Recently my friend asked me for advice on bringing a new cockatiel into their family.
Trainability is a top priority for them, and they asked me if they would be able to train their cockatiel.
Trainability is a very important quality to consider when getting a new bird.
We must ensure we have the skills and experience to keep a specific type of bird so that both bird and human can be healthy and happy.
And so, without further ado, let’s investigate.
Are cockatiels easy to train?
Yes, cockatiels are highly intelligent and relatively easy to train. Cockatiels can learn to be quite tame and gentle, they can be potty trained, and can even learn many tricks. It is important to remember that, as with all birds, training will take time, daily practice, and patience as you learn to communicate with each other.
Before you begin to introduce tricks and specific behaviors your cockatiel must feel comfortable and safe with you.
This could mean spending plenty of time allowing your bird to adjust to their new home and spending time with them while they’re in their cage.
Positive reinforcement is one of the most important elements of training your cockatiel.
In order to maintain their trust, you must offer them positive rewards (like healthy treats) rather than negative scolding, which could confuse or scare them.
How do I start training my cockatiel?
The first and most important step is simply allowing your new family member to adjust to their home.
This might mean letting it spend time in its cage without handling it, instead allowing him to settle in and learn to trust you.
During this time, you should still spend plenty of time with your bird.
Remember to keep your energy levels calm, speaking to him in a relaxing voice and simply spending plenty of quiet time together.
You will know that your cockatiel trusts you when he has become comfortable with you working with its cage, changing its food or water, and is happy and curious with your presence.
How do I hand tame my cockatiel?
The next step to training your bird is hand taming them – the process of teaching them to accept being touched and handled by humans.
Only begin once your cockatiel is very comfortable with you around their cage.
Begin the process by working with your bird in the cage, making eye contact and slowly setting your hand near the cage and in the cage until he doesn’t draw away.
Then you can begin to offer your cockatiel treats, spray millet being a popular choice.
Move slowly and avoid jerking your hand away quickly if your bird gets startled.
The calmer you are the safer you will seem to the bird.
Eventually begin to offer your extended fingers, moving closer and closer as your bird gains confidence.
Once you can easily touch your bird begin to touch its stomach and life gently, encouraging your cockatiel to step up.
You can slowly begin to move your hand, and in time even take your cockatiel out of the cage.
Keep this up!
Some days your cockatiel may be more timid than others, but with patience and gentle practice your bird will be confident and comfortable being handled in no time.
At what age should a cockatiel be trained?
It is very important that initial training, especially hand taming, occur when the bird is young.
Taming is best started when the bird is eight to twelve weeks old, and definitely within the first six months.
This could be an important factor to consider when looking for a new cockatiel.
It is important to ask how old the bird is, if the bird is hand tamed, and at what age that training occurred.
If training occurs too late then it will be very challenging to fully hand tame your cockatiel.
Are cockatiels good pets for first-time bird owners?
Because they are so trainable cockatiels are perfect choices for first time bird owners.
They are playful, friendly, and if you are consistent with training, they will absolutely love spending time with you.
Even a new owner who doesn’t have a lot of bird training experience can train a cockatiel.
The important thing is that you are willing to learn and that you can learn to read your new bird’s body language and needs.
If you do choose a cockatiel, remember that its trainability will depend on age.
If you are getting a young bird (under 6 months) then make sure you work on hand taming early on.
If you are getting an older bird, then make sure they received this training.
Always get your bird from a knowledgeable source.
Can you train your cockatiel to do tricks?
Once your cockatiel is comfortable and hand tamed you can get to the fun stuff, teaching it tricks!
This is best done with food reward, whatever your bird’s favorite treat may be.
You should start with simple and practical tricks.
For instance, step up and step down are important for safety.
You can also teach them to turn around using a vocal command like “turn” or “spin”.
Simply hold the treat and say your cue as the bird reaches, gradually working your way up to a full turn.
You can also teach more complex tricks like shake hands.
Pick a vocal cue to say while you touch your bird’s foot.
Then lift their toes up, gradually working on picking one leg up and shaking.
They can also learn how to do tricks like walking a tightrope, bowing, playing dead, and so much more!
How do you train your cockatiel not to bite?
Sometimes we need to train to stop bad behaviors.
While cockatiels are not aggressive birds by nature they may learn to intimidate or try to communicate by biting or pecking.
Pay close attention to why your bird might be biting, it could indicate stress or frustration.
The most challenging first step is simply not to react to being bitten.
Yelling or striking will make your bird more afraid, so wear long sleeves and gloves to prevent injury.
Forcefully but calmly tell your bird “no”, staying very consistent.
Overall cockatiels are wonderful birds to own and are quite easy to train.
If you are patient and caring you will be able to have a friendly, loving cockatiel as a member of your family.