Cockatiels are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. Because they are small, quiet(ish) and even tempered they are one of the parrot species that turns many people into parrot lovers for life. Cockatiels started my personal journey with parrots.
Cockatiels are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. Because they are small, quiet(ish) and even tempered they are one of the parrot species that turns many people into parrot lovers for life. Cockatiels started my own personal journey with parrots.
It is important to understand, though, that ANY parrot, even small ones, require the same level of care as do the macaws or cockatoos. Neglect in their diet and daily care will not only cost you a fortune in vet bills, but unwell birds are cranky and quickly resort to aggression. You will not have a great relationship with a sick bird.
A Bird the Whole Family Will Love
Cockatiels always want to be a part of the action. When the family has gathered in the living room for movie night, your cockatiel will be the first one making its way to the popcorn bowl. (Please prepare a separate unbuttered, unsalted bowl for him.) When you vacuum the house, your cockatiel will be riding shotgun on your shoulder.
He will thoughtfully preen your hair when you are sad and generate unlimited amounts of fun and laughter with his antics. A well trained and socialized cockatiel will quickly become a beloved family member, and you will wonder how you ever managed life without him.
Unfortunately, too many people get parrots with the expectation that they are like the family dog who can be contended simply sleeping at their feet. A cockatiel is a highly intelligent species that loves to explore everything in the world around them. They are in constant motion and need to be active and mentally stimulated in order to thrive.
Keeping Cockatiels Mentally Stimulated
Let’s face it, most of us have jobs and must leave our cockatiel behind to fend for themselves and find their own entertainment. It is up to us to make their cage an exciting place to be.
Bored parrots are unhappy parrots. Unhappy parrots do not keep their complaints to themselves, and you might find yourself enduring the incessant, ear-piercing screams issued by your bird as it DEMANDS to come out of its cage, or it INSISTS that it be allowed an activity that you know is unsafe.
A bored cockatiel will eventually become angry!
...and an angry cockatiel will bite and make no mistake about it, that small beak CAN inflict a painful wound.
Training: A Great Solution for Boredom
We here at BirdTricks have 2 favorite methods for providing your cockatiel with enough mental stimulation to keep him or her happy. One involves one-on-one interaction with you, and the other they manage happily on their own.
Training is like a board game you can play with your bird. It provides the ideal opportunity for your bird to use its brain, expend some of that boundless energy and bond with you. It’s a fun and rewarding experience that allows your cockatiel to alleviate the frustrations from boredom, inactivity or confinement in a positive way for everyone involved. These fun games will also strengthen the bond with the player on the other side of the “board”.
Taking basic target training a step further, trick training a cockatiel is incredibly stimulating and if done regularly creates the expectation for fun and excitement. You will begin to notice behaviors in your bird that tell you he would like to do some training. The improvement you will see in your relationship will be noticeable! I have to tell you; that feels pretty good.
Providing Cage Activities
Training is great when you're around. What do you do when you're off at school or work?
Toys, toys and more toys! Toys made from natural materials like raffia and palm leaves make great choices for cockatiels that like to tear things apart. They love shiny and colorful plastic toys with moving parts and ringing bells. I have never known a cockatiel that wasn’t crazy about paper. Weaving strips of paper into the cage bars can give your cockatiel hours of fun and needed exercise.
Imitating nature by using foraging toys to hide your cockatiels food INSTEAD using food bowls is an ideal way to fill up the hours with productive activity for any caged bird. Daily food which is hidden inside paper products or inside plastic foragers that require contemplation and repeated efforts to open can take hours for your bird to collect the day’s food, just like it would in the wild. This, and a good collection of toys, is the BEST solution for increasing mental stimulation and for decreasing behavior problems resulting from boredom.