Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

Do Cockatiels Make Great Pets?

Nicole Cosgrove

July 23, 2021

Cockatiels are a type of parrot that is popular for being a household pet and companion. They are native to Australia and can be found throughout the world as well. Cockatiels typically live between 12-25 years, depending on their diet, environment, and how they’re cared for by their owners.

Cockatiels make good pets because they have many qualities that humans find desirable in an animal companion: intelligence, sociability, longevity, ease of breeding (if hand-raised), and low price.

If you’re interested in adopting one yourself or simply curious about this funny-looking bird, read on to learn about the cockatiel!

divider-bird

How to Care for a Cockatiel

Caring for a cockatiel is relatively easy. However, just as with any other bird, there are certain things you need to know before bringing your winged friend home.

cockatiel bird_Jenifer Kramer, Pixabay
Image Credit: Jenifer Kramer, Pixabay

Cockatiel Housing Requirements

One of the main things to consider when caring for a cockatiel is where you’re going to put it. A cage that’s big enough, with lots of perches and roomy spots for hanging out, should be your priority. Cockatiels are not known as “brave” birds, so having the entire height of their enclosure covered will make them feel more secure.

Cockatiels also need lots of fresh water available at all times in their enclosure. Therefore, you’ll want to hang your bird’s food dish as far away from its water dish as possible so that it doesn’t get wet and go bad. Furthermore, you should change the water daily to keep it fresh and clean!

Cockatiels need a lot of time outside their cage every day in order for them to exercise and stretch their wings. A playpen is usually recommended because this makes cleaning up after your bird a lot easier.

Feeding a Cockatiel

The diet of a cockatiel is more complicated than most pets, but luckily for you, there are plenty of resources available with detailed information about what to feed your bird. The best advice we can give you is that it’s important to provide them with fresh food every day to maintain their health and well-being.

Foraging and foraging toys are also great ways to provide your bird with mental stimulation in addition to the physical kind it gets from playing outside its cage every day!

Cockatiels should not eat fruits, vegetables, and seeds like other birds do! Instead, they need grains, pellets (a type of food), some types of nuts, and seed snacks as a part of their healthy diet.

feeding a cockatiel
Image Credit: M. H., Pixabay

Attention and Entertainment

Keep in mind that cockatiels need interaction with humans on a daily basis, too! This can be as simple as letting your pet bird out of its cage for an hour every day to play in the living room or spend time sitting at someone’s feet while they’re working.

Cockatiels are very social animals and respond well to attention and interactions with humans. As a general rule, cockatiels need at least one hour of interaction every day in addition to the time they spend outside their cage exercising and stretching!

Medical Conditions

Cockatiels are usually healthy birds. However, in the event that your cockatiel does get sick, you’ll need to take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment.

Cockatiels are prone to becoming overweight, just like humans can become obese over time if they’re overeating food and not getting enough exercise! Obesity in birds can lead to a slew of other health problems, so it’s best to keep your bird’s weight in check.

Other medical conditions to watch out for include:
  • Feather Plucking: This is not an uncommon condition, but it’s essential to be sure that your bird isn’t suffering from a more severe illness before assuming it’s just plucking for no reason.
  • Crop Stasis: Cockatiels will stop eating their food if they’re feeling stressed or upset about something. Your vet can help you find out what’s wrong.

divider-birdcage

 

Do Cockatiels Make Good Pets for Families?

Cockatiels make great pets for families, even those with small children. However, they can be noisy and messy, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before adopting one.

Cockatiels are very noisy. They can make a variety of loud, high-pitched sounds and mimic other animals and human voices with surprising accuracy.

Because they’re messy eaters, you should clean your bird’s cage every day to avoid having droppings all over the place (though this is usually not an issue for those who use a playpen).

Cockatiels are relatively low-maintenance pets, but they do require daily interaction and attention to keep them happy. However, this social animal is also extremely rewarding for those who take the time to care for it!

Do They Get Along With Other Pets?

Cockatiels are very social animals, which means they enjoy the company of other pets. However, it’s important to know that they can be territorial and aggressive, so you’ll have to make sure your new pet gets along with any cat or dog living in your house!

The first time you introduce your new pet cockatiel to the family, it’s a good idea to start supervised interaction. This will allow you to see how they get along without risking any injuries or stress for either of them!

The key to introducing your pets is that if one doesn’t seem comfortable around the other, don’t force them together until they come to a mutual agreement. You want your pets on friendly terms, and it’s easier if they can just get along when the time is right!

Blue Cockatiel_Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock

The Costs of Buying A Cockatiel

Cockatiels are very popular pets because they’re easy to care for and relatively inexpensive. But, on the other hand, this popularity has led to a high demand which steadily increases their price!

The adoption costs of a cockatiel vary depending on where you buy it from and what the breed is. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50-150 for an adult bird, though some rarer breeds will cost more than that!

In addition to these costs, there are also smaller expenses associated with caring for your pet, such as food (which should not be too high in sugar or fat), toys, and cage accessories.

Breeding Cockatiels

If you decide that you want to get into cockatiel breeding, it’s important to note that it can be a time-consuming and difficult process.

The first step is getting your bird in the mood for mating by slowly introducing them to each other over several weeks. This will also involve changing their diet, so they’re in peak physical condition!

Cockatiels are monogamous birds which means they mate for life. In addition, cockatiels take a long time to produce their offspring, and it’s extremely difficult to breed them in captivity because of this!

The best way to ensure you’re getting baby chicks is by allowing two healthy adult cockatiels the chance to mate naturally (without interference).

There’s also a chance that your female cockatiel will lay an egg, which you’ll have to incubate. This is known as “fostering.” It’s important not to handle the chicks until at least 12 hours after they’ve hatched!

Pros And Cons of Owning A Cockatiel As A Pet

All things considered, there are both pros and cons to getting a cockatiel as a pet.

Pros
  • Beautiful animal
  • It has a wide variety of interesting sounds
  • Quirky personality traits
  • Friendly, social animals that love the company of other pets in the household
  • Relatively easy to care for
Cons
  • Noisy birds
  • Require attention and daily interaction, or they can be unhappy
  • Require a big cage
  • Expectations are high for breeding them successfully

divider-birds

Final Thoughts

If you are considering adopting a cockatiel, please consider the time and energy that you will need to care for it. This should include daily cage-cleaning duties and adequate space in your home for its needs (which may vary depending on whether or not this is their first bird).

Cockatiels can be very social creatures who enjoy attention from humans and other birds; they do best with at least one friend of their species. You should also learn about their habits, so you can proactively prevent problems before they arise!

For more information on how to adopt an amazing pet bird like a cockatiel, read our blog section. Happy Birding!


Featured Image Credit: rainyclub, Shutterstock

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.