How to Keep a Cockatiel Quiet

Cockatiels are naturally very vocal birds. Most cockatiels will vocalize at some point during each day, typically in the morning and late afternoon, as they do in the wild. In most cases, noisy cockatiels are expressing their happiness and contentment at being alive. But if your cockatiel constantly screeches, squawks and makes other excessive noises, there are steps to help quiet him down.

Ignore the Noise

Cockatiel will often screech and squawk to gain your attention. If you constantly try to silence him by rushing over to feed him a treat, play with him or give him other forms of attention, you're sending the message that loud behavior is an effective attention-getting device. For that reason, when your cockatiel squawks and screams, ignore him -- rewards might help silence him in the moment but will create additional noisy behavior in the future. If you're in the room with him, walk out. Only return when he's quiet and begin interacting with him again.

Turn Down Your Own Noise

Your cockatiel will often attempt to keep up with the noise level in your home. If your environment is excessively loud -- such as loud music, children, dogs, vacuums, TV or shouting -- it sends the message that loud noises are acceptable, and he'll try to mimic his noisy human friends. He also might feel he needs to squawk loudly in order to be heard over all the commotion. Create a quieter environment by lowering noise levels in your home -- reduce the volume of music and TV, use headphones or move the bird to a quiet room for portions of each day. When your bird is screeching and squawking, speak in a whisper -- that can help quiet him down.

Flock Calls

Birds in the wild often make flock calls to each other to stay connected. Your cockatiel might be making flock calls to stay in touch with you and say he misses you, even if you're in the next room. If he doesn't get a response, his calls might become louder and more frequent. If your cockatiel squawks whenever you leave his presence, he's likely attempting to locate you. Send a flock call back to send reassurance that you haven't abandoned him. Your flock call can be a whistle, word or phrase, such as "I'm right here."

Limit the Light

Cockatiels are often extra noisy when they're over-stimulated. The amount of light, dark and quiet time your cockatiel receives influences his noise level. If he receives 15 hours of daylight or more, his hormone levels rise, making him ready to breed, and he becomes more aggressive and noisier. Expose him to no more than 12 hours of light per day. When you want your cockatiel to quiet down at night, cover his cage with an opaque cover. Cockatiels often begin making noise when the sun comes up, so keep the cage cover on if you'll be sleeping late.

Preventing Boredom

Your feathered friend might be screeching and squawking out of boredom. Keep his cage filled with interactive toys of different colors and textures, and change them often to keep him interested. If you can't afford new toys, rotate the toys in his cage on a weekly basis. Feed him a varied diet with interesting treats to prevent him from becoming bored with his food. Cockatiels need interaction each day, so play with him, talk to him and move his cage into the room where you're doing laundry, making dinner, reading or doing other chores. Allow him to perch on your shoulder while you watch TV. If you must leave him alone for long stretches during the day, leave a TV or radio on to keep him company.

Considerations

Avoid yelling, shouting, insulting, banging on your cockatiel's cage bars or punishing him for being noisy. If your cockatiel is constantly screeching, squawking or making unreasonable noise, check to make sure he's not injured and nothing is wrong in his cage. He might be hurt or upset about spoiled food, a broken toy or a dead insect in his water bowl. Take him to a vet for a thorough examination to rule out health problems that might be causing him pain or distress.

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