BIRD / new pets
Cockatiel Care Guide
Tips from home to health to food and fun
6 things to know about cockatiels
- Experience Level: Beginner
- Size: The smallest of the cockatoo family, cockatiels can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long
- Lifespan: Cockatiels can live for 15 years or more
- Temperament: They are extremely social and enjoy daily interaction with their humans
- Behavior: They're intelligent enough to learn commands
- Origin: Cockatiels are native to Australia
How do I set up my cockatiel's home?
- Cockatiels get along well in pairs.
- Choose a cage at least twice the size of your cockatiel's wingspan, a minimum of 20 x 20 x 30 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, gases, smoke and drafts. Keep your cockatiel's cage away from the kitchen and away from windows.
- Your cockatiel's cage should include a variety of 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.
- Line the enclosure floor with recycled-paper bedding or use a paper liner. Replace the liner at least every other day.
What do cockatiels eat?
Cockatiels enjoy a range of foods, including commercial birdseed, pelleted food, vegetables, fruit and the occasional treat.
- A mixture of 75% pellets and 25% seeds will be the mainstay of your cockatiel's diet. Keep your cockatiel's food bowl three-quarters full and refresh it daily.
- Feed your bird dark, leafy greens and other fresh veggies every other day. These should make up no more than 20% of their overall diet.
- Offer your cockatiel fresh fruit such as berries, melon, papaya or kiwi every other day.
- 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.
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 shallow bowl of warm water to use as a bath. Or mist your pet gently with warm water from a clean spray bottle.
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 is recommended yearly but may be in order sooner 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
- Change in droppings for more than 2 days
- Discharge from nose or mouth
Talk to an 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.
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.
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.