4 thoughts on “Sing to What Scares You

  • July 31, 2018 at 2:50 am

    Hi Shannon,
    I think Pearl’s response is brave–aside from being adorably cute lol! When I think of a few things that scare ME, I have to admit my first instinct is to retreat! I think a lot of that is due to anxiety — and also because of low self confidence due to my past. I have to try to face my fears rather than retreat.
    I wanted to share something with you. In fact, you are one of the first people I thought of. I am getting two cockatiels! An acquaintance who drives one of our city buses has two that were given to her and now that she is working full time, she has no time to spend with them. So she asked me if I’d be interested and I said yes!
    They will come with their large cage, perches, etc. She said they aren’t hand tamed. She doesn’t know their ages. Is it possible to hand tame them when they are no longer babies? How do I know what is the best food for them?

    • July 31, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Oh well if that isn’t the loveliest news I’ve heard all week! Two cockatiels! Those lucky loves! It is possible to hand-tame them even as adults, but it takes a lot more time and patience and it often just depends on the bird and their personal past. For instance, I worked with a rescue cockatiel once who was very afraid of perches and anything that looked like them, including fingers and hands and arms. Who knows why – but he was a very loving bird and if I had had more time with him, I think we could have worked on that. Most veterinarians and breeders say pelleted food is the best choice, but chances are good your two are eating birdseed. It can be challenging to convert – you can try using the same method you would convert a puppy – just start mixing the two foods together, gradually adding more of the pellets and less of the seed. Or you can offer the pellets alone for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, then offer some seed if your birds refuse to eat the pellets (you don’t want them to starve!). But wait a week or two before trying to convert them (if you want to try it) so they can get used to you and their new space. Pearl and I have reached a compromise – he has a two-compartment cup and I put birdseed (sprinkled with nutritious herb powder and mixed with plain Zupreem natural pellets) in one side and Ezekiel flax cereal (also sprinkled with the powder) in the other side. He loves both and gets a good balance of healthy whole grains and herbs along with his beloved birdseed and sunflower seeds. So much to say on this topic!! I’m so excited for you!!

  • August 1, 2018 at 3:30 am

    Thanks Shannon–both for being excited for me AND for the helpful info.! Do you think I should perhaps not try to touch them in any way –at least until they can feel safe in the new environment and with having me around and feeding/watering them? I am thinking that might be easier on them!

    • August 1, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      You are so welcome! Yes, I would trust your instincts there. For the first week or so, you may want to play the radio or television or some soft music at a low level near their cage. You can sit nearby reading, and periodically just talk to them in a soft voice, using their names and just interacting near them in a soothing, loving way. Of course you will need to clean their cage and change their food and water, but try to do that on a schedule for minimal disruption. Make sure their cage is out of the way of drafts or too-bright light (from lamps or sunbeams). You can put them near a window so they can see out, however. You might talk with the former owner to see where they were located in the house and try to replicate that at first for the most comforting transition. Then starting the second week (or as you feel they have settled in) you can start trying to work with them as you may desire. Be sure if you let them out of the cage (I assume they don’t have clipped wings?) that it is in a self-enclosed, bird-proof room – no running ceiling fans or anyplace where they could land way out of your reach and you couldn’t get them back inside. If you want to hand-tame them and are worried you won’t be able to get them back in the cage, you might consider temporarily clipping their wings – that is a very personal decision. My birds have always had clipped wings because of safety in case they get outside, but that is a controversial choice as far as restricting the birds’ natural enjoyment of flight too. It just depends on your comfort level to keep them safe vs. not restricting their freedom more than is necessary for safety.


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