How to take care of a cockatiel

A short guide to the basic care of pet cockatiels


Just like the care of any pet, the three most important factors are a safe environment,

food, and freshwater. Let's start with the environment. It is very important to have a safe well-maintained cage. Do not place perches above your bird’s food and water dishes. If droppings get into food or water, change it immediately. Clean the bottom tray of your cockatiels at least twice a week. It is perfectly acceptable to line the bottom of the cage with used newspapers or brown paper bags.  Gravel paper or gravel and grit can be purchased at your local discount or pet store for a low price. These aid in keeping your pet's claws healthy.

Birds are creatures of habit; big changes in environment and routine can be very upsetting. Occasionally, alternating food dishes and offering a minimum amount of variety does help cockatiels become a bit more adaptable to change. It is best not to disturb a cockatiel the first few days in its new home. Give it some time to adjust to its surroundings.  Place the cage in a room where you spend a great deal of time so it will not get too lonely.

Cockatiels love attention. In fact, if they do not get enough of it they will scream. Remember not to reward screaming or negative behavior. If screaming becomes a problem gently, cover the cage with a lightweight cloth then as soon as the bird quiets down to remove the cloth. Many cockatiels are hand feed and relatively tame.  Even in the case of a very tame cockatiel, it may take some patience before it gets used to you. Start out by putting your hand in his cage daily. Do not wave it around just hold it still. You may offer your bird a treat at this time. Eventually, you may begin teaching it to step up onto your finger by gently nudging its legs. Again, patience is key, if your bird gets too agitated, back off and try again later.

It is a good idea to have your cockatiel's wings clipped. You can learn to do this yourself. Personally, I feel better having my veterinarian or a trained technician perform this task. It does make it much easier to tame a cockatiel if it cannot fly very far or fast.

Cockatiels love a varied diet with no more than 10% seed. They like fresh vegetables and fruit. They occasionally even enjoy small amounts of meat and dairy foods as well. Contrary to what you may think a cockatiel’s diet should not contain much more than 10% seed. Most pet and department stores sell packaged cockatiel food. Be sure to keep food dishes clean, never let them become empty.

Clean freshwater is essential. Wash and refill your cockatiel’s water dish daily. The importance of keeping your bird’s dishes out from under its perch cannot be stressed enough. Droppings in their food are very unhealthy.

Perhaps not essential to a cockatiel's survival but to its happiness is love and attention. Talk to your birds every day. It doesn’t really matter what you say you can read the newspaper to it , just use a quiet monotone voice. Cockatiels also enjoy interesting toys. These and other accessories can be purchased from your pet supply source.

Cockatiels make wonderful companions and as is the case with any pet, the more love you give the more you will get back.