If you have been to a store that sells birds, it is likely you have seen and heard Cockatiels with their crested heads and curious chirps. They are one of the most common pet birds in the world, but you may be wondering if Cockatiels really make good pets. What are they like to own, and are they right for you? Well, let’s find out!
So, do Cockatiels make good pets? Cockatiels make great pets for people who enjoy a caged pet but are able to accept a moderate level of noise. Cockatiels have long life spans, can eat food that is readily available, and are typically friendly birds. If you want a pet that you can enjoy at home and is relatively low cost, then a Cockatiel could be a great pet for you.
There are many benefits to keeping this bird.
But at the same time, a lot to consider, too; they do have particular needs that must be met in order for them to thrive.
So let’s get into the details of what they are really like to keep and what you should know before you go out and get one!
And do stick around – you’re going to learn a lot here today that could really help make a decision if they are right for you.
What Are Cockatiels Like As Pets?
Cockatiels are pets that require a moderate level of interaction and daily care. They do not need to be walked and exercised like a dog but will require more daily interaction than a fish or reptile pet. They are generally friendly and enjoy time listening to and being held by their owners.
In the wild, Cockatiels rely on songs and other vocalizations to communicate with their flock and young.
These songs allow them to warn other birds if danger is near, indicate needs, and even just offer a friendly greeting.
As pets, Cockatiels still use noise to communicate their feelings and wants. When you own a Cockatiel, you need to be prepared for an animal that will make daily noise.
The noise a Cockatiel makes ranges from whistles and chirps to occasional squawks.
They do not have a reputation for being loud random squawkers like many larger parrots, but they will squawk if they are threatened or begin to feel lonely and bored.
The fun part of Cockatiel noise is in teaching them to whistle and sing songs.
Cockatiels can learn to “call and respond” to whistles. This means their owner whistles one part of a song and their Cockatiel answers.
Cockatiels will need to have a cage where they can safely rest when not interacting with their owner.
They will need fresh water and food daily. They will also need to have their cage cleaned of poop and other food remains on a regular basis.
Cockatiels do not have fur to shed like a dog or cat. They will occasionally molt or lose feathers that will require cleaning up by sweeping up and disposing of feathers.
Some people could be allergic to the light dander that is found in bird feathers against the bird’s skin. If you are allergic to other types of birds, you may find a Cockatiel triggers your allergies.
Cockatiels are generally friendly. To remain tame, they will need regular handling and holding, which most Cockatiels enjoy.
Even if you do not hold your Cockatiel, you will want to offer it time to explore space outside of its cage on a regular basis and talk to your bird regularly to keep it company.
What Should I Know Before Buying A Cockatiel?
There are several things you should know before buying a Cockatiel. Cockatiels are not silent birds; they have long life spans compared to many other pets, they need properly sized cages and regular interaction with their owners.
Let us explore each one in further detail.
Relatively Noisy Birds
As previously stated, Cockatiels are not pets for someone who wants an entirely silent pet.
Cockatiels make noise as part of their daily life.
Generally, Cockatiels will make more noise in the morning and during the evening hours than they do mid-day.
Cockatiels also learn the routines and patterns of their owners.
My own Cockatiel knew the sound of our front door opening when the family returned home.
Any time it heard the front door, it would sing the same series of notes in greeting. It reserved this sound only for when the door opened.
Cockatiels can be encouraged to maintain quiet nighttime hours by dimming the lights in their room or covering their cage to help them block out any stimulus that might encourage them to make noise.
Longer Lifespan Than Most Other Pets
Cockatiels have longer life spans than rodent pets and most dogs and cats. The average lifespan of a Cockatiel as a pet is around 20 – 25 years.
When you take on a Cockatiel as a pet, you need to think about the future.
It is always helpful to have a plan in place for who would care for your pet if you become unable to meet its needs.
You also need to be prepared to have a Cockatiel move with you through life’s changes and phases if you choose one as a pet.
Cockatiels need cages that are large enough for them to open their wings and move their tails without hitting the walls of the cage.
A Cockatiel will not be happy in the same cage that fits a canary or other small song bird.
If a Cockatiel cannot move and stretch safely in its cage, it could not only get injured; it may become depressed and otherwise unhealthy.
A minimum cage size for a Cockatiel should be 24″ tall by 24″ long by 18″ wide. Whenever possible, a cage should be even a bit bigger than this minimum.
Regular Interaction Is A Necessity
Cockatiels will need regular interaction with their owners to stay happy and tame.
Cockatiels are social birds in the wild, living in large flocks.
When kept as a pet, a Cockatiel will require regular interaction with an owner who talks to them and enjoys being nearby for parts of the day. Or at least getting them a companion.
Cockatiels are smart and curious; regular interaction helps stimulate their curiosity and prevents them from getting bored.
If you want to have a bird that enjoys being held, then holding your bird regularly will make sure it remains tame and used to your touch.
Holding your bird regularly also makes health checks and vet care easier to perform.
Are Cockatiels High Maintenance?
Cockatiels require daily care but are not overly high-maintenance pets. They do not require special lighting like some reptiles; they are generally happy at room temperature and can thrive in a variety of home settings.
Cockatiels do not need to be walked and groomed like a dog or have daily litter box cleanings like a cat.
They are certainly less work than a horse which requires pasture space, hoof care, and riding.
When it comes to Cockatiel maintenance, an owner needs to be prepared to maintain a daily routine of interaction, water, and food changes, and at least twice weekly waste clean up.
Cockatiels need veterinary care once or twice a year for health checks.
Grooming a Cockatiel requires nail trimming, and if you do not want your bird to be able to fly, its flight feathers can be trimmed by a vet or other bird knowledgeable person.
If you are prepared to meet basic food and cleanliness needs and give your bird a regular chunk of daily time for interaction, you can meet your bird’s basic needs.
Who Are Cockatiels Best For?
Cockatiels are best for someone who doesn’t need to take their pet out and about their neighborhood to get enjoyment, enjoys a pet they can interact with vocally, who has regular time each day to hold their pet, and can provide a safe, predator-free living space.
Cockatiels are not a pet that can be taken outside without worry of them running away or being attacked by predators.
If you are okay with having a pet that you will enjoy within the walls of your home, a Cockatiel could be great for you.
If you enjoy a pet that makes noise to signal its joy to see you and express its feelings, a Cockatiel is a great option.
A Cockatiel may not be able to run up to you when you step in the door, but they certainly express joy at the sight of their beloved owners.
Your Cockatiel will need to be held regularly. If you have time each day to hold your Cockatiel and give it one-on-one attention, you will have a happy bird.
Providing your Cockatiel a cage that locks and can keep out other pets is very important.
Also, having a space where you can interact with your Cockatiel outside of its cage without fear of attack by other pets or predators means your bird can live a long and happy life.
What Do You Need For A Cockatiel?
To care for your Cockatiel, you will need a few important things:
- A cage that is at least 24″ x 18″ x 24″ tall with metal bars and a securely shutting door.
- Quality premixed bird feed designed for Cockatiels. You may also want to provide your Cockatiel with fresh treats on occasion. You may also want a “cuttlebone,” which is a special vitamin source for birds that attaches to the side of a bird’s cage.
- Perches of varying thickness that are placed at mixed heights through the cage for your bird to sit on and flex his feet.
- Dishes that attach to the side of the cage for food and water.
- Bird safe toys made of wood or plastic to entertain your bird when you are not home.
- Lining material for the cage’s bottom tray. This can be as simple as paper towels and newspaper or premade specialized cage liners available at pet stores.
- Nail trimmers for trimming your bird’s nails.
These are the essential items needed for basic Cockatiel care.
There are many other optional items you can purchase as you get to know your bird and your preferences.
Some of these items may include a sheet for a cage cover, specialized toys, and extra treats.
Cockatiels make great pets that require an average level of daily care.
The most important thing for any potential Cockatiel owner is to be able to provide consistent routine care and attention each day.
And you are going to need to do this for a long time. Between 15-20 years worth.
Well, that’s what the average owner should expect, at least.
Nevertheless, if you are willing to put in the time and commitment, your pet Cockatiel will thank you for your dependability and love.
Are you still researching for potential pets? My other guides may be of help:
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.