My cockatiels are excessively screaming, and I’ve tried everything to get them to stop. I don’t want to give them up because I love them, but it is driving me insane! What should I do?
It would be helpful to know more about how long your pet birds have been noisy and something about your environment. With no more information, I’ll list some of the reasons why cockatiels are noisy. Figure out what applies to your pet birds and make a corrective action, or wait for the noise to subside.
Birds cannot be neutered or spayed, so they can be stimulated to breed for a time in the spring and fall. Generally, when there is 15 hours of daylight in your area, your birds will be noisier as they stake out territories, call for a mate and claim areas they perceive as nests. This behavior usually lasts two weeks and then subsides.
The amount of light and amount of quiet, dark time your bird gets each day influences its noise level. Once a cockatiel receives 15 hours of daylight, it will be noisier and more aggressive as part of its readiness to breed. To keep hormones to a minimum, keep your bird on a schedule of 10 to 12 hours of daylight per day.
Accomplish this with a cage cover that is opaque (but comes off entirely during the day so that the bird does not adopt its cage as its nest box), or by putting a sleep cage in a room that is quiet and dark overnight.
Environmental Noise In Your Cockatiel's Home
In general, a pet bird will try to keep up with the noise level in the house. Assess your home. Do you have the TV or stereo turned up? Does your cockatiel have to compete with a loud family of seven all talking at once?
Get headphones to use with your TV or stereo, turn down the volume, or move your birds to another room during their quiet, sleep time.
Some people find that if they react to a bird screaming by lowering their voice to a whisper, the bird(s) will quiet down. A bird matches its volume to the overall volume in its environment. Use it to your advantage by lowering the volume in the household. This is harder than it sounds. Try it!
Although cockatiels aren’t good talkers, you can try to teach them words or specific whistles that are more preferable than screaming.
Talking To A Friend?
Does a neighbor have a cockatiel? Cockatiels are social and will call to each other to form a flock, even between houses in a neighborhood. People who keep several cockatiels don’t keep them in separate rooms; the noise and contact calls would be deafening and constant.
If you are your cockatiels’ only buddy, then they might be calling to you to join their flock. They miss you. Look carefully at your situation. Consider your environment and the amount of time you spend with your birds. You might need to find a way to include them in more of your household activities. Set up bird-safe areas in different rooms and take them with you.
Develop a contact call with your birds. Even if you are in another part of the house, you can call to them and reassure them that the flock is still together; that you are within earshot. The contact call can be whatever you want. It could be a whistle or a word or a phrase.
End Boredom In 'Tiels
Are your cockatiels just starting a new habit out of boredom? I have often found that more than one cockatiel is quieter than a single bird. Cockatiels will interact with each other, whereas a single bird might bond with its owner and often call out for the owner.
It’s not always a good idea to get another bird, so be sure a single bird is kept entertained with music, foraging opportunities, plenty of activities at home and the occasional car ride. Rotate its toys so that there is always something new (at least, to your pet bird!) in its cage. Move the cage within window view of wild bird at a feeder. Set music on a timer. Get the bird a "pet,” like a goldfish, to watch.