Cockatiels love to chew!! Provide them with plenty of shreddable toys made from palm and raffia strips, twig balls, and safe, vegetable-tanned leather strips. They love wooden toys, just like the big birds when they are appropriately sized. Unused popsicle sticks and balsa wood are a favorite. And if your cockatiel loves to spend time with you in your home office, a balled-up piece of notebook paper always gets their attention.
To keep your cockatiel entertained and active in the cage (and out!), you will want to supply lots of foraging opportunities – wild cockatiels are serious foragers and yours has that same instinct. It is a great source of physical and mental activity.
How To Not Feed Your Cockatiel
One of the biggest mistakes new cockatiel owners make is in feeding their birds an all-seed diet. Many people take their birds home, having been instructed to do just that. The seed does play an important role in the diet of many small birds, but alone, it will not sustain good health.
Cockatiels may be small, but they have the same dietary requirements as any of the larger parrot species. All parrots need vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes to complete their diet. The lack of specific nutrients will lead to immune system dysfunction and disease susceptibility and will ultimately lessen your cockatiel’s quality of life and increase your vet bills.
In addition to fresh foods, a cockatiel needs to be fed a high-quality pellet to fill in any inadequacies in the diet.
Keeping Your Cockatiel’s Feathers Healthy
All birds produce down feathers, but a select few species, including the cockatiel, produce “powder” down feathers that disintegrate into fine dust over time. This dust will layer your furniture and be transported through your home’s air system. Even a small bird like a cockatiel can create an annoying mess unless he is frequently bathed.
Most cockatiels love to bathe. It removes debris from the feathers and keeps their skin from becoming dry and itchy (sometimes a precursor to plucking!). Some have different preferences in the way their bath is administered: some like to be misted, some like a shallow tub of water to wade through, and others might like to join you in the shower.
Observe your bird’s preferences and offer a bath at least 2-3 times a week – more often if your Cockatiel so desires.