Cockatiels are very gentle and loving animals. They thrive on human interaction and love to have cuddles and scratches.
However your cockatiel must have total trust and feel very comfortable with you.
Cockatiels being cuddly
First of all you need to build a strong bond with your bird. You will only achieve this by spending lots of gentle time with them. Allow the trust to grow each day and eventually your cockatiel will become your very best friend. It will be easier if you only have the one cockatiel, but you can achieve the same results with others as well.
Feeding by hand
Begin by allowing them to get to know you. Let them come to you, never force the issue, this will only prolong the pain and you will struggle to gain any trust. Start by offering food from your hand, this is best done in the cage. Hold a favourite treet in your hand and allow the bird to come and nibble. You may need to try this many times before they actually eat from your hand, especially if you don’t have a tame bird.
Once you have established this early bond, you can gradually move away from the cage with the food, sit in your chair comfortable and allow your cocatiel to come to you. You must be comfortable and ensure that nothing can scare them (close all windows and blinds and try and prevent any starteling noises). If you sit gently with the food they will eventually come to you. If your cockatiel has never been out of the cage before, then you can coax them with the food tray.
I sit just away from the cage with it’s door open and the food with me. After a while they do come to get the food. The secret is perseverence. Never try and rush it or force this action, you will destroy any progress that you have made.
Eventually your cockatiels will love coming out and spending time with you especially when they get to know the suroundings and feel that you are one of them. Our cockatiels spend almost all day out of the cage, only going in to feed and sleep. We don’t need to remove the food for them to come out anymore. They want to come out and fly then settle for some one-on-one time.
This is very rewarding especially when they offer you their head for some scratches and neck feather ruffling.
This is a true sign that they feel comfortable and that you are recognised as a safe place to be. Now it is time to relax and enjoy these peaceful gentle and rewarding times with your cockatiels…