Hand-fed cockatiels are usually calm and easy to handle. Some can be trained to imitate whistles and short phrases. Cockatiels enjoy the company of another of their species or can live happily alone if given plenty of attention. They can live up 18 to 20 years.
Choose a cage with 5/8 – 3/4 inch bar spacing, any wider is a safety hazard. Horizontal bars are best, as they provide a climbing surface. Wider is better than tall, cockatiels spend a lot of time on the ground. Provide the largest cage you can afford, the absolute minimum is 16 X 16 X 16 in. high. Fix at least two perches at different heights and of a variety of diameter and materials. Choose 3/4 inch dowel or a natural, unsprayed branch (most hardwoods and fruitwoods are safe, but not oak, cherry or pine as they are hazardous.) Your pet will need 4 feeding dishes for pellets, treats, soft food and water. Fasten a Cuttle bone and mineral block to the bars. You may provide a bath dish in the cage or bathe your pet outside the cage. A few safe wood or acrylic toys will keep your bird busy, rotate them to avoid boredom. Line the tray with black and white newspaper or paper towels. It is unsafe to use pine/cedar shavings, corn cob or walnut bedding.
Your bird’s diet should be 50% pellets and the remainder a variety of foods such as bird bread, bean mix, vegetables and not more than 10% seeds. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Vitamin supplements are not needed with this diet.
Tray liners should be replaced every few days and the cage bottom, fittings and dishes regularly washed with hot water and soap. Once a month, disinfect the cage with diluted bleach and rinse thoroughly.
Sexing: Females have mainly gray faces with lighter cheek patches, spots under the flight feathers and barring on the tail. Males have white or yellow faces and crests, but no spots or bars. Lutino-Whitefaces can’t be sexed visually. Onset of sexual maturity is 9 months.
Pet cockatiels should have their wings clipped and nails trimmed. Do not use commercial mite protectors, they are not necessary and can be toxic to your bird. Be alert for signs of illness such as sneezing, plucking feathers or changes in droppings.
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