My Experience with A Pet Cockatiel

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

I know that I haven’t mentioned this before but I have a pet bird, a cockatiel, and her name is Laily! This week marks one year since we brought her into our home. This past year, Laily has brought us so much joy and happiness so I wanted to create this post to share some of my personal tips and experiences of living with a pet cockatiel.

One of Laily’s first pictures!

Please remember that I am not an expert on cockatiels, these are just some of the things that I have learned over the course of this past year. If you are thinking of buying a cockatiel please do your own research first to determine if a cockatiel is a good pet for you.

Why a Cockatiel:

My fascination with cockatiels began about a year and a half ago at a family gathering. We had all gathered at my grandmother’s house and my younger cousin brought over her two pet cockatiels and I got to meet them for the first time! I was really amazed at how cute and friendly the cockatiels were!

My cousins’ female cockatiel!

After going home, I did some research of my own by watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading a few articles and I decided that I really wanted a pet cockatiel as well. Basically, a short while later, my family and I went to our local breeder and that’s how we brought Laily home!

Basic Info:

  • The scientific name for cockatiels is Nymphicus Hollandicus.
  • Cockatiels are originally from the warm semi-arid regions of Australia.
  • On average, the lifespan of the cockatiel is anywhere from 10 to 25 years.
  • Cockatiels are very curious and smart animals. They have the intellect of a two year old child.
  • Cockatiels are the second most common pet birds in the United States, right after the budgie/parakeets
Laily being curious/mischievous!

Pros and Cons:

Without a doubt, cockatiels can be amazing pets. They are adorable and many of them are very sociable as well.

However, in my experience, two of the major cons of having a cockatiel are their messiness and their tendency to make a lot of noise.

Cockatiels are very clean animals, in fact if you sniff them, they smell quite nice. However, they love to make a mess, especially when they are eating.

Everyday, when I clean Laily’s cage, my father sweeps the floor near her cage because she always spills seeds everywhere. This can definitely be an annoyance but I believe that some companies are starting to make spill-proof or mess-proof cages with a special enclosed area for feeding.

If you are sensitive to loud noise (especially loud squawking noises) I definitely would not recommend a cockatiel (or most other pet birds). In general, cockatiels can make a lot of noise in the mornings, then once again in the late afternoons/early evenings.

They will also make a lot of noise if they’re bored or if they are in a very bright and sunny environment. The excess light can overstimulate them.

Also, if you leave the room, they will make a lot of noise for you to come back. (I personally find this very endearing but others may find this to be an annoyance)

Male vs. Female:

In most cases, there not many physical differences between males and females. From what I have read males can be a bit noisier than females. However, males are able to whistle and sing while females are generally not able to do so.

My Cockatiel Care Tips:

Every morning I thoroughly clean her cage. I take out the removable bottom tray of the cage and wash and clean it. I then use a damp paper towel and soap to clean any remaining droppings and food particles. I also clean her food and water bowls and replace them with clean food and water.

As you can imagine, diet is essential to a healthy cockatiel.  Cockatiels love seeds but they should have a well balanced diet. Most experts recommend giving your cockatiel pellets. Also, try to give your cockatiel veggies and a little bit of fruit as well. Admittedly, this is something that I have to work on with Laily because I give her a fortified seed diet and I keep trying to introduce her to vegetables but she is a very picky eater!

When it comes to bathing her, I usually just mist her with a spray bottle filled with water. However, now that the weather is very hot I usually hold her under the sink and gently wet her. Most experts recommend only using water to clean cockatiels because their feathers contain a natural dusty powder which helps keep them nice and clean.

In fact, it is very common for cockatiels to preen themselves on a daily basis. When they are preening themselves it looks like they are itching themselves but in reality they are just preening/cleaning themselves.

To Trim or Not to Trim:

Many bird owners have very strong opinons on whether a pet bird should be flighted or should have trimmed feathers.

Obviously, in their natural settings, birds fly freely and this is a great form of excercise. However, in my opinion if you have a pet bird it is best to trim their feathers.

Primarily, this is for their own safety. However this also gives peace of mind to the bird owner (or bird parent) because if a bird accidently flies away it is very difficult to find the bird and the birds’ life may be in danger.

Bonus Tips:

  • When you first bring your cockatiel home, it is very tempting to want to immediately interact with it. However, it is best to give it a day or two to allow it to get used to its new surroudings.
  • Approach the cockatiel very gently: Start by just sitting next to the cage and softly talking with your new bird. As the bird becomes more comfortable you can put your hands inside the cage and gradually work your way up to having the bird perch on your finger. There are many YouTube videos and online articles that teach you how to tame your cockatiel. The best tip that I can give you is to be very gentle and make sure to have some spray millet with you as a treat for the bird.
  • I definitely only reccommend getting one cockatiel rather than two. Its much easier to form a bond with a single cockatiel. However, you must be able to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour of quality time with the cockatiel each day. If you don’t have that much time then I would reccommend getting two so they keep each other company.
  • Buy two or three toys for your cockatiel and alternate them every few weeks so your bird doesn’t get bored. Toys are essential to keep your cockatiel happy and calm and quiet.
  • During the first few weeks try to spend a lot of time with your new cockatiel so you too can form a strong bond. Eventually after the bond has formed it might be a good idea to set up specific time(s) of the day to play with your bird so the cockatiel knows what to expect and this structure can also keep them calm and quiet.
  • Make sure that the cage is not too small. It should be large enough for the bird to move around freely without hitting anything.
  • At nighttime cover the cage with a towel or thin blanket to prevent street lights or the sunrise from waking them up. They need between 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night.
  • If you want your bird to be friendly with other people start having different family members or friends spend time with the bird. The sooner you start the more likely you are to have a friendly and well-socialized bird.
  • Laily, my pet cockatiel, has provided my family and I with an immense amount of joy and happiness. However, a cockatiel may not be the right pet for everyone. Honestly, each cockatiel has its own personality. Some may be more friendly and sociable than others. However, with a little bit of effort and a lot of patience, it is very possible to form a bond with a cockatiel!
Laily and I!

With Love,

Yasmin

Christmas 20 Questions Tag

christmas-2947257_640Hey Everyone,

Hope you’re all doing well!

I would like to thank my very sweet blogger friend Kate from the lovely blog Becoming Rivera for tagging me in her 20 Christmas Tag Questions post. If you haven’t already, make sure to visit her lovely blog and show her some love!

I am so excited that she tagged me because even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I still love the holiday season and all the festivities that occur during this time of the year.

I personally celebrate Eid which is a Muslim holiday that occurs twice a year and each Eid celebration lasts for three days. Because Muslims follow the lunar calendar each year the day that Eid starts varies a little.

The first Eid is immediately after the month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast and don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. The second Eid is around two and a half months later and it is a celebration to commemorate the Hajj pilgrimage. For this year, both the Eid holidays have already passed.

Since Christmas is coming up I will answer each of the 20 questions from my perspective on Christmas and if I have anything to share about Eid I will share that as well.

1. Use one noise to describe how excited you are for Christmas?

For me personally, the sound of Jingle bells is associated with Christmas and whenever I hear a song that relates to Jingle Bells I know that Christmas is coming soon!

2. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Even if I did celebrate Christmas I think I would probably never open any presents on Christmas Eve, because I think that one of the many things that makes Christmas special are the presents and gift exchanges.

Eid: In my family the adults don’t exchange gifts during Eid but they do shower the children with gifts and as a child I remember that my Eid gifts were always given on the first day of Eid.

3. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

What I love about Christmas is that all of my family members including my aunts and cousins are off from work so we have a chance to meet up and spend some much needed family time.

Eid: Whenever possible I love to spend time with my extended family during Eid. However, here in the U.S. sometimes this is difficult because if Eid comes in the middle of the week then its hard to request a day off from work and so sometimes not everyone is able to make it to the gathering. Sometimes if it does come during the week we try to celebrate it the following weekend.

I have to mention, that one of the things that I love about the Eid after Ramadan is that I get to eat again after a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset!

4. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

I feel like I am the type of person that would use a fake Christmas tree just because I assume that this would be the cheaper option and maybe if its small enough I could keep it and use it again next year.

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

To be honest I don’t have one in particular that I would consider to be my favorite. But in general I do love watching Christmas movies because most of them are wholesome and family friendly which I think is great. This year, I have had some more free time so I have really been enjoying watching a number of different Christmas movies including Netflix’s A Christmas Prince.

6. Where do you usually spend your holidays?

Our holidays are always spent with the extended family. Most often we meet at either our house or my grandmothers house.

7. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Definitely Feliz Navidad

8. What is your all time favorite holiday food/sweet treat?

Any type of cookie. They used to call me the cookie monster when I was a kid. I like to enjoy a cookie with a cup of warm green tea.

9. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers?

No its been such a long time since I’ve heard their names.

10. Be honest, do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts?

To be completely honest, I do like receiving gifts a little bit more. But its just because I think that giving a gift is something that takes some thoughtful thinking like I am always at least a little worried about whether the person is going to like my gift or not.

Of course, when giving gifts it is the thought that counts.

11. What is your favorite thing about Christmas?

I love the fact that during Christmas time there is a positive vibe and I love that the mood is often very festive and joyous. I think that the same is true for Eid. And of course, I love that we get to spend time with the extended family.

12. When do you first get excited for Christmas?

I get excited for the holiday season when I start seeing Christmas decorations at my local stores.

Eid: During the last few days of Ramadan I get excited for the Eid festival.

13. What is the best Christmas gift that you have ever received?

One time a friend gave me some creams, lotions and body spray from Bath & Body Works and it came with an adorable tote bag.

Eid: In my culture most children are given cash for Eid and as a child I was given my fair share of cash. However, one year an uncle gifted me a huge stuffed animal and that became my favorite Eid gift because not only was it unique but it was very cute and soft as well.

14. Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

I definitely am not a pro and to be honest I am quite lazy so I leave the wrapping to my mom who is definitely a pro.

15. As a kid, did a sibling ever receive a present that you wished was for you?

Thank God no this has never happened because I have two brothers who are a lot younger than me and our tastes are very different.

16. What would your dream place be to visit during the holiday season?

I have always lived in sunny southern California so I’ve never experienced the snow so I would really like to visit somewhere where I can see some snow!

17. Most memorable holiday moment?

One time during Eid my family had just finished eating and we sat and turned on the TV and we saw that there was a live concert of our favorite musician playing on the TV. It was exciting and very fun to watch a free concert in the comfort of our own home!

18. Do you make New Years Resolutions ? Do you stick to them?

I do but I usually just think about what things I want to change and/or improve but I get lazy and I don’t write them down so I often forget about them. However, I am working towards setting reasonable goals and hopefully this year I achieve some of them!

19. What makes the holidays special for you?

Without sounding too cliché I really do love all of the extra family time. I also love the lights and beautiful Christmas decorations and of course, the delicious food and sweet treats are definitely among my favorite things about the holidays.

20. You have been granted one Christmas wish…what will it be?

My beloved father has had some health issues this year and I hope that he regains his health.

I would like to tag any other blogger who sees this to complete their own Christmas 20 questions tag if they’re interested. I had a lot of fun completing this tag and I think these types of posts definitely help readers learn a little bit more about the blogger behind the blog.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

 

 

A Bit of A Change

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well! autumn-1850717_640

As some of you may have already noticed I have changed the name of this blog from Yasmin’s Lifestyle Blog to A Bit Better.

When I initially created this blog the only thing that I knew for sure was that I wanted this to be a lifestyle blog and I wanted to share certain aspects of my life on this blog. Of course, this is why I initially chose the name Yasmin’s Lifestyle Blog.

Now, more than a year later not much has changed. This is still a lifestyle blog, with a greater emphasis on physical and mental health. However, I ultimately decided to change the name because this blog will not revolve around me rather my main mission is to create posts that will hopefully make the lives of you my dear readers just a bit better.

Of course, if something notable happens in my life I would love to share it on this blog. However, I am really passionate about creating posts about issues and topics that will hopefully play a role in improving the lives of others.

I know that I have mentioned this before but I would be truly honored if this blog makes even one person’s life a bit better.

Thank you all for your continued love and support! I truly hope you will all continue to join me on this blogging journey!

With Love

Yasmin

 

Graduated!!!

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well! pic1

I am so sorry that I have not been able to update this blog for almost a year. This past year was my senior year of college and I was so busy focusing on my course work and studying that I was forced to completely abandon this blog!

I am happy to report that this past weekend I graduated from the University of California Irvine with a Bachelors degree in Psychology.

This certainly would not have been possible without the help of God and the unconditional love and support from both of my parents.

My journey through college has been a slightly unconventional one. I started off at a local community college and due to certain life circumstances I was a part-time student at the community college for a number of years.  However, after I transferred to UC Irvine I became a full time student.

I have to admit that my motivation to study did decrease a bit during this past year. In other words, I did develop a bit of senioritis. However, what really kept me going was the  realization that I was so incredibly fortunate to attend a prestigious public university and I was fortunate that my parents were completely supportive of my passions and they never put any pressure on me. More importantly, I constantly reminded myself that there are thousands if not millions of girls and young women who have a very strong desire to have an education yet due to certain circumstances they are not able to pursue their dreams.

I honestly feel so grateful for the opportunities that I have been blessed with and of course I am proud of the fact that my hard work has paid off!

Now that I have graduated I am super excited about finally being able to continue my blogging journey. For me blogging is literally a means of expressing my voice to the world. As some of you may know I was born with a rare disability that causes me to have a speech impediment often making it very difficult for others to understand me when I speak.

However, I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am looking forward to using this blog as a means of communicating about a wide range of lifestyle topics and issues with an emphasis on topics relating to psychology. I will consider myself fortunate if I can help slightly improve the life of even one person.

I am looking forward to blogging again and I hope you will join me on this journey 🙂

With Love,

Yasmin

 

Cell Phones and Age

Hey Everyone! Hope you’re doing well!

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It is safe to say that my smartphone is a vital part my own life and cell phones in general and smartphones in particular are an important part of the lives of millions if not billions of people all across the world. As scary as it sounds for some people their phone have become a basic necessity just like air, food, and water.

I think that one of the great things about this technology boom is that many people of all social and economic backgrounds have access to some sort of a cell phone. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITC) there were 7 billion registered mobile subscriptions by the end of 2015.

However, the question that I have been pondering over is, what is the ideal age for someone to get their own phone?

The reason I have been thinking about this is because I have two teenage brothers one who is 16 and the other is turning 14 in June. My two brothers (especially the younger one)  have really been wanting a cell phone for quite a while now.

More recently, their desire has really increased and finally my parents have agreed to purchase a smartphone for each of them.

My parents are honestly very firm but loving. In psychological terms they would be an ideal example of authoritative parenting. They decided that the time has finally arrived to make this dream of my brothers come true because the majority of their classmates and friends have their own smartphones and they did not want my brothers to feel too alienated.

Of course, this was one of many reasons why my parents made the decision. However, I think that this was the reason that convinced me the most. Just to give you guys some background I come from a hard working middle class family.

However, we live in a fairly affluent area where many of the families are upper middle class and based on my own observations, along with those of my family, the majority of the students at both of my brothers schools have their own smartphones.

This is why I agree that since it is something that is just so common in our area I feel that it is best that my brothers have their own phones as well especially since we are blessed that that my parents can afford to provide them with this privilege.

As you all know the teenage years are a time when people are especially influenced by their friends and peers and it can be especially easy to feel isolated when everyone around you has something that you do not.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center 88 % of American teenagers (ages 13 to 17) have their own cell phones and 73% percent of them have smartphones.

Handing a smartphone to the hands of a teen can be risky however, I feel that establishing some firm rules can definitely be helpful.

In our case, my parents have written a full contract for each of my brothers and made them sign the contract. Any major violation of the contract could result in them losing their phone.

The contract contains the basic but important things such as promising to do their homework before playing on their phones, returning the phone to my parents each night at the set curfew, being respectful to others, etc.

 

I would really love to read your comments. What is your opinion on this issue? Do you think that there is an ideal age where an individual should be able to get a cell phone? Or does it depend on the person and/or situation?

I am looking forward to reading your thoughts!

With love,

Yasmin

Grandma’s Birthday Party!!!

Hey Everyone!!!

Hope you’re doing well! Although I won’t normally post too much about my personal life (just because there’s usually nothing too interesting going on 🙂 ) I do want to share something pretty exciting that occurred this past weekend.

As you can tell by the title my family and I arranged a surprise birthday party for my (maternal) grandma! My lovely grandma turned 80 this year. My parents came up with the idea of throwing a surprise birthday party for her like  two months ago and my cousins and I planned it out. One particular cousin went out of her way to make it extra special and she definitely deserves the most credit!

When the day finally arrived my my mom was busy cooking up a feast in our kitchen. Meanwhile  my cousin went to my grandma’s house and took her shopping so that my other cousins could set up the decorations in her apartment.

After we arrived at my grandma’s house we texted my cousin to bring grandma back and as she opened the door we all started singing happy birthday!  My grandma was literally in awe of everything and she was excited beyond words!

She later described her excitement by mentioning that she has never been so happy in her life and that no one has ever surprised her in such an amazing way before!!! Of course, this was music to our ears because it means that the hard work paid off 🙂

Planning this whole party took a lot of time, effort and cooperation but it was definitely worth all the joy and happiness that it brought to my lovely grandma!!!

Here are some pictures:

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Traditional yummy Afghan cuisine!
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The delicious and beautiful cake that my mom ordered from a local Japanese Bakery.
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The Birthday Queen herself! Trust me she usually always has a smile on her face but she was caught off guard in this one and of course, she was too busy cutting the cake 🙂

Hope you all enjoyed this!

 

With Love,

Yasmin

A Bit About Me

Hey Everyone! Hope you’re all doing well!

I just wanted to create this post to help you guys know a bit more about me and hopefully this will help you to understand where I’m coming from, or my perspective, when you read some of my future posts!

I was born, raised, and currently live in southern California. My parents are originally from Afghanistan and they immigrated to the United States almost thirty years ago.

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I live at home with my parents and two younger brothers. I am very blessed to have two very kind and supportive parents. Also, I have been blessed with a kind extended family as well that all love me despite all of my imperfections.

In June 2017 I graduated from the University of California Irvine with a Bachelors degree in Psychology

I was actually born with a rare disability called möbius (moebius) syndrome. Without going into too much detail this condition causes many people, including myself, to have difficulty making facial expressions and moving their eyes.

The way that this disability has impacted my life the most is that it has severely affected my speech. Basically, it is very difficult for others to understand me when I speak. In fact, this is why I’m so passionate about blogging. I truly feel that I can best express myself through my writing and I hope that I can positively impact the lives of others through this blog 🙂

I am definitely an introvert however, I still love people and I love communicating with them through writing and the online world.

I am interested in many different topics ranging from physical and mental health to skincare and spirituality and I hope to be able to blog about many of these topics.

If you like my posts please make sure to subscribe to the blog ! I hope that you will join me and support me on my blogging journey!

-With Love,
Yasmin

By the way, all of this has been posted on the about page on the blog but I also wanted to create it as a separate post so that you guys can easily access it and get to know more about me!