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Home > Birds > How Old Should a Cockatiel Bird Be When You Buy It? Facts & Advice

How Old Should a Cockatiel Bird Be When You Buy It? Facts & Advice

cockatiel outside cage

Cockatiels are smaller in size than some other birds, but they have big personalities. The cockatiel is a charismatic bird that’s highly entertaining. This beautiful bird will gladly hitch a ride on your shoulder, dance to your favorite tunes, or play with your dog by calling them.

If you’re thinking about getting a cockatiel chick but don’t know at what age a cockatiel can live without its parents, we’re here to help! As pets, cockatiel chicks start exploring their surroundings by leaving the nesting box for short periods between the ages of 6 and 10 weeks. However, during this period, the chicks must return to the nesting box to be fed by the parents.

By the time they are 12 weeks old, they can survive on their own, which means you can safely get a cockatiel chick when they are 12 weeks of age.


Why 12 Weeks Is the Perfect Age for Getting a Cockatiel

It’s important to remember that buying a young cockatiel is a long-term commitment that can last around 20 years. Just be sure you’re in it for the long haul so you don’t end up putting your bird up for adoption in the future. There are several reasons THAT 12 weeks is the ideal age for getting a cockatiel.

Young Cockatiels Are Easy to Handle

Most young cockatiels offered for sale by breeders are used to people handling them. These hand-raised birds are usually tame and less likely to bite or avoid your hands. A young cockatiel that’s been hand-raised will typically want to be handled when you offer, which means you won’t have to tame your new young bird.

Image By: 995645, Pixabay

Your Chick Will Quickly Bond With You

It’s easy for a 12-week-old cockatiel that’s been handled a lot by its breeder to bond with a new owner. This can make the whole process of getting a new bird less stressful for both you and your chick cockatiel. While your young feathered friend may miss its parents and siblings, it will look to you to replace them.

If you’re new to the wonderful world of cockatiels, you’ll need a great resource to help your birds thrive. We highly recommend taking a closer look at The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels, available on Amazon.

The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels

This excellent book covers everything from the history, color mutations, and anatomy of cockatiels to expert housing, feeding, breeding, and health care tips.

Young Birds Learn Quickly

Cockatiel chicks 12 weeks or older are smart little birds that are always learning. This can make getting used to a whole new environment, diet, toys, and schedule much easier for the bird.

A young cockatiel will typically not have developed any unwanted behaviors like biting, plucking, or being super picky about what it eats. This is a great time to introduce your cockatiel to new foods, toys, and routines and to get your feathered friend used to the amount of handling that you’re comfortable with providing it.


The Best Age to Start Training a Cockatiel

Cockatiels are relatively easy to train as long as you’re patient and understanding. A young cockatiel will regard you as its mother or father figure and will imitate the examples that you set for it.

It’s best to start training a cockatiel at around the age of 12 weeks, as this is when the bird is very open to learning. The first order of business is to teach your young bird to be nice so it doesn’t bite you. If you’re gentle and calm, your bird won’t feel threatened, which means it’s less likely to bite or try to get away from you.

Start by Teaching Your Bird to Be Tame

Teaching a young cockatiel to be tame should start with putting your hand in the cage and holding it there. This method will get your bird used to your hand. When the bird shows no fear, pet its lower abdomen to encourage it to hop onto your hand. When the bird steps onto your hand, extend your pointer finger to encourage the bird to use your finger as a perch.

If your chick becomes spooked during this early training, remove your hand from the bird, but keep it inside the cage and try again after a few seconds. Before long, your cockatiel chick should trust you enough to step onto your hand and move to your pointer finger.

Cockatiel Close Up
Image By: Joshua_Willson, Pixabay

Call Its Name

It’s important to call your cockatiel by its name whenever you’re near it, whether you’re feeding the bird or cleaning its cage. When your bird responds positively, reward it with treats or affection. Focus on showering your bird with lots of praise, and always do the training when the environment is quiet and free from distractions. Keep your training sessions short and sweet so your bird doesn’t become stressed or bored.

Provide Your Bird With Stimulating Toys

To prevent boredom and to stimulate your young bird’s mind, provide your cockatiel with fun toys that it can climb and perch on and explore different textures and colors. A good cockatiel toy will provide your bird with lots of physical and mental stimulation. It will also satisfy your bird’s instinctual drive to chew and promote good beak health. Just make sure any toy you choose is made with bird-safe materials.

cockatiel_Chrisad, Pixabay
Image Credit: Chrisad, Pixabay

Tips for Buying a Young Cockatiel

Since cockatiels are so popular, it’s easy to find places and people selling cockatiel chicks. You can also easily find these young birds at large pet store chains. But before you rush out to one of these mega stores, you should know that most cockatiel chicks found in large pet stores are parent-raised. This type of baby bird is much harder to adopt and bond with than a hand-raised cockatiel that has already bonded with people.

It’s always best to buy a cockatiel chick from a knowledgeable and experienced breeder. A breeder will hand-raise the chicks so you don’t have to tame the bird yourself. A breeder will also share lots of helpful information with you to make raising your young bird easy.

The second-best way to buy a cockatiel chick is to visit small pet stores in your area to see if they have any chicks for sale. Usually, the owners of small pet stores are very invested in all the animals and birds they sell. It’s likely that cockatiel chicks coming from a small pet store are hand-raised and tame. If you have any doubts, ask the owners how much handling the birds have had.

How Much Do Baby Cockatiels Cost?

Pet stores typically sell baby cockatiels for anywhere from $150 to $250, depending on location. Private breeders can charge anywhere from $150 to $350 per chick, depending on factors like the age of the birds and the chicks’ genetics.

A responsible, reputable breeder will be very honest with you and tell you all about the chicks’ background and overall health. Some even provide lifetime guarantees to cover you in case a genetic problem is discovered with the chick that you buy. Be prepared to spend a couple of hundred dollars when shopping for a cockatiel chick!


Final Thoughts

Cockatiels are small, personable parrots that are lots of fun to own. These are not high-maintenance birds, making them ideal for beginners. Just remember to figure in the cost of a cage, bird feed, and toys when buying a cockatiel.

The cage that you buy should be large enough for your cockatiel to flap its wings and move around easily. A good-quality cockatiel wire cage should have hinged doors, a pull-out debris tray for easy cleaning, food cups, and wood perches. Have fun shopping for a cockatiel chick and its necessary accessories!

Featured Image Credit: giovannistrapazzon, Pixabay

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