So Lex has wanted a buddy companion pet for quite a while now. Tried to get a kitten that would snuggle her and honestly Ryleigh is overall NOT a snuggle kitty (unless it's 2 a.m. and he plops all twenty pounds of himself on your belly and demands love).
Then it was "I want a snake (Grandma would shit bricks!), I want a Gecko or cold blooded something or other. Finally She said, "Okay, I want a friend! Someone who will pay attention to me. I want a bird!" So we started off with the idea of Doves. Then she did some more research and found out that Cockatiels in particular, when only one is owned, really bond to their human. So a hunt for the perfect Cockatiel commenced.
We like to support local businesses whenever possible and found a wonderful Bird store owned by a family. They only carried birds and when I called twice I was given very helpful information with a cheerful tone. We made our way to the store after confirming they had a few baby Cockatiels in stock. This store is known for hand training the birds well which is something not usually found at the big box retailers. Also the big boxes usually have older Tiels.
Right away in the door it occurred to us that the birds seemed very happy and vocal! There was a big Parrot that was chatting away and he got my Mom's attention! The entire store was spotless, including all of the cages. I was really impressed.
The two kids working there must have been the owners kids. They were very helpful! They showed Lex the birds available and told us they were about 9 weeks old. Perfect time for adoption! They had been hand trained and would already "Step Up," onto your hand. I asked which of the three was the gentlest and nicest and they said the Cinnamon. Luckily that is the one that Lex was drawn immediately to! (He was also the least expensive and WHEN does THAT ever happen!)
The guys explained to us that they really didn't have a way to tell if Lex's bird were male or female (Males are generally more able to bond deeply and they sing whereas the females are very quiet and are harder to work with) Well, given the fact that we were taking a chance on sex we brought the new guy home and left him alone in his new cage with water, food and a new toy. And waited for him to chill. They said to wait a day or two until the bird looks like it wants to interact.
This bird took less than a day! He was ready to be with his new friend! We had some issues getting him to figure out how to work his cage (They have long tail feathers and at first we had the perch too close so an adjustment back gave him enough room to slide down the cage to the door.) Then if you open the big door and tell him to come down he just does it. Then he Steps Up to her hand. Then he just goes around with her and climbs all over her. He loves getting "treats" which consist of Fruits and Veggies. He's had Kale (really obnoxious green poop!), Orange sections (sticky) and I think today will be Grapes.
The good news? We think we have a boy! The Pet Shop Boys (ha!) said it would probably be a few months but he'd start chirping and then singing if he was a boy. He started yesterday morning all ready. One little chirp. Today he's done several. Some right after each other. He wakes up in the morning and if Lex doesn't pay attention to him then he lets them know that he is going to DEMAND attention!
It's really a great thing for both of them. Lex learns how to be responsible for a living thing (Yes, we have had some "New Mama Moments" like I did when she was first born: Will I keep her alive? Will she flourish? Am I doing this right?) But overall it's been an awesome first bit of their journey! I love it!