Care and Feeding Cockatiels As Pets – Also Buying Tips

Cockatiels are becoming perhaps the most popular pet-bird in North America. Reasons for this include the fact that they out-live, and out-love the less intelligent and less affectionate Budgerigars and Canaries.

Cockatiels are native to Australia, and occur there in great numbers. Their natural color is a drab gray highlighted by orange cheeks in the male, and yellow plumage in the wings and crest. More recently, careful selection has resulted in more ornamental Cockatiels with all yellow (lutino) coloration, and another attractive type called the Pied which has yellow feathers interspersed in varying degrees with the normal gray ones.

Cockatiels present no great challenge in their upkeep, they are easily hand tamed and require little space to be truly happy. There are, however, some important points to consider in their proper care for maximal life span and continued health.

First, they need a cage with sufficient room for “flying”. This means that they need to get at least a few wingbeats flying from perch to perch, either horizontally, or vertically, so long as they can exercise their pectoral (wing) muscles.

Another cage specification of note is the need for perches of varying sizes. It has been shown that the feet of the Cockatiels need to be challenged to grasp different sized perches or their feet can become “formed” to the standard perch, and thus become atrophied.

Secondly, Cockatiels need good nutritional support, and this means more than just seeds. If they can be persuaded to eat Monkey biscuit from the local pet shop, this would be the best way to ensure that they are taking enough protein and vitamins, which seeds are notoriously low in. Other nutritional support may be provided in the form of Cuttle bones, and fresh dark green, orange and yellow vegetables. Yams, Yellow Squash and Broccoli are all greedily accepted as a small part of the birds’ diet. Grapes and Kiwi fruit can also be regarded as a safe and popular treat.

If you are feeding seeds as the staple or main part of the diet, you should not allow “chaff” or seed shells to accumulate in the bowls. The Cockatiels will not dig for their food. And though the bowl may look very full, there is nothing in it but chaff. The solution is to take the bowl outside and blow off the chaff, leaving the heavier, viable seeds in the bowl.

Cockatiels should be covered at night. We cover ours with a light cloth in the summer, and a heavier Terry cloth in the winter. Particularly in the winter when chilling and drafts are more of a threat, it is important to move the cage away from windows.

Water should be provided to Cockatiels in the form of a water bottle. Only the types intended for bird use should be selected and used. These are dark green, to prevent algae and other harmful organisms from growing in the water bottle, and the tip of the water bottle is equipped with a red ball. The ball is attractive to birds and so they teach themselves to use the bottle. Then it is safe to remove the regular bowl. Still, it is nice in the summer to mist and bathe your Cockatiel. A regular plant mister can be used, or a bowl of tepid water can be placed in their cage for them to bathe in. This is not ideal for use in the winter when drafts are more likely to occur.

As far as cage ornamentation, I think mirrors for birds are unkind, even if inadvertently. You see, the male Cockatiels think the other bird is a rival, not a friend. Male birds will expend alot of energy and anxiety trying to out-show the other male, and then finally may injure themselves trying to “run him off”. Other toys in the cage may be of some utility, but not when they impede the birds ability to make short flights from perch to perch. I have seen cages so full of toys that they birds were almost lost in the maze.

Wires in the cages are to be avoided at all costs. They often result in lacerations and strangulations when, in time, the bird finally flies into the wire suspending the toy.

My Cockatiels enjoyed their “Busy-balls” which would lie on the cage bottom. They enjoyed pushing them around, and the cage remained un-cluttered.

Be sure to handle the bird you intend to keep before you buy it. A bird that appears aggressive in the store may carry this behavior home and be tough to tame.

I hope this brief topic on birds has helped you to understand some of these pet’s needs a little better.

Enter your email address for a free PDF of this article including its images.

Enter your Email Address

My Favorite Amazon Recommendations

Items and content will not show in "Reader View" check your browser.

This is The LCD Screen Scope
We Did The Tutorial With. I did a twenty page tutorial (Here's the tutorial) with video, audio, images and even little parasite movies to show you how to use a microscope. 

This Filter is Good For BIG Dirty Tanks
I've been wrestling with water quality with the turtles. The sponges work GREAT, but in THOSE turtle systems where they eat MICE the poops are bulky. This filter can handle it. In "Tortu's" tank, it's got an 800 gph pump and it rocks. 

PraziPro for Flukes
They nailed it. Figured out the solubility and worked out the dosing. It works. 

Buy Some Good Koi?
No, this isn't really for the 'high end' collector y'all. But for someone who isn't near a decent garden center, here are "good-to-quite-good" Koi you will like at a very good price. I know these guys personally.

Best Food, Ever
It's made for (and I discovered it for) my Blood Parrots but the small size, intense color enhancers and excellent formulation make it superb young-Koi food. Oh, and it's AMAZING on color-cichlids like Flowerhorn and Blood Parrots. 

Pro Air 60 Aerator is a VERY high output air pump pushing my whole fish room (17+ drops), and I have one at home driving everything there, and I have one as a back up. 

Formalin Malachite (Not dilute)
There are formalin malachite preparations at 10%, 22% and 37%. There's economy in the concentrates. Hard to get Prime shipping because air transport is curtailed. This is a good value on 32 ounces. 

Topical For Koi and Pond Fish Ulcers
I like 7% tincture of iodine because it stains but it's hard to hurt anything with it. Used with a WOVEN gauze, this works well to clean and disinfect a wound. Only use ONCE. Do not 'repeatedly' scrub wounds. 

Confectioner's Glaze 
Is the way to bind a medication to fish food. Gone are the days of paste food and oil. The write up is done, it's RIGHT HERE.

Koi Health & Disease
Hopefully this link takes you to the newest edition by PRIME to get it to your house the fastest. 

I have over ten of these Titanium Heaters in my fish room and at home. They're a paradigm shift in aquarium heating. They're titanium and 400W for under $30! Whaaaaaaaaat?

CyroPro by Hikari is safe and easy for Anchor Worms and Fish Lice.

Whatever heaters you use, back yourself up with a temperature controller, it'll turn on, and off your heaters. If your heater seizes "on" at least the thermostat will stop a tragedy. 

LifeGuard by Tetra is a tablet version of a tame 'chloramine-t' or 'halamid' compound that's easy to get and good on bacterial infections, in baths. 

Antimicrobial
If you're making medicated feed for a larger group of fish, this will come in handy. Dosing is available in the site. 

For me, filtration-of-choice
For aquariums, even small Koi holding facilities or small ponds. These sponge filters are cheap, easy to clean, and they clear hazes very well when used with some Accuclear or similar.

Rubber sided, round, nettable tanks
Make great hospital or quarantine facilities. They SHOULD cost about $200-300 depending on size, but this, lower quality unit (while panned in some reviews) may be good. Don't overfill and make sure it's propped up.

1200 Watt heater, on a thermostat held securely above the waterline, works GREAT as a large tank heater. That's all I'll say because there's risk of electrocution and all that. But then, even in a bucket you could get killed. Sound like fun?
I have several of these ALLIED PRECISION stainless ones that are a couple years old. Working still. 

Potassium Permanganate 
500 grams could be a lifetime supply but it's 50% more than the 100g cost wise, for 500% more amount. Dosing is in the site and the book.

What Does Ajax Eat?
I looked for something well formulated, with meat as the first ingredient. Something UNDER $2/lb and something they could deliver for free. And this was it. He looks and feels great on it.