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19 Reviews

Animal Species: Birds

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      21.06.2012 10:39
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      The Cockatiel

      Cockatiels Cockatiels are intelligent and sociable birds that can be kept alone or in groups within an aviary. Cockatiels are better kept alone if you have the time to finger tame them and keep them company within the house, otherwise personally, I think they are better kept as a couple or in a group so they have some companionship. Cockatiels are gentle and docile and like to be played with and touched. The cockatiel is famous for their bright orange cheek patches and their crests (the little hairdo they have!) Do Cockatiels Make Good Pets? Cockatiels are generally very social, gentle and affectionate in nature. They interact well with most members of the family, and even other animals such as cats and dogs as well as they are introduced from an early age and in a safe environment. Cockatiels are inquisitive and active and enjoy flying, playing and chewing!! You should provide your cockatiel with toys (always bought from a pet shop as some woods can be deadly to a cockatiel). The toys will enable your bird to be able to play and also presents boredom. Cockatiels can be trained to talk, although this does require a fair amount of effort from the owner also. The cockatiels voice is actually much clearer than that of the Budgie, meaning you ate able to understand their speech better. A tame Cockatiel will let you stroke it, even bending its head down so you can rub the parts that they can't reach. They will groom your eye brows or play with your hair with their beaks as a way of showing affection. Cockatiels are intelligent birds and will require mental stimulation from their owner as well as items in their cage. Cost Of A Cockatiel In my local Pets At Home store, the Cockatiels are sold for £25 each. Quite often local breeders advertise in the paper and cockatiels can be bought this was for anything between £8 - £20. Selecting A Cockatiel When selecting a Cockatiel, try to choose a young bird as it will be easier to tame and train. Older birds may be slightly more difficult to tame so if you intend on interacting with your bird on a daily basis, I would buy the bird at a young age. The thing with buying an older bird is that you don't really know what has happened in its life before it came under your ownership and young birds are always keen to learn. Hand reared babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans from birth. Young birds are easier to tame and adapt very well to new environments. Your new bird should be exposed early to different events (male and female voices, other pets, sounds of traffic, the TV etc.) to help make your Cockatiel a calm, well adjusted member of the family. You should choose a Cockatiel that is alert, lively and not too nervous. After buying your Cockatiel, you should really take it to your vet so they are able to have a look at it and make sure everything is as it should be. Life Span The average lifespan of a cockatiel is 15 - 20 years as long as they are cared for in the proper manner so remember that you will need to care for the bird for a long time. Cages A personal rule for me is to get the biggest cage you can afford. The cage needs to be large enough to allow the birds to fly between perches, as they will need to exercise their wings. It is better for the cage to be longer than it is higher to allow flying. Place the perches as far apart as possible to allow flying between them, and use the branches of certain trees so that the bird's feet are exercised as it grips perches of differing thickness. I often cut apple tree branches from my parents apple trees as this is perfectly safe for the birds to chew and it very good and keeping the birds beak nice and short. You can also use plum tree branches but always make sure that whatever branches you use will not be toxic for your bird if they decide to chew them. Personally, I only use branches from fruit trees. Toys in the cage are essential to keep your bird amused, although ensure you buy toys designed for cockatiels from a pet shop and don't make you own as again you may end up using toxic materials. I use newspaper for the floor of the cage as it is cheap (or free in some cases) and can be easily changed. Some people like to use sandpaper which can be bought from most pet shops but I think this is quite expensive and doesn't really have any benefits. They need to be cleaned out a minimum of once per week, more if you have more than one bird. I just remove the top sheet of paper with all the dropping and food on it and leave the remaining paper. Always ensure that the cage is kept clean as a dirty cage can lead to all sorts of disease. Wide rather than deep dishes allow better access to feed and water, and ensure that all food items can be reached The cage needs to be kept in natural light but away from direct sunlight. Keep your bird out of draughts and away from cooking fumes or the fumes or perfume, cleaning products. Birds can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but sudden changes can be deadly. Windy areas should be avoided, although mild breezes will often be welcome, especially during warm weather. Fresh air and unfiltered sunshine are important, and if necessary you may have to put your bird (and the cage) outside for an hour or so each day during the summer. Placing the cage where your bird can see and participate in family activities will provide your bird with plenty of stimuli. Food and Drink Cockatiels need a balanced diet of bird food, which you will need to blow the husks from on a daily basis. This is done easily by passing the seeds from one container to another and gently blowing on them when you do so. This blows away all the useless husks that the birds cannot eat. Cockatiel food can be bought at nearly all pet stores. Cockatiels also need regular treats such as fresh lettuce, apple, cucumber, carrots and dandelion leaves. You can also get treats from most pet stores, these come in lots of different varieties and include items such as honey sticks, bells etc. These are only 80p odd each so very reasonably priced for a little treat. Also available at per stores ate millet stems and these are a great favourite of cockatiels. A cuttlefish should be available for you bird, this provides calcium. What You Need To Know Before Buying A Cockatiel Cockatiels need a constant supply of fresh water. It wouldn't hurt to change their water every day. It is a 30 seconds job and will ensure the health of your bird. As a rule, I would change their water at least once every other day as husks and droppings can gather in their water. Cockatiels also need grit in their cage. This is to help aid digestion and is vital for them. This is very cheap at pet shops and can be bought for about £1 a bag and this normally lasts about 6 months. You can get a small feeder and attach it to the side of the cage, fill it with grit and the birds will help themselves. Exercise Cockatiels are intelligent, active creatures, and should be allowed to exercise out of their cage at least once daily. This exercise obviously needs to be done under supervision, and in the safety of the home with all windows shut and items like mirrors covered as the birds could fly into mirror and injure itself. Cockatiels are birds and it is natural for them to fly so I always try to exercise them as much as possible. Variations. Although there are a few variations of colours of cockatiels, there are four main variations: Normal Grey This is the natural colour that cockatiels are in the wild. An adult male will have a dark grey body except for the white stripe on each wing, a bright yellow face and crest, and two orange cheek spots. The tail may be lighter than the body, but it is still a clear grey colour. An adult female as well as juvenile birds (all cockatiels can look the same until they mature, meaning it can be hard to sex them from a young age) all have the same grey body and white wing stripes, but they will have a dull yellow face and orange cheek spots. They also have yellow bars (called barring) on their tail and lower bodies. The underneath of their tail feathers has the most obvious barring, with the rest of the tail feathers having less. Cinnamon This is one of the most common colours apart from normal grey. It is exactly the same for the above descriptions, but instead of a grey colour over the body, it is a pale silver/brownish colour. It can be mistaken for a light grey, but has a paler, softer appearance. Some are a very obvious brown colour. The tail feathers have the same appearance of the Normal Grey. Fallow This is again very similar to the cinnamon, and they are hard to tell apart unless you have them side-by-side. Fallow is the same dusty brown colour, although there is also a hint of yellow to their overall colour. The main difference between them is that the fallow coloured birds have deep red eyes. At first glance, and even on close inspection, it often looks like the normal dark eyes. But get them in the right light and you will find they are actually a dark red colour which looks very striking Lutino This is my favourite variation of a cockatiel. It is also the other very common colour. It is the solid white/yellow cockatiel. The lutinos can vary a lot from a buttercup yellow, to a clear snowy white. The male and female, as well as the immature cockatiel all have the same coloration and markings. These cockatiels tend to not have any barring in their tails which remain the same colour as the rest of the body. The head of the lutino is always a bright yellow with bright orange cheek spots. In most variations of cockatiels, it is fairly easy to sex them once they mature as they male will have brighter markings. This is not the case with lutinos, with both males and females having the same bright colourings on their face. All lutino cockatiels have red eyes. Taming Your Cockatiel Pairs of bird's make good company for each other, but usually will not bond as well with their owners or mimic speech as well. A single bird is fine, as long as you spend a significant amount of time interacting with the cockatiel on a daily basis You have to allow your Cockatiel some time to get used to you and its new surroundings. You will have to spend time getting your bird to trust you before you can tame him. Taming sessions should be short (10 minutes or less) and done several times a day. Each time you achieve one step, repeat it several times until your pet is comfortable with it. When your bird is comfortable with you being near his cage and responds to you by getting close to the side of the cage you are near, it is time to introduce him to your hand. Offer him a small piece of millet or a broken sunflower seed but do not try to touch him if he moves away from your hand. Hold your hand in the cage doing nothing, just to get him used to your hand. He will start to realize that your hand will not hurt him, but this may take a day or two. At first your Cockatiel may be very worried about your hand being in the cage and will fly around in a panic but it will soon get used to the presence of your hand. When your Cockatiel stops trying to get away from your hand, you can slowly move closer until one day he allows you to gently stroke his breast. Continue to quietly talk to him when you are doing this. When he seems comfortable with your hand touching him, you can gently press against the abdomen and push up a bit. There is a good chance that he may put one foot onto your finger. If this does not frighten him, you can give another slight push and he may put his other foot up and be standing on your hand. He will probably jump off immediately - but remain calm and try again if he is not frightened. A Cockatiel will usually test a branch (or a finger) before stepping up by grabbing with his beak. This is not a bite, does not hurt and is very normal, so remain calm and do not jump as this will only frighten your bird. Be ready for this to happen, and don't pull away if he does test your finger before stepping up. Do not rush to take him out of the cage when he first steps onto your finger. Your Cockatiel is still getting to know you and although he is now comfortable with you while in his cage, he may become frightened when you take him out of the cage. Before you take him out of the cage on your finger, you must be certain that he can not be injured in the room. If you have other pets, remove them and close the door. Close the curtains over the windows so your bird does not crash into the glass. It is also a good idea to cover any mirrors and they can fly into them and injure themselves. During winter, if you have a fire on, ensure you turn it off and that the front is not hot (just in case your bird panics and flies into it) After he has been stepping up regularly, you can move your hand towards the cage door to take him out. Your bird might panic when he is outside the cage and begin to fly wildly around the room. If your bird flies, he may not know how to land properly and you may have to go and pick him up by having him step up on your finger. Do not chase him to try to get him to stop flying. Just wait patiently until he lands and slowly go to pick him up, talking quietly to him. Repeating all the above actions on a daily basis will pretty much guarantee you a tame Cockatiel. Costs Of Keeping A Cockatiel The cost of keeping a Cockatiel is relatively cheap. However, it can be expensive when first getting a cockatiel as you obviously need to provide a cage etc. Cages can cost anything from £60 upwards, although always look in your local paper as people are always selling bird cages that they no longer require and you should be able to get a cage for half the price of a shop bought one. Obviously you will need perches but these normally come with the cage or can be easily obtained from any fruit trees Food for Cockatiels is very cheap. I buy food from a pet shop where a bag which lasts around 3 weeks, cost me £1.20. Summary All in all the Cockatiel is a brilliant pet for people of all ages. They are great for companionship and will liven up any household. They are easy to care for as long as you follow the basic guidelines. That said, cockatiels can also get ill, like all other animals so you always need to have money put aside for any unexpected vet bills

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        18.02.2010 20:58
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        lovable bird that comes from Australia,an ideal pet that can be very social with both humans & birds

        Cockatiels...a friend for life?? Well I am sat here at my computer and i am getting that feeling like i am being watched...my every movement feels followed.....then i look to my side and realise its not fred-the household ghost but Allie and Pepe....the two cockatiels that I seem to be seing more and more of since their owners started enjoying holidays in the sun!I thought seeing as i am now getting to be the expert in putting my hand in the cage without getting bitten every day and getting them to interact i feel i am now able to give a review. Pepe and Allie (not names that i had any say in ,doesnt sound birdy to me!!) are two grey cockatiels,and by saying that i mean they are completely grey without the lovely orange cheeks you see in the picture above.It turns out - after research - that there are these grey faced cockatiels that do not carry any of the genetic material to give them their rosy cheeks!And that is what my father in law and his partner bought. The cockatiels themselves are about two years old and came from one of the local petshop.They paid about £25 each,these are a couple and the shop owner sold them as such and wouldnt seperate them,well done there!!They also bought a cage which cost them about £50,it is about 2 foot by 3 foot- sold as recommended by the shop but they have since gone back and bought a huge cage,on its base it stands at about 5 foot,by 4 foot with about 3 foot width...now currently taking up a large part of the front room!!I would recommend that the bigger the cage the better ,no matter what the bird,this enables them to spread their wings a bit, now back to the birds. Cockatiels are actually native to Australia but their pretty colours and ability to interact well with humans and other birds makes them ideal pets.Generally as far as pets go they are reasonably cheap to keep once the initial outlay of purchasing the cage etc is done.Just an added note,if you want a bird to interact well with humans then you are best to get one from a proper breeder or specialist shop,these will be hand reared not avery reared and will already be used to human contact.Costs around £50 each.Ideally they should spend some time out of their cage or live in an avery,if your bird is hand reared this should not be a problem however if yours are avery reared- like the two here- be prepared for hard work and lots of percerverance!!Once trained to come out of the cage and to your hand (start by them getting used to being hand fed,then make the food smaller and they should go onto your finger once trust is established.)you can buy a perch for them and they will happily follow you around and come for cuddles!! Cockatiels can be very vocal birds.The female is the quieter one of the two.They chirp happily and react well to any other bird noises they hear.They do have the ability to mimic some words or noises.At present Pepe and Allie can wolf whistle and mimic the kiss noise,both of which the owners and my kids love to hear!!If you want them to repeat you need to be constantly repeating to them and they will eventually get there.Cockatiels love to be spoken to and love the attention!!they will quiet happily sit and listen to you talking and chirp back and they like to even watch the tv!!! You can buy a good range of toys for their cages,they like bright things and are fascinated by their reflection.Pepe often talks to himself all the time.....(yes i know what you are thinking blokes!!)but this is to his reflection not just the mrs!If you have a single bird it is essential to keep him/her entertained as birds often pull their feathers out if they get stressed or fed up!Cockatiels are social birds. Food wise,you can buy numerous complete cockatiel foods from your local petshops.It is easily available and affordable and a bag seems to last forever!!However note that these birds are messy eaters so position food accordingly to avoid seeds getting all over the carpet!!!You can give your cockatiel treats of certain fresh food but there are certain foods to be avoided.Chocolate,mushroom,cabbage,advocado to name a few,there are plenty of full lists of harmful foods available online so its best to google it.Allie is partial to a bit of apple herself...Pepe likes fresh broccoli... For cleaning,the cockatiels are pretty much the same as any other birds,they poop onto paper that is easily changable especially if you get a cage with a wire grill above the collecting tray!just lay some kitchen towel under the wire and change everyday.They cant get at it since the wire is in the way.You will have to give the cage and perches a good wash every week or so.lovely!The messiest part about these birds is the dust from their feathers..its everywhere!!However if you bath (tray of water in the cage) or shower (fine water spritz bottle filled with warm water sprayed over their heads)them regularly this will ease the dust off a bit.Other than that be prepared to hoover and polish more often!lol Generally these birds can be lovely companions and are seemingly easy to look after,clean regularly,change the food and water every day,thats pretty much all there is to it.Of course you will need to work at building a bond with your birds but persist and you will get there.I can now hand feed Allie and on rare occasions Pepe comes for a nibble too!!Hopefully i will be able to get them to a stage where they can be let out of the cage,they are not ready yet.But fingers crossed i will turn them into the loving cockatiels that people everywhere find a friend in! It is worth noting that certain things can be toxic to the cockatiels,one being glade scented candles and paints!!There are full lists available online on speciality cockatiels sites.As with all pets,do your research before you buy!

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        02.06.2009 11:24
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        Cockatiels are small parrots and make an excellent pet. They do need lots of company though.

        I have a 3 year old cockatiel and can highly recommend them as pets. We bought our male bird from a reputable breeder at 3 months old, and he cost £50, but if you intend to interact with your bird it is worth paying the extra money because they are hand tamed straight away. If you opt for an aviary bred cockatiel your chances of interacting with it is practically zero without a lot of patience in hand taming them yourself. He came to us understanding the command 'up' already so would willingly get on my finger. Male birds tend to bond with females better and vice versa, so this is something worth considering. We picked a male because they are much chattier than female birds who can be quite quiet. Our bird Bertie is really loud! I love it when we get home because he chirps 'hia Bertie' (well me and my husband can tell what he's saying to everyone else it's a bit like a warbled mumble). We have also taught him several songs and he loves learning new whistles, listening intently with his head on one side. They are very sociable birds and love to be involved in the family life. Everytime anyone walks past his cage he chirps 'hia Bertie' or wolfwhistles. If you aren't going to interact then it's worth getting 2 birds because like parrots they can get depressed and start to pull their feathers out. However they are very very messy. His feathers are very dusted although regular bathing does reduce the amount of dust. Bertie hates baths though. They also throw a lot of seed out and males can be quite hormonal, erm, how shall I put this, satisfying their needs in a way you wouldn't expect a bird to do and this often happens in his seed bowl!!! Trust me I didn't believe it at first either! Bertie gets fed a diet of cockatiel seeds (he likes the pets at home variety which is about £3.50 but lasts ages), fruit and vegetables (e.g. frozen peas, apple). Frozen veg cooked slightly is ideal but make sure it's not too hot. I often put a bit of the veg we're having into his bowls but be warned some foods are toxic. Chocolate, cabbage and avocado are some examples. He loves the occasional pizza crust too and if we are eating anything and he's out he flies over to try and nab a bit. He has a big bird cage so that he can stretch his wings but he comes out for a fly and a wander on the floor once the baby has gone to bed. I bought a cockatiel play stand off Ebay (think it was about £12) and this gives him something to perch on when he's out. I have a young baby now and so spend a lot of my time cleaning up after Bertie and we don't keep him in the lounge anymore to try and protect our son from being exposed to dust all the time. Cockatiels live about 25 years so it is definitely a lifetime commitment. They are friendly birds with a lot of personality. I can't imagine life without my Bertie but if you dislike a lot of noise a male cockatiel might not be for you.

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          05.02.2009 18:29
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          Teeny parakeets with buckets of attitude!

          Cockatiels are touted as perfect beginners bird by parrot keepers everywhere, and with good reason. These small, hardy birds become very tame, friendly and sweet and have adorably cute face and funny habits. The cockatiel is now considered part of the cockatoo family as well as being a parakeet, and is one of the smallest cockatoos. It is also the least demanding, cockatoos are beautiful birds but they tend to be screaming, jealous feather pluckers in captivity, whereas cockatiels are sweet little charmers...although still a little noisy for some. The cockatiel reaches 13 inches in length, making it the smallest cockatoo, and shares the distinctive crest on the head which can be raised or lowered according to mood...the crest may be flattened, held right up when the 'tiel is excited or alarmed, or held in a state of "half mast" when the cockatiel is just going about the daily business of being a bird. Cockatiels come in several colours, lutinos (yellow), pied (patches of grey and yellow), pearls, white faced, and other. The classic cockatiel is a grey bird with a yellow face and comical red cheeks that make them look like clowns. The cockatiels smart colouring and cute appearance help to add to their allure as popular pets. Keeping a cockatiel Seeing as this is a review on how cockatiels are as pets, not how to care for them, I decided to keep this section brief. Cockatiels can be bought from any pet store for £30, hand reared birds are far easier to tame and will cost from £50 upwards. The larger the cage the better, I am in favour of big indoor aviaries for birds, not pokey cages, you can pick these up cheap on ebay. Cages should have bars no further than 3/4 of an inch apart, and powder coated. You can pick up a big aviary cage on ebay for abut £80 if you bide your time. Cockatiels should have a variety of thicknesses of perch, natural branch perches are best, and different variety of toy (for example, foraging toys, shredding toys, foot toys, puzzle toys) and you should have a set of different toys for weekly rotation to keep them amused. The base on the cage can be covered with newspaper, bird sand or sanded sheets and should be changed weekly. You can feed your bird cockatiel seed, pellets or a mixture of both but a variety of fruit and vegetables should be provided every other day (anything really, aside from onion-poisonous to lots of animals, iceberg lettuce and celery- nutritionally useless), and a daily protein source such as boiled or scrambled egg, dried crickets or mealworms or small amounts of cooked chicken or turkey. Variety is the key to a healthy cockatiel. And go easy on sunflower seeds and peanuts, they are very fatty. Fresh water and grit should be available daily, and the cage bars, perches, toys and food and water bowls should be cleaned with animal safe disinfectant regularly. Cockatiels crave company, if you are working most of the day, two is much better...they will be no harder to handle or tame as a result, I have two brothers and they are both tame talkers. Find a good avian vet BEFORE you buy your bird, avian vets are pricey and harder to find, a regular vet probably wont be much use at treating a cockatiel. Cockatiels as pets Cockatiels are fantastic pets for the people who have the time to care for them. If you want a pretty bird to sit in a cage and beep at you, buy zebra finches...cockatiels are for people who want to interact with their pets. They are intelligent, funny little birds which have lots of adorable habits. They can be taught simple tricks like "dancing" on cue, waving at you and things like that. Some cockatiels will say a few words and phrases, but their voices are muttery and hard to make out, they are fantastic at whistling tunes and imitating noises like barking dogs, ringing phones and alarms...cute, but also incredibly annoying! My friends are constantly amazed at how tame and sweet one of my two cockatiels are (the other is friendly, but more shy). Boss, a pearl pied, sits on your lap or shoulder for hours, begging for his crest and face to be tickled. He reminds my friend of a dog the way he begs for physical attention, which makes up for the fact that he is not as good a talker as Pika, the less tame cockatiel. Cockatiels really are very cuddly and devoted birds, they are also intelligent, fun and have plenty of attitude. In short, they have all the attitude of a parrot or cockatoo, in a smaller, simpler and quieter shell. The larger the parrot, the larger the brain, and the more demanding the bird becomes. Most people really aren't suited to the bigger parrots as pets, but with a little understanding of bird psychology, enough money, and loads of love, anybody can keep a cockatiel, and they are ounce for ounce as fun, pretty and loveable as big birds like macaws and amazons. If you want a pet parrot, a cockatiel is a superb first choice! On the other hand, cockatiels are very noisy. If Boss, my needier cockatiel, knows I am in the house but I'm in another room, he lets out an ear piercing shriek...I really hope he doesnt do this all day long if i go out, our walls are pretty thin! Cockatiels are much louder than budgies and have quite a shrill voice. I dont think they are quite loud enough for neighbours to notice, but if you have thin walls think twice about having a cockatiel (having said this noone has ever complained to me). Cockatiels, in common with all birds, are messy. They spit seed and seed husks everywhere and drop feathers...and of course poop when they are out of the cage. Apparently cockatiels can be toilet trained, but this takes time and a lot of dedication. if you are house proud, a bird is probably not the right choice for you, no matter how handsome they are. They are also very "dusty" birds, as powder-downs. Powder down birds produce a which powder which coats the feathers, giving them an incredibly soft coat. It feels lovely, but the dust can cause allergies and irritate those with athsma. Those who are sensitive should probably avoid a pet cockatiel...there are other lower dust birds if you insist on a pet bird. Having said this, regular vacuuming and bird baths help cut down on the problem, my boyfriend has athsma and no problems with the birds. 5 Cute things cockatiels do: The Wave: They lift one foot up and hold the claws out in imitation of a wave. The Macho Man: Lift their wings without stretching them right out, so they look like they are flexing their pecs The Drunk Eagle: Tipping forward on their perch, they spread their wings right out whilst looking like they are about to overbalance. The Serenade: They come right up to you, look you in the face, and begin beakily serenading some whistled tuneless rubbish they just made up that very moment. The Mock Attack: They will playfully bite your hand and pretend to attack you, making offended noises when you playfight back. 5 places cockatiels love to be tickled: The crest The back of the neck The "Chin" (under the beak, where the chin would be if they had one) The cheeks Just around the eyes 5 things cockatiels love: Pecking you in a demonic dancing fashion Sunflower seeds The sound of their own voices Being tickled and cuddled Driving you crazy imitating car alarms and telephones. My cockatiels: Boss: Love sponge cuddle bird extraordinaire, we think he's a bit stupider than his brother but he makes up for it in loveable cuddliness. Enjoys pecking at earrings and facial studs, and attempting to preen your eyebrows. Pika: Boss's brother, much shyer but he learned to talk first (Boss learned by copying him). Likes his head being tickled but only when HE feels like it, he has the cheek to sit on your shoulder for ages, then fly off when you want to cuddle him. It is important to take a look at books on parrot psychology before committing to any parrot as a pet. They are not like dogs or cats, if you shout at them they will think its a game and shout back louder, and they do not really understand the concept of punishment. If you do the research however, they make great pets! With all pets, you get out what you put in, and cockatiels are no different. If you want a fun, loving and sweet pet, you need to put the hours in taming, training and cuddling with your cockatiels every single day. If you want something pretty to go in the living room, try a painting!!! All in all, if you want a higher maintenance, cuddly and friendly pet but a dog or cat doesnt appeal to you, or you are interested in parrots but not sure about the time commitments, try a cockatiel (or two). They think they are big, tough macaws, when really they are just cute yellow little imps.

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            27.09.2008 21:35
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            a god pet

            I have owned cockatiels for a few years now our first one died of stomach problems (she had to be put down because she was not breathing well and was in pain) we found out the rspca had a cocktail that needed a home so we went to se it they told us it was a boy and we was happy because the vet had told us the problem our other one had was in girls. But three months later it started to lay eggs so we had to change her name. She is so friendly and loves to sit on us and let us stroke her head; she sings loads and makes some horrid noises that make your head hurt. If you are talking on the telephone she wont shut up I think she either thinks we are talking to her or she wants attention. Cockatiels need fresh water every day, grit for their digestion and normal cockatiel food. Most will eat fruit but ours wont touch it. They also need a lot of toys to play with. They are very easy to look after and don't need yearly inoculations like some pets do. But the do need their nails clipped. If you notice your cockatiel is breathing different there might be a big problem they try to hide their illness until it is almost to late.

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              26.01.2008 13:57
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              love to bits

              BACKGROUND INFO =============== These birds are native to Australia, The philippines and some of the south pacific islands. They make very good talkers. These are very active birds and live a long time, the great sulpher crested has been known to live for longer than 100 years so bear this in mind when purchasing one as a pet. They are hardy birds and can survive in most climates, they thrive in captivity but require a lot of attention, especially if kept alone. When they suffer from lack of attention, pining for a mate or poor diet they will begin to pull there own feathers out. There feathers are covered in a white chalk like powder which can irritate chest problems, They should eat seeds, nuts and fruit. PETE AND POLLY ============ Friends of ours brought pete and his partner about 4 years ago, pete was great and learnt to talk very easily, his partner just used to squalk constantly day and night so they sold petes partner which upset pete a lot. We ended up with pete shortly after as he had began to bite even though he had always been hand tame, pulled most of his wing feathers out and chest feathers, refused to talk only squeek all the time. I brought pete a new friend and he took to her very well, he stopped being a pain and his feathers slowly grew back, pete was happy again. a friend of mine who is house bound loves birds and gave these two a fantastic home and all day atention They make great pets, they are very talkative, friendly, loving and funny but i wouldnt recomend them to anyone with chest problems. Be ware as well they do learn to repeat anything they hear you say, so dont say anything you dont want repeating. Polly was quite naughty when she was out of her cage, she chewed everything, pete was very good and even went back into his cage when called. They need quite a large cage if you intend to keep them in there cage a lot of the time, they dont smell, i use to clean them twice a week, they do throw quite a lot of seed onto your floor so you will be hoovering constantly and all food left over needs removing and replacing every day. They are lovely

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                07.01.2008 23:03
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                I think everyone should have one!

                I bought a cockatiel a few weeks ago her name is Tui.I tell you she is an amazing bird she is around 8 weeks of age. I never intended in getting a cockatiel but the cage i had was large enough for one anyway.So... i went to the pet shop(store) because i was going to gt a parakeet but the more i looked at the parakeet they were not really worth the money but then i seen a cage with 6 or 7 tiels init but thee was this 1(tui) who was running around so i picked her so we took her home and put her in the cage she was just sitting there but after a couple of hours she started running aroung again and now 3 weeks later she has learned to talk she can say pretty girl its so funny.I am really glad i got her she was worth the money and a good lugh to all of us.I reccomend to anyone i know to get a cockatiel as they are very entertaining and are VERY soocy. ;) ;)

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                  02.10.2007 21:34
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                  can be good for annoying neighbours.

                  The cockatiel is probably the animal that annoys me most. Yes, we all know that they look cute and if trained early on they can talk a little but. But the cons out weigh the pros quite considerably- these birds Screech 24/7, this is not in any way an exaggeration. Secondly, they can bite- i was once bitten and it has scared me for life- both mentally and physically. ok, now I've got that off my chest, heres some more in depth info- Cockatiels are widely available, as they are popular household pets- mainly due to their delightfully 'sweet temperament' and cute look. They have a crest, which, interestingly, denotes their emotions. The crest is vertical when the bird is excited, and flat when the bird is relaxed. The Cockatiel's lifespan in captivity is generally given as 15-20 years, though it is sometimes given as short as 12-15 years and there are reports of Cockatiels living as long as 30 years. Diet and exercise, much like in humans, are often major determining factors in cockatiel lifespan. They come in various colours, mostly with a lot of grey, or possibly all yellow. All have red 'cheeks'. A favorite color is known as pearl- a kind of mottled grey and yellow. A lot of people love these birds because of their distinctive features, and ability to mimic human voices and whistles.

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                    14.02.2006 01:26
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                    All I know about my boys and caring for them....

                    I’m owned by various small animals and birds, there’s the hamsters and guinea pigs, the budgies and lovebirds, but today I’m going to tell you all about my cockatiels, how I care for them and why I love them so much. ---What are Cockatiels?--- Well cockatiels are relatively small members of the parrot family, that originally hail from Australia. Their closest relatives are actually the much larger cockatoo, with whom they share a crest. In the wild they would travel in small flocks or pairs, and have a distinctive whistle that they use to keep in contact with each other. Wild cockatiels are mostly grey in colour, with yellow heads and orange cheeks, but in captivity there are many different colour combinations available including white, yellow and cinnamon. As with many parrots, cockatiels are able to imitate whistles and some speech, although the speech may not be particularly clear, they’re not particularly loud, but can occasionally make themselves heard even above the very noisy lovebirds. In captivity cockatiels can live for over 20 years, so remember they are in no way disposable. ---Personality--- Cockatiels have a fairly easy going personality, and tend to be passive rather than aggressive. My pair rarely bite and will try to get away from anything that’s scaring them rather than confronting it. It’s very easy to tell what sort of mood they’re in too, just look at their crest. If it’s completely erect, then the cockatiel is either scared or excited, if it’s down flat then they are very content, and if it’s half-way then they’re content. They also grind their beaks when content and will spit and hiss if scared or annoyed, see so simple. Saying this as with us, different cockatiels can have completely different personalities. I have two males and they couldn’t be more different if they tried. Charlie is the grumpy one, he doesn’t play much and much prefers lording it over the rest of us. He is interested in everything around him, and even says “hello” but everything has to be on his own terms. Now Xander is the opposite, he’s extraordinarily playful and wants to be involved in everything I’m doing. ---Male or Female--- The grey cockatiel is fairly easy to sex once it’s gone through it’s first moult (between three and nine months), the males have bright orange cheeks and yellow heads, while with the females they are much duller. Females also have bars (horizontal stripes) on their tails. If you are only going to be keeping one cockatiel the only difference the sex will make is if you would prefer a talkative bird, or one that’s cuddly. The males are supposed to have a superior talking ability, while the females are more likely to want cuddles. ---Housing--- Before you even think about buying a cockatiel you need to make sure you have room for their home. Cockatiels can either be kept in cages or an aviary, mine are kept in cages and as with any pet the rule is the bigger the living space the better. Try not to buy a round cage, as these have less space and are not generally recommended. Really the cage should be at least 60 x 50 x 40cm (24 x 20 x 16in), it should also have horizontal bars on at least two sides and a sliding sand tray makes cleaning out a lot easier. There should be at least two perches, and these should be made of wood (natural branches is preferable) and they should be of different sizes to ensure that your tiel’s feet get exercised. For the base of the tray you could use sandpaper, but I prefer to use a sheet of newspaper (black and white only) with a covering of bird sand, this helps cushion the tiels’ feet and makes spot cleaning much easier. As well as the basic furnishings you will need to supply a cuttle bone, mineral block, food and water dishes and toys. You will need to keep the cage clean, as I use sand, I spot clean daily (removing the worst of the mess) and then I give the cages a good clean with disinfectant once or twice a week. As well as choosing which cage to buy, you need to think about where you’re going to place it. If you already own other birds then you will need to place the cockatiel in a different room for at least 90 days to ensure it doesn’t have any diseases it might pass on. You should never place the cage in the kitchen, as fumes from non-stick pans are extremely toxic to birds. You also shouldn’t place it in a quiet room as tiels thrive on interaction. One of my birds lives in the living room and the other in the dining room, as both rooms are used for most of the day. You will need to keep the cage clean, as I use sand, I spot clean daily (removing the worst of the mess) and then I give the cages a good clean with disinfectant once or twice a week, Whatever you do, don’t try housing cockatiels with either budgies or lovebirds, tiels are very gentle birds, while both lovebirds and budgies can be bossy and even little bullies. You will end up with a depressed tiel that might even start feather plucking, and that’s a habit that’s hard to break. ---Buying your Cockatiel--- The prices of cockatiels vary widely depending both on the colour mutation and whether they are parent or hand reared. A hand reared baby will be far more expensive than one that has been parent reared, but will be much tamer as they already look on humans as their care-givers. That’s not to say that parent reared birds don’t make good pets, because they do. Both of my boys are parent-reared and they both love me in their own way. When you go to buy you bird have a good look at the premises, are they clean and tidy, or do they look like they could do with a good clean? Once your satisfied the actual shop/breeders is up to scratch, have a look at the actual birds and their cage. A healthy cockatiel should be alert, move around the cage and be naturally shy of strangers. The feathers should be smooth, clean and shiny and there should not be any discharge from the nostrils or eyes. Have a look at the floor of the cage to check that the droppings are normal (firm, green and white). Once you’re satisfied that the birds are healthy it’s time choose the one (or more) that you want to take home. ---First Days At Home--- When you first bring your tiel home, he’ll most likely be very scared. Charlie was absolutely terrified when we first put him in his cage, so we left him alone for a few days and didn’t deliberately interact with him. We just carried on with our daily lives and it didn’t take long for him to start taking an interest in us. Xander was the opposite, I guess it’s just his friendly nature, but he started playing peek-a-boo with us the very first day. Either way let the cockatiel take the lead in how much interaction it wants. ---Feeding--- In the wild cockatiels eat a variety of seeds, shoots, berries and even the occasional insect. It’s not that hard to emulate this diet, my pair both eat a cockatiel seed mix, along with some rice, pasta, vegetables, green stuff, a little hard boiled egg and tiny bit of well cooked chicken. It can be difficult to persuade them to eat new foods, but there are literally hundreds of recipes on the internet which can add variety to their diet. One of their favourite treats is very easy to prepare, and is simply sprouted seed. I simply soak some seed overnight, rinse it, and then place it on damp kitchen roll in a warm place until the first sprouts start showing. As well as food, fresh water must always be available, and I need to change it twice a day, as they tend to tip some of their food into it. As far as whether or not a cockatiel needs grit or not, for every source saying it does, you’ll find another saying it doesn’t. I personally don’t give my birds grit, but they do have sand with oyster shell on the base of their cage. ---Exercise--- Could you imagine being stuck in your bedroom all day? Well think how a poor cockatiel must feel being stuck in the cage for hour after hour. It’s important, that once the tiel has settled in, you give him flying time everyday. My tiels take it in turns to come out of the cage, and although they don’t spend the whole of the time flying, they do appreciate a different outlook on life. Before you let the tiel out, make sure that there’s nothing in the room that you really couldn’t bear to be destroyed, and that you have no poisonous plants, then close any doors, shut any curtains, open the cage door and let your friend experience freedom. The first few times they experience the freedom of flying around the room, they probably won’t really take very much notice of you, and may even spend their time sitting on top of their cage, but if you just carry on with your normal daily life you might just find that they decide your head or shoulder makes a brilliant vantage point. Even now, Charlie tends to simply sit on a door frame and watch all his minions as they go about their daily life, while Xander likes sitting on the back of a chair next to me. There’s just no knowing how each bird will react. Getting them back in their cage can be a struggle, my boys aren’t fed outside of the cage so they know if they want to eat they have to go back in, and Xander picked this fact up very quickly. But Charlie, just does not like being confined and would stay out all day if given the chance, and we’ve had to physically catch him on more than one occasion. We actually ended up investing in a bird net, as we felt herding him around the room was stressing him out too much, but what do you know he sees the net and goes straight back in his cage, which shows just how intelligent he is. ---Play Time--- Cockatiels are intelligent and inquisitive birds, and need plenty to keep them occupied. Toys should be sturdy enough to withstand their powerful beaks and made of non-toxic materials. Both my boys have toys made of wooden beads and rope, and we have selection that is regularly rotated. (I change the toys once a week). As well as commercial toys they also like playing with empty kitchen roll tubes, and paper bags. Sometimes I hide treats inside the paper bags, so they not only get something nice to eat but also have something to play with afterwards. ---Bath Time--- Some cockatiels love bath time, but others simply don’t. But whether they like it or not, they do need to have some form of cleaning time, if only because it reduces the amount of dander (a fine white powder) that they produce. If your cockatiel likes the water then they’ll enjoy a shallow bowl of water placed either in their cage, or somewhere that they like to play. If they don’t like the water (like Charlie) then you’ll need to spray them a couple of times a week. I bought an ironing spray bottle for a pound that I use to give all my birds a shower, and use tepid water. There were some loud protests with the first few showers, but now Charlie is beginning to tolerate them, and once more Xander relishes the attention and will make sure every part of him gets good and wet. Don’t spray the birds just before bedtime, and make sure you only wet the outer feathers, and even if they don’t appreciate getting wet, they’ll thank you by spending a good 20 minutes preening afterwards. ---Training--- Training cockatiels is a time consuming process, and one that I’m still working on. Really it can be split into two separate sections, hand taming and talking. Hand taming involves getting your bird to completely trust you, and starts with you simply sitting by the cage talking to the bird. Once the bird is comfortable with you sitting there you can start to put your hand in the cage, slowly getting it closer and closer to the tiel, until you are able to actually touch it. You can then teach your tiel to step-up onto your finger by gently pressing against the chest while saying “up”. Once the bird is regularly stepping on your finger then you’ve cracked it. Some sources recommend getting your tiels wings clipped before starting this process as it makes it more dependent on you, but I haven’t personally done this. Of the two birds, Charlie is just about stepping onto my finger 50% of the time, and Xander doesn’t need any prompts at all, and hasn’t since the second day. Teaching your bird to talk and whistle is another long process. Males are supposed to be better talkers than females, and not every male will talk. Strangely, even though Xander is the friendlier bird, it’s Charlie who’s the better talker. We spent about a week saying “hello” to him at every opportunity and he not says hello to everybody in the house. Even funnier, is that as I am a Buffy fanatic and have been working my way through the seven seasons, Charlie can now whistle the theme tune, and if I dare to put Angel on instead will complain and whistle Buffy at me. Xander is not quite such a good talker, but he’s getting there, with some patience it’s starting to sound like he’s trying to say “hello” but he’s still got so much to say in cockatielese we’re going to have to wait. ---Illness--- As with any pet cockatiels are prone to various ailments, so it’s a good idea to find a vet that deals with birds before you even bring one home. As they are prey creatures (other animals eat them), cockatiels are very good at hiding the fact that they are ill, but signs to look for are eating less than normal, lethargy (not moving around much), fluffed up feathers, watery or bloody stools (poo), noisy breathing and discharge around the eyes or nostrils. While some of the illnesses they get are only minor, due to their small size they can go downhill quickly. Common illnesses include colds (which they can catch off you), parasites, and obesity. Egg binding is also quite common in females, and can be fatal (if a solitary female keeps laying eggs it’s best to let her sit on them rather than destroying them otherwise she will continue to lay). Two illnesses that can prove dangerous to the birds owners as well as the birds are Psittacosis which may not show any symptoms, but if it does they include difficulty in breathing, discharge from the eyes or nose and diarrhoea. If you suspect your bird has this you should not only get the bird prompt medical treatment but also get yourself to the doctor. Another problem for humans (and other pets) is salmonella, which is rare in single birds but can be very dangerous for humans (especially the old or young). ---Cost--- Believe me, cockatiels are not cheap birds either to keep or buy. A single bird can cost anything from £30 (for a parent raised normal grey) to £100 (for a hand raised rare mutation). Then the cage itself is quite an expense, I spent £60 on each of my cages, and of course there are toys, food, sand and vet bills. I would say it would cost at least £100 before you even buy the bird, if you want to make sure you have everything you will need. ---Final Words--- In case you haven’t guessed, I love my two boys just as much as all my other pets. They are full of personality and give all my care and attention back tenfold. As they are intelligent they always seem to be learning new things, and I’m so often amazed at how different their personalities are. Charlie is the grumpy one, who likes to think he’s so much better than everyone else and if he thinks I’m not paying him enough attention he will display his feathers until I tell him how sexy he is. Xander is much more of a playful baby, and loves to play peek-a-boo with anyone and everyone. Both of them will do almost anything for a millet spray, and I’m sure they love me as much as I love them. Notice, that they are primarily my birds, I simply don’t think it’s a good idea to allow children to own pets, especially one’s that live as long as these. That’s not to say that the children don’t enjoy them and help to take care of them, it’s a good idea to allow children to share the responsibility of a pet, and cockatiels do make very good pets. They’re not as noisy as either budgies or lovebirds (and I should know as I have both), but they do interact with everyone and thing around them.

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                      24.03.2004 02:38
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                      The cockatiel is a friendly, intelligent bird has a placid temperament and is very friendly. It gets along well with other birds and it is almost unheard of for a cockatiel to harm any small bird. I have owned my cockatiel "Max" for just over two years, in which time i have learnt a great deal on how to look after this beautiful creatures. At the time of writing, max is sitting on my shoulder admiring the sites of this room while tweeting ever so slightly into my ear, after two years he still hasn't learnt how to whistle a decent tune. But he is a friendly well natured bird who likes nothing better than to cuddle up to anyone in the room and trying to nick any food that comes near by. Most of the day he is either in his cage entertaining himself or relaxing outside trying to learn new words of people or the radio, his particular phrase at the moment is "hello max" but sometimes says "good boy". It must be stressed that cockatiels are very social animals which strive any interaction and can get bored if not interacted with. I hope this review will help people decide if they are willing and able to take on a responsibility that could be aslong as 15 years! It is best to buy a hand tamed bird, so that the bird can instantly take to humans, but its still capable to tame a cockatiel at young age. But at a adult cockatiel which has not been tamed should be avoided as it will take alot of time and effort to progress little. Max was not tamed but was quite friendly. But was still wary of humans. Most books advise that to tame a cockatiel you should place your hand in the cage and slowly get closer and closer and eventually the bird will go onto your hand. I disagree with this and feel the best way is to open the doors of the cage and let the cockatiel take the intiative. They will fly round a great deal at first as it probably is the firs t time of freedom to fly properly in a long time. After a w hile they will settle down and slowly approach you out of curiousity. The first time max approached me was when i was sitting watching a movie.... he flew onto my shoulder which was a big suprise and is a great moment. After this its a easy process of getting the bird familiar with other people and he/she will be very social. Though i have found out through other people and my own experiences that cockatiels can be protective over the first person it takes to, especially if this happened at a young age. Many a time a friend has come towards me and max has flown onto my shoulder and hissed at whoever was there. But this often happened on a grumpy day of his, most of the time he takes to most and is curious on the new visitor. Cockatiels eat a mixture of seeds (canary seed, millet, linseed, and rapeseed). They are also fond of sunflower seeds and in winter you can add some drops of cod liver oil to dry seed each week to provide extra vitamins. They will need fresh green feed, which provides a range of vitamins. Recommended are sprouted feed, fruit and vegetables; brussel sprout leaves, dandelions, lettuce, apple, etc. A cockatiel will appreciate a bath once in a while so leave a container half full with water, either on the floor or attached to the side of the cage. Some birds will be more reluctant to bath so you can spray the bird with lukewarm water each week. However be careful not to wet the cockatiel before it sleeps and don't wet the soft down feathers underneath as they are difficult to dry. If you value the quietness in the house, i would not advise to get any bird as especially in the mornings, cockatiels can be quite vocal. And this aint the beautful singing some of the time, squaking is the best word for it when they are after attention, not the best thing to wake up to on a Saturday morning. <br > A cockatiel will need a large, long cage, measuring at least 24 inches long x 20 inches wide x 16 inches high. Many experts discourage owners from buying round cages as this disorientates the bird and makes them anxious. Perches of varying widths and textures will help keep the cockatiels claws ground down. While a cuttle bone will keep there beak nice and sharp and also provides calcium. The bird's cage should be cleaned on a weekly to kill bacteria. Perches and containers should be cleaned and leftover seed removed. The cage should be completely dry before the bird is allowed in it again. Cockatiels love a fly around, at least a hour is recommended for cockatiels to get plenty of excerise and aswell as enjoy themselves. Max inparticular enjoys throwing coins off tables and trying to fly off with biros. Cockatiels are very curious creatures, a mirror can provide hours of entertainment, they are the ultimate posers! Max is usually out between 6-10 most evenings, by the time 10pm comes hes all ready to get some rest. A cockatiel can be a perfect pet for many, friendly, funny and can be a part of the family for many happy years.

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                        28.12.2003 14:48
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                        I strongly beleive that in buying any Bird as a pet that you want to sit on your shoulder. U must either buy one thats been tamed, or save your money and contact a breeder in your area. To buy one thats only a few weeks out of the nest. This is best to look at the baby in the box and select the one you like, then once its out go and make sure its what you really want and, then purchase it once its feeding (fledging) on its own. Remember, not all birds can be tamed. But as i Breeder i specialise in tamed birds and beleive its not hard with patients and at the rite age. I dont perfer to Hand Raise them, but play with them till they sit on my hand and walk the hand then the finger and once the bird knows you, you can have it sitting on your shoulder in a few weeks. DONT OVER PLAY WITH IT, or it will be come stressed and frightend of you. At 1st play with it 3 times a day for 15- 20mins then after a few days, move up to 30-40mins 4 times a day till it knows you. The once you know its settleing in with you or your family, its then going to be a struggle to put the little one away. All the best and i hope every one has fun with there little friends. They make such good pets once tamed. Dean

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                          20.04.2001 20:42
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                          I have grown up around birds all my life. My grandfather bred cockatiels in an aviary in his garden, we have had chickens for as long as I can remember, about 8 years ago, my father built our own aviary with budgies and finches, not to mention my pet budgies over the years and my parrot Monica. So you can gather that I am fairly adapt to having birds around the house by now and my newly gained cockatiels are no exception. There are two of them and it really is a case of Jeckyl and Hyde. "Rocky" is now 14 years old which in terms of cockatiel life is geriatric, but although he is struggling a bit now with the weariness of excessive old age, he is a sweet-natured bird who is very well-behaved and enjoys sitting on the back of the sofa snuggling into my hair whilst I watch TV. You couldn't ask for a nicer bird and despite needing regular bathing and blowdrying on the warm shot of my hair dryer (he really enjoys being dried with the warm air and it ensures he doesn't catch a cold), he is no problem. Rocky spends most days playing with toys in his cage, cheeping quietly to himself, sleeping, eating and looking at the television. Rocky is happy and in his heyday was an excellent little talker with a suprising range of vocal abilities. Now that he is much older, he hasn't been bothered to talk much anymore, but who can blame him? He's is the equivilent age of about 90! From this description, you would imagine that the cockatiel is a perfect little pet, but no, there is a darker side of the story. Just as not all humans are nice and pleasant, not all cockatiels are either. In Rocky I have the best qualities of a pet cockatiel. But there is another, less pleasant character living in my house and his name is "Basil". Basil is a very young cockatiel maybe less than a year old. He came with Rocky from my grandmother who is now really too old to look after her birds anymore so they were passed on to me. I only acquired them at Christmas, but have known Rocky for most of his life. Basil was bought by my grandma in hope of keeping Rocky company (as Rocky's mate Lucky died a few years back), but Basil is a nightmare bird from the opposite end of the scale from Rocky. He has an attitude problem and a half, and is quite hellish to live with. It wouldn't be so bad if Basil was docile and nice-natured, but no matter how hard I try, he does not want to be tamed or be friendly. Hours of attention and encouragement have got me nowhere fast and naturally everyday, birds must be allowed out of the cage for a few hours for their daily flight, and every day the same old fight to get him back inside the cage ensues. It has to be done, but because he won't bond with me, he runs rampant around the house trying to avoid going back in his cage. The more I do this, the more he thoroughly dislikes me. I have hand-tamed about five pet budgies in the past and taught them to talk and fly to me, so it isn't my technique that is failing Basil, it is his attitude. He just doesn't want to be friendly and that is that. He bites incredibly hard, drawing blood and tearing flesh when you get near him. At about 6:30am every morning, he starts to shout at the top of his voice, which let me assure you is powerful. He wakes everyone up and ceases to shut his noisy little beak for hours. Recently, a car alarm has been going off frequently outside the house, and Basil has learned to copy this infuriating noise at top pitch. So it isn't that he is stupid, because if he can pick up making that noise, he can pick up many other sounds and even words. His squawking is ear-pearcing and consistant every day, from 6:30am to about 12 midnight. No amount of daily attention and training from me has got him anywhere. You and I know that not all cockatiels are like this and there are always bad apples in every area of life. Basil is just an extreme case and although th e loud cheeping still occurs with most birds, the stinking attitude doesn't. In my opinion, when you are choosing a bird, it is essential to watch their behaviour in their current environment. If you buy direct from breeders, they will know everything there is to know about the bird and because they grew up in the breeder's environment, the behaviour that they show will be natural behaviour that they have grown up with. If you step back and watch the bird's actions for a while, you soon get a good idea of how inquisitive and interested the particular bird is. The more inquisitive and active the bird, the more intelligent and friendly it will be. If the bird appears distressed and unhappy, you can imagine there will be problems. I do not know what criteria my grandmother had when she bought Basil, but I know that he came from a well-known pet shop chain. She can't have bothered to assess natural behaviour of the bird before choosing, but knowing her, she probably just said "Pick one out for me!" Pet staff will have had some idea of Basil's initial bad-behaviour and just passed him on to her. When I have chosen young budgies from my aviary to tame in the past, I have always observed their natural attitude and bahaviour in the aviary environment first before choosing which one I want to train. It has always produced excellent results before now, but I think Basil is going to be extremely hard work and take a long time before I can get him to calm down properly. Whenever you contemplate purchasing a pet bird, no matter what species, it must be accepted that there will be much more noise than ever before and pets often join in with the dawn chorus outside your house too. But the main thing to remember is to analyse the bird's natural behaviour and attitude before purchasing. Make your decision and do not settle for anything else. If pet shop staff know that they have a problem bird, they will try to sell it to an unsusp ecting customer and you may end up with a pet with an attitude problem like my Basil. Cockatiels have the same potential as budgies and can be tamed and taught to talk in exactly the same way. They are cute little birds and can be as friendly as you want them to be, but you have to be careful not to choose one with a real temper and dislike of humans, because you may end up with more trouble than you bargained for. Some birds just have the wrong outlook on life and are near impossible to train. Fortunately I have a lot of experience in training birds and in time Basil's bad temper and attitide will probably be tamed but it isn't going to be easy and many people would have given up on him by now. Time and patience is the key if you do have a problem bird and it won't be easy, but for prospective bird owners, just ensure that you are prepared for the noise and assess your bird before you buy. Please don't be dissuaded by my comments about my personal experience because if you do pick your own bird yourself from analysing their potential behaviour, you will more than likely end up with the perfect pet. Attitude and friendliness far outweigh looks with birds, so don't choose one just because it's pretty! You would choose a new dog by it's attitude, behaviour and friendliness towards you so choosing a new bird should meet exactly the same criteria.

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                            13.11.2000 19:50
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                            My family have always owned cockatiels, when I was growing up we had Polly, who was hand tame but very cantankerous. She would sit quite happily on your hand whilst you were taking her out of her cage, but anybody attempting to put her back in again without wearing gloves was asking for trouble! Cockatiels have very strong beaks considering their size and Polly was no exception. She didn't pull her punches and took a chunk out of everybody's finger at one time or another. For eight years I had a cockatiel called Chester who had been hand reared. He was ridiculously tame and liked nothing better than to wander about the table whilst we ate dinner stealing little bits of food from our plates. (Yes, I know it’s incredibly unhygienic, but Chester was one of the family and we tended to forget little things like hygiene). He was out of his cage almost constantly and was a right little character, he enjoyed dancing and whistling along whenever we played his favourite songs. Best of all was that whenever we came home Chester would start making his special “welcome home” squawk as soon as he saw us through the window. He only ever learnt to say “hello Chester” but to be honest we never really tried to teach him to talk, he picked up his one and only phrase because that was the way we always greeted him. Having said that, my sister and her boyfriend once stayed over at my place and shared a room with Chester, in the morning he was making some most peculiar noises, but the less said about that the better, I think! Chester is ten years old now, and still going strong, although he lives with my neighbours now as one of my dogs got totally fixated with him and tried to eat him at every opportunity. Rehoming Chester wasn’t a hard decision to make, he’s much loved by my neighbours as their only pet, I get to see him whenever I want and he’s no longer in any danger of getting eaten! < br>When I was about eleven or twelve my dad decided to start keeping birds as a hobby and built an aviary in the back garden to house several pairs of cockatiels. The end of the garden quickly went from a mass of flowers and one small aviary to a network of aviaries without a flower in sight! Over the years he kept and bred many other varieties of birds including budgies, zebra finches, lovebirds, ringneck parakeets and quails and as I was growing up I developed a keen interest in the birds. I used to tame the chicks for him, and found that I had very good results with taming young cockatiels, but that taming adults is a completely different matter. I wouldn't recommend that anybody buys an adult cockatiel hoping to tame it. Although I'm sure that some degree of success could be obtained it would entail a long, hard struggle to win the trust of the bird. It is unlikely that it will ever be as tame as a bird which has been tamed whilst young, and if a bird has been manhandled before it came to you it may never get over it's fear of people. Remember that if you buy a bird from a pet shop you have no way of finding out its history. If you buy from a reputable breeder (most advertise in local papers, or try a reputable magazine, such as Cage and Aviary Birds) you will be able to get a much better idea of how tame the bird is, and often some very good advice on how to best look after your bird. Very young cockatiels have absolutely no fear of humans and the ideal time to begin training is when they have just begun to come into feather. It is important not to touch chicks when they are very young as the parents may abandon them, but if you leave it too long it will become an almost impossible task. Once a cockatiel has learnt to fly it will quickly become very wary of humans. A "hand tame" cockatiel is basically just that, a bird that will happily sit on your hand and allow itself to be touched and ha ndled by people. A "silly tame" bird has been handled extensively and has absolutely no fear of people, and usually positively enjoys human company. Finally, a "hand reared" cockatiel is one which has either been taken away from it's mother once hatched and reared by hand, or in some cases the eggs are artificially incubated so that the bird never actually meets an adult cockatiel. Hand reared cockatiels are usually the tamest, although they are also usually the most expensive and in my opinion a hand tame bird given enough attention will make just as good a pet as a hand reared bird. There are many different varieties of cockatiel, the most common being the grey cockatiel, but you can also get lots of others, such as pieds, pearls, silvers or whites. The variety refers to the colour or markings of the bird. It is essential when purchasing a cockatiel that you buy the right cage. Ideally you should buy the largest cage that you can afford, or accommodate. It is best to put natural tree branches in the cage for your cockatiel to perch on, as the plastic or wood perches which are supplied with the majority of commercially available cages do not give your cockatiel adequate opportunity to exercise his feet, as they are all of a uniform size. To keep your cockatiel healthy he will need to be fed a good quality cockatiel mix, which you can pick up very easily from any pet shop. This contains a mixture of seeds, including millet and sunflower seed. An iodine block and cuttlefish bone are also needed to provide your cockatiel with essential nutrients and minerals and allow him to grind down his beak. A cockatiel who's beak is too long will have difficulty eating. Finally, fresh fruit and vegetables should be given every day, our cockatiels have always been very fond of apple and lettuce. It is also my belief that a cockatiel should be allowed out of it's cage at least once a day for free flight . Be very careful to close and cover any windows as cockatiels don't have any concept of glass and it would be very easy for a bird flying at full pelt into a window to break its neck. Also make sure that there are no hazards such as food cooking on the hob that the bird could land in. A cockatiel can live for fifteen years or more and they make excellent pets. If you’re thinking about buying a pet bird you could do a lot worse than a cockatiel. I have to stop writing now, this opinion is ridiculously long as it is. If you've actually managed to get this far I applaud you!

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                              28.10.2000 03:03
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                              I recently decided to buy a cockatiel, first of all I went out and bought a cage, I was lucky and got a good one second hand for only £10. I then went round various local pet shops, looking at what cockatiels they had in stock and comparing prices. I eventually found a shop that had one in that was hand tamed for £50. I was prepared to pay this much for one but decided to keep on looking to see if I could find a cheaper one. I found a shop that had one in for only £25. The shopkeeper told me it was not hand tamed, but that they were very easy to tame yourself. I thought about it and decided to buy one and train it myself. But I have since realised it was a bad idea, I find it almost impossible to train it myself, every time I go near it, it screams, flaps it's wings and tries to bite me. My advice is if you buy one always buy a hand tamed one.

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                                17.09.2000 17:27

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                                I have 2 Cockatiels and find them to be great company and at times, very funny indeed. These birds are very friendly, sociable creatures who enjoy attention. They can be tamed easily and you can teach them to speak and whistle although it is the males who only really do the talking(what's new!). Cockatiels do not cost a great deal to keep, seed is cheap and you can pick up toys and mirrors for them fairly cheaply too. You will find that male cockatiels have a lot of yellow on their heads/faces whereas the females do not. Females also tend to have yellow bars across the inside of their tales which is handy to know when looking for your new pet. My two provide me with hours of entertainment and i would not be without them. I have found that if you go to the larger pet retailers, for a grey cockatiel, you are looking at paying between the £15 - 20 mark, for a white cockatiel, expect to pay around £25. Starter kits for them can also be purchased for approx. £40 at some retailers i.e. pets at home, and for this you get the cage, perches, disinfectant spray, sandpaper etc. Make sure that your cockatiel has plenty to play with and not get bored, as if they are alone and bored they can get depressed and unhappy. Mine love looking at themselves in mirrors and talking to their mirror images.

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