How Much Should a Cockatiel Eat?

Cockatiels are wild about seeds.

Cockatiels are wild about seeds.

Just like you and me, cockatiels love foods that are bad for them. Sometimes they eat too much of the wrong things and become overweight. Help your little friend remain fit and trim by feeding him the right amount of seeds, pellets and fresh food.


Cockatiels need about 1 1/2 to 2 level tablepoons of seeds a day. In the wild, they eat seeds from a wide variety of plants as they come into season, but proprietary seed mixes have a more limited range. Out of those few kinds of seed, birds often choose only their favorites, such as millet and sunflower, and this leads to dietary deficiency and ill health. Seeds should be only one part of your cockatiel's diet.


The ideal food for cockatiels is pellets. To encourage your bird to eat them, keep a constant fresh supply in his cage. Pellets should form 75 to 80 percent of his diet. Cockatiels are quite small birds, so they only eat about one quarter cup of pellets a day. You can experiment with different color, shape and flavor pellets. Buy a kind appropriate for your bird's age and any health problems he has.

Fruit and Vegetables

Fresh fruit and vegetables are an important part of your cockatiel's diet and should form about 20 to 25 percent of it. Offer him fresh food every day, such as a piece of apple or carrot, bean sprouts, spinach and dandelion leaves. There's no need to peel vegetables, but you should wash them thoroughly and chop them small enough for him to eat. About a teaspoon of fresh food a day is normal for a cockatiel.

Other Foods

Human food is fine for your cockatiel as long as it's healthy and nutritious. Junk food and foods high in sugar and fat are bad for his health. Offer him egg, lean cooked meat and fish. Cheese and other dairy foods are fine in moderation. Human food should be supplemental to your cockatiel's diet, for interest and variety. In the wild, grass seeds and berries form part of the cockatiel diet, so offering these is fine, too.

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About the Author

A graduate of Leeds University, Jenny Green completed Master of Arts in English literature in 1998 and has been writing about travel, gardening, science and pets since 2007. Green's work appears in Diva, Whole Life Times, Listverse, Earthtimes, Lamplight, Stupefying Stories and other websites and magazines.

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