Little Feathered Buddies

Small birds, big hearts


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Taming and Training

Taming Cockatiels (or other birds)

This article was written by CrazyConure, one of our forum members. It's about taming cockatiels but will work equally well with other parrot species.

Here is what you'll need:

• A scared or aggressive bird
• Treats -millet or sunflower seeds are the top hit for small to medium birds. If your bird is larger, you're going to have to find a treat that will suit them.
• Patience - lots of it!

Reminder: Do not move on to any step unless you are sure your bird is comfortable with what you are doing. If you bird does not look completely comfortable with what you're doing, repeat the previous step until he/she is.

{Part One}

First off, if this bird is new, leave him/her in the cage alone for 2-3 days. Your new bird is in a new environment and is very scared. You will need to give it some time to get used to their surroundings before letting them get used to you. Only go into the cage to change the food and water.

Step One:

Slowly approach your bird every day and just sit by his cage for about 5-10 minutes at least twice a day. You need to show him/her that you are safe and won't do anything to hurt him/her. You can sing, read, talk, or do anything you would like as long as it will be near your bird and won't involve any abrupt movements or sounds that may scare him/her.

Step Two:

Put your hand in the cage. Do not put it near the bird. Just rest your hand on the front door for about 5-10 minutes. You are doing this to teach your bird that hands will not harm your bird. This is the advanced stage from Step One.

Step Three:

This one is going to need some more patience. Your goal is to get your bird to eat treats from you. I figured out that the best way to accomplish this goal is to first hold the treats where your hand was in Step 2 and slowly move closer to the bird. I am serious. You need to move your hand very slowly. Your bird will first reject it. Don't worry. It's all normal. I found out that you get the best results when your bird is hungry, so take out its food for like 2-3 hours before trying this. You can also do this in the morning when your bird hasn't eaten for the whole night and is hungry. When your bird eats the treats you'll know you have accomplished the hardest step.

Step Four:

This next step will be feeding your bird seeds from the palm of your hand. It will be discouraging at first but don't give up. Keep offering until it starts eating from your hand. Congratulations on a job well done. Earning your bird's trust is the hardest part of taming your bird to be friendly with you.

{Part Two}

In this part, we are going to discuss how to get your bird to step up on your finger. Before you start this part, make sure your bird has already accomplished the steps above.

Step 1:

Take the millet and let your bird feed off it, then, slowly bring your finger in front of the millet your bird is eating from. What you have now is a bird eating millet with a finger in front of the millet. Let your bird get comfortable with this. It shouldn't take long.

Step 2:

Now, slowly bring the millet a tiny bit further from the bird. Your bird should be making a small bend forward to reach it. Make sure you have some space between the finger and millet. Now, as you are progressing, you will slowly be moving the finger and millet until the only way the bird will be getting the millet will be by stepping up. Your bird at first will run away, but like I said before...don't give up. Your bird will soon get used to it and start by putting one foot gently on your finger. As you progress forward your bird will soon perch on your finger completely. Make sure you bring the bird back to its original perch.

Step 3:

Your next goal is to start to ditch the millet. But it has to be gradually. Your finger is in front of the bird and the millet is behind the finger. When you're approaching this position, you want the millet a little bit behind when your bird steps up, then bring the millet to the bird so it can eat comfortably. After 5-6 times of using that length, you're going to put the millet even further away. Follow this routine until the millet is behind your back and the bird is stepping up without even seeing the millet. Don't forget, if the bird steps up, he gets the millet.

By this time your bird should be eager to find your finger because he associated your finger with something positive instead of negative.

{Part Three}

In this last part we are going to discuss how to get your bird to fly to you. Having in mind that your bird can already step up on your finger you might be wondering, "How on earth am I going to get that bird that was once too scared to look at me to actually fly to me?" It's quite simple!

Step 1:

Right now, your bird is stepping up normally on your finger. This time you are going to put your finger a little bit back so your bird has to use its beak to get on your finger. Once it gets used to this you can put it a little bit more back, your bird will now hop to get on your finger. Keep following this routine until your bird is flying distances to get to you. Make sure you are feeding him millet each time your bird steps up so the bird can have something to motivate him.

And that's it! You officially have tamed your bird.

Question: Do you have any proof that this works?

Answer: Actually, I have used this same exact method to tame 3 birds that I got from the flea market, yes, the FLEA MARKET. No socializing, no human interaction, nothing. Just wild birds that have been abused. I got them from flying away from me to flying to me. That's a big difference. I bet this can work for ANY bird. The only hard part is having patience but I promise you, you won't regret it.