I have found myself in quite a dilemma. I think I mentioned that I bought my first two birds this past summer. Two beautiful, and hilarious parakeets. They provide hours and hours of entertainment for us. Just watching them is like watching a couple of clowns in a circus. But that has only become the case recently. When we first bought them, we really had a hard time earning their trust. I read tons of books, online forums, talked to other bird owners…but nothing really prepared me for what was to come. They are such delicate animals, that they can literally be scared to death! We bought them from a pet store and so they had never had any human contact. They were raised by their parents, not by a breeder.
And so we brought them home…we tried everything. We spent lots of time everyday by their cage talking to them and we even took them out of the cage a couple of times. One book that I bought suggested that we take them into a small room like the bathroom and take them out of the cage for 15 minutes at a time, holding them and talking to them. Well, it was obvious to me that this was causing them dangerous levels of anxiety. You could literally see their heart beating in their little chests. And so we abandoned that plan.
It wasn’t until we brought our cockatiels home that they started to show curiosity about the other birds. They witnessed the cockatiels bathing, and then they had their first bath! I was beginning to give up on ever taming these birds. And now I’m starting to see that having these other birds around may be exactly what they needed. Birds mimic one another. They learn by watching other birds and then they copy them. Sometimes they will try new foods only because they see one of the other birds eating it.
So we moved all of the birds into my bedroom where I could keep the door shut and not cage them, and one day I decided that I would just leave the cage door open on the parakeet cage. Within a week Snowball came out just to terrorize Crazy (my lutino, and yes that was her name when i got her but it suits her well). She jumped on her back and poor Crazy couldn’t shake her off no matter what she did. This probably went on for a full minute, and then she went back into the cage. A few days later, she decided to come out again, this time to explore her surroundings. And to terrorize Crazy, of course. Our other two cockatiels are pied, but Crazy is a beautiful bright yellow lutino. This is the only reason that i can think of for their fixation on her. They never bother the other two cockatiels. There is nothing more amusing or fun for them (especially Snowball, she’s a real ham) than biting her tail and chasing her toes when Crazy is on top of their cage. Snowball is quite the acrobat, so she hangs upside down inside of the cage and chases her toes. This seems to be extremely fun for her.
Needless to say, once they came out of the parakeet cage, they decided to explore not only her surroundings, but the (what must have been huge to them) cockatiel cage. And now they refuse to leave it. They decided that they like this cage much better and haven’t been back in their cage since. Yep, the other cockatiels have been forced to pack their bags and move out! They’ve been officially evicted! I do have another cage for my baby cockatiel, which is quite large. But it’s not THEIR home, which they miss. Every once in awhile they will get brave and venture into their home and say “to heck with you, this is MY house”, but then they quickly lose their nerve and leave again once they gang up on her. I hate putting my parakeets back into that little cage (which really isn’t that small for a parakeet cage). I have watched them blossom into these beautiful, funny, happy birds since they’ve been allowed the freedom to come and go from their cage. And the thought of putting them back into it really bothers me. I don’t want to take their freedom away from them. The changes I’ve seen in them have been amazing, even though they still won’t let me hold them, I’m holding out hope that it will lead to that one day. Bluebell will occasionally let me lighty rub her feet. But no other part of her body.
In the meantime, I will be brainstorming as to what to do to make everyone happy. Although I’m pretty certain it’s going to entail getting a much larger, expensive cage. The problem is that they suggest that the bars be much closer together for parakeet cages, which is why it’s hard to find these cages that are as large as the cockatiel cage. But so far I’ve had no issues with them getting wings caught in between bars or whatever the supposed dangers are. I’d love any suggestions!