What should you expect from your cockatiel?

Cockatiels are relatively quiet, nondestructive, entertaining birds that are easy to care for. Because they are considered so gentle, they are excellent as companion birds for children. Even though they do not tend to bond with an individual person, they retain better companion bird qualities as a single bird rather than as a pair. However, several cockatiels may be successfully maintained in a single household with patience and attention to each individual. Cockatiels are limited talkers (males are better), but some individuals are so good at whistling that their tunes are recognizable.

What do cockatiels do all day?

Cockatiels are playful and easily amused with simple toys. Because they love to chew, toys must be free of toxic metals, hooks, sharp objects or small, easily consumed components. Providing small diameter fresh cut branches from nontoxic, pesticide-free trees is suggested for cockatiels. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations on locally available safe trees.

Are cockatiels tame?

Young, hand-raised cockatiels adapt readily to new surroundings and handling procedures. They should be exposed early in life to novel situations (car travel, veterinarian visits, multiple visitors in the household, other household pets) so that they are well adjusted to these events. Some behavior modification techniques may be necessary to prevent biting by wary adult cockatiels.

Why should the wings be clipped?

Cockatiels that are allowed unrestricted freedom in the home can encounter numerous physical dangers or toxins; therefore, wing clipping is recommended. The goal of clipping the wings is not to make the bird incapable of flight, but to prevent it from developing rapid and sustained flight and to prevent escape. A cockatiel will require additional trimming 8-12 weeks after the start of a molt cycle.

How can you keep your cockatiel healthy, happy and safe?

  • Give lots of attention.
  • Feed a fresh, high quality, toxin-free pelleted diet with daily supplementation of chopped vegetables and fruit.
  • Do not feed grit, as it is not necessary with modern captive diets.
  • Provide clean, fresh, uncontaminated water.
  • Remove and replace food and water containers twice daily to maximize activity in a healthy bird.
  • Provide an occasional opportunity for bath, shower, or misting (at least weekly).
  • Avoid spraying house with insecticides.

Housing for your cockatiel should:
  • Be as large as possible.
  • Be clean, secure, safe, and easy to service.
  • Be constructed of durable, nontoxic material.
  • Contain variable sized perches made of clean, nontoxic, pesticide-free tree branches.
  • Have food and water containers placed at opposite ends of the enclosure.
  • Avoid having perches located directly over food containers.
  • Offer occasional opportunity for protected outdoor exposure to fresh air, sunlight, and exercise.

Things you must keep away from your cockatiel parrot:
  • Ceiling fans
  • Hot cooking oil
  • Teflon coated items (overheated)
  • Leg chains
  • Sandpaper-covered perches
  • Tobacco and cigarette smoke
  • Chocolate, avocado, salt, alcohol
  • Toxic houseplants
  • Pesticides
  • Toxic fumes
  • Easily dismantled toys
  • Dogs, cats, and young children
  • Cedar, redwood, and pressure treated wood shavings
  • Sources of lead or zinc
  • Plug in air fresheners

For more information visit: Association of Avian Veterinarians, Good Bird, Inc.