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9 Best Foods for Cockatiels 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove

July 14, 2021

cockatielCockatiels are fun to interact with, and they are generally easy to care for, which is partly what makes them such great pets. One of the most important things you can do to keep your cockatiel healthy is to feed them a well-balanced diet. But which cockatiel food on the market is the best food to invest in? This is a question most cockatiel owners ask at one time or another, and likely why you are here right now.

With so many different options available, how do you know you are choosing the right one for your beloved cockatiel? One way to make sure that you are making a good choice is to read some reviews of the best options out there. You are in luck because we have put together a list of reviews for the 9 best food options for cockatiels so that you can understand them better and make an educated buying decision next time you order some food for your cockatiel. Without further ado, here are our picks for the best food for cockatiels in 2021:

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Higgins Safflower Gold Cockatiel Bird Food Higgins Safflower Gold Cockatiel Bird Food
  • Made with high-quality ingredients
  • Contains no artificial colors or flavors
  • Includes a variety of dried whole fruits
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Cockatiel Food Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Cockatiel Food
  • Made with all-natural ingredients
  • Full of healthy carbohydrates
  • No artificial fillers or preservatives
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    ZuPreem Natural Bird Food ZuPreem Natural Bird Food
  • Comes in an easy-to-eat pellet form
  • Promotes a strong immune system
  • Includes real fruits and veggies
  • Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Bird Food Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Bird Food
  • Variety of Ingredients
  • Naturally colored
  • Includes probiotics for digestive support
  • Roudybush Daily Maintenance Bird Food Roudybush Daily Maintenance Bird Food
  • Made for adult parrots like cockatiels
  • Comes in crumble form
  • Available in bulk packaging
  • The 9 Best Foods for Cockatiels

    1. Higgins Safflower Gold Cockatiel Bird Food – Best Overall

    Higgins Safflower Gold Cockatiel Bird Food

    Higgins Safflower Gold Conure and Cockatiel food is designed to provide birds with gourmet meals that satisfy their appetites and keeps them full until their next mealtime. Made predominantly of safflower seeds, which is something cockatiels seem to particularly like, this food is fortified with dried fruits like raisins, papaya, and pineapple, as well as cashews, coconut, and carrot just to name a few.  This ensures that your bird will enjoy a well-rounded diet that helps ensure a healthy nervous system throughout all life stages.

    Also included are probiotics to support proper digestion and belly comfort after a big meal. Added DHA in the form of omega 3 and 6 fats help ensure strong eyesight and a healthy immune system. What this food does not contain are artificial colorings or flavorings. The only downside is that the resealable package is tough to work with.

    Pros
    • Made with high-quality ingredients
    • Contains no artificial colors or flavors
    • Includes a variety of dried whole fruits
    Cons
    • Resealable package is tough to open

    2. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Cockatiel Food – Best Value

    Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Cockatiel Food

    We think that Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health is the best food for cockatiels for the money for a couple of good reasons. First and foremost, it contains all-natural ingredients and no fillers like many other options on the market do. This feed is formulated specifically for cockatiels, ensuring that all their nutritional needs will be met no matter the stage of life they are in. This is a seed-based formula that includes natural sources of protein cockatiels need for strong bones and muscles, such as canary grass seed, millet, as well as sunflower and safflower seeds.

    Also, cracked corn and flax meal are included for a healthy dose of carbohydrate energy and essential omega oils. Both probiotics and prebiotics are also featured in this food to ensure proper digestion and gut comfort for your bird. This cockatiel food is naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols and will hold up well for several days after the packaging gets opened.

    Pros
    • Made with all-natural ingredients
    • Contains no artificial fillers or preservatives
    • Full of healthy carbohydrates
    • Includes probiotics and prebiotics for healthy digestion
    Cons
    • The packaging does not seal well after opening

    3. ZuPreem Natural Bird Food – Premium Choice

    ZuPreem Natural Bird Food

    If you prefer not to feed your cockatiel seeds, ZuPreem natural bird food is a great option to consider. It is made with corn, millet, oat groats, barley, and wheat to provide the protein and carbohydrate energy medium-sized birds such as cockatiels need. It also features a wide variety of vegetables like carrots, celery, and beets to ensure a strong immune system and a healthy heart. Some fruits like cranberries and blueberries are also included for antioxidant support.

    This food comes in pellet form, making it easy for cockatiels to eat and digest. All nutritional needs are addressed here, so there is no need to invest in additional supplements of any kind. However, fruits and veggies can be served as snacks to help round out your bird’s nutrition intake without worrying about vitamin or mineral overdosing.

    Pros
    • Comes in an easy-to-eat pellet form
    • Promotes a strong immune system
    • Includes real fruits and veggies
    Cons
    • Can get boring for cockatiels that enjoy texture varieties

    4. Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Bird Food

    Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Bird Food

    What’s unique about Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend cockatiel food is that it is made not only of grains and grass seeds, but it also includes fruit seeds from cantaloupes which is something the other options on our reviews list here do not feature. An assortment of nuts such as cashews and walnuts, as well as coconut provide a hearty dose of healthy fats that are essential for the proper growth and development of your feathered family member.

    This blend is colored so it is vibrant and more reminiscent of a natural cockatiel diet in the wild. Luckily, it is colored using whole-food sources such as beet and turmeric powders, alfalfa, and annatto seeds. A specially formulated blend of probiotics ensures a healthy immune system and comfortable digestion. This product only comes in 3-pound packages, so you may have to buy it often if you have more than one cockatiel.

    Pros
    • The unique blend features cantaloupe seeds and nuts for added variety
    • Naturally colored using whole food sources, like beets
    • Includes probiotics for digestive support
    Cons
    • Does not come in bulk packaging

    5. Roudybush Daily Maintenance Bird Food

    Roudybush Daily Maintenance Bird Food

    This is another seed-free bird formula that is designed specifically for parrots, including the cockatiel. Made for adult birds, this is a natural food that comes in crumble form so adults and seniors can easily consume it. Every morsel is edible and contains important ingredients such as l-arginine and yucca schidigera extract to ensure that all your bird’s nutritional needs as time goes on.

    Roudybush feed comes in 10, 25, and 50-pound packages so you can stock up for months at a time if you really want to. This formula is a little higher in fat than other options on the market, which can be a problem for low-energy cockatiels – especially when they get older. Also, the higher fat content means that this food needs to be stored in a cool, dry place to keep it from going rancid.

    Pros
    • Made specifically for adult parrots like cockatiels
    • Comes in crumble form for ease of consumption
    • Available in bulk packaging
    Cons
    • A higher fat content can result in obesity for lower energy cockatiels

    6. Lafeber Classic Avi-Cakes Bird Food

    Lafeber Classic Avi-Cakes Bird Food

    Lafeber Classic Avi-Cakes are formulated with both seeds and grains to create a unique, highly nutritious flavor profile that your parrot is sure to get excited about. As the name suggests, this food comes in the form of little cakes made up of canary grass seed, white millet, hulled oats, and corn that makes for a hardy, varied meal that offers multiple textures and flavors.

    This food does not include any real fruits or vegetables like many others on our reviews list do, but it is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals to help ensure that your parrot does not end up with any deficiencies. This is a great food option for those who do not mind supplementing the food with some fruit and vegetable scraps from their kitchen.

    Pros
    • Comes in a fun cake-like form that most birds enjoy pecking at
    • Contains both seeds and grains
    • Easy to store between meals
    Cons
    • Does not include any real fruits or vegetables

    7. Lafeber Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries Cockatiel Bird Food

    Lafeber Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries Cockatiel Bird Food

    This tropical cockatiel food is filled with exciting fruits that parrots are accustomed to enjoying in the wild, like papaya, pineapple, and mango. Developed by veterinarians, Lafeber Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries cockatiel food delivers all the vitamins and minerals these birds need to thrive. The texture of the food is crunchy, which helps to stimulate a cockatiel’s senses while they eat.

    This food is naturally preserved and contains no artificial ingredients so you can have peace of mind in knowing that every bite they take lends to their health instead of taking away from it. The seeds and grains in this food blend are hulled, which does decrease their nutritional value somewhat. But it does make the seeds and grains easier for birds to digest. The nutrition that is stripped during the hulling process is reintroduced through supplementation during production.

    Pros
    • Offers a true taste of the tropics
    • Veterinarian developed and approved
    • Crunch texture for brain, tongue, and beak stimulation
    Cons
    • The hulling process strips some nutrients away from this formula’s seeds and grains
    • The crunchy nuggets may need to be broken up before feeding to younger, smaller cockatiels

    8. ZuPreem FruitBlend Bird Food

    ZuPreem FruitBlend Bird Food

    ZuPreem FruitBlend bird food is full of healthy fruits that medium-sized birds such as cockatiels are sure to love. Included in the formula are oranges, grapes, bananas, and apples all dried, of course, to keep your cockatiel busy and satisfied during mealtime. Corn and wheat are also included, offering plenty of carbohydrate energy to get your cockatiel through the day. Fortified with vitamin B12, thiamine, and niacin among other essential vitamins and minerals, this cockatiel food offers all the nutrition your cockatiel needs to stay happy and healthy throughout life.

    This colorful blend features small bite-sized pellets of different shapes to keep mealtime interesting for your beloved winged pet. It can be fed to wild birds in the yard too! The downsides to this food are that it contains artificial colors which do not offer any benefits to your bird’s health and that it contains fillers like soybean meal and vegetable oil, neither of which are necessary.

    Pros
    • Filled with tasty fruits that cockatiels cannot seem to resist
    • Offers plenty of natural carbohydrate energy
    • Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals
    Cons
    • Includes unnecessary fillers
    • Contains artificial coloring

    9. Kaytee Fiesta Variety Mix Cockatiel Bird Food

    Kaytee Fiesta Variety Mix Cockatiel Bird Food

    Kaytee Fiesta variety mix is made for all small and medium-sized parrots, including the cockatiel – but it is not specifically formulated just for the cockatiel. Therefore, it is formulated with a wide variety of seeds and grains to offer a broad nutritional profile. It does contain some fruits and veggies like apples and peppers, but most of this food is made up of grass and safflower seeds, oat groats, ground corn, millet, and wheat.

    This is a food option that is most suitable for cockatiels that are also fed fresh fruits and vegetables as treats between meals. This food can be purchased in quantities of 2.5, 4.5, and 25-pound packages. One major downside is that the seeds and grains are colored using a variety of artificial colors including FD&C red, blue, and yellow.

    Pros
    • Made for all small and medium parrots, making feed time convenient for multi-bird households
    • Contains some whole fruits and veggies
    Cons
    • Made with artificial colors
    • Not formulated specifically for cockatiels, so supplementation may be necessary

    Buyer’s Guide

    Buying a quality commercial food for your cockatiel is serious business. If the wrong blend is chosen, there is a risk of your bird developing nutritional deficiencies and consequently health problems as they age. There are a few things you can do to make sure that the cockatiel food you choose to invest in is the right choice for your fine-feathered friend. We have outlined some important tips to consider below:

    Schedule a Checkup

    One of the most important things you can do before choosing a new food to buy for your cockatiel is to schedule a checkup appointment with your veterinarian. This will help ensure that your bird does not have any underlying health conditions that have gone unnoticed. If health conditions are found, they may require a special diet as part of a treatment plan and your vet can let you know exactly which ingredients to look for and which to avoid.

    Even if no serious health conditions are found, your veterinarian can recommend food options and ingredients based on things such as their activity level, current diet, and fruit and vegetable intake. You can bring a list of the foods you are considering buying with you to the vet visit from some expert feedback about each one of them. This should help you narrow your options down quickly.

    Consider Snacks and Treats

    Cockatiel Feeding
    Image Credit By: MIH83, pixabay

    If you enjoy feeding your cockatiel snacks and treats regularly, take note of which foods you typically offer them during these times. If you typically feed them shredded carrots and pineapple chunks at snack time, you should choose a food that contains no carrots or pineapple and instead includes other fruits and veggies that are not already regularly being offered as snacks.

    The same goes for any nuts, seeds, or grains that you might feed your parrot as snacks and treats. This will help ensure that your cockatiel’s diet is well-rounded and does not lack in any vitamins or minerals. It will also help ensure that you do not overfeed your birdie any specific nutrients as time goes on. You can be sure that your bird will not easily tire of their diet and start becoming picky when it comes to their offerings at meal or snack time.

    Talk to Other Cockatiel Owners

    If you have friends or family who own cockatiels, ask them which food options they like the best and which their birds tend to enjoy the most. They may offer some valuable advice and recommendations that make choosing a new food to buy for your cockatiel easier and less stressful overall. If you do not personally know anyone who owns a cockatiel, read reviews for the foods you are most interested in online to gain some insider knowledge about them, and visit some cockatiel chat rooms and forums to get some advice about the options you are considering.

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    Conclusion

    Whether your cockatiel has special dietary needs, is picky about the types of seeds and fruits they eat, has health issues that need to be managed, or will eat just about anything you put in front of them, you should find the perfect food option for them right here on our reviews list. We highly recommend our number 1 pick, Higgins Safflower Gold cockatiel food, because it provides complete nutrition, it contains an impressive variety of dried fruits, and it has no artificial colors or flavors.

    Our second pick should not be overlooked, either. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health cockatiel food is full of healthy carbohydrates, prebiotics, and probiotics for optimal digestion. Every option on our list is unique and deserves consideration so take the time to check them all out! Does any specific brand stand out from the others in your eyes? If so, let us know why in the comments section below.


    Featured Image Credit By: 995645, pixabay

    Nicole Cosgrove

    Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.