Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Birds > How to Choose the Right Cage Size for Cockatiels: Important Care Tips

How to Choose the Right Cage Size for Cockatiels: Important Care Tips

cockatiel in a cage

Cockatiels are among the most popular companion birds around and for good reason. They are a smaller member of the parrot family that come in several different beautiful color patterns. However, they’re most commonly known for their grey feathers, yellow crests, and bright orange cheeks.

They’re also valued for the love and affection they show to their owners and one another. They’re so loving and kind that they often get bullied by smaller birds. And when compared to other parrots, cockatiels are relatively low maintenance. You just need to show them some daily affection and maintain their cages.

But cage maintenance can become an arduous task if you don’t choose the proper cage. Generally, the cockatiel cage should be at least 24” H x 24” L x 18” D in size. Let’s go over how to choose the right cage for your cockatiels and some basic maintenance for keeping them fresh.


Choosing the Right Cage for Your Cockatiel

A good rule of thumb for purchasing your cockatiel’s cage is to get the largest one you can afford. These birds may be small members of the parrot family, but that doesn’t mean they’re tiny birds. Cockatiels average about 12 inches in length from the tips of their yellow crests to the end of their long tails.

You need to ensure that whatever cage you select has enough room to comfortably house and keep them happy. The minimum size you should select should be 24” H x 24” L and at least 18” D. But if you have the space available, you should opt for an even bigger size. And since these are companion birds, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with more than one cockatiel. This makes selecting a large cage even more important.

Size considerations aren’t the only factor in choosing the right cage for your cockatiel either. Like most hook-billed birds, they love to climb. So, selecting a cage with horizontal bars will help make their climbing much easier. Just be sure to choose a cage that has no greater than a 3-inch gap between horizontal segments to prevent injury to your birds.

Your cockatiel’s cage should also have at least three different perches—of varying size, shape, and texture—to help them keep their feet strong and healthy. However, ensure that they are at least 3½ inches in diameter to prevent them from losing their balance and injuring themselves.

Yellow and gray cockatiels communicate with each other on the cage door
Image By: Geiger, Shutterstock

Using a Sleep Cage

Ideally, your cockatiels should be kept in a quiet room in your house. This will allow them to get the proper rest they need. These birds need 8 to 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep every single night! They are notoriously light sleepers and even the lowest noises can awaken them. When housed in a quiet area, you can simply throw a cover over their cage to help them sleep.

However, if they live in an active room, you may want to get a cage specifically designed for them to sleep in. A sleep cage doesn’t need to be as large as their primary cage. It should be big enough to comfortably hold your cockatiel but easy enough to transport and maneuver. When it is time for them to snooze, simply transfer them into their sleep cage, carry it into a quieter room, and cover.

Housing a cockatiel isn’t as easy as it sounds. Whether you’re setting up your first cage or looking to upgrade your cockatiel’s home, check out the well-researched book The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels, available on Amazon. 

The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels

This excellent resource is packed with information about choosing the ideal perch, selecting the best cage design and positioning, helping your cockatiel adjust to its new home, and much more!

Cockatiel Cage Maintenance

When caring for your cockatiel’s cage, you’ll need to be proactive as a dirty and messy cage can lead to sickness—both for your bird and you. Using a solution of warm water and mild soap, you should clean out your bird’s cage tray and dishes every single day. We recommend doing this on a set schedule each day to help your cockatiel grow accustomed to routine cleaning.

At least once a week, you should perform a full cage deep clean and disinfecting. This will require you to remove the bird from its cage to get into all the nooks and crannies. For this, we recommend using a very diluted bleach solution as a cleaning agent.

However, once the cage has been cleaned, you need to thoroughly rinse away all of the bleach smell. Bleach is toxic to them and shouldn’t be lingering in their cages. After rinsing and ridding their cage of leftover bleach, allow it to air dry in the sun if possible.

white faced cockatiel in cage
Image By: daphne.t, Shutterstock


What’s the Right Size Cage for Your Cockatiel?

Determining the right size cage for your cockatiel—or cockatiels—doesn’t have to be too difficult. The larger the cage, the happier they will be. Just make sure you select a cage for them that they can comfortably fit and play around in. However, a sleep cage should be smaller and cozier to allow them to get a full night’s rest.

Featured Image Credit: Sultan, Unsplash

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets