Ask Lafeber

Question:

June 1, 2022

Weird annoying sound.


Why is my new baby cockatiel making this winding sound as if he is crying constantly when I come near his cage.


Answer:

Hi Jennie,

This is very common and normal for a newly weaned cockatiel – basically he is begging. Most cockatiels are weaned weeks before they are truly ready, because it’s illegal to sell unweaned chicks in many places or the breeder is busy and doesn’t want to keep handfeeding the chicks. So they are forced to wean much earlier than the parents would have weaned them. This results in insecurities about food and attention. Your little guy is partly hungry and partly lonely. Make sure he has a lot of different foods to try – yes, there will be a lot of waste, but the best way to help a little one like this is make sure he feels like he has enough to eat. Offer pellets, water, soft foods like chopped steamed veggies, chopped fruits, chopped greens, cooked brown rice, a small amount of scrambled eggs. You can even try some soaked pellets. Serve the cooked rice and veggies warm at least twice a day. Again, don’t focus on what he is wasting. Just keep offering all of these foods daily so he is encouraged to try different foods and learns to be a healthy eater. He will end up outgrowing the begging. The best thing to do is ignore it. If you tell him to stop, you are just giving him attention. Wait until he stops whining to pick him up. Never yell at home or tell him to shut up – again, this is attention and he is happy with any attention. The key is to reward desired behavior and ignore unwanted behavior.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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