Your cockatiel's cage is his safe, secure, personal space, so you want to make sure it's big enough for him to be comfortable. A cage that's the wrong size or shape can unfairly restrict his movement, so make sure you get him something that will accommodate his usual activities.
Choose a cage that is at least 14 inches in every direction. While that is technically large enough, your bird won't be particularly thankful for it. Ideally, it should be bigger, particularly in length. Cockatiels generally stay relatively low in the cage, so look for one that is at least as long as it is tall. Three feet is a good size for length and height, while the width need only be about 18 inches. This gives your bird just enough room to spread his wings and fly around. As far as your cockatiel is concerned, bigger is better.
Measure the distance between the bars. If your bars are too far apart, your bird can get his head stuck between them, resulting in stress, injury or even death. They should ideally be about half an inch apart, but can be as far apart as three-quarters of an inch. Cockatiels love to climb on the bars of their cages, so favor a cage with horizontal bars rather than vertical ones.
Look only at metal cages, not wooden ones. While wood or bamboo cages may be aesthetically pleasing, they are susceptible to damage from your bird and are less sanitary than metal cages.
- Choose a square or rectangular cage, as cockatiels like being able to retreat to a corner.
- Before introducing your bird to a new cage, scrub the cage down with a mix of equal parts vinegar and water to remove any harmful chemicals that may linger from the production line.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.