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Is my cockatiel permanently traumatized?

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I’ve had this bird for a little more than 3 years now, and while he got a lot better compared to the state he was in when I got him, he doesn’t seem to be getting any better now. Greentexting short summary
>adopted a cockatiel that was abandoned by its owner (bird was 12 at the time)
>pretty sure the previous owner was fucking horrible and knew nothing about taking care of birds
>at first tiel wouldn’t eat ANYTHING else than millet seeds
>when I showed it fruits, vegetables, different seeds or any other kind of food it didn’t even seemed to recognize them as food
>when he started moulting (a few days after I got him) I noticed that some of the longer feathers were damaged
>bent like they were broken while growing, some also looked like they had their ends cut/ripped
>when I let him out of cage he wouldn’t fly; he’d try to glide a little but mostly fail at it. Very clumsy while trying to fly
>I suspect his previous owner didn’t even let him out of cage once; muscles must’ve fucking vanished
> EXTREMELY afraid of hands, would panic or get very aggressive when he saw a raised hand
>afraid of everything in his cage except water/food containers
>very aggressive towards other birds, attacks them, aggressive towards most people too
Overall I suspect that for the whole 12 years he was either kept in a very small cage alone, or kept with a bird that was harassing him (judging by his panic/aggression attacks when he spots another bird). It’s been 3 years now and although it wasn’t easy I managed to ‘rehabilitate’ him a little; he’s now eating diverse food, he’s not aggressive towards me and not afraid of hands so much anymore, though he still won’t let anyone pet him (but he’s fine of sitting on my hand/finger, something he would never do 3 years ago).
He also got better at flying, although he never got perfect at it; he keeps “gliding” and mostly doing short jumps boosted by his wings rather than flying (I even suspect he may have never learned how to properly fly). The thing I’m most worried about though, and the one that didn’t change through those 3 years, is that he doesn’t seem to be interested in anything. He just keeps sitting in one place and does not respond to anything. At first I put some toys in his cage but later I took them away as I was worried for his safety when he’d freak out seeing a plain piece of wood hanging on a string. When I let him out of his cage he flies to the one of 2 spots he likes, and just sits there… doesn’t walk, doesn’t move, doesn’t even make lots of sounds save for chirping quietly once in a while – just sits there for hours, then goes back to his cage. I bought a hanging perch for him but he only sits on it when it’s perfectly still, as when it moves even just a little he panics. The only “toys” he wants to play with are toothpicks, which he just holds in his beak and bites them. He is still very aggressive towards other birds and attacks them on sight so I’m afraid getting him company is not an option right now. I’ve been trying to get him to play with something, but he is either afraid of toys or just doesn’t seem to care about them and goes back to doing nothing. Is there any way to get him interested in toys? Is he going to be like this forever? He looks so depressing sitting in one place the whole day but I really don’t know what to do anymore. Any ideas? Also, according to the vet it’s healthy, at least physically

adopted a 12yo cockatiel, previous owner fucked it up, I’m not sure if it will ever fully recover and be a happy bird
I have a ~8 year old Green Cheeked Conure, and I don't know that he really plays with his toys much either. That having been said, we take him out of his cage a LOT and he's always very active with us when he's out and about. Loves to try and eat our food when he's at the dinner table with us, will fly around the house looking for us, etc. Is he in the cage the majority of the day? What are his surroundings like when he's in the cage? Lighting, walls, etc?
I don't have any advice for you OP, but good on you for making life better for this bird
I've rehabilitated a cockatiel like that before and the damage never goes away completely. Just keep working with it. You might want to introduce it to paper. If it likes shredding toothpicks it will like shredding paper. When the bird is afraid of something the formula is the same. Put it as close to the bird as you can without scaring it. When it gets used to that put it a little closer. As far as introducing toys to the cage it may be best to put the toy on the outside of the cage as close as you can without freaking it out. It can be slow but it is also rewarding. I want my next cockatiel to be a rescue too.

Also keep working at getting it to like being scratched on the back of the neck. Every cockatiel likes this. It's just that some don't know it yet.

>Loves to try and eat our food when he's at the dinner table with us
>at the dinner table with us

Goddamn OP, that really got me in the feels. Poor thing.

Just keep up what you're doing, if it's spent 12 years just sitting there no wonder he doesn't know what to do with toys and new things. You have over a decade of cruelty to break, which will be tough, but you're obviously doing your best. Even if it's just baby steps, you'll reach him eventually. He'll probably never be a normal, happy cockatiel, but the fact you've made progress with him is a good thing.

Keep at it OP, let us know how it goes.
Can we see a pic of him?
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he usually spends half of the day outside his cage now. I let him out when I'm home, sometimes he's out the whole day. His cage stays nexto to a wall and there's a window maybe a 1,5 m away from it so he gets a lot of light. He never flies around; only gets to one place and stays there.


I've gave him paper strips once, he seemed interested in it and shredded it a little, but then got bored with it and went back to toothpicks.. I think he likes toothpicks being solid; he seems to enjoy breaking them. Also thank you for the advice, sometimes when he's in a really good mood he'd let me touch his head, but that happens rarely.. I try to show him that I mean no harm in these moments (he still seems to be afraid of hands a lot).


unfortunately my phone died recently and I don't have any recent photos of him, but here's last photo of him from earlier this year that I saved on my old phone.

for everyone else; thank you for your kind words, I do hope this bird will eventually get better, and I'm gonna keep working with him to ensure that.

i let my bird on the table too... she has her own plate and eats with us, i don't see how that's a big deal
birbs in the parrot family often like to eat when others are eating. as long as birb isn't eating human food and has its own dish it's no problem.
Birds can eat a lot of human food. With cockatiels you have to worry about poisonous foods like avocados and chocolate as well as fatty or sugary foods. Cockatiels have small livers and get fatty liver disease from sugar or fats in excess.

My cockatiels wouldn't let me give them their own plate. They insisted that my plate was better. So I would set aside food on the side it was on and be careful not to let it eat anything I had bit off of.

One of my cockatiels got the its name from this. I was eating a big bowl of cocoa pebbles with milk in bed. It flew from my chair to my shoulder and started eyeing my bowl. I thought oh shit it is going to try to eat some of that chocolate and get poisoned. It's probably going to jump on the rim of the bowl and drop its head in. Instead the bird jumped straight in to the middle of the bowl. There it sat surrounded by a bath full of poison looking at me like, "Where's your god now, bitch?" I got it out of the bowl and in to the shower and named it Cocoa. I swear these birds have an innate sense of humor.
Kinda sounds like my tiel before I lost him. Wouldn't eat anything other than millet though I would feed him the mixed bird seed I'd get down the road with a few different types of seed in it. He'd ignore the other seeds.

He just kinda turned into an asshole over 3 yrs even though I liked taking him out often and whatnot. Eventually my dad managed to accidentally let him go when he went to open the cage (not sure why since I don't like him near my birds).

The lory I have now is doing much better personality-wise though I can't take him out as much (because of the poop).
That's kawai as fuck
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>he likes toothpicks

what about toothpick sized carrot strips? my birdy loves ripping them apart

I didn't think about this but seems like a great idea considering his favourite food is carrots. I'm gonna try this, thank you for advice!

also something I doesn't understand about my bird is that he often hangs upside down in his cage and spreads his wings when he hears a deep male voice. He doesn't do that in any other situation... I wonder if this reminds him of his previous owner voice or something. He never reacts like this to anything else
If he's just spreading his wings he's doing a display. He's trying to show how healthy, strong, and even pretty he is. This is an instinct that helps it get a place in a flock. A sick weak bird in a flock will infect other birds and is a liability when it comes to flock survival against predation. A sick bird will often be outcast and left to die on its own. A strong healthy bird is a desirable member of a flock. It's good to have a strong guy as a friend so bonding is enhanced by a strong display. A strong display helps find sexual partners. A strong display says the bird doesn't carry illness that will infect the rest of the flock.

When he spreads his wings the flight feathers become fully visible. A lot can be determined about the condition of a bird from this. In order to keep feathers in good condition a bird must be free of illness, have good nutrition, and have enough extra energy to produce the oil used in preening. Good feathers make for a strong flyer. In the display pose the shape of the wing is visible and it can be seen whether or not it is deformed.

Hanging upside down shows it has strength in its feet. Weakness in the feet is a sign of illness. Being able to invert himself and right himself again shows balance and coordination which is lost in certain illnesses.

Basically he's trying to impress whoever is looking. I suggest getting up close and looking at him. Say something like "Pretty bird." emphatically. He'll love you for paying attention to his display.

It is the reliance on a flock for survival and the need to maintain good relationships with other parrots that makes it so painful for a parrot to be ignored. This is why neglect leads to psychological damage. This is why the best way to punish a parrot is to ignore it for a couple minutes. They don't understand pain as punishment but shunning comes in loud and clear because in the wild not being shunned is life or death.
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It's low res but this is the type of display my cockatiels go for. It is extending one wing and standing on one foot. The wing shows the size of the bird as well as the condition of the feathers, and the structural soundness of the bones in the wing. The standing one foot shows balance. If your cockatiel can't stand on one foot it needs to go to the vet because it is probably sick. It is also spreading the tail feathers which are also flight feathers. The tail feathers can be lowered to increase lift at slow speeds like flaps on an airplane. A cockatiel that is good at flying will lower the tail feathers during landing or slowing down to make a sharp turn before a wall.

My cockatiels do this display at least every time I walk in the room. It starts off less often but after it notices I pay it attention and call it pretty bird it does it every time. Sometimes I return the display and stand on foot with one arm extended. I think they get a kick out of that.
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The title of this pic is vitamin a deficiency. He still likes scritches.
budgie war
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brushie brushie animated
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Nothing my cockatiel liked better than shitting on my uniform right before I left for work.
Thread posts: 23
Thread images: 9

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