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Cockatiel 101

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Jun 30, 2019
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Overall Profile: Lively, Intelligent, Vocal
Physical Characteristics: 12-13 Inches
Temperament: Highly Intelligent and Social
Care: Plenty of toys for staying busy and 14 hours of sleep time
Diet: Varied diet of fruit and pellets
Recommended bar spacing on cage:
1/4” to 1/2”.

Overall Profile
Lively, intelligent, and vocal, the cockatiel is a native wild bird of Australia, found mostly in the non-coastal regions of the country. It is the smallest member of the cockatoo family of birds, with an average length of between 12 to 13 inches.
Cockatiels make excellent domestic pets and are easy to breed and care for.
Physical Characteristics
Male cockatiels have yellow patches on their cheeks, forehead, crest and throat, and a solid black plumage under their wings. Females are mostly grey or grey with white markings, with smaller, less conspicuous yellow on their face. They have a barred pattern under their wings.
Male cockatiels are smaller than their female counterparts.
A cockatiel’s crest is one of its many distinguishing features
It may be difficult to determine the sex of newly hatched cockatiels until their first molt when their feathers become more varied. The more orange or yellow around the face, the more likely that the cockatiel is male.
Cockatiels are very intelligent and social birds. They are lively and energetic, and they love to play and interact with other birds and people. They thrive when they have company in their cage or around them.
They enjoy puzzles and games and spend hours satisfying their curiosity with toys in their cage. Cockatiels kept in cages with no toys to play with can get bored very quickly. These birds are very playful and love to explore everything around them.
When done playing, they keep themselves busy foraging for food around the cage. Make sure you have little treats hidden around for them to find.
The first few days after you bring your cockatiel home are crucial. First and foremost, as with any other animal, let your cockatiel settle into his or her new home a few days before handling.
Allow them to explore their home. Keep them away from drafts, smoke, and cold air. Be sure to give them fresh seed every day, and make sure they have several perches, t-perches, a few toys, and a separate bath if room allows in their cage. Because these birds are so intelligent and extremely social, spend an hour or two every day handling your cockatiel.
Cockatiels tend to do best in family rooms, warm dens or any place where they can observe a lot of activity. However, they do also need a lot of sleep – about 14 hours a day. Covering their cage with a cloth will help keep it dark so they can sleep undisturbed.
Cockatiels enjoy fruits like apples, bananas, so you may want to keep some fruits available for sharing and snack-time. They also enjoy commercially available seeds/pellets, vegetables, and millet. A varied diet will provide them the nutrition they need while reducing the likelihood of obesity.
Recommended Cage Size
Find a cage twice the size of your cockatiel’s wingspan so they have plenty of space to flap their wings without hitting the bars. These birds love to fly around and can hurt themselves in a smaller sized cage.
The average cockatiel wingspan is roughly 18” x 22” x 18”. If you have more than one cockatiel or if your cockatiel will be with another bird, make sure the cage is big enough for both.
The recommended bar spacing for a cockatiel’s cage is 1/4” to 1/2”.
Interesting Facts
The crest on the male can determine their mood—a flat crest indicates anger, while a flailing or waving crest shows agitation. A neutral crest means they are content.
Cockatiels are avid whistlers and are known to be better at whistling than at talking. Some can even whistle an entire tune.
Have fun with your new cockatiel pet!
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