How My Cockatiels Are Surviving a Long Trip Away From Home

How My Cockatiels Are Surviving a Long Trip Away From Home

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

I read the blog today after a few days away from my computer and email.

Can Cardboard Boxes Be Safe for My Cockatiels to Play With?

I will try to remember all points to cover.

King, Snow, and I are staying at a long-term friend’s apartment, mere blocks from my house.

He has been experiencing serious heart problems, and until the doctors determine what is wrong, he shouldn’t be alone since he suddenly collapses unconscious to the ground when his heart does – something.

He has been injured by several falls.  I travel between my house to make sure all is well there and his place but am staying at his. 

I received the call that I could finally have King and Snow after “moving” to his apartment. 

Since the big cage I’d previously ordered (elsewhere) in anticipation was never delivered to my home and the order was finally canceled, we moved Little Girl’s former cage to his place as a temporary home for King and Snow.

It has toys galore that they both enjoy destroying, water and food cups at both ground and upper perch levels, and while I know it is too small for two birds, they are allowed out at all times except bedtime. 

At that time, they remind me of small children as they want me there to talk past bedtime.

I do want a bigger cage; a small cage is unacceptable for them and not responsible behavior for an owner.

Joe’s apartment was not set up for pets. 

I think the now empty top shelf of the bookcase would be an excellent place for a play area for them. 

I was looking at your site for one.  The wood playground for cockatiels didn’t seem like something they would enjoy, and they haven’t figured out ladders yet. 

Two rungs up, they seem to just stop; nothing more exists.

I think they want more stimulation. I wondered about the java wood stands but, again, while I think they’d enjoy standing on them, I wonder if there is enough mental stimulation to make them want to go back repeatedly or stay there to just “chill.”

Your input is most welcome.

I do not look forward to moving them into another environment when Joe’s health is, but people and pets move all of the time.

I will admit all of my years with Little Girl and Pepper did not prepare me for these two. 

Everyone has different personalities, of course, and I am glad to have these two.

Little Girl, who hated hands and attacked them without provocation, followed me everywhere, sat with me, sat on my shoulder while I worked at the computer, sat on the curtain rod in the living room, and after Pepper joined us, would fly into the kitchen to sit on the curtain rod there and wait for me to join her so we could have quality alone time alone. 

Pepper was my little abuse case, full of joy and life, clearly thrilled to be at my house, had no idea other birds existed or that they (and he) could fly until the first time he saw Little Girl do so. 

Flight then became his joy in life. 

He was horrid at it, every flight ended in a crash and a rescue. 

He learned to turn left but not right. 

Landing frightened him; I watched him practicing and the fear was obvious. 

Thus, every flight ended in a crash and rescue. He would have it no other way.  Flying was everything and he gloried in it.

Having birds who want to explore and test everything is a new experience for me.

I know it is normal, but it is still new to me. 

Hence a lot of trying to move ahead of King and Snow to make sure all is safe for them as they advance through the room and on to something else.

I almost totally rearranged the cage and changed out items as you suggested. 

King did not want to enter it even after a full day of eyeing it prior to bedtime. I plan to make one more change and then I think I will leave it alone.  Clearly, one change does not suit them at all.

I think I have covered everything.  Please inform me if I missed something you want to know.

On a different topic, a friend recommended I try wearing dusting gloves with the long wiggly filaments when I try to catch the birds

Another friend of hers uses them, and her bird likes to play with the filaments while held.

I put them on, waved my hands about, and even made jazz hands, and my two ignored my hands completely, sitting calmly.

I’ve kept the gloves where they can see them, and they now like to lay on them. 

I haven’t tried picking them up with the gloves, which waits until the next vet visit, but I found their total ignoring of my hands while wearing the gloves most interesting.


Diane Phillips.

Hi Diane,

I wouldn’t worry about where to let the birds play – let them show you where they want to be

Barney spends literally about 12 hours a day on my headboard ~ We’ve added a towel for his feet and have the sheets covered with paper

Our other birds make each other crazy – Barney is a loner.

And as for putting play stands up high on top of the bookshelf, sometimes they just get ignored. 


As for the flights ending in a crash, it’s important to give untrained birds landing lessons, not flight lessons.

Start one foot away from the cage and slightly toss the bird to the top of the cage – every day move back one foot.

If possible have your friend involved in a game of catch with cockatiels – they will enjoy flying back and forth treating it as a game.

Here is a landing training video to help.

To encourage the use of “strange” birdcage accessories like ladders try strapping a piece of millet onto the unit – millet is “crack” for cockatiels


Here’s a millet sprig rubber banded onto a heated thermo perch

As for catching loose birds,

  • I chase them till they are worn out and then scoop them up.
  • I chase them till they are worn out and drop a small towel on them
  • Butterfly net – not as easy as it sounds

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