Article Hero Image

BIRD / new pets

Cockatiel Care Guide

Tips from home to health to food and fun

Overview

6 things to know about your cockatiel

  • Cockatiels are the smallest member of the cockatoo family
  • They grow up to a foot long
  • They can live for 15 years or more
  • They are extremely social and enjoy daily interaction with their humans
  • They're intelligent enough to learn commands
  • They are native to Australia

How do I set up my cockatiel's home?

  • Cockatiels get along well in pairs and groups.
  • Choose a cage at least twice the size of your cockatiel's wingspan, a minimum of 18 x 22 x 18 inches. If you will be keeping more than one in the cage, increase the cage size accordingly.
  • Place your cockatiel's cage close to the family in a living room, den or bedroom.
  • Birds are sensitive to strong smells, smoke and drafts. Keep your cockatiel's cage away from the kitchen and away from windows.
  • Your cockatiel's cage should include at least 2 perches of different heights, thickness and texture. These variations help keep your cockatiel's feet healthy.
  • Don't put a perch directly above the bird's food or water bowl; droppings are likely to land there.
  • Layer the floor of the cage with corncob, aspen or recycled-paper bedding, or a cage liner. Spot clean the bedding frequently and completely change it at least once a month.
Shop cages Shop perches Shop corn-cob bedding

What do cockatiels eat?

Cockatiels enjoy a range of foods, including commercial birdseed,pelleted food, vegetables, fruit and the occasional treat.

  • Seed and pelleted mixes are Birdseed is the mainstay of your cockatiel's diet. Keep your cockatiel's food bowl three-quarters full of feed birdseed and refresh it daily. Be sure to remove empty seed hulls from the food dish.
  • Feed your bird dark, leafy greens every other day.
  • Offer your cockatiel fruit such as apple, banana or melon once a week.
  • Offer your cockatiel a honey stick or millet spray once a month as a special treat.
  • Be sure your bird has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
Shop cockatiel food

How do I play with and groom my cockatiel?

Cockatiels are birds of play! They love to interact with their owners. They can also entertain themselves inside their cages with toys.

  • Spend at least 1 hour a day holding or playing with your cockatiel.
  • Cockatiels love to get out of their cages and perch on a T-stand.
  • Keep your cockatiel happy inside the cage with 2 or 3 toys, including puzzles that hide treats.
  • 2 or 3 times a week, give your cockatiel a bowl of warm water to use as a bath. Or mist your pet gently with warm water from a clean spray bottle.
Shop toys, perches and decor

How do I keep my cockatiel healthy?

Cockatiels should be allowed to settle into their new home for a few days before you handle them. Even once your feathered friend is settled in, a vet visit may be in order if you notice any of these signs of illness or distress:

  • Sitting at the bottom of the cage
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Less activity and preening
  • Feathers fluffed for long periods of time
  • Runny droppings for more than 2 days
  • Discharge from nose or mouth
  • Sneezing

Talk to a PetSmart store associate or avian veterinarian if you have questions about your bird's health.

PET SAFETY TIPS

  • Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite or scratch (especially when stressed).
  • Supervise children around pets.
  • ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
  • Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water.

VET ASSURED™

Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.

Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

PETSMART PROMISE

If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you're not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.