Cockatiel care

The cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) is a semi-arid bird species that is found in many parts of Australia. They make very good pets and generally fairly easy to keep.

Males and females both make great pets and the sex of the bird doesn’t impact how good of a pet they will make. They are sweet, calm and gentle, fun and friendly with a tremendous character.

Cockatiels are gregarious by nature and are exceptionally social if raised interactively.  Many people should raise and train at once when young.  Like any other parrots we must be careful of the one the one-person bonding syndrome.

There are a many different colour variants available including the pearl and lutino mutations.

Talking ability is not as good as with other birds, but they can be very vocal and great whistlers. The cockatiel is one of the only species where male birds often will mimic more than female birds. The males chatter and whistle melodies while the females are mostly quiet.

Generally the female adores being stroked and caressed while the male enjoys to get handled but not caressed.

Housing:

  • Cage – a good quality powder coated or stainless steel cage of an appropriate size. Some painted cages can contain lead elements, which can be toxic to your bird so please take care when selecting your cage. Cages that have been galvanized with a zinc coating can also cause problems so please select carefully.
  • Bowls – stainless steel or ceramic bowls, these materials are not porous therefore cannot harvest bacteria if cleaned properly. Plastic bowls can become porous after a while and can cause problems if bacteria build up in these areas.
  • Perches – perches of various sizes are important for exercise of the toes and feet health. Natural perches from native trees are ideal as they generally vary in size anyway. We generally advise against calcium perches as they can dry out the bottom of the feet and can easily harvest bacteria due to the porous nature of the material. We generally advise against sand paper covered perches as they can harm the skin on the feet due to their abrasive surfaces.
  • Toys – please do not provide string or rope toys, they fray over time and can cause obstruction if swallowed.
  • If you are feeding a balanced diet then cuttlefish and other supplements are not needed.
  • Environmental enrichment is recommended. Paper roll and toilet rolls make great toys, they can be used to hide food in, by placing treats in the middle and placing newspaper or shredded paper on each side. This can provide hours of entertainment for many birds.
  • Daylight – It is important that your bird gets enough sleep as long-day light exposure can stimulate excessive molting and increased reproductive activity. We recommend you keep to the natural day length. If your bird is kept inside in a well-lit area then you can cover the cage when the sun goes down and place them in a dark room to ensure that their day length is not too long.
  • Cage mates – cockatiels generally do well with other birds as they usually forage in the wild in pairs or small flocks.


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