Cockatiel Care

Cockatiel Care

Biological Facts

  • Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)
  • Weight: 80-120 gm
  • Sexual maturity: 6-12 months
  • Avg. life span: 6 years
  • Maximum recorded life span: 32 years
  • Origins: Australia


  • Relatively quiet bird. Better known for whistling ability than for talking.
  • Cockatiels that are parent-raised, but also exposed to regular human handling through weaning, grow to be tamer and better adjusted than those that are entirely handfed or parent-raised.
  • Tamed birds readily adapt to new surroundings and activities – expose early to daily activities in your household as well as to other pets
  • Are intelligent, curious, and easily amused with simple toys. They love to explore their surroundings
  • Cockatiels are very social and require regular interaction with people in order to satisfy their sociable nature.
  • Cockatiels may bond with humans, cage mates, toys, or other cage furnishings. Courtship, mating behavior and egg-laying commonly result.
  • Foraging stations, puzzle-feeders, and “busy” toys provide necessary environmental enrichment and reduce the chance of feather picking, aggression, or other problems
  • Birds with unrestricted access in the home will encounter numerous dangers: drowning, toxin ingestion, electrocution, injuries, etc. Cockatiels should be confined to their cage or housed in a “bird friendly” safe room when not under direct supervision.


  • Seeds are high in fat and low in many essential nutrients. When offered a seed mixture, cockatiels usually chose the seeds with the highest fat content, and selectively pick those from the mix.
  • “Vitamin enriched” seeds have a coating on the hulls, which is usually discarded by the bird.
  • Formulated diets, on the other hand, are complete. Each pellet contains balanced nutrition, preventing a bird from feeding selectively.
  • Cockatiels should be fed a diet consisting of 70-80% formulated pellets
  • Dark green vegetables or fruits can be 10-30% of diet
  • Treats (including seeds) should be limited to only 5% of the diet
  • Clean, fresh water should be provided daily


  • Enclosures should be as large as possible, with the bird able to fully extend it’s wings and flap without touching the sides of the enclosure
  • Cage should be clean, secure, safe and constructed of durable, non-toxic materials, with perches of various sizes
  • Avoid placing perches directly over food or water to prevent contamination
  • Access to natural light is preferred, drafty areas should be avoided.
  • Some birds will require a night light in order to prevent episodes of “night fright” – frantic flapping and vocalization that can occur without provocation
  • Birds outside of cages need constant supervision to avoid access to other pets, small children, and hazards in the home.

Preventive Care

  • Consult a veterinarian with experience in avian medicine if you have any questions or concerns about your bird’s health.
  • Physical examination every 6-12 months
  • Annual fecal examination for parasites, yeast, and bacteria
  • Vaccination for Polyomavirus, as directed by your veterinarian
  • Blood work annually, as directed by your veterinarian
  • Wing or nail trimming as needed

Common Medical Disorders

  • Obstetrical problems (excessive egg-laying, egg-binding, egg-related peritonitis, yolk emboli)
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Internal parasites
  • Bacterial and yeast infections
  • Obesity
  • Feather picking
  • Broken blood feathers

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