Caring for a Cockatiel
Lifespan: Up to 30 years
Cockatiels make great pets, especially if you found yourself a hand-fed baby. They are extremely social animals so if you cannot spend time being social with your bird every day, it may be a good idea to make sure they have a friend. That being said, they are perfectly content on their own as long as you talk to them, handle them, and provide them with plenty of toys to keep them occupied. Male cockatiels can easily be taught to speak, given the proper attention and incentive.
Choose a cage with 5/8-3/4 inch bar spacing, any wider is a safety hazard. Horizontal bars are best, as they provide a climbing surface. A wider cage is better than a tall cage because cockatiels spend a lot of time on the ground. Provide the largest cage you can afford, with the absolute minimum size being 16"x16"x16" (LxWxH). Fix at least two perches at different heights and of a variety of diameters and materials. Choose 3/4 inch dowels or a natural, unsprayed branch (most hardwoods and fruitwoods are safe, except for oak, cherry, and pine which are hazardous).
Your cockatiel's staple diet should consist of seeds and pellets, with foods such as bean mix, fruits, vegetables, and herbs supplementing (oregano and carrots are favorites). Fresh, clean drinking water should be available at all times. This means you will need two dishes for your pet, one for seed/pellets and the other for water. A cuttlebone and mineral block should be made available as well, so that your bird may groom its beak and keep it from over growing. Millet is a great treat that should be offered weekly.
Toys are essential to a happy, playful pet! Having a few safe wood or acrylic toys on hand as well as in the cage will keep your bird busy, and you can rotate them into and out of the cage occasionally to avoid boredom.
Newspaper or corn cob lining the bottom of the cage should be replaced every few days and the cage bottom, dishes, and perches should be washed regularly. Once a month, disinfect the cage with diluted bleach, rinse, and dry thoroughly.
Pet cockatiels should have their wings clipped and nails trimmed. Clipping their wings does not hurt the bird at all and by keeping them grounded you avoid fatal hazards such as flying into glass, into open toilets, walls, ceiling fans, etc. Be alert for signs of illness such as sneezing, droopy eyes, plucking feathers, fluffed feathers, excessive sleep, or changes in droppings.