Cockatiel in need of therapy (longish)

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Anonymous:
I have a 12-year cockatiel who has been a screamer all his life. Yes, I know about not reinforcing the screaming. He does not get yelled at or petted when screaming. I generally just cover him unceremoniously for a few minutes. I used to whistle back to him or talk nicely in hopes that he'd respond to that and not scream. Didn't work. Then I tried a full year of ignoring him completely when he screamed. This resulted in him screaming so loudly and long that my eardrums began to hurt. Still, I did not respond. I take him out for shoulder time every day when I get home from work and more on the weekends. It is the ONLY time he doesn't scream.
His other behavior (which may be a clue to a deeper psychological issue) is that he does a lot of repetitive obsessive excited motion (which appears to be happy and not afraid) in which he'll shift constantly while hanging on the side of the cage closest to me. He appears so excited he might have a heart attack. Removing him from the cage to my shoulder relaxes him completely and makes him content. But he appears to NEED this 24/7 even though he knows from 12 years of life that he'll only get it at certain times.
Help! Does he need prozac in his water?
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Skateboarder:
[nq:1]I have a 12-year cockatiel who has been a screamer all his life. YesFrom your description, it sounds like the ... figure out if h screams because he wants to come out, or because he wants to hang out wit you[/nq]
If it is because he wants to come out, is it possible for you to just le him out all the time and never cage him (at least when you are home)? M two cockatiels are out all the time and the only time they go inside th cage is to sleep.
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David G Fisher:
He's 12, so he's not a young bird who you can spend years trying to change his behavior, or hope he will grow out of it.
I'd find the most highly recommended avian vet I could (contact a local bird club) and look into medication. Medication is sometimes prescribed for pluckers (anxiety), and it may be the best thing for your bird. He's certainly not happy if he's so distressed all the time.

Medications that are routinely given to feather picking parrots for the regulation of hormone production include human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), Lupron, Depo-provera, and progesterone, among others. Medications given to help a bird that appears to be suffering anxiety and stress include Prozac, Haldol, and Elavil, among others.
Dave
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Anonymous:
[nq:1]I ask because I am trying to figure out if he screams because he wants to come out, or because he wants to hang out with you.[/nq]
Mostly I think he's obsessed with me. He's not content unless he's right there with me, and if he's out of the cage he MUST be where I am. If I'm talking to my wife and he's not within 12 inches of me, he screams. If I'm not looking at him, he screams. If I'm near the cage and then I turn to walk away, he screams.
Now, I'm being a little unfair in characterization: He's not screaming right now and I'm not in his room. I guess he's seen enough of me today - or he's fatigued from the screaming. I'm seriously considering the prozac, but would only do it if I thought it would help HIM, not just muzzle him. I love the poor thing.
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David G Fisher:
I forogt to mention in my previous post that you might consider getting another cockatiel to keep him company and take some of his focus (obsession) off of you.
Dave
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Anonymous:
[nq:1]I forogt to mention in my previous post that you might consider getting another cockatiel to keep him company and take some of his focus (obsession) off of you.[/nq]
Yeah, but he lives in the cage with another bird already, a green-cheeked conure that he grew up with. They get along very well and groom each other, sleep side-by-side, etc.. But the cockatiel's obsession is with me, and my attention. The conure is as calm as any bird I've seen.
Just another thought - does anyone know of any dietary thing that might help bird behavior? For example - they're saying that fish oil is good for the brain (in humans, anyway) and brain related issues.
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Rick S.:
[nq:2]I forogt to mention in my previous post that you ... and take some of his focus (obsession) off of you.[/nq]
[nq:1]Yeah, but he lives in the cage with another bird already, a green-cheeked conure that he grew up with. They ... But the cockatiel's obsession is with me, and my attention. The conure is as calm as any bird I've seen.[/nq]
It was just a few months ago, a heartbroken lady posted about her dead lovebird. It had also shared a cage with a "calm" GCC.

The necropsy discovered a chunk taken out of the lovebird's neck, "the size of a conure's beak" or some words to that effect.

Your tiel is screaming at least in part because it knows it's in mortal danger.
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Skateboarder:
[nq:1]Yeah, but he lives in the cage with another bird already, green-cheeked conure that he grew up with. They get ... seenI disagree with the other poster who said your cockatiel screams because i feels in danger because of the conure[/nq]
Anyway, here is my suggestion: Since your cockatiel loves hanging out wit you so much, is it possible for you to just give in and let him hang ou with you all day (when you are home)? You can use a portable perch/stan and move it from room to room, wherever you happen to be. As long as he ca see you, maybe he will be satisfied and not scream? Make the perch/stan big enough to accomodate both birds, too.
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