Cockatiel Care Guide
Before You Buy A Cockatiel
Cockatiels are a lovely pet to keep and are known for their singing and whistling. Though some cockatiels do learn to talk many find that they mainly enjoy mimicking random sounds such as that of the telephone ringing or the alarm clock! They are a great family pet and will live from 10 to 15 years.
However, as with any pet you should ask yourself a few questions before bringing a new member into your family.
Do you want a sociable bird that is eager to come out of his cage regularly or a bird that is happy to stay inside and not be touched? Cockatiels are sociable birds that enjoy the company of other birds and become very tame when properly socialised. Your Cockatiel will enjoy interacting with you including playing games and you should be prepared to let your Cockatiel out of its cage to stretch its wings.
Because of the wide variety of natural habitats different birds often have very different nutritional and maintenance needs. Read this guide for information on Cockatiels basic nutritional and environmental needs.
Are you ready for a long term commitment? Cockatiels live around 10-15 years, so make sure that you are willing to put in the time over a long period to care for your pet. Remember you get as much out of it as you put into it!
Feeding and Diet
What Is Their Diet?
A pelleted commercial diet is best for your bird as it stops selective feeding so that your bird gets all of the nutrients that it needs rather then picking and choosing a la carte! To minimise the danger of instestinal problems feed a varied diet including a good quality cockatiel food and fresh fruit and vegetables. Your bird may reject some of what you give him but you will learn his tastes through trial and error
Fresh water should be readily available to your birds for drinking and bathing. Birds will not distinguish between these two functions so there is no need to separate the water sources. Just make sure that they have plenty of fresh water on hand at all times.
Provide cuttlefish as a source of calcium for your bird. It is also a good idea to supplement his diet with mineral supplements. You should also provide your bird with grit or sand as this will help him digest his food.
Never feed your bird spicy food, chocolate, coffee, cheese or alcohol!
How Should I feed?
Use trial and error to see how much food your bird eats. Always feed in moderate amounts and change food daily. Set a regular feeding schedule and stick to it. Your birds will become used to being fed at regular times of the day.
Keep food away from perches and water to stop it from being splashed or soiled.
Cockatiels should generally not be kept singly. While Cockatiels will accept their human owner as a flock mate this is not a substitute for the companionship of another bird. Birds kept singly may exhibit strange behaviors that lead to serious physical illnesses.
Give it 2 to 3 weeks before taking it out of its cage. In the meantime get it used to your hand by introducing treats to by hand. When you first let it out of its cage you should cover the windows with curtains. Take anything that is harmful out of the room, Cockatiels are like babies and love to pull, tug and poke at things!
Cockatiels are very docile and enjoy being handled once tamed, put in the effort and your bird will return it in spades!
Your Cockatiel will renew his covering of feathers 2 to 3 times per year. The bird requires special care and attention during this period. New feathers appear cased in a covering that makes it very difficult you’re your bird to fly. The moulting process is physically demanding for your pet. You should provide a high protein food and vitamin supplements as well as peace and quiet.
Any housing that we provide a Cockatiel with is small in comparison with their native freedom so remember that the bigger the aviary the better. Cockatiels love to fly around and one of the great delights of owning Cockatiels is watching them in action. The bigger the cage the better- don’t let Cockatiels small size fool you! Make sure that your birds get sufficient light but do not expose them to direct sunlight unless they have plenty of shade.
Let your bird fly free once a day to stretch itself and exercise. You should introduce this freedom gradually once your Cockatiel is well established in the home. Do not force it out of the cage as this confuse it and damage its confidence.
Daylight is important to birds in regulating their day so they will need plenty of light especially in winter. Remember that in nature they 12 hours daylight so be prepared to provide the same in captivity. At night cover your birds cage with a sheet to allow them get their rest, this is particularly important if they are kept in house with sources of artificial light that can reach their cage. Do not place the cage in an area where it will be exposed to drafts as Cockatiels cannot deal with temperature fluctuations.
Cockatiels are intelligent, inquisitive birds that need lots of stimulation. You should provide plenty of toys, games and distractions in his cage to encourage your bird’s natural curiosity.Health and Disease
You can prevent a lot of health related problems by looking after your Cockatiels properly. Clean the cage regularly and make sure that food and water are regularly refreshed. Do not leave stale food or water in the cage.
Common sign of ill health include lethargy, lumps or swelling, forced breathing, fluffed up feathers and closed eyes. If you see any of these symptoms in one of your birds separate it from the other birds and take it to the vet immediately.
Check your birds claws regularly to make sure that they are not getting too long.
Whats Does The Crest Say?
Like a dogs tail you can tell a lot about what you cockatiel is feeling by watching his crest. If the crest is erect it is excited or surprised, it will be standing gently to the side when relaxed or unfocused and flattened close to the head when your bird is angry or defensive. Like the tail the crest speaks volumes!
Factoid- ‘What's that powdery stuff?’
Cockatiels have a powder on their feathers that may leave traces in their cage. This is a natural phenomenon and should not cause any concern.