Cockatiel: Accommodation, Free Flight & Fun for the Little Cockatoos

Cockatiels are so popular as pets not least because they are smart, active, and funny. Once they have taken over their new home and their residential area and got used to the swarm member human, the nimble large parakeets are on tour all day. They explore the area and do all sorts of cute things, preferably together with their bird partner. With a body length of around thirty centimeters and a wingspan of eighteen centimeters, the animals need a lot of space in free flight and in accommodation. There is also one thing they can’t stand: boredom.

It Doesn’t Work Without a Partner

Cockatiels are not allowed to be kept as solitary animals, there must be at least one pair. Life in a small flock of two or three pairs suits the birds even more. It is therefore clear that a correspondingly large bird shelter must be available to keep the birds.

The Optimal Cockatiel Accommodation Size

If you have two or more cockatiels, there are several different housing options.

The optimal cockatiel accommodation

  • Indoor aviary: An aviary for a couple should not be less than two meters in length and height and one meter in depth; for each additional bird, 50 percent volume is added. The aviary must have a rectangular base: cockatiels are primarily cross-country pilots, not treetop climbers. An aviary that is higher than it is long is not suitable for short flights.
  • Cockatiel birdhouse: The minimum dimensions – also calculated for a couple – are 200 x 60 x 150 centimeters at the lowest limit. This accommodation should only serve as a place to sleep and feed as well as for temporary security. If the animals are under supervision, they should be allowed to enjoy unrestricted free flight in a bird-safe room.
  • Bird room: If you can reserve an entire room for the birds in the apartment – for example a children’s room that is not required – this is an ideal alternative to the indoor aviary. But even then, the animals need closed basic accommodation.
  • Outdoor aviary: If you have the space, the outdoor aviary is the premier class of accommodation. Its minimum dimensions correspond to the indoor aviary plus one square meter of floor space for the heated and illuminated shelter, in which the animals find shelter when it’s very cold and at night.

The suitable mesh size for the aviary wire is 40 x 40 millimeters with a wire thickness of 3 millimeters. White grids are taboo: they create an irritating flicker effect for the bird’s eye.

The Location for the Cockatiel Housing

A birdhouse should always be at human eye level. So you can comfortably reach him for cleaning and feeding without having to fuss over the birds’ heads. That would disturb the animals because they are instinctively on the lookout for “air enemies”. If possible, place the accommodation in a corner of the room: this way, the birds are shielded by at least two walls.

This reduces stress, and dust and feathers do not spread in all directions in the apartment. The place should be bright, but not exposed to the blazing sun. Make sure the location is protected from noise, drafts, and kitchen fumes. Also, cockatiels should not be exposed to large temperature fluctuations in apartments.

How Do I Furnish the Cockatiel Home?

The cuttlefish bowl and limestone pick stone also belong in the birdhouse. Bird sand is unsuitable as litter. Use beech wood granules or hemp litter with grit. If you prefer a different material for the floor, grit must be served in a separate bowl. A daylight lamp is a useful addition to the aviary in the interior: especially in the seasons with little light, cockatiels need additional light to produce their own vitamins.

Basic equipment for cockatiels includes:

  • Perches are made of natural wood: their bark provides nibbling material for the parakeet’s beak, the irregular diameter trains the foot muscles and prevents calluses. If you only attach the bars to the grille on one side, this creates a natural spring effect.
  • Food bowl: Since cockatiels peel off grains, food dispensers installed outside the accommodation are not suitable: They can easily become clogged. Open bowls for hanging or for the floor of the birdhouse are better.
  • Large water bowl: Cockatiels display unusual drinking behavior in the wild. You land, stomach first, in the water, hastily drink a few sips and fly on. A large, heavy bowl, which can also serve as a “bathtub”, comes particularly close to this natural behavior. Water dispensers are rather impractical for cockatiels.
  • Movable seating: ropes, rings, and swings are popular with cockatiels. However, hanging objects must not block the flight paths in the aviary.

What Toys Does a Cockatiel Need?

Cockatiels are extremely playful birds and love to accept bird toys. You should ensure variety and offer the animals a changing range of toys – this way, there is no boredom.

The basic equipment for the bird playground includes:

  • Ladders, climbing ropes, swings: objects on which the birds can bob and play are popular action toys.
  • “Unwallowable” bells, rattles, “drums”: cockatiels like to work on objects that make noises.
  • Make sure the birds always find something to make noise, such as a can to tap on with their beak.
  • Lattice balls are popular with all parrots: they can be rolled, picked up with their beak, and thrown.
  • Fiddling toys, for example, threaded wooden beads, invite you to examine and nibble.

Avoid buying plastic toys: particles splinter too quickly when beating and could be swallowed. Buy cockatiel toys made exclusively from natural materials.

Do Cockatiels Get Tame?

Cockatiels that enjoy a lot of talk and attention tend to be particularly affectionate. The birds always want to be there where something is going on – they find it particularly practical to sit on the head or shoulder of their human and to see everything in their environment up close. Many animals can be petted and cuddled carefully by their owner.

What Else Can I Keep My Cockatiel Busy With?

You supplement the grain diet of your cockatiels with herbs, vegetables, and some fruit every day. You can even make a game out of these food gifts: hide tidbits in a ball of paper or a cardboard box or attach the popular tufts of herbs so that the animals have to make a little effort to get to them.

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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