Ask Lafeber

Question:

May 19, 2022

Cockatiel behavior


Hi there! I recently got a new female baby cockatiel 5 months ago. There are some things I want to ask. The first is diet. The breeder I got her from feeds her mainly seeds, so she got used to it. I try to get her to eat other things, but she refuses. Is that normal? How do I get her to eat some pellets and other food? I would point out that this cockatiel enjoys Nutriberries, but I suspect she picks out her favorite foods from it.

The second is her behavior. She’s quite “naughty.” She’s done a lot of naughty things. Last month, she bit off my necklace. Today, she just bit off my laptop key. Is this something she could grow out of? Or something I could teach her not to do?


Answer:

Hi Shirley,

As for diet, the Nutri-Berries are formulated the same as a pellet, but they are not ground up. If she is eating these, do not feed her any loose seeds. The loose seed mix is not going to offer much in the way of nutrition. She can eat only Nutri-Berries and will be getting the nutrition she needs. Because of the way we add the nutirient coating, it’s fine if she only picks out what she likes. She will still be getting the same nutrition. However, you can gradually offer fewer at a time, to teach her to eat all of each berry simply because it’s more economical to not have a lot of waste. The more you give her at a time, the more she will waste. So you can give fewer, and once she eats those, give her more. You should continue to offer greens and fresh foods. Try different ways of offering them – chopped, large pieces, cooked, raw, etc. Most birds just need time to learn to eat new foods. While she gets the nutrition she needs from the Nutri-Berries, it’s ideal if she will eat some fresh foods, too.

As for behavior, they only learn from positive reinforcement. You have to understand that her behavior isn’t naughty, she is chewing and exploring and these are natural behaviors. Always have something available that she can chew on, and when she tries to chew on something you don’t want her to, divert her attention to a toy or a new food. Never punish her. Ignore unwanted behavior completely, and reward desired behaviors. I’ll give you the links to our behavior and training pages for more information.

Pet Bird and Parrot Behavior

Teaching Your Bird

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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