Cockatiels are fun-loving members of the parrot family. Although they're not big talkers, they'll entertain you nonstop if you'll let them -- they thrive on mental stimulation. Captive cockatiels are capable of living up to 20 years if you care for them properly.
Give your cockatiel a cage measuring at least 18 by 18 by 24 inches. She loves to spread her wings and play, so the larger the better. Install food and water dishes, and make it a stimulating place by filling it with toys such as a bird gym, bells to ring and plenty of perches.The bar spacing should not exceed a half-inch. Place newspaper on the bottom of the cage to catch droppings, and replace the paper daily.
Place the cage in an area away from doorways and drafts. However, don’t keep her isolated; cockatiels are social. If possible, place her in the family room, near a wall. She will need at least 10 hours of sleep nightly, so cover her cage with a towel to signal when it is time to rest. Also, keep in mind that she may get afraid in the dark and instinctively attempt to fly away, hurting herself against the cage. Try keeping a corner of the cage uncovered, and turn on a night light.
Feed her pellets formulated for cockatiels. She is the best judge of how much food is needed, but offer 15 grams a day. A healthy ratio consists of at least 90 percent pellets and 10 percent fresh foods. You might be surprised by the type of food she enjoys. For example, cooked chicken or steamed asparagus may appeal to her. Seeds are high in fat and can lead to obesity, so use sparingly as an occasional treat. Provide a fresh supply of water daily.
Put a shallow bowl filled with room-temperature water inside of her cage to give her the opportunity for a daily bathe. A cockatiel needs the moisture to keep her skin healthy. Although she may not hop into the water right away, keep offering her the opportunity. In the meantime, until she gets the idea, use a water bottle to spray light mists on her feathers.
- Place the cage high, at eye level, to allow for easy access.
- Clean her water container and cage on a weekly basis with bleach, and rinse thoroughly. Consider purchasing a extra cage that you can place her in while cleaning her primary cage.
- Most cages come with a food and water dish, but you might opt for a water bottle instead to keep your cockatiel from pooping in it.
- Remove any uneaten fresh fruits and vegetables after five hours; remove meats after one hour.
- Have your cockatiel's wings clipped by an avian veterinarian to keep her safe.
- Some people foods are toxic for your cockatiel, consult with your veterinarian for the safest options.
- Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
Yvonne Ward began her professional writing career in 2004. She wrote a true-crime book published in 2010 and has two more underway. She also has a strong background in business, education and farm living. Ward is pursuing a Master of Arts in history and culture from Union Institute and University.