Cockatiels are attractive, colourful and inquisitive birds originating from Australia. They are relatively easy to care for and look after. Cockatiels can live up to 20 years, so owning one is a long-term commitment

Types of Cockatiels

Cockatiels come in a wide range of markings and colours:

  • Albino
  • Cinnamon
  • Grey
  • Lutino

Common types of Cockatiel include pearl, pied and white faces.

Feeding your Cockatiel

In the wild Cockatiels eat a vast range of grains, seeds and vegetation. A good quality Cockatiel mix forms the basis of a good diet for pet birds. Supplements such as cuttlefish should be offered to provide vitamins and calcium. Small pieces of fruit and vegetables should be given as treats. Certain foods can be harmful to your Cockatiel; these are lettuce, avocado lemon and potatoes. Additionally, do not feed your bird with food and drink designed for human consumption. Fresh drinking water should always be available.

Housing your Cockatiel

cockatielCockatiels can be housed outdoors in a large purpose built aviary or indoors in a large wire cage. The cage should have horizontal bars to allow climbing. Round cages are not suitable.

Indoor birds should be allowed out of their cage daily to exercise. Make sure all windows and doors are closed! Covering the cage at night will encourage your birds to settle down to sleep.

You should provide a bath for your Cockatiel, either fixed to the cage or a shallow bowl. Some birds enjoy gently being sprayed with tepid water!

Entertainment and Exercise for your Cockatiel

Cockatiels are inquisitive an intelligent birds. They love to climb and play. Toys are crucial to keep them stimulated physically and mentally. Cockatiels can be taught to talk and mimic sounds. Cock birds often make repetitive loud noises.

Company for your Cockatiel

group of cockatielsCockatiels prefer the company of their own kind and should not be kept alone. They can be kept in pairs (hens with cocks) although if keeping a few birds together, either sex should be fine.

In larger aviaries it is best to keep more hens than cocks, otherwise cock birds may fight over the hens. You can mix Cockatiels with other small parakeets such as budgerigars.

Handling Your Cockatiel

Cockatiels can become quite tame if you are patient. The same person should train them from an early age. Start by getting your bird used to being stroked inside its cage with a perch or stick. Start by gently stoking its chest a couple of times a day, then encourage it to jump onto the stick. Progress to using your finger through the door of the cage rather than the bar. Repeat the process by using your finger instead of the stick. This process will take several weeks of patience and perseverance but usually works. To pick up your bird, ensure your palm covers its back and wings while your middle and index finger surround the Cockatiel’s neck. Be very gentle! Cockatiels will bite if they feel threatened or stressed. Never attempt to catch a bird in mid flight.

Cockatiel Health

yellow cockatielCockatiels are prone to scaly beak. This is a contagious condition that requires immediate attention by a vet.

Excessive moulting can be caused by stress or fluctuation in temperature. Always seek advice from an avian veterinarian if you have any concerns about the health of your Cockatiel.

Breeding Cockatiels

Cockatiels can be mated from about one year of age, They will usually produce a clutch of 5-6 eggs in around 19 days. Ensure that you have good homes for them to go do, or room in your own aviary for any new arrivals, before breeding your Cockatiels.