Why are cockatiels considered good pets?

How to keep cockatiels properly

Cockatiels are parrots. Visually, cockatiels are reminiscent of parakeets, but belong to the cockatoos within the parrot order. Cockatiels live in Australia and inhabit most of the continent.

Are cockatiels right for me?

Keeping cockatiels is a lot of fun - if you are familiar with the birds and what they need to be happy. With this Checklist you can check if the cockatiel attitude is right for you:

  • At least two cockatiels will move in with me. I am aware that I cannot keep the birds alone.
  • I know cockatiels need a very large cage. I have space for it in my apartment.
  • I can even put the cockatiels in their own bird room.
  • Cockatiels can get very loud and even scream. That doesn't bother me, my family, my neighbors or my landlord.
  • I realize that keeping cockatiels also means "dirt", e.g. when the birds are moulting. I have to clean more often and from time to time I have feathers, droppings and remains of grain in the apartment.
  • When I travel, I have someone to take good care of my cockatiels.
  • I also know an avian veterinarian nearby who will help me when my cockatiels are sick.
  • Cockatiels can live up to 20 years. Some even have a life expectancy of 30 years - that's how long I can and will take care of the animals.

Can you answer "yes" to all of these points? Then suits you Entry of cockatiels nothing more in the way. Then read now what you should know when buying, cage size, free flight, diet, breed and behavior.

Buying cockatiels

At the Buying cockatiels you should look closely. Cockatiels have a life expectancy of up to 20 years - so you will be with them for a long time at best. Careful selection is therefore important.

The first thing you should do is log into the animal shelter Inquire about cockatiels in your area. Sometimes couples are handed in here. This is how you give abandoned cockatiels the chance of a new home.

If you decide to buy a new one, you can opt for a good one breeder look around or check out the zoo departments of large garden centers. Take your time. When buying cockatiels, look out for the following things:

  • The cage that houses the cockatiels should be clean and light. There is fresh water, food and fresh litter made from sand.
  • The cockatiels are lively and relaxed.
  • The cockatiel's beak, cloaca and feet have no deposits and are therefore free from parasites.
  • The feet of the cockatiels are ringed.
  • The seller takes his time, answers your questions about cockatiels and provides competent information.

Cockatiel breeds

Cockatiels are naturally gray. In the meantime, cockatiels are bred in different colors. Which breed you choose is up to your personal taste. Here is a small selection of cockatiel breeds:

  • natural or wild colors: Natural or wild colored cockatiels are gray. The males wear a bright yellow mask. Females have the typical transverse banding on the underside of the tail.
  • Lutino: This breed can be recognized by its delicate yellow, almost white plumage.
  • Albino: The color pigments are missing in this cockatiel breed. The plumage is white.

Determine the sex of the cockatiel

It is clear that cockatiels are not allowed to be kept alone. If you don't want to breed, you buy same-sex couples: two males or two females. The sex of cockatiels is not always easy to determine. This is quite possible with naturally colored cockatiels that are older than six months: cocks have a yellow mask, hens do not. They have the pattern on the underside of the tail.

In cockatiels, unfortunately, looking at the beaked wax skin does not help, as is the case with budgies, for example. And so it is more difficult to determine the sexes of colors such as lutino or albino. One possibility is that Behavior of cockatiels to study: Roosters courtship and sing a little more melodically than hens. When buying cockatiels, however, you often do not have enough time to observe the behavior for a long time and the analysis is not one hundred percent either.

Ultimately, only the vet can reliably determine the sex of cockatiels using DNA analysis.

The cockatiel cage

The following applies to the cockatiel cage: lots of space and the bigger the better. The cage should be at least 200 x 60 x 150 cm (W x D x H) - for a pair of cockatiels. The more cockatiels, the larger the aviary. This includes the daily possibility of extensive free flight. This is what the optimal cockatiel cage looks like:

  • The cage shape must be square, please not round. The cockatiels find it difficult to move in it
  • The bars of the cage are horizontal so that the cockatiels can climb
  • The color of the cage bars is best dark
  • The cage material should be non-toxic. For metal, please ensure that it is "free of zinc and heavy metals"
  • The cage should be set up in an exciting way with suitable toys and plenty of nibble and climbing opportunities

The Location of the cage it is best to choose close to a window so that the cockatiels get as much natural light as possible. In the dark season, special UV bird lamps are appropriate. The cage location should be draft-free. Position the cage so that the cockatiels can see everything. It is also ideal when the cockatiels are not alone, especially when you only keep a couple. A good cage location is therefore usually in the living room - the place where you mostly stay.

Here is a look into a well-designed cockatiel aviary:

Keep cockatiels out

One way to house multiple cockatiels is that year-round outdoor housing in the aviary. A heatable shelter is important for keeping outside. The shelter should be big enough, bright and attractively furnished. Only then do the cockatiels like to retreat at low temperatures.

Are the Cockatiels housed outside, the cage must be designed so that the birds have enough space to fly. The aviary should also be escape-proof and safe from wild animals. Since cockatiels have a long life expectancy, you should pay attention to the durability and good quality of the materials when building them.

The right food for cockatiels

Put the grains in the bowl and you're done? The right food for cockatiels looks different. How to put together a balanced feed.

  • Finished grain feed:
    In itself, commercially available ready-made cockatiels is not wrong. But it should be supplemented. Add grass and wild seeds, oil seeds (peeled sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts). Attention: Due to the high fat content, please feed oilseeds only once a week, otherwise the cockatiel could become too fat.
  • Fruit and vegetables:
    One third of the daily food ration for cockatiels should consist of fruits and vegetables, culinary herbs, wild plants, buds, leaves and twigs. Warning: Avocados are highly toxic - please never feed them! Please wash everything thoroughly before feeding.
  • Minerals:
    The mineral requirements of cockatiels are covered by limestones, sepia shells and finely ground eggshells. Before you feed eggshells, please heat them in the oven at 100 degrees to kill germs. Caution: Sepia shells are the back shoulder of the common squid that lives in salt water. The salt is harmful to cockatiels, so please water the pods one or two days beforehand.
  • Protein:
    Feed your cockatiels once a week (every two weeks for birds over 10 years old) with a little yogurt, low-fat quark, a small piece of boiled egg or a teaspoon of rearing food with dried insects. Caution: Please do not feed too much protein to cockatiels, as this can lead to kidney diseases.

Cockatiels feed when they are moulting

Cockatiels molt several times a year. The moult is important because the plumage is newly formed. During this time, cockatiels consume a lot of energy and often feel itching in their plumage. Some cockatiels then need more rest and more breaks. With lots of fresh food you can help your cockatiels survive the moult. You can also use a knife tip twice a week protein from a chicken egg boiled for 20 minutes.

Attention: If the cockatiel does not moult or if the moulting stalls, please consult an ornithological veterinarian.

The behavior of cockatiels

Cockatiels are sociable birds and should not be kept alone. If you do, the birds can develop severe behavior disorders such as screaming or plucking their feathers. But there are also some other things about cockatiel behavior that you should know.

When cockatiels scream

You should definitely take this behavior seriously. If cockatiels scream all the time, it is a sign of an unhappy bird. This behavior is often seen in birds kept individually. But cockatiels that are bored can also develop into screaming birds. Therefore, you should always offer enough activity opportunities inside and outside the cage (outdoor seating, fresh twigs to gnaw on, toys with bells and pearls, swings and climbing opportunities).

When cockatiels gnaw

Cockatiels have a pronounced gnaw drive. This is not a mistake, but is part of the natural behavior of birds. To prevent the cockatiel from dismantling your wallpaper or furniture, you should provide it with enough fresh twigs, cork, balsa wood or natural rubber

When cockatiels threaten

The cockatiel picks into the air with its beak open - have you seen this behavior before? This is not a cause for concern, as it is how cockatiels fight little fights with one another. You only need to intervene if the cockatiels seriously injure each other. Fortunately, this rarely happens.

When cockatiels bite

If the cockatiel bites you, for example when you want to put it on your finger, this is very unpleasant behavior. You shouldn't scold the bird, though. In this case, calmly put the cockatiel down, turn your back on it and, if necessary, leave the room. Do not try again until the cockatiel is calm and relaxed. Work with treats and don't lose patience - then this behavior will soon be a thing of the past.

When cockatiels raise the hood

The cockatiel hood provides information about the well-being of the small cockatoos. If the hood is upright, the cockatiel is doing fine. When the cockatiel inflates its cheek feathers, it wants to rest. If he puts on the cheek springs to do this, he is particularly attentive and alert. If the cockatiel makes itself slim and tilts the hood forward, it is afraid of something. If the cockatiel puts the hood on tightly and otherwise becomes very "thin", it does not feel well or is afraid.

Cockatiels and other pets

Cockatiels can be kept well with other birds. Even small animals are no problem for cockatiels.

Cockatiels and other birds

It is possible to keep cockatiels with other birds. For example, cockatiels get along well with budgies. It is important that the birds are housed in a large aviary and have their own retreat. In addition to budgies, cockatiels usually get along well with finches or canaries.

Cockatiels with dog and cat

Caution is advised with larger dogs and those who have a strong hunting instinct. Cockatiels can be easily injured here. Cats and cockatiels are also not a good combination. The birds are exciting prey for cats and it is almost impossible to get them used to it.

However, if the cockatiels are housed in the outdoor aviary, for example, and the dog or cat are domestic animals, the animals will probably rarely meet. A common stance would be quite possible here. Caution and special supervision are still required, as dogs dig in the garden and even the quietest indoor cat can sneak outside.