Keeping a Cockatiel as a Pet

enjoy keeping a Cockatiel as a pet

Cockatiels picture

Cockatiel as a pet overview

Cockatiels can be noisy at times, but they are typically loving, kind pets that make excellent first birds for a family. They make excellent companion birds for people who live alone in small apartments or houses because they enjoy interacting with you in a variety of fun and interesting ways.

Cockatiels generally enjoy being handled and will be content to simply hang out with you and do their best to keep you entertained, especially if they are in a good mood and love talking.

A cockatiel can cost anywhere between $30 and $250, though prices vary greatly.

Before you buy a Cockatiel though, you need to know that they have a powdery dust in their feathers and if you have any kind of a respiratory problem, then Cockatiels might not be the best pet for you.  

If you keep a Cockatiel inside, you will probably need to invest in a high volume air purifier.   The dust they produce is so much that you can actually see if floating around in the air.

How do Cockatiels communicate?

How do Cockatiels communicate

Cockatiels, like the majority of parrots, can talk, although not a lot, they have a much smaller vocabulary than other parrots such as African greys and amazon parrots.   In some instances, Cockatiels can be taught to say at least a few words or phrases. Despite their ability to mimic speech, they can be challenging to understand.

One thing for sure though, Cockatiels are excellent whistlers and will not require much encouragement to sing along with songs you play near them.  In fact, these Australian natives are known around the world for their advanced whistling and singing abilities.

Caring for your Cockatiel

Cockatiels a very friendly bird and because of their smaller size, they are reasonably easier to care for and tame than some other parrot species.

Cockatiels poop so incredibly much you won’t believe it and can be a bit messy, so cleaning out their cage or aviary is required on a regular basis.   Give them daily care and attention and with the proper care, they can live for more than twenty years.

Cockatiels can have some of the most diverse and beautiful colour combinations imaginable.

Can you let your Cockatiel fly about your home?

Can you let Cockatiels fly inside your home

Cockatiels love to play with us humans but if you are going to let them free inside the house, you need to prepare them home for them first.

Cockatiels love to chew everything and you need to make sure there are no toxic plants inside your home prior to letting them out for a fly.   Naturally, you will need to turn off any ceiling fans and go around the house and make sure there are no open windows and doors that they might fly out of.

Cockatiels are very inquisitive, so be sure to cover up or stash away any human or pet food you may have around the home, as well as any liquids other than clean fresh room temperature water.

Then there is just the matter of you cat(s), if you have one or more inside cats, it’s probably best that for the time you wish to allow your cockatiel to fly free around the house, you either restrict your cats to one room of the house and put them inside their travel carriers.   

If you’ve got kids, it might also be best to put a latch on the outside of the door you restrict the cats to for this period, accidental opening of that door could create an issue.

It’s best you don’t take the chance of letting your Cockatiel get bitten or scratched by your cat.   Apart from the obvious damage that might happen, there is also the risk of a harmful infection endangering their health.

The same rule should apply for any inside dog(s) you may have.

Once your home has been prepared correctly, absolutely let your Cockatiel fly out freely, it’s good for their health as it’ll give them important exercise.

Bonding with your Cockatiel outside of the cage.

bonding with your cockatiel

When Cockatiels are not flying around exercising and exploring, they will often be happy to sit on your shoulder and just bond with you and will love playing with you.

Cockatiels love playing games and can be taught to fetch small very light toys.  

If you can get your Cockatiel to relax and be calm on the floor carpet with you, you can start off by just rolling or gently tossing the toy just past them.   It will take them some time to work out what’s going on but after a while they will become interested in that toy.   It will take your Cockatiel a bit more time to work out how to pick up the toy and then there’s the last but not least challenge of motivating them to bring the toy to you (typically via treats).

Your Cockatiel’s first flight in the house

Cockatiels flying inside house

There is one extra consideration for when letting your Cockatiel fly around your home for the fist time and it requires you keeping a very close eye on them.  

Believe it or not, your Cockatiel may actually fly into a wall or a door, they will be very excited during the initial part of their maiden house flight and you just need to be ready for it.

With a bit of luck they won’t hurt themselves and it depends on how that incident may play out but just in case they do hurt themselves, be prepared for a situation whereby you may need to take them to the Vet ASAP.

Getting your Cockatiel back into the cage

Your Cockatiel is going to be very happy to be outside of the cage and enjoying freedom, as such, getting your Cockatiel back into its cage can be a tricky and not a lot of fun the first few times.

You will need to be very patient with your Cockatiel and after lots of practice and patience it will become part of the routine.   If you’re lucky, you might be able to entice them back into the cage with the assistance of treats but there’s no guarantee with that.

One of options is to only give your Cockatiel their favourite food and toys when they are inside the cage.   Then they will learn that’s the only place they can have access to it.   Consider putting some millet in there at this time and lots of toys, this way they might understand that inside the cage is great place where they can get all the good tucker and plenty of fun toys.

The other thing to consider is that for certain periods of time under managed situations, leave the door to cage open and your Cockatiel will start to understand they are not completely restricted to being either in or out of the cage.   They can then be more relaxed about going back in after a while.

The best Cockatiel Cage Size

what side Cockatiel cage to buy-1

Cockatiels are intelligent birds that need a lot of stimulation. When you’re looking for the perfect cage or aviary, it’s best to go by the saying ‘the bigger, the better’. They love being able to stretch their wings!

Restrict your web browser searching when it comes to a cockatiel cage to the larger flight cages that might be available either online or in your local area.

If you’re open to buying things online, then be sure to check out Temple & Webster, they are a online only retailer of furniture and home wares but have an absolutely impressive range of bird cages.    For a Cockatiel parent on a budget, they have one I really like and it’s make by Bono Fido.   It’s called the Deluxe Flight Cage on Stand, there reference  SKU # BONO2232.   The overall dimensions are 172cm High x 95cm Wide x 63cm Deep.   

The box it comes in weighs almost 20kg so some people may need assistance initially.   This particular one is a bit over $360 and they typically have at least 10 in stock at any one time.  They have an impressive range and some much larger cages but it all comes down to your budget.

You might also consider buying a cage cover.

If your home tends to get a little draughty, a cage cover is a good idea. Your cockatiel will feel safe and secure and the cover will help them develop a sleep routine.  There are a number of places whereby you could shop around for a good quality cover the right size.   You might not get a cover that fits perfect but as long as you cover the majority of the cage is the main thing.

For the above mentioned bird cage I mentioned from Temple and Webstar, you could try Petbarn,, or or

If you use Catch, the Bird Cage Covers area is

Buy your Cockatiel a Bird bath

Cockatiels are known to be quite messy birds, so having a bird bath will allow them to clean themselves. You can find plenty of plastic options that clip onto the side of the cage.

You will definitely need Cockatiel Cage liners.

Keep your cockatiel’s home clean and hygienic with lots of cage liners that can be easily removed.  Change them out as often as possible.  Be sure to give your Cockatiel nutritious food & plenty of water

Depending on the height of your cage, it can be a good idea to have dishes at the top and bottom to ensure your pet is able to access their food and water at all times. You might consider a water feeder rather than a bowl.

Find a high-quality food specifically formulated for your cockatiel to give them a good start in life and keep them healthy.

Cockatiels will love eating from the long branch of millet. You can find differing varieties of this seed at your local Pet Shop.

Talk to your friendly neighbourhood vet or Pet Shop owner about quality supplements that your Cockatiel might need.

Give them the nutrients they will need and keep their beak in top shape with a mineral block or cuttlefish for them to chew on.

Shell grit gives your Cockatiel a source of calcium and will help their digestion, it’s generally best to put shell grit either on the bottom of the cage or very close to the bottom.

Treats will come in handy sometimes but be careful they you don’t give them too much, treats should only make up about 10 per cent of a Cockatiels diet.

Cockatiel Perches, swings & ladders inside the cage.

Cockatiel perches swings ladders inside cage

Cockatiels love being outside, safely positioned on a perch inside their cage and just watch the whole world in action.

They need all sorts of different ladders inside their cage but be warned, they will chew them up nearly as fast as you can put them in there.

Your cage will come with one or more perches but there’s nothing stopping you from being creative about what you provide them in the cage.

Be sure not to position their Water or Food under a perch as it will almost certainly become contaminated.   As I’ve mentioned before, they poop so very much, it’s almost unbelievable just how much they poop.

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[…] the most commonly kept type of parrot on the east coast of Australia that I can think of.   Here is the link to the article I about Cockatiels on the My Pet Support website, it’s called, ‘Keeping a […]

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