Cockatiel Care

Before you bring a new cockatiel home, make sure your house is “bird-safe.” Cockatiels are incredibly curious and love to explore. They waste no time finding nooks and crannies you”d never even noticed. Anything thin enough for them to grip will be tasted, or even chewed, as they embark on the hunt for the next toy. Removing harmful items and eliminating potential hazards will help your new friend live a longer, healthier life.

Safety First: Nooks and Crannies

Cockatiels explore both in the air and on foot. No matter how hard you try to stop them, they explore any apparently warm, cozy and enclosed space. Unfortunately, they are unidirectional thinkers and tend to forget that once they delve into an enclosed space, they may not be able to back out. Check for spaces behind shelves, vents with gaps of more than 1.5 inches, and areas behind furniture for places that a bird can become stuck. Don”t worry, though; if you keep a close eye on your cockatiel, he”ll point out a whole range of tight little spaces that you missed.

Cables Look Like Worms

Chewing on cabling is a favorite cockatiel sport. Your bird will inspect computer wires, speaker wires, electrical cabling, lamps, stereos and anything else that has to be plugged in. Usually the bird will just run the wire through its beak. Occasionally, it will go a little deeper and begin to strip the insulation. This, obviously, should not be encouraged. Not only can it harm your pet, it”s also more than slightly irritating when things stop working. Your bird is blithely unaware of any problemshe just looks at a broken wire as things to nibble on. A set of cable covers, or sheathing, is highly recommended.

Eating is Always on the Bird”s Mind

Access to chemicals must be treated with the utmost seriousness. Cleaners and other chemicals should be kept in a closed cupboard. Again, cockatiels love to taste things.

Nicotine is deadly to the cockatiel. Even a small amount of nicotine (like the amount found in patches) may be fatal. Alcohol is also poisonous. Just think of your cockatiel as a four-ounce toddler.

Cockatiel Care and Feeding

Safety is only one of the many things you need to keep in mind when caring for a cockatiel. You will have to consider what to feed him or what size cage to get him. Here are a few tips to get you started on properly caring for your cockatiel:

The Cage: The cage should be large enough that your cockatiel can spread his wings and flap around. A parakeet cage usually isn”t large enough for a cockatiel. Try to find something tall and wide. Cages designed for small parrots are normally a good size for a cockatiel. If you have more than one cockatiel, a larger cage will be necessary.

Keep the cage off the floor. This is especially important if you have another pet such as a dog or a cat. You don”t want them harassing your cockatiel. Also, when choosing a spot for the cage, avoid direct sunlight. And keep the cage away from drafts, which can be fatal to your cockatiel.

Food: Cockatiels love millet and seeds, which are good for a treat, but the bulk of a cockatiel”s diet should come from pellets, fruits and vegetables.

Water: Change the water several times a day. If you use a dish, watch for droppings in the water. Cockatiels have a tendency to deposit droppings in their water dish. If your cockatiel does develop this habit, move the dish around the cage until the habit is broken. If you use a bottle, change the water and clean it out every day.

To Fly or Not To Fly: Cockatiels are strong fliers and can fly with just one grown flight feather. If you don”t want to risk your bird flying away, clip his wings. Make sure to clip all the primaries and some of the secondary feathers. This will also prevent your bird from accidentally flying into windows and injuring himself.