If your cockatiel seems to hate you, you might wonder why and what you can do about it. There are many things that you can consider when trying to understand why your cockatiel doesn’t like you. Then, depending on the cause, there are also several things that you can do about it.
Why Does My Cockatiel Hate Me? It could be the case that it does not actually hate you, and it just doesn’t show affection like you are expecting. Also, there are other reasons why you can feel like your cockatiel hates you. These include being afraid of you, feeling neglected, health conditions, an unsuitable environment, lack of mental stimulation, turning on lights at night, touching their beaks, and grabbing and chasing them.
Why Your Cockatiel Hates You?
Each of the different reasons why your cockatiel seems to doesn’t like you will likely come with several clues. Below we will mention several reasons why it might be doing it and the signs to look for.
1. Your cockatiel doesn’t actually hate you
Most often, it might be the case that it does not hate you. For example, some cockatiels will like being petted, but others will not. So if your cockatiel doesn’t like being petted, but you try to pet it a lot, it could be causing it to avoid you.
2. Afraid of you
If your cockatiel develops negative associations with you, it will become fearful of you and either bite you or hide. Several things can cause these associations, such as you:
- Made a loud noise
- Punish your cockatiel
- Accidentally hurt it
- Forgot to feed it
- Trapped it in a cage.
- Did something your cockatiel didn’t like
- Caused stress. For example, you get your cockatiel to the vet.
While you may not realize you have upset your cockatiel, you might need to take steps to rebuild your trust. If your cockatiel hides, leave it alone until it is ready to come out of its cage. In the meantime, try to determine what is caused your cockatiel’s fear and take the appropriate steps to prevent it from happening again.
3. Feels neglected
Most cockatiels crave a te least some form of affection. If you have been neglecting your cockatiel or not giving it the attention it deserves, it may begin to hate you. Many things can make your cockatiel feel neglected, including:
- Not cleaning its cage frequently enough.
- Not sticking to a regular feeding schedule.
- Punishing your cockatiel.
- Not providing enough toys.
- Ignoring your cockatiel’s pain.
- Not grooming your cockatiel properly.
However, feelings of neglect are likely to be amplified if you bring a new pet or other bird into the home. Therefore, if you get a new pet, remember to show as much affection to your cockatiel to prevent it from becoming jealous and hating you.
4. Health condition
Your cockatiel’s strange behavior might not be related to you at all. But it may seem like your cockatiel doesn’t like you. It could be a sign that your cockatiel is unwell. While symptoms of illness vary depending on the cockatiel’s health conditions, the most common signs of sickness include:
- Weight loss
- Hiding and not eating
- Excessive vocalizations
- Visible pain
Unfortunately, cockatiels are very good at hiding their discomfort. Sickness and injury make them vulnerable to predators, so they make themselves appear as healthy as possible to prevent other animals from picking upon them.
5. Lack of mental stimulation
Bored cockatiels often become angry and aggressive. That is because they have no other means of expelling their pent-up energy. So while cockatiels spend a lot of their time sleeping, they enjoy playing with their toys and flying outside their cage when they are awake.
To prevent this behavior, begin playing with your cockatiel using its favorite games and toys. In some cases, this is all the cockatiel needs to be happy and not hate you anymore. However, don’t be surprised if it takes more time and effort to regain its trust.
6. Unsuitable environment
Cockatiels may hate you if their environment is not comfortable enough. Cockatiels are not meant to live in a cage, especially not in a tiny cage. So if you decide to take the responsibility of raising and keeping a cockatiel, then treat it properly by providing it a big cage just like it deserves. To be happy and healthy, cockatiels need:
- A warm place to sleep
- Suitable cage
- Constant access to fresh water
- Food at regular, scheduled times
- Multiple toys
- A safe environment, free from hazards
Cockatiels are territorial and become attached to their environment. If conditions are not suitable, cockatiels become stressed and anxious. Therefore they display behaviors that make it seem like they are angry at their owners.
7. Turning on lights at night
Cockatiels require at least 10 hours of sleep without being bothered or disturbed. But, if you turn on the lights, they won’t be able to sleep comfortably, and they will start waking up and being aggressive with each other.
8. If you pet its backs
Every time you touch your cockatiel’s back, you make it more and more sexually frustrated. Also, when cockatiels mate, they are standing on top of each other’s backs, and when you touch that spot, it may get confused about what is happening.
9. If you are grabbing and chasing them
The worst thing that will make your cockatiel hate you is if you will attempt to chase and grab it unwillingly. So, no matter how cute your cockatiel is and how much you want to touch it and show it all the love you have for it, you just have to resist yourself before it is too late.
10. Confusing routine
Your cockatiel has a biological clock in its body that tells it when it is time to wake up, eat, play and sleep based on its routine. So if your cockatiel is used to playing outside the cage in the morning and you only let it out in the afternoon, it is very likely your cockatiel to be mad at you and hate you because you can fuse its biological clock and routine.
How To Tell If Your Cockatiel Hates You
If you have done something to upset your cockatiel, it will behave negatively towards you and hate you. Until you build your trust, you will likely experience the cold shoulder from your cockatiel.
Cockatiel trust issues are not something you should ignore, and they can manifest in the following ways:
Distrustful cockatiels become angry and aggressive, even more so when they see you approaching. Your cockatiel may bite you, which is a sign of stress and fear, or lunges at you to protect itself.
Screaming is a sign your cockatiel’s angry with you. Most cockatiels make a loud noise when they are unhappy, but larger cockatiels will be louder. Cockatiels also make the following sounds when they are unhappy:
Please pay attention to your cockatiel’s sounds each time you approach, as it reveals a lot about its mood.
3. Decreased vocalizations
Your cockatiel may go the other way and stop vocalizing as often as usual. While decreased vocalizations are easy to ignore, they indicate that your cockatiel’s unhappy. If you have upset your cockatiel, the unhappiness is likely because of you.
Crouching is one of the most extreme signs of anger and unhappiness and is reserved for owners who have upset their cockatiels. The neck feathers will also become ruffled.
5. Negative wing posture
Pay attention to your cockatiel’s wings if you suspect it is unhappy with you.
It will hold them away from its body, which is a sign of aggression. Similarly, opened wings indicate that your cockatiel’s trying to scare you away. That is because it is attempting to make itself look more prominent and scarier so that you back off.
Alternatively, frightened cockatiels hold their wings and feathers tightly to their bodies. They also hold them out in a horizontal position, quivering them. This indicates that your cockatiel’s ready to fly away from you.
6. Stereotypical behaviors
In the most extreme circumstances, when your cockatiel’s unhappy with you, it may start to develop stereotypical behaviors such as:
- Feather plucking
- Head bobbing
- Wire chewing
In most cases, captive cockatiels engage in feather plucking when they are stressed. However, this behavior is not seen in the wild, as cockatiels are not exposed to the same triggers.
How To Regain A Cockatiel’s Trust
Cockatiels are affectionate and friendly pets when they are socialized from an early age. However, it takes time and effort to build a special bond. If you break your cockatiel’s trust, you will need to work hard to regain it.
To regain your cockatiel’s trust, spend time together, moving quietly and speaking gently. This will show your cockatiel that you are not a threat. Observe and copy your cockatiel’s body language to communicate with it.
Here is step by step how to regain your cockatiel trust:
1. Spend time around your cockatiel
Even though you might have upset your cockatiel and lost its trust, cockatiels are social creatures that enjoy the company. Without it, they become stressed and bored.
That is why you should spend as much time around your cockatiel as possible, sitting next to the cage so that it becomes comfortable in your presence once more. You could
- Quietly read a book.
- Speak to your cockatiel in a quiet, gentle tone.
- Give your cockatiel the occasional treat.
As soon as your cockatiel realizes that you are not a threat and don’t mean it any harm, it will begin to trust you again.
2. Communicate with body language
Even though cockatiels can mimic human words and phrases, they don’t understand languages.
Communicating with your cockatiel through body language is something your cockatiel will understand, allowing you to regain trust and build a strong bond.
While some cockatiel behaviors are universal, please pay attention to your cockatiel’s movements and copy them. Your cockatiel will make some more than others, so they will respond more favorably if you copy them.
If your cockatiel greets you by bowing its head, lower yours in return. If it lifts its wings to get your attention, raise your arm. These actions will go a long way in getting your cockatiel to trust you again.
3. Feed Treats
Nothing builds trust quicker than feeding your cockatiel its favorite treats. If you need to forge a strong bond with your cockatiel, pay attention to the foods it likes and offers them.
Hand-feeding is a great way to build trust. Cockatiels are vulnerable to predators when they eat in the wild, so accepting food from their owners shows trust in them.
4. Teach your cockatiel to step up
Teach your cockatiel to step up to get it comfortable sitting on your hand.
To teach a step up command:
- Choose a quiet spot in your home that is free from distractions
- Put your index finger in front of the cockatiel
- Say step up
- If your cockatiel does not respond, gently nudge its legs with your finger.
- Continue pressing if your cockatiel doesn’t get the idea. It is usual for it to step back once or twice.
- Eventually, your cockatiel will step up on your finger instead of backing away.
- After a few steady nudges, the cockatiel will be compelled to step up rather than back away.
- Give your cockatiel a couple of treats.
- Encourage the cockatiel to dismount and try the process again.
If your cockatiel seems comfortable around you, you can progress to other tricks. This is also a fun way to build and improve your bond.