The lovable cockatiel is sometimes referred to as "America's favorite pet bird" because of its popularity and affectionate personality. When caring for your 'tiel, treats are an excellent way to increase bonding and show your little guy a little extra love.
In their native Australia, cockatiels are ground foragers that feed primarily on seeds. In captivity, your 'tiel would probably eat seeds and only seeds. Seeds are high in fat, though, and should only make up approximately 30 percent of your cockatiel's diet. As a treat, though, sunflower seeds may disappear as soon as you put them in the cage! Giving some special seeds as a treat every now and then will keep your feathered friend happy. Millet spray is always a good choice for a treat and is often quickly devoured and relished.
Fruits are an important aspect of your captive 'tiel's diet, but can also be an excellent treat, especially if you find out which ones your little guy loves. Some cockatiels, and other Australian parrots for that matter, don't really care for fleshy fruits and veggies due to living in arid climates in the wild. This isn't to say that your 'tiel won't readily accept melons or other greens. Natural fruit baby foods are convenient sources of snacks for cockatiels that will eat them. Giving bite-sized pieces of apples or melons is also a great way to treat your cockatiel to some natural goodness. Natural dried fruits are also a great source of treats, such as dried apple rings or banana chips. Be careful with giving too many fruits, as fruits are high in sugar.
Veggies are also a great, healthy treat for your little guy. Giving your 'tiel veggies can be as simple as chopping fresh greens or buying the dehydrated kind. Some 'tiels will even throw dehydrated veggies into their water dish to rehydrate them. Dehydrated veggies are great for a few reasons, including health and the fact that they're crunchy. Sprouts are an easy way to grow your own snacks for your bird. Sprouts are more nutritional than their full-grown counterparts.
A few things are a no-no for your 'tiel, even though they may seem like a healthy treat. Never feed your feathered companion raw beans, avocado or fruit pits. All of these can cause serious health issues, including death. Eggplant, tomato leaves and green potatoes are also bad for your bird because they contain toxic alkaloids.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.