Thinking Outside the Box

May 5, 2021

cockatiel plucking night frights

To encourage Hei Hei to go inside his cage, the first change author Sheila Blanchette made to the setup was to position a little ladder that led inside and place food and water near the entrance; Blanchette also introduced a new cage that was taller and more spacious, with a larger door/entrance © Sheila Blanchette

Hei Hei is a 13-year-old male cockatiel who, at the time of relinquishment, displayed plucking behavior.

During my first week observing Hei Hei, I noticed that he preferred to be outside the cage. I didn’t notice any plucking occurring at this time. At the same time, each morning I would find a few smaller feathers at the bottom of the cage but could not determine if this was related to molting, preening, or plucking.

During the second week, more behavior started to surface. One night I woke up to a loud noise and banging. I went to check on Hei Hei and determined that he was having a “night fright.”

After two months of observation, one key factor started to emerge from my notes, namely that the night frights seemed to reduce when Hei Hei was left out of his cage at night. And when I continued leaving him out of the cage overnight, in the morning I would find him sleeping quite peacefully on top of the cage with no issues.

(Issue 47, March 2021, pp.52-55). Read article