get closer to them. I have made some progress with one where he trusts me enough to step onto my hand to eat from it, but other than that they both bit and back away and snap at me. How can I train them or get them to like me when they obviously don't?
Answer: 

The secret to taming a bird, is simply gaining her trust. Here's how you can establish this type of rapport with your birds:

-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.

-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.

You didn't mention whether or not you have the birds in one cage or in separate cages? If the birds are sharing a cage, it may be helpful to place them in separate cages while you train them.

Hope this helps. Good luck!