My cockatiel shrieks, cackles and trills extremely loudly 2 or 3 times a day – help!
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My cockatiel shrieks, cackles and trills extremely loudly 2 or 3 times a day – help!

I really want to compliment Mitch on the wonderful newsletters he sends out on Sunday Morning. They are intelligent, witty and so well written. I love the information I get from them. I’m glad you made a big deal about full spectrum lighting, because several of the bird owners I know don’t even bother to use it.

I currently have a 4 month old male cockatiel named Qi who was hand fed and tamed by the breeder In a room full of other birds of varying species. Qi is very loving, active, and fed properly and he also gets plenty of toys and attention. My only qualm is that 2 or 3 times a day he shrieks, cackles and trills extremely loudly (for at least 3 minutes each time).

I’m used to birds making noise but this sounds like an Amazon rain forest in hi def . My guess is that the room he was bred and weaned in is imprinted on his little soul and he is now calling out to his vanished flock….I in no way express disapproval to him but I’m wondering if this will ever subside. It is really earsplitting. He stops as quickly as he started and then goes about his birdie business, chirping , playing, etc. Any suggestions? …thanks again for your great newsletter!

mitchr responds

Thank you for the kind words Elaine – I would let it play out – he may be used to engaging other birds that are no longer around him (the vanished flock) You are now his flock and i would advocate you start talking to him gently

Thank you so much for providing the Sunday Birdie Brunch blog. I am a new Pionus parent and have so much to learn!

Today, I will limit my questions to one topic. One I am sure you have heard many, many times.

I have a full spectrum lamp. I have a timer. Now what? I was told to have it no closer than 12 inches and no more than 15 inches away from her cage. Check. I was told to only have it on between 2-4 hours per day during the brightest part of the day. Check.

I was told to only light 1/3 of the cage to give her the ability to move away from the light if she wants. Check. I was told to buy her a bedtime cage that is kept in a quiet room and used only for bedtime. Check. Now, this Pionus is a strict schedule keeper. She gets up at daybreak and wants in her bedtime cage at sunset.

Her lamp comes on at 11:00 A.M. and goes off at 2:00 P.M. while she is in her “daytime” cage. What else can I do to try to keep her lighting as “natural” as possible? Am I doing this whole full spectrum light thing the right way? Thank you, thank you, thank you…

Hi Lara and thank you for the kind words.

We use artificial lighting to help reproduce the circadian rhythms that get single from natural sunlight in the wild. Pionus parrots come from Mexico, Central and South America much closer to the equator than where we are.

Thus we want to use the timer to produce more of a natural light cycle and should be set to 12 hours on and 12 hours off. This is what your bird instinctively is seeking. Your bird should wake up in the cage when the light turns on and put in the cage a few minutes before the light turns off so they get the “signal” of one the day starts in one the day ends.

Allowing a bird data and at a North American sunset is confusing and upsets circadian rhythms that account for things like breeding and molting.

Light is ideally placed as close to the top of the cage as possible for maximum illumination.

If you’re going to keep a separate cage for sleeping I would advocate a separate light for sleeping the turns off at the same time the main cage light turns off.

Our Senegal sleeps in a cage in our living room but we usually turn off the TV around the time the light goes off (8:20 PM CST – on at 8:20 AM CST) and we do not adjust the timer on any of our cages for daylight savings time.

You can find more information on circadian rhythms here

Hope that helps – best of luck – mitchr

So I can put 3 of the FULL SPECTRUM ECONOMY DAYLIGHT BULB 25 WATT in the overhead light in the birds room and this will be adequate? Nothing prepared me for dealing with my hormonal female blue and gold.

22 years of bliss as a male and then he/she became eggbound. Operation took her egg and oviduct but not ovary. It is imperative I find a way too stop her hormones because she still produces eggs which just drop into her abdomen and causes severe infection.

In a perfect world the overhead lights would be too high you really want lighting just above the cage where the bird can’t get to it.

​For your case I would recommend something temporary like three clamp lights and lock the bird in the cage for 72 hours – three full days without turning off the light, covering the cage for 12 hours in uncovering the cage for the remaining 12 hours.

​This tricks one of the circadian rhythms, the one that tells the bird to reproduce – and shuts it down. Zero harmful side effects. Your bird can sleep with the lighting on

​After the 72 hours you go back to your overhead lighting but put them on some sort of timer providing 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness seeking get her circadian rhythms back on track

​egg production is just brutal on the birds system because many times he coincides with the molt and now their body is looking for calories to produce protein that converts two amino acids for the creation of thousand the feather.

​Protein is also needed to create the egg in the embryo plus you have a whole calcium depletion thing – let’s just stop the egg laying

​Best of luck let us know how it goes

curated by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

your zygodactyl footnote

 

Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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