Newest Review: ... the bird,this enables them to spread their wings a bit, now back to the birds. Cockatiels are actually native to Australia but their pr... more
Member Name: MollyWH
Date: 21/06/12, updated on 21/06/12 (125 review reads)
Advantages: Fits in well with family, can speak, fairly easy to train
Disadvantages: More care needed than many people think
Cockatiels are intelligent and sociable birds that can be kept alone or in groups within an aviary. Cockatiels are better kept alone if you have the time to finger tame them and keep them company within the house, otherwise personally, I think they are better kept as a couple or in a group so they have some companionship.
Cockatiels are gentle and docile and like to be played with and touched.
The cockatiel is famous for their bright orange cheek patches and their crests (the little hairdo they have!)
Do Cockatiels Make Good Pets?
Cockatiels are generally very social, gentle and affectionate in nature. They interact well with most members of the family, and even other animals such as cats and dogs as well as they are introduced from an early age and in a safe environment. Cockatiels are inquisitive and active and enjoy flying, playing and chewing!!
You should provide your cockatiel with toys (always bought from a pet shop as some woods can be deadly to a cockatiel). The toys will enable your bird to be able to play and also presents boredom.
Cockatiels can be trained to talk, although this does require a fair amount of effort from the owner also. The cockatiels voice is actually much clearer than that of the Budgie, meaning you ate able to understand their speech better. A tame Cockatiel will let you stroke it, even bending its head down so you can rub the parts that they can't reach. They will groom your eye brows or play with your hair with their beaks as a way of showing affection. Cockatiels are intelligent birds and will require mental stimulation from their owner as well as items in their cage.
Cost Of A Cockatiel
In my local Pets At Home store, the Cockatiels are sold for £25 each. Quite often local breeders advertise in the paper and cockatiels can be bought this was for anything between £8 - £20.
Selecting A Cockatiel
When selecting a Cockatiel, try to choose a young bird as it will be easier to tame and train. Older birds may be slightly more difficult to tame so if you intend on interacting with your bird on a daily basis, I would buy the bird at a young age. The thing with buying an older bird is that you don't really know what has happened in its life before it came under your ownership and young birds are always keen to learn. Hand reared babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans from birth. Young birds are easier to tame and adapt very well to new environments. Your new bird should be exposed early to different events (male and female voices, other pets, sounds of traffic, the TV etc.) to help make your Cockatiel a calm, well adjusted member of the family. You should choose a Cockatiel that is alert, lively and not too nervous. After buying your Cockatiel, you should really take it to your vet so they are able to have a look at it and make sure everything is as it should be.
The average lifespan of a cockatiel is 15 - 20 years as long as they are cared for in the proper manner so remember that you will need to care for the bird for a long time.
A personal rule for me is to get the biggest cage you can afford. The cage needs to be large enough to allow the birds to fly between perches, as they will need to exercise their wings. It is better for the cage to be longer than it is higher to allow flying.
Place the perches as far apart as possible to allow flying between them, and use the branches of certain trees so that the bird's feet are exercised as it grips perches of differing thickness. I often cut apple tree branches from my parents apple trees as this is perfectly safe for the birds to chew and it very good and keeping the birds beak nice and short. You can also use plum tree branches but always make sure that whatever branches you use will not be toxic for your bird if they decide to chew them. Personally, I only use branches from fruit trees.
Toys in the cage are essential to keep your bird amused, although ensure you buy toys designed for cockatiels from a pet shop and don't make you own as again you may end up using toxic materials.
I use newspaper for the floor of the cage as it is cheap (or free in some cases) and can be easily changed. Some people like to use sandpaper which can be bought from most pet shops but I think this is quite expensive and doesn't really have any benefits.
They need to be cleaned out a minimum of once per week, more if you have more than one bird. I just remove the top sheet of paper with all the dropping and food on it and leave the remaining paper. Always ensure that the cage is kept clean as a dirty cage can lead to all sorts of disease.
Wide rather than deep dishes allow better access to feed and water, and ensure that all food items can be reached
The cage needs to be kept in natural light but away from direct sunlight. Keep your bird out of draughts and away from cooking fumes or the fumes or perfume, cleaning products. Birds can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but sudden changes can be deadly. Windy areas should be avoided, although mild breezes will often be welcome, especially during warm weather. Fresh air and unfiltered sunshine are important, and if necessary you may have to put your bird (and the cage) outside for an hour or so each day during the summer. Placing the cage where your bird can see and participate in family activities will provide your bird with plenty of stimuli.
Food and Drink
Cockatiels need a balanced diet of bird food, which you will need to blow the husks from on a daily basis. This is done easily by passing the seeds from one container to another and gently blowing on them when you do so. This blows away all the useless husks that the birds cannot eat. Cockatiel food can be bought at nearly all pet stores. Cockatiels also need regular treats such as fresh lettuce, apple, cucumber, carrots and dandelion leaves. You can also get treats from most pet stores, these come in lots of different varieties and include items such as honey sticks, bells etc. These are only 80p odd each so very reasonably priced for a little treat. Also available at per stores ate millet stems and these are a great favourite of cockatiels.
A cuttlefish should be available for you bird, this provides calcium.
What You Need To Know Before Buying A Cockatiel
Cockatiels need a constant supply of fresh water. It wouldn't hurt to change their water every day. It is a 30 seconds job and will ensure the health of your bird. As a rule, I would change their water at least once every other day as husks and droppings can gather in their water.
Cockatiels also need grit in their cage. This is to help aid digestion and is vital for them. This is very cheap at pet shops and can be bought for about £1 a bag and this normally lasts about 6 months. You can get a small feeder and attach it to the side of the cage, fill it with grit and the birds will help themselves.
Cockatiels are intelligent, active creatures, and should be allowed to exercise out of their cage at least once daily. This exercise obviously needs to be done under supervision, and in the safety of the home with all windows shut and items like mirrors covered as the birds could fly into mirror and injure itself. Cockatiels are birds and it is natural for them to fly so I always try to exercise them as much as possible.
Although there are a few variations of colours of cockatiels, there are four main variations:
This is the natural colour that cockatiels are in the wild. An adult male will have a dark grey body except for the white stripe on each wing, a bright yellow face and crest, and two orange cheek spots. The tail may be lighter than the body, but it is still a clear grey colour.
An adult female as well as juvenile birds (all cockatiels can look the same until they mature, meaning it can be hard to sex them from a young age) all have the same grey body and white wing stripes, but they will have a dull yellow face and orange cheek spots. They also have yellow bars (called barring) on their tail and lower bodies. The underneath of their tail feathers has the most obvious barring, with the rest of the tail feathers having less.
This is one of the most common colours apart from normal grey. It is exactly the same for the above descriptions, but instead of a grey colour over the body, it is a pale silver/brownish colour. It can be mistaken for a light grey, but has a paler, softer appearance. Some are a very obvious brown colour. The tail feathers have the same appearance of the Normal Grey.
This is again very similar to the cinnamon, and they are hard to tell apart unless you have them side-by-side. Fallow is the same dusty brown colour, although there is also a hint of yellow to their overall colour. The main difference between them is that the fallow coloured birds have deep red eyes. At first glance, and even on close inspection, it often looks like the normal dark eyes. But get them in the right light and you will find they are actually a dark red colour which looks very striking
This is my favourite variation of a cockatiel. It is also the other very common colour. It is the solid white/yellow cockatiel. The lutinos can vary a lot from a buttercup yellow, to a clear snowy white. The male and female, as well as the immature cockatiel all have the same coloration and markings. These cockatiels tend to not have any barring in their tails which remain the same colour as the rest of the body.
The head of the lutino is always a bright yellow with bright orange cheek spots. In most variations of cockatiels, it is fairly easy to sex them once they mature as they male will have brighter markings. This is not the case with lutinos, with both males and females having the same bright colourings on their face. All lutino cockatiels have red eyes.
Taming Your Cockatiel
Pairs of bird's make good company for each other, but usually will not bond as well with their owners or mimic speech as well. A single bird is fine, as long as you spend a significant amount of time interacting with the cockatiel on a daily basis
You have to allow your Cockatiel some time to get used to you and its new surroundings. You will have to spend time getting your bird to trust you before you can tame him. Taming sessions should be short (10 minutes or less) and done several times a day. Each time you achieve one step, repeat it several times until your pet is comfortable with it. When your bird is comfortable with you being near his cage and responds to you by getting close to the side of the cage you are near, it is time to introduce him to your hand. Offer him a small piece of millet or a broken sunflower seed but do not try to touch him if he moves away from your hand. Hold your hand in the cage doing nothing, just to get him used to your hand. He will start to realize that your hand will not hurt him, but this may take a day or two. At first your Cockatiel may be very worried about your hand being in the cage and will fly around in a panic but it will soon get used to the presence of your hand. When your Cockatiel stops trying to get away from your hand, you can slowly move closer until one day he allows you to gently stroke his breast. Continue to quietly talk to him when you are doing this. When he seems comfortable with your hand touching him, you can gently press against the abdomen and push up a bit. There is a good chance that he may put one foot onto your finger. If this does not frighten him, you can give another slight push and he may put his other foot up and be standing on your hand. He will probably jump off immediately - but remain calm and try again if he is not frightened.
A Cockatiel will usually test a branch (or a finger) before stepping up by grabbing with his beak. This is not a bite, does not hurt and is very normal, so remain calm and do not jump as this will only frighten your bird. Be ready for this to happen, and don't pull away if he does test your finger before stepping up.
Do not rush to take him out of the cage when he first steps onto your finger. Your Cockatiel is still getting to know you and although he is now comfortable with you while in his cage, he may become frightened when you take him out of the cage.
Before you take him out of the cage on your finger, you must be certain that he can not be injured in the room. If you have other pets, remove them and close the door. Close the curtains over the windows so your bird does not crash into the glass. It is also a good idea to cover any mirrors and they can fly into them and injure themselves. During winter, if you have a fire on, ensure you turn it off and that the front is not hot (just in case your bird panics and flies into it)
After he has been stepping up regularly, you can move your hand towards the cage door to take him out. Your bird might panic when he is outside the cage and begin to fly wildly around the room. If your bird flies, he may not know how to land properly and you may have to go and pick him up by having him step up on your finger. Do not chase him to try to get him to stop flying. Just wait patiently until he lands and slowly go to pick him up, talking quietly to him.
Repeating all the above actions on a daily basis will pretty much guarantee you a tame Cockatiel.
Costs Of Keeping A Cockatiel
The cost of keeping a Cockatiel is relatively cheap. However, it can be expensive when first getting a cockatiel as you obviously need to provide a cage etc. Cages can cost anything from £60 upwards, although always look in your local paper as people are always selling bird cages that they no longer require and you should be able to get a cage for half the price of a shop bought one. Obviously you will need perches but these normally come with the cage or can be easily obtained from any fruit trees
Food for Cockatiels is very cheap. I buy food from a pet shop where a bag which lasts around 3 weeks, cost me £1.20.
All in all the Cockatiel is a brilliant pet for people of all ages. They are great for companionship and will liven up any household. They are easy to care for as long as you follow the basic guidelines.
That said, cockatiels can also get ill, like all other animals so you always need to have money put aside for any unexpected vet bills
Summary: The Cockatiel