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A wire birdcage with a removable tray will make a wonderful home for your new cockatiel. Don't leave your cockatiel outside of their cage unless you're in the room. Cockatiels love to fly so the taller and bigger your cage is, the happier your cockatiel will be. It is best to remove the wire bottom above the cage's tray. This can trap small feet and can be very difficult to clean. Line the try with newspaper and a sprinkle of shell grit. Your cage should be cleaned twice a week as it is better to do frequent small cleans, then irregular large ones. There are a variety of different cage cleaners available.
When Keeping Cockatiels, here is a rule of thumb: Everything in 3's!
- 3 Wing lengths: A good cage should be three times your cockatiels wingspan.
- 3 Perches: Have perches of different widths, this will exercise your cockatiels feet. Natural perches are beneficial as they are generally more comfortable and allow for further exercise than generic pine perches. 3 Bowls: Most cages have two. One bowl for food and another for water, an extra bowl is good for treats!
- 3 Toys: Cockatiels get bored quickly, so have a number of different toys for them. Avoid mirrors, particularly with hand raised cockatiels and those kept in groups.
There are numerous brands of cockatiel food and Pet Magic bag a fully balanced 'Small Parrot Seed Mix', which is available in numerous sizes. Your cockatiel will also like to eat charcoal and calcium treats such as cuttle bone.
Fresh water daily is a must, and should be provided in a bowl. To keep the water clean during the day place some mint in the bowl as it will control bacteria in the water if the bird accidentally toilets in it.
Your budgie will love treats but it is important to remember which are the safe options.
SAFE: apple, pear, strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower, cuttlebone, capsicum, carrot, dried fruit, Chinese greens, sprouts, small bits of cheese.
AVOID: avocado, beetroot, rhubarb, oxalis, potato, cherry, cabbage, eggplant, beans, onion, lettuce.
Cockatiels are social animals and if hand-raised love attention from their owners. Hand raised cockatiels are amazingly affectionate and trusting. With proper care, handling and attention cockatiels can become an affectionate and long-lived member of the family. Cockatiels can live 20 years or more so they are a long commitment. With character and personality, your cockatiel will become a much-loved family member. Cockatiels love company and getting a younger cocktail will help you make a stronger bond.
Training your cockatiel to talk is easy (but it all depends on the individual bird). Talk to your cockatiel in a soft manner at night, starting with simple 'ch' sounding words. During the day have your cockatiel near the TV or radio as this can encourage social interaction. Your cockatiel is more likely to mimic a
feminine voice, so keep this in mind. Both male and female cockatiels can be trained to talk, but males seem to learn faster.
Cockatiels should always have a number of toys available in their cage to keep them entertained. Pet Magic stock a huge range of bird toys, just try to stay away from mirrors to avoid damaged beaks and possessiveness. We also stock a range of foraging toys.
Cockatiels need little grooming and a healthy cockatiel will groom themself regularly. If your cockatiel appears un-groomed it is usually a sign of illness and they may need some vitamin or medication supplements.
Clipping wings is a potentially dangerous process so it is best to visit the Vet if you wish to do so. Only ever clip the wings of hand-raised parrots, never aviary bred parrots as it can seem inhumane.
Cockatiels kept inside may suffer from moulting issues. Cockatiels moult based on seasonal changes in the environment. In a controlled area (like an air conditioned room) the bird doesn't experience seasonal fluctuations, which can cause moulting irregularities. Moulting tonics are available and should be given every month for inside cockatiels.
Cockatiels are moderately easy to breed and can breed at around 6 months of age. Sexing cockatiel can be difficult, but generally females have duller facial markings and heavy tail banding. If breeding cockatiels, always have extra sources of calcium for the female. This will help egg formation and prevent "egg bounding" which is potentially fatal.
Cockatiels need a nesting box with parrot nesting materiel (looks like potting mix) to breed. Place the nest box in the highest corner of the cage. Its best to breed cockatiels in spring and autumn, avoiding the extreme seasons of summer and winter. If you don't want your cockatiels to breed simply remove the box.
There are usually 5 eggs in each clutch, which hatch 21 days after the last egg was laid. The eggs usually hatch on consecutive days, so there may be 2 weeks age difference between the oldest and youngest chicks. Both the male and the female share parental duties and care for the chicks. While the parents are rearing, make sure you give them plenty
of fruit, vegetables and extra vitamin supplements. Fledging usually occurs at around 6-8 weeks of age, with the babies being old enough to find new homes once they turn 8 weeks old.
Health - 'Prevention is the Best Cure'
Cockatiels need to be wormed every 3 months. There are many brands to choose from but Pet Magic recommends Aristopet® Complete Bird Wormer. Dosage for cockatiels is easy as it is a simple dilution in the drinking water. During worming, don't give your cockatiel any fresh fruit or vegetables.
Cockatiels need to be treated against mite and lice every 6 weeks. We use and recommend Science Aristopet® Bird Mite and Lice Spray. Just a small spray on each cockatiel in the cage at the same time is all that is needed. Make sure to spray the cage, toys and perches, remembering to remove food and water bowls before spraying. Any new perches should be sprayed before being placed in the cage. If your cockatiel is not treated regularly they can become infected and lead to feather plucking.
Cockatiels from Pet Magic have been frequently wormed and lice sprayed.