Though cockatiels are hardy birds, it doesn’t take much for them to overheat or become chilled in cooler temperatures. Sudden weather fluctuations can have a significant impact on the health of your bird, so it’s important to know what the ideal room temperature is so you can do your part in keeping your pet comfortable.
Your job as a bird owner doesn’t stop at ensuring a consistent temperature. You need to know how to identify the signs that your bird is too hot or cold so you can act accordingly. The ideal temperature for your cockatiel is between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 and 23 degrees Celsius. Keep reading to learn all about setting the right temperature in your bird’s room and how to tell when it’s not at a comfortable temperature.
Cockatiels are native to Australia and call the wetlands and bushlands home. Wild cockatiels are used to varied weather and fluctuating temperatures as their habitats can experience temperatures as low as 30 degrees and as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 and 37 degrees Celsius).
Cockatiels have a higher body temperature than humans. They use a lot of energy to maintain that temperature, so they need to eat a lot of food to produce that energy. Your cockatiel will either produce heat or lose it as they try to adapt to the ambient temperature in your home (or outside, if you take your bird out). A bird that is too cold consistently will develop denser feathers to adapt to the colder temperature. A cockatiel that’s too hot may continually molt to try and cope with the heat.
To maintain your bird’s energy and comfort level, you must set a consistent temperature in your home. The ideal temperature for your cockatiel is somewhere between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 and 23 degrees Celsius.
What to Expect With Extreme Temperatures
Despite their hardiness, you must exercise caution when setting the temperature of your bird’s room. Your domesticated bird is not as well-versed in fluctuating temperatures as its wild counterparts. Therefore, you must take strides in keeping their area at an appropriate and stable temperature.
Even if your home is set at a comfortable temperature, there may come a time when your cockatiel becomes either too cold or too hot. It’s important that you know how to recognize when your bird is at an uncomfortable temperature.
How to Know If Your Bird Is Too Hot
Birds can overheat if they are left outside too long, in direct sunlight for extended periods, or if the heating source in their room is set too high. Since birds don’t have sweat glands to help them regulate their body temperature, they have adapted by creating other ways to help them get to a comfortable temperature. If your cockatiel cannot cool itself, it can become very sick and even die.
When cockatiels become too hot, they spread their wings and hold them out in the air. This allows for additional airflow and evaporative cooling.
How to Know If Your Bird Is Too Cold
Birds can get a chill if their room is too cold or their cage is too close to a window. Even if you cannot feel cool air through the window, your bird can. Temperature drops outside their comfort zone can leave companion cockatiels vulnerable to illnesses and even death. If your cockatiel catches a chill, it can become sick. Since cockatiels maintain rather warm body temperatures, it’s easier for them to chill when the temperature drops. Your cockatiel will need to work much harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Cockatiels are generally healthy birds, but when something goes wrong, you need a resource you can trust. We recommend The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels, an excellent illustrated guide available on Amazon.
This detailed book can help you care for your cockatiel through injuries and illnesses, and it also offers helpful tips on keeping your bird happy and healthy. You’ll also find information on everything from color mutations to safe housing, feeding, and breeding.
How to Keep Your Cockatiel at a Comfortable Temperature
1. Pick a draft-free area of your home to house your bird
Place your cockatiel’s cage in an area of your home free from drafts. You might need to seal your windows with covers or heavy curtains to keep pesky drafts at bay.
2. Provide plenty of fluids in hot temperatures
Make sure your cockatiel has access to fresh, clean water. This is especially important during the warmer months of the year, however. Extreme heat will quickly dehydrate your pet.
3. Cover the cage at night
If you don’t already use a cage cover at bedtime, you might consider starting, at least during the year’s colder months. A cover will warm the air in your bird’s cage and keep it free from drafts. You can use one of your sheets if you don’t want to buy a specially designed birdcage cover. Tread carefully with blankets, however, as they can cause suffocation if they’re too thick and block airflow.
4. Use a heat source
A portable heater is a great way to keep your bird’s room at a set temperature. When choosing the perfect heater, consider the size of the room you’ll need to heat to ensure a consistent temperature all day long.
5. Give it a bath
If you suspect your cockatiel may be hot, ensure you are giving it plenty of opportunities to bathe. Birds love to take a swim when they’re hot so make sure you have a bathing bowl at the ready.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What type of heaters are safe to use with cockatiels?
Ceramic or oil-filled heaters are your safest options. Ceramic styles are excellent for large rooms, especially if they have a fan. Fanless models are fine to use in smaller spaces. Ceramic heaters provide a clean burning and efficient heat source, but they do get hot, which can present a hazard if your bird is allowed to free-fly.
Many bird owners prefer oil-filled heaters as they throw ambient heat from all sides. They can heat a room quickly and are much quieter than other heater styles as they don’t have a fan. In addition, they’re cool to the touch, which makes them safe for curious birds. The downside is that they cannot heat a large room as efficiently as a ceramic heater.
Are there dangerous heaters one should avoid?
Yes. Electric space heaters are bird-safe, but you should never run a brand-new model in the same room as your pet. This heater style is often sold with a non-stick (Teflon) coating that produces toxic fumes. Before you use an electric space heater, run it someplace away from your bird until the coating burns off.
Wood stoves and fireplaces produce carbon monoxide, so they are unsafe not only for birds but for humans, too. If you choose to use a wood stove, keep your bird in a separate room and never burn treated wood.
Kerosene, propane, and gas heaters can also produce carbon monoxide.
What are the dangers of an overheating or chilled cockatiel?
Cockatiels exposed to temperature drops below their comfort zone can become vulnerable to illness, shock, and death. In addition, they are susceptible to frostbite and can even catch colds.
A too-hot cockatiel can quickly overheat and may even develop heat stroke. Heat stroke happens when the internal temperature exceeds what the body is designed to handle. It affects essential organs, slowing their ability to function. Heat stroke can cause long-term damage that may be irreparable.
Though cockatiels are hardy little guys, you must do your part in ensuring yours is as comfortable and healthy as possible. Since temperature regulation is integral to your bird’s overall health, you need to ensure that your home is at the perfect temperature for your feathered friend.
We hope our guide above has helped answer some of your questions about the ideal room temperature and shed some light on how to identify when your pet is feeling uncomfortable. Also, check out some of our other cockatiel-specific blogs to learn more about keeping your pet the healthiest it can be.
Featured Image Credit: 995645, Pixabay