Checklist for Cockatiel Keepers

Originally from Australia, the cockatiel is a small parrot and belongs to the cockatoo family. You can recognize this by their typical spring hood. The cockatiel is the smallest member of the cockatoo family and reaches a size of about 30 cm long and a weight of 70 to 100 g. In its homeland, the cockatiel lives in large flocks. In the dry interior of Australia, the animals are constantly on the move in search of water and food. Despite their constant migration, the sociable animals live in lifelong partnerships.

Thoughts Before Buying

Before the feathered friends can move in with you, you should think about the following points:

  • Can I take responsibility for the animals for the next 15 to 20 years?
  • Do I have enough time and fun to deal with the birds and their care on a daily basis?
  • Does it bother me when feather dust, feathers, and grains crunch under my feet?
  • Do I have noise-sensitive neighbors?

Get as much information as you can if these basic questions don’t put you off. Read related books and meet other cockatiel keepers.

The Cage

  • The bigger the cage, the better! A pair of cockatiels need a cage size of at least 200 x 60 x 150 cm. The length and width of the cage are more important than the height.
  • The cage grids should be zinc-free and not encased in plastic.
  • Choose the location so that the sociable cockatiels participate in family life. And preferably at eye level.
  • Avoid drafts and direct sunlight.
  • A location in the kitchen is unsuitable as Teflon fumes from pans are very toxic to birds.
  • An aviary or a whole bird room is even better than a cage.
  • If you have a garden or balcony, you can also set up the aviary there. Then a frost-free shelter is necessary for winter.

The Creation

There are hardly any limits to your imagination when setting up your aviary.

  • With a wide variety of natural materials, you can always offer your loved ones new and exciting entertainment. Natural branches from unsprayed fruit trees, hazelnut trees, and willows are suitable as seating branches.
  • It is best to use branches of different thicknesses to avoid one-sided stress on the feet.
  • The branches should be replaced every one to two weeks.
  • A popular material to nibble on is cork. The crooks can let off steam here.
  • But also simple things like newspapers or small boxes are often dismantled.
  • With a little practice, you can weave small or larger balls for your birds from willow branches.
  • Avoid using plastic perches when setting up, as these can lead to sole ball ulcers.
  • Plastic birds and mirrors simulate a real partner and lead to frustration, and frequent, excessive feeding of the mirror image often leads to goiter infections.
  • Easy-to-clean water and food bowls made of stainless steel complete the facility.
  • Even if setting up the aviary is good entertainment for your cockatiels, regular free flight and adequate occupation are a must to keep them healthy.


Feeding your feathered friends isn’t too complicated, but there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Most pet parrots are far too fat. Just like us humans, being overweight is very unhealthy and can lead to metabolic diseases and joint problems.
  • As for other parrot species, there are also special grain mixtures for cockatiels. These should contain as few sunflower seeds as possible, as they are very fatty. Even reduced-fat grain mixtures should not be offered in unlimited quantities. When feeding parrots, it has proven useful to offer around 5% of the bodyweight per day and bird. For a bird weighing 100g, that’s 5g! The best thing to do is to weigh the required amount once to get a feel for it. Since parrots are true gourmets, it is important under no circumstances to offer more grains, as the intelligent animals then only choose the fatty, tastier varieties and leave the healthier ones where they are.
  • In addition to feeding with grains, there is also the possibility of feeding cockatiels with pellets. In this feed, all nutrients are balanced in each pellet, so that an unbalanced diet can be avoided.
  • A portion of fruit, vegetables, and salad round off the healthy meal for your birds. For example, apple, banana, grape, orange, melon, papaya, mango, pear, kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, paprika, grated carrots, corn, celery, zucchini, romaine lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, rocket, endive salad, and dandelion are suitable.
  • Since fresh food spoils quickly, you should remove the remains from the aviary after about six hours.
  • In order not to make things too easy for the animals, you can also distribute grains and fruit in different places in the cage, or even hide them in toys.
  • Freshwater should always be freely available. As well as a sepia bowl to supply calcium and a gritstone to crush the grains in the bird’s stomach.

The Sick Cockatiel

Even with the best care, your cockatiels can get sick. Unfortunately, birds do not show their symptoms of the disease for a very long time. This is an innate behavior so as not to attract any predators in nature. After all, a sick animal is an easy prey. Therefore, if you have a sick bird, you should visit an ornithological veterinarian as soon as possible, preferably on the same day.

You can tell that your little friend is not doing well from the following symptoms, for example:

  • The plumage is fluffed up.
  • The eyes are half-closed.
  • The parrot no longer eats.
  • He bobs his tail, breathes heavily, or relieves one leg.

A bird that sits fluffed up on the ground is as seriously ill as a dog that lies on its side.

Transport to the vet is best done in a small, darkened transport box that does not contain any unnecessary toys or many perches.

Protect the patient from drafts and cover the box with a thick towel. The darkness has a calming effect and prevents your cockatiel from fluttering around.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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