Should I get a cockatiel that isn’t yet weaned?

I can’t honestly say that I would raise a baby cockatiel all over again anymore than a brand new mother could say that she would gladly have another baby while she is still being awoken to screams in the night, sleeping very little,  in the throes of labor, or watching her two year old lying on the floor of the grocery store kicking and screaming because he’s been told no while your face must be at least 10 shades of red because you swore that your child would never behave like THAT! I look at my two adult cockatiels, and I know that one day my baby, Scooter, will get there. But in the meantime!

I think that cockatiels are among the sweetest, gentlest animals ever created. But they can behave like mischievous children, especially when they are young. I will never claim to be an expert on avian behavior, but I certainly did enough research before I decided to have birds in my home.  I thought that I would at least be prepared.  Let me tell you that no amount of reading can prepare you for these amazing, complex and at the same time simple creatures. They each have their own personalities, much like children. As I sit here writing this, for example, my little guy is running up and down my keyboard trying to help. I guess he wants to have some input on what I have to tell the world about his behavior 🙂

This morning I learned a thing or two. I’ve been trying to figure out for days why he keeps banging his beak on me and my belongings.  I’ve read that it is typically a male behavior, displayed to show ownership or dominance over something or someone. Not so with my baby. He does it out of frustration. We recently taught him how to wolf whistle.  I thought it would be cute. But he now uses that whistle to tell me when he wants something, constantly. And sometimes it can take quite awhile before I figure out what it is that he wants.  If I don’t figure it out quickly he starts banging that beak on my head or on whatever surface he may be sitting on when he can’t get to me. This morning he simply wanted a nap. It finally dawned on me what all of the screaming, wolf whistling, and beak banging was about when he couldn’t hold his eyes open any longer. And thanks in part to my husband, his naps are taken ON someone. Once I layed down with him he sprawled out on my chest and out he went! I’ve never seen my other birds sleep so deeply and so it actually startled me a little. I do have a sneaking suspicion that the bit o’ honey he got into this morning had something to do with his hysterics (we’ll be more careful with sugar in the future).

And so what would I tell someone if they asked me if they should get a cockatiel who isn’t yet weaned? I’d say that if you want a bird who is going to bond with you just as your own child would, then yes. The feeding experience is definitely a bonding one. IF you are prepared for having a child who only weighs a few ounces dictating your life in the same way that having an infant dictates your life. If you are prepared for such a tiny little thing to raise so much hell..The temper tantrums, the screaming, the getting into things…then by all means get a bird that isn’t yet weaned. But you will also have a bond of complete trust and love. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.  And so just like a new mom I don’t think I’m prepared to do it all over again! Not yet, anyway.

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