Cockatiel Diary- Jan 13 (plus safety question at end)

Well I’m guessing that Cricket is a year old now. Within the last 3 months he’s grown adult tail feathers— two long and beautiful middle retrices the color of light lemon chiffon and the lateral retrices are a bright yellow on the outside and mottled yellow-black on the inside.

He seems to be doing great. I feed him a mix of McBrides seed and Harrison’s super-fine pellets- he eats both (but I can’t bring myself to wean him totally to pellets- although the lack of seed chaff sounds like a dream come true!)

This bird loves me like no other. Other people try, and fail, to win him over. He LIVES to be near me. If I go out of his line of sight to make the bed, the ear-splitting call that comes out of him would astound you. He is warming up to baths- still a little frightened, but when he finally gets into it, he’s in a flapping, dancing swoon! He demands head-scritching at least 10 times a day (if not 20).

He spends 99.9% of his life on top of his cage—I have a multi-branched perch up there and a few toys and food/water dishes. He “hides” behind his toy to sleep at night and when he wants to rest. Super-sweet. I’ve also recently discovered that he uses his cuttle bone as a little table to get all the good stuff out of his favorite seeds.

He’s just an awesome, awesome bird.

**One side question: he’s become a little obsessed with the corner of his cage- he’s been biting on it and sometimes holds onto it like he’s sucking his thumb. I’m worried about the metal- some of the paint is off of it (either because of him biting it or just because sometimes the edges/corners get missed when stuff like that gets painted) Well I know metal’s not good for birds- it can make them sick or kill them. Is there something I can do to keep him from chewing on the corner? Bitter apple? Something I can stick on there that he can chew instead? Any ideas?

Can you post pics? ~:>

I’m not quite sure, but are you saying the tail feathers are barred on the underside? Generally in adults that means the cockatiel is female. Juvenile boy birds can have barring, but they almost always lose it as they mature.

My understanding of current thinking is that seeds AND pellets are healthier than either diet by itself, so you’re doing fine. Do you supplement with fresh foods? They love warmed (not hot! Avoid crop burn!) peas and corn*, boiled spaghetti, and washed green leafy veggies like kale, collards, and spinach.

*We like to get bags of frozen peas or corn and microwave a handful in water for even heating, then drain the water and hand-test for temperature before serving scattered on a small plate.

I’m not sure about a permanent solution to the cage bar metal exposure question, but as a temporary solution, sticking a cardboard panel over the unpainted areas would work. He’ll chew up the cardboard, of course, but you can replace it frequently and monitor it for wear.

Here are pics of:

the underside of his tail The very middle scraggly dark one is still a baby feather, but the ones on the outside are new.

this is a very blown-out pic of his tail from above

this is a recent pic of him

He’s very boisterous, vocal, a beak-banger. He seems very “he” to me. What do you think??

Oh, and he was also palpated twice (separate occasions, she didn’t remember me from the first time, so I got an objective second “sexing”) by a 30 year veteran breeder. She told me he’s a “he”…

He’s a looker!

My interpretation of those pics is that i don’t see enough “barring” to persuade me he’s a she. And he’s still young anyway; his tail colors might get more solid as he ages, so I concur he appears male.

Don’t let the bold behavior and beak-banging weigh too heavily in your assessment; our little blue budgie, Scritch, was a fearless adventurer and beak-banger – with a blue cere, no less, a sure sign of maleness in budgies – but she still laid one tiny egg, to our surprise. Her cere then turned tan and she calmed down a bit. Sometimes they have to “find themselves” just like college students. ~:>