Cockatiels are beautiful, mid-sized birds with great personalities. This article will tell you a little bit about why they make such great pets.
What is a cockatiel?
A cockatiel is a beautiful little bird, originally from Australia. All ‘tiels sold in the US are now US captive bred. They come in a range of colorings known as “mutations”. They can be anything from nearly pure white, to lovely patterns of gray, white, cinnamon, silver, and even yellow, with many mutations having bright, beautiful orange cheeks.
Tiels are usually about 12″ long, including their very long tail. They weigh about 2-3 ounces on average.
Why is a cockatiel a good pet?
There are many reasons that cockatiels make great pets.
First off, they are a mid-size bird, which means they’re not too tiny, and not too large. They also have great personalities. They will bond to their owner and be very loving. They can be quite playful, but not so much so that they are destructive or annoying like some large birds.
Tiels are fairly easy to train, it just takes patience. Hand-training your bird is very important, as it will bond them to you and make it so you can pet and play with them on a regular basis. Males can even learn to talk and whistle songs. Females are quieter, but they too occasionally mimic sounds.
Cockatiels are not as messy as larger birds. They don’t usually make a mess of their food, and while they like to chew, they’re not as prone to destroying their surroundings.
A well trained cockatiel can be allowed out of it’s cage for most of the day, and will be very friendly and affectionate.
What else should I know before buying one?
Cockatiels usually range between $75 and $150 each, depending on mutation and age. While they are not a cheap pet, they are well worth the price.
Make sure you buy from a reputable local breeder, or a pet store who buys from one. Badly bred birds and home-bred birds can often have serious health problems.
You need to have a cage, toys, and food ready before bringing your bird home. You cage, for a single Tiel, should be no less than 20″ X 20″ x 26″, with bar spacing of no more than 1/2″. No plastic or rubber toys. No closed bells (like jingle bells). No mirrors.
While most Tiels are raised on seed, feeding a bird nothing but seed is like feeding your 3-year-old nothing but candy. Give your bird a combination of high-quality pellet diet and some seeds, and feed plenty of fresh veggies and fruits. Below is a list of safe and bad foods:
Too much: parsley, turnip green, beet green, spinach, onions
Rhubarb, avocado, chocolate, caffeine, processed sugar, alcohol, fruit seeds and pits, Ethoxyquin, zinc, Azalea, mushroom, cabbage, chestnut, cherry, eggplant, ivy, honeysuckle, licorice, jasmine, juniper, lima bean, nutmeg
egg shell, cuttlebone, mineral block, carrot, beans, bean sprouts, broccoli, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, canary grass, (vitamin K drops for hemophelia), kale, peppers, zucchini, squash, corn, peas, cooked rice
If you can’t spend some time every day with your bird, don’t get one. They are very social creatures, and do not like being caged and alone all day. It can lead to loud screaming and bad behavior.
Male cockatiels often learn to mimic. Keep bad language around them to a minimum, or you might be very embarrassed some day. They can also get loud. Teach them to whistle songs, and you’ll have something pleasant to hear when they want to show off for you.
Training a Tiel takes time. Be sure you can set aside at least 2 hours a day to work on hand training and talking to your bird. You will need patience. If the bird tries to bite, do not yell, or pull back fast. Hold your ground and bear it. Just say “no” in a firm voice. Retreating or yelling lets them know they can scare you. You’re the human, you be the boss.
Females can become egg-bound and die from complications. Be sure you have a good vet and do your research to keep your little girl safe and healthy if you get one.