how to tame a cockatiel bird

All about taming your parrot


“Why are birds terrified of hands?” is a question that’s frequently asked. There are several answers. But one particular reason is that, to them, your hands are a completely foreign, scary object that branches off far from what is familiar to them! For this reason, it is crucial to associate your hands with positive things during taming, like delicious treats! Your hands are a million miles away from your face and body, which they recognize!


When asking a parrot to step up, new owners frequently make the mistake of offering their hand cupped with fingers pointing upward or offering just one finger. The majority of parrots detest and fear fingers, especially in the beginning when they are being tamed. The parrot won’t approach humans or step forward because all it can see are these things wriggling toward them.

Any breed of parrot you ask to step up must ALWAYS have your palm flat, fingers pointing downward, and thumb tucked in. They won’t be as afraid of this, and you won’t get bitten on the tips of your fingers.

Offering one finger will often result in a bite. Because their fingers lack the thickness of a perch, newly tamed parrots in particular may not feel secure on a single finger and may lose their balance because their foot muscles are still developing.


Whether their bird is wild or domestic, some people have trouble getting it back into its cage. Other times, the bird simply refuses to go back in. The owner will frequently chase the bird around the room until they are both completely worn out. It is extremely risky, and sadly, birds have been known to pass away from heart attacks in this manner. They become so exhausted and anxious that they simply pass out, fly into walls and windows, or become trapped behind objects.

Making the space as dark as you can is one of the simplest and most straightforward methods to capture a bird. The bird is momentarily stunned by this, freezing for a brief period of time so its owner can capture it. Using this technique, I have successfully captured wild birds both inside and outside of cages in a matter of seconds. This helps prevent any unnecessary stress and injury.

Another choice is to reserve your bird’s favorite treat for bedtime or the moment when its cage needs to be returned. The bird will learn to associate this behavior with a tasty reward when it returns inside!

Cages should never be used as a form of discipline, time out, or any other term for that matter. Once cages are made fun and exciting from the beginning, the parrot won’t mind returning home because he will associate the cage with punishment rather than safety!

NOTE FROM AUTHOURS: The step up command is one of the most crucial things a bird owner can teach their pet because it allows them to gently return the bird to its cage. These techniques are effective and far safer and simpler than chasing a bird until you run out of energy!


Sadly, a lot of birds are denied access to veterinary care not because their owners are unable to find an avian veterinarian or cannot afford to do so, but rather because the owners are afraid of catching and crating their bird because of the stress this can cause both the owner and the bird. So let’s look at crate training a bird using a stress-free technique that will benefit both you and your pet. More birds being trained in crates would reduce both the owner’s and the bird’s anxiety by half. The first step is to put a sturdy table close to your parrot’s house or play area that you don’t mind them using. Place the crate farthest away from the parrot at the far end of the table. The best containers are wire crates because they are less likely to encourage nesting behavior than nest boxes, which could result in a variety of problems. Set toys and foraging opportunities in the crate. You can set them near the parrots space. The bird shouldn’t feel compelled to enter the crate; instead, you want it to be at ease and associate positive things with the area around it. Additionally, it’s critical that the crate be raised off the ground so the parrot feels secure rather than exposed. If there were any indications that the parrot was uncomfortable, many would not approach a ground-based crate in the first place. Move the bowls and toys nearer to the crate as the parrot grows accustomed to its presence. You can place favourite treats for these sessions only. After a while, the parrot usually becomes inquisitive and climbs inside the crate to look at the toys and treats it has been seeing the entire time. Give it a few days to settle in before taking any further action. DO NOT move the crate just yet, nor close the door on it. You want the parrot to identify this behavior with a welcoming, enjoyable, and secure environment. The following stages are a little trickier and call for various motions depending on the particular bird. Essentially, we all want our birds to stay comfortable. To avoid frightening them, move the crate and close the door slowly and cautiously. Try again in a few days after letting your bird explore the crate if it appears distressed. The bird in the crate will become accustomed to its movements as you walk around the house with it. You’ll eventually have a bird that enters on its own without any issues or anxiety. When traveling to a new place, it’s always advisable to cover the bird’s cage with a blanket to reduce stress.


A parrot should never be kept in a kitchen as it poses a serious risk to its safety. Instead, they should be kept against a wall to provide a sense of security. Never put them next to a TV; the continuous flashing of the set can be very upsetting and noisy, of course.

A new bird should be kept in a family-friendly environment, but he should also be able to enjoy some solitude, particularly before bed. A parrot requires 10 to 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to maintain good physical and mental health. Therefore, if your parrot will be residing in the family room, get a travel cage for it to use as a sleep cage, and at night, put it in a quiet room.

If your bird was raised by hand, it might step up on your hand and enter the new cage right away. However, if your bird is not accustomed to handling, you should either place the carrier inside the cage or against the cage door to allow the bird to exit on its own. Avoid reaching in and grabbing the bird with your hand; this will frighten it and increase your risk of receiving a nasty bite, especially from a larger parrot!

The best course of action at this point is to give your new bird time to adjust to its surroundings. Avoid standing over the cage, making loud noises, or moving the cage suddenly (children in particular should be watched around the new bird). Many people make the mistake of handling the bird on the first day without allowing it time to settle; parrots should not be handled for at least a week to give them plenty of time to get used to all the new sights, sounds, and smells! Yes, this is also advised for hand-reared birds—although they may have stepped up nicely in their familiar surroundings at the breeder, they are still feeling just as vulnerable as any other bird would. While cleaning and feeding the bird, take your time and be gentle and reassuring to it at all times.

After the first week, the bird can be trained; sadly, at this point, some novice parrot owners may choose to clip the bird’s wings in an attempt to “control the bird.” Unfortunately, a lot of owners don’t know how to handle or tame their birds, so they have to make them flightless in order to get them to come to them.

When a bird senses danger, it instinctively takes flight; therefore, denying it the ability to fly has a profound negative physical and psychological effect on the bird!


If you want to potty train your birds, start before they turn one year old. You’ll be able to train them much faster. Potty training is always easier when the birds are young. To start, let’s investigate why birds poop so frequently. A cockatiel, for instance, will poop approximately every 20 to 25 minutes. Because a bird’s entire body and all of its functions are built for flight, parrots, for example, lack teeth because having teeth would add unnecessary weight. Because of this, birds must stay as light as possible in order to stay airborne and perform aerial acrobatics. As a result, one should consider if a bird will poop frequently before obtaining one as a pet. Some parrot owners, like myself, don’t mind if their birds poop inside their homes because a quick wipe with a baby wet wipe will quickly remove a dropping. I use the word “safely” above for a reason: some advice on the internet and in various books recommends training your birds to poop on command. Therefore, let’s look at how we can accomplish this SAFELY! I can understand that some bird owners may only want their bird’s toilet habits to be designated to one area. The dropping may be retained by the bird until its owners “remember” to give the order to release it, which poses a serious risk to the digestive system of your bird. As you can imagine, this can cause the bird a great deal of stress and numerous digestive problems. It is safer to teach the bird to relieve itself in a specific location instead. The first step is to time your bird’s bowel movements. As previously mentioned, cockatiels poop approximately every 20 to 25 minutes, but since each bird is different, it’s crucial to become familiar with your bird’s bowel habits. Establish a specific area for your birds to poop in, and once you’ve determined when they will do so, put your bird there. This needs to be repeated right before each movement. When they produce a stool, give them lots of praise and a treat for using the restroom in that area. Another method is to become aware of your birds’ “signs” when they need to poop. For instance, a cockatiel will puff himself up and almost squat when it feels the need to relieve itself. As soon as you notice this behavior, swiftly relocate the bird to the appropriate spot while rewarding and praising it for its accomplishment. The bird will eventually realize that this is where he goes to relieve himself. Potty training requires a lot of patience and time; it is not something that is taught quickly. In my opinion, a baby wet wipe suffices perfectly. Prior to concluding this piece, I would like to discuss the recent phenomenon of affixing a flight suit, bird diaper, or whatever term you choose to the bird. Unfortunately, bird owners are using these more and more, which is bad for the mental health of the birds. The bird’s decision to wear this monstrosity on its body is utterly unnatural. Numerous behavioral problems, including plucking feathers, biting, screaming, self-mutilation, depression, and so forth, can occur in birds. You can see how feces and urine can burn their skin and vent if they are not changed on a regular basis. The droppings can also stick to the vent and cause a blockage. Please, let a bird be a bird.


Cockatiels have the ability to simultaneously release all of their tail feathers. They act in this way because, as ground feeders, they can release their tails to flee if a predator attacks from behind. They do this out of adrenaline when they are terrified.

Therefore, avoid grabbing on to your cockatiel’s tail feathers from behind when it’s wild. Instead, use a small, solid-colored tea towel (light grey or white works best; gloves only make people more afraid). Turn out the light so that it is completely dark, which will momentarily stun the bird and allow you to quickly capture him.

Avoid pressing on its chest as this will cause it to stop breathing.



Begin by consuming your meals, watching a movie, reading a book, and spending as much time as you can close to your parrot’s cage. Do this during the first week when you are not interacting with your parrot; by the second week, your bird will be acclimated to your presence and you can begin giving it treats through the cage bars. Most parrots enjoy millet or simple popcorn that hasn’t been salted or buttered.

You can put the treat in the palm of your hand and hold it still inside the cage once your bird is happily eating it through the cage bars. To get your bird to eat, avoid chasing it around the cage. In order to get your bird to eat the treat you are holding in your hand, please don’t starve it. Sadly, this has been known to happen. Just keep your hand motionless but accessible so your parrot can nibble from your palm. Gaining their trust may require some time, so be patient while they do this. Teaching the step-up command inside the cage is the next step, which you can do once the bird is contently eating out of your hand.

When you teach your parrot the step-up command in the cage, it will only focus on you. Give the order to “step up” while making slow, deliberate movements with a FLAT palm facing down, your thumb tucked under, and placing it just above the legs. Give the bird a treat and some praise as soon as it lands on your hand (positive reinforcement) Don’t chase your parrot around the cage to step up. Slowly close the cage door and try again once he has calmed down if he is not wanting to or hisses, backs away, or lunges at your hand. The last thing you want is to provoke the parrot to bite you by disobeying its warnings! Doing this can then start biting behaviour!.

Limit the length of your sessions to 5–10 minutes so the parrot can relax and recover in between taming sessions. This is how long you can have your bird’s undivided attention. You can give your fully flighted parrot the freedom it has been craving by removing it from its cage once it has mastered the step up command.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHORS: I promise you that there is no greater feeling in the world than bonding with your bird and having it come to you voluntarily—not because it was forced to because it was clipped and unable to flee from you.


I wrote this essay based on my own personal experience of teaching my own birds to communicate. Every one of my parrots has an amazing vocabulary; one of my male budgies can mimic at least sixty words and phrases. If my days weren’t so hectic, I’m sure I could teach him a lot more words. As previously stated, I will be sharing my personal experiences and recommendations, so the guidance may differ from what you read in books or other online articles. When you first begin training, keep your words and phrases brief and straightforward. For instance, “good boy,” “sweet girl,” “pretty boy,” “I’m cute,” “give me kisses,” and so on Once your bird has mastered these brief phrases, you can use longer ones, like “I’m a good boy” or “I’m a cute bird.” Give me kisses I love you. It is crucial that you are consistent in your instruction and use the same words and phrases in the same tone each and every time. Saying “Polly is a good girl” one day and “Polly you are being a good girl” the next will confuse the bird because you are repeating the same phase and adding too much vocabulary too quickly. You will not teach the bird this way. When I teach my birds to talk, I can tell exactly when a word will stick and when they won’t be interested in or use it. You should watch your bird’s eyes! Here’s my secret: if a bird is interested in a word, it will watch your lips. Curious how I know this? My bird, named Bee, will literally sit there and wait for me to finish saying 30 words while preening, averting its gaze, scratching its head, and other behaviors. However, if I say just one phrase, like “Bee is a cutie pie,” he will begin to watch my lips as I repeat it repeatedly. Therefore, pay attention to where your bird’s attention is focused because, when they hear a word they like, they will follow your mouth as you say it. According to some advice available, you should repeat yourself like a stuck record, saying the same word over and over until you and your bird are both completely sick of hearing it. However, in my experience, this is not necessary. Yes, you must repeat yourself, but you can also speak informally when giving them food, playing with them, or cleaning out their cage. It wasn’t necessary for me to say “this is yummy” every time I entered the room; instead, I would only say it when I observed my parrot eating. If a bird is ill, exhausted, preening, or sleeping, it will not be interested in learning anything. Thus, pick a time to teach when your bird is healthy, engaged, and alert.


It makes sense for us to teach our new dog or cat to come to us when we call to them and to respond to their name when they are brought into our home. This basic recall command could save your bird’s life, especially if it escapes outdoors, so why is it rarely taught to a pet bird? Below I have listed a few recall training steps. Please remember that since each bird is unique, they will all learn at a different rate. These training sessions can be repeated two or three times a day; however, they should be kept brief (5–10 minutes); spread out the session over time. It is a waste of time to try to teach a parrot anything late at night or during times when they are eating, preening, or sleeping. The best times to teach a parrot anything are in the morning and early afternoon when they are most active. 1. Discover what your bird prefers to eat, and use that as a constructive reinforcement. Instead of being food motivated, birds that receive a lot of praise may react favorably. If your bird is trained to respond to a treat reward, you can use a clicker. 2. Decide on your recall command. Pick a phrase that will work for your bird, like its name followed by “come here,” or invent a whistle that will work. 3. Place your bird on the floor or a tabletop to begin. As you call your bird, position it so that it is facing away from you and continuously show it the titbit in your hand. First of all, give your bird a reward for any motions toward you, even if it’s just one or two steps. 4. You can then move farther away and repeat the fundamental training exercise from step 3 once your bird gets the hang of it. 5. You can then take it a step further and hide around a corner while calling your bird once it is responding well and coming when called on the floor or tabletop. Continue the recall command during this phase, making sure your bird always responds to your voice. Always reward your bird and give lots of praise. If you make the training enjoyable for your bird, you might see faster results.

All hand taming lessons need a great deal of persistence and patience on your part, but the results are ultimately worthwhile. When it’s time to put your cockatiel back in its cage after letting it out to catch a fly, you will feel so satisfied when it hops onto your hand. Otherwise, both you and the cockatiel will experience a great deal of stress when you chase an untamed bird around the house.

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