The highly intelligent cockatiels are curious by nature and thus give us plenty of pleasure during the day.
Unfortunately, their active nature also means that they do not always want to accept when the fun is over. Thus, especially parakeet beginners have difficulties to animate the rascals to go to sleep after sunset. The reason for this is often human error.
In this article we will show you why cockatiels are so active and give you some tips on how to calm your birds.
Let’s get started!
When the sun goes down…
Human misbehavior in dealing with cockatiels…
It starts with misconceptions about the daily routine: The birds are native to the Australian outback and awaken at sunrise.
The morning hours are filled with foraging in free flight.
This is followed by an extended midday rest, which can last until the early evening hours.
This brings us to the first source of error: the urban habitat is peppered with numerous sources of noise. Do you perhaps live directly on a main traffic artery? Near the harbor, an enormous soundscape develops during the day. Do the neighbors on the floor above you have school-age children who indulge their urge to move in the afternoon? Or is there a construction site in the neighborhood at the moment?
All this stresses your birds, because they are flight animals. In nature, constantly changing light conditions and noise levels indicate the presence of predators. This leads to increased alertness and is by no means an invitation to snooze.
So make sure that the roosting place is in the shade and soundproofed.
In the evening, the swarm becomes active again and makes a few rounds through the territory. At sunset it returns to the main feeding place.
After a little refreshment, the characteristic beak scrunching begins, which is roughly equivalent to the human yawn reflex.
To sleep, the cockatiel turns its head 180 degrees and tucks it into its back feathers.
Tip 1: Basic information about the sleeping place
And again it is your task to provide stable environmental conditions: In the light-flooded living room the birds will not find rest if you want to relax there in front of the TV.
Darkening the aviary is not a solution either.
It has proven to be a good idea to set up a separate bird room for your cockatiel.
The optimal sleeping temperature for cockatiels is 18 – 25 °C. They had to adapt to other conditions in the Australian desert, however, so that they like to spend the night in the outdoor aviary even at sub-zero temperatures. Make sure, however, that the retreat in the apartment is always sufficiently heated.
For a single pair the cage must have the minimum size of 2x1x1 meter. It cannot be too large for the agile and lively endurance flyers.
The interior should be designed to imitate the branches under the tree canopy. For this purpose, fresh branches and twigs with intact inflorescences should be placed daily.
Tip 2: Reduce excess energy
Humans need an average of 8 hours of sleep per night, while cockatiels need 10.
Therefore, it is not a promising idea to set up the aviary in the bedroom and permanently disrupt the birds’ biorhythms with your morning activities.
If you do not want to rest in the evening, it is often because you have not kept them sufficiently busy.
Cockatiels travel up to 500 km a day in the wild. Therefore, you must allow the bird at least 4 hours of excursion. This can be a problem on stormy days or during severe thunderstorms.
Now you have to entertain the restless bird in the apartment: Put out plastic spoons or straws in the bird room. Parakeets like portable objects with which they can make noise.
Climbing walls are always welcome, and of course, the obligatory swing constructions should not be missing. The intelligent animals tend to disassemble furniture by loosening nuts and bolts. So give them something to tinker with.
Or refine clicker training: cockatiels have a good long-term memory and are very musical. So you can sometimes specifically condition them to whistle your favorite commercial jingle or national anthem.
Some specimens transport objects from A to B continuously. See if you can get them to deliver selected items to you by air.
Tip 3: How to avoid nocturnal panic attacks
Cockatiels get nervous when they can see the night sky in the outdoor aviary.
In nature, they sleep directly under the canopy to be protected from the gaze of circling birds of prey. The roof of the enclosure must therefore be designed to be opaque.
Birds’ brain activity increases during REM sleep so that they can react at lightning speed when attacked by predators. Your darlings are therefore often startled at night by noises or the cone of light from passing cars. They may screech loudly and flap their wings wildly.
This phenomenon is known as “night fright”.
Sure signs are small blood stains on the wall and the loss of several wing feathers. They stem from the fact that the parakeet does not find its roost in the dark and panics. In this condition he is a danger to himself and his comrades.
In the worst case, he flies full speed into the wall and breaks his neck.
Install a night light in the aviary to eliminate such incidents.
The diffuse lighting of commercially available models for small children comes very close to natural moonlight.
It is not advisable to install pretty-looking salt crystal lamps: parakeets like to lick them and as a result suffer permanent damage to the kidneys as well as the liver.
Tip 4: Recognize and prevent diseases
If your cockatiel generally does not fall asleep, a trip to the doctor is urgent. He may be experiencing severe pain as a result of advanced osteoarthritis (deformed joints).
It is often caused by not completely healed injuries or overweight.
As an immediate measure, you should get the parakeet especially thick branches or boards to sit on.
If the animal spends the nights on the ground, there is a suspicion of lead poisoning from nibbling on curtain rods. The parakeet is then afflicted with muscle spasms and temporarily goes blind. If you go to the doctor in time, the symptoms can be quickly alleviated by administering an antidote.
Sleeplessness in combination with continuous preening and eaten feathers indicates infestation with feather lice (parasites). The problem can be controlled with the help of ecological care products. Grave mites, which are also parasitic, cause extreme itching and are killed by contact insecticides (spot-ons).
If the bird lies down on swings to roost and has ulcers on the pads of its soles, it may be suffering from vitamin A deficiency. However, the symptoms are much more often caused by lack of exercise or sitting on industrially manufactured wooden perches. In both cases, it’s up to you to take remedial action as soon as possible to avoid permanent postural damage.
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