How do I train my young cockatiel Billy to return to his cage on his own?

Photo © Meuh!

Persuading a young bird to return to its quarters can be difficult at first. Although Billy will learn to do so in due course, you will probably have no option but to catch him at first. This frequently proves difficult however, because of the presence of furniture in the room, creating an obstruction. In addition, chasing persistently after Billy is likely to upset him.

The best thing to do is to draw the curtains in the room, leaving the light on initially, so you can see where he has settled. Then turn this off, and move carefully towards Billy, and you should find that you can place your hands around him without any worries, as he should not attempt to fly off immediately in the dark. You can then return him directly to his cage.

You may want to wear a thin pair of gloves though, in case he bites you.As far as the future is concerned, develop a routine to allow Billy out for a set time every day. To encourage him back into his cage, persuade him to fly down on to your hand. Then, having placed a favourite tidbit such as a piece of carrot or sweet apple in his quarters, gently carry him over to his cage. He should then hop inside and feed, allowing you to shout the door behind him, although reaching this stage will take patience.

For information about the hazards that birds can face in the home, click here.