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How Do I Stop My 21-year-old Female Cockatiel From Screaming?

Nancy B. has a very needy cockatiel,

 

My 21-year-old female cockatiel refuses to stay in her cage.

 

She goes to all extents to get attention, the most of which is constant screaming.

 

If she so much as hears a squeak as I’m walking down the stairs – she starts screaming.

 

She can go on for hours at a time until I finally take her out of the cage.

 

This behavior is constant and interestingly she tries to “mate” when she sits on my finger.

 

Oddly though, she loves men.

 

When my husband comes home from work.

 

She jumps on his shoulder and I’m pretty much a zero.

 

My little flirt will jump on the mailman, delivery men, and any other guy she comes in contact with.

 

Is there a way to stop the screaming and the “flirting”.

 

I thought the flirting was just biology, but she doesn’t try her mating “dance” with males.

 

Thanks for your help

 

Dear Nancy

Kudos to you for having your cockatiel with you for so long. You are doing well with her. At 21 years old she should not be having to deal with her raging hormones but it seems she is.

 

How is the lighting over your bird’s cage?

 

She may benefit from light therapy to calm down her hormones.

 

 

Economy Lamp, Bulb, and timer package

 

This light set up mounted on top of her cage on a timer 12 hours on and 12 hours off, daily, forever will help keep her even.

 

However, I recommend that she get a Light Treatment to reset her circadian rhythm.

 

That means she would be kept in her cage for 72 hours under the installed light left ON for the entire 72 hour/3 day treatment.

 

The light would affect her pineal gland that is accessed through her eyes.

 

After 3 days under the light, she should be calmer and less likely to try to mate with your hand, her perches, your husband, etc.

 

During this time, at night, you can put a towel or clip a throw around the cage so she is not affected by seeing you at night.

 

Yes, she would be up at all hours but would nap and eat as needed. It is not harmful but just seems like a LONG time.

 

Also, how is she being handled? Are you or your husband stroking her below the neck? Down her back, etc? If so that must stop.

 

Only pet her on the head from the neck up. Period.

 

As far as the calling. Are you responding when she calls out? If so, it will just encourage her to keep it up. 

 

It is a form of communication with her flock and normal, but if she is just screeching then you have to ignore most of it. 

 

But be sure to go over and have a good chat with her now and then, just on your schedule, not every time she does this.

 

We have a lot of articles on Light Therapy and hormonal behavior that you may like to check out.

 

Why Do Pet Bird Keepers Get The Lighting Thing Wrong?

If she has big full bowls of food available 24 hours a day, she instinctually feels that food is plentiful, so I should raise a family.

 

You may wish to reduce the amount in her dish to a tablespoon or so at a time and even take it out at night.

 

More lighting articles

 

Also, what is she eating?

 

Please check these things out.

 

Get back to me with more questions.

 

Regards,

Catherine

Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground.Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care.He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis.He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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