When it comes to owning cockatiels, you will need to consider their set up, cage and sleeping requirements. But what about covering the cage. Should this be done and if so, is there any considerations you need to take into account? Requiring such information, I decided to do some research. Here is what I have been able to find.
So, should you cover a cockatiel at night? You can cover a cockatiel at night and there are benefits in doing so. However it is not considered mandatory by avian experts. If you do decide to cover your tiels cage, then you must ensure you use a breathable material, and leave one side open to ensure your bird(s) do not suffocate. This will ensure they have a sufficient supply of oxygen throughout the night.
Many cockatiel owners decide to cover their cage, and it has become standard practice. You may be wondering why this is done and if there are any benefits to doing so.
Below I will attempt to address some of these questions before introducing the correct approach to covering the cage. This will ensure your birds remain safe and get their much needed rest throughout the night.
Benefits To Covering Your Cockatiels Cage
If you are not sure as to whether covering your cockatiel’s cage is a good idea or not, then be rest assured that if it is done properly, there are many benefits for you and your bird.
First and foremost, cockatiels are known to suffer from night fright. Darkness and nighttime can be very stressful for your bird, particularly if you have recently brought them home or moved them into a different cage.
Covering the cage enables you to give your bird reassurance through a feeling of safety.
It enables your bird to calm down, and in turn, be able to get the rest in which they need.
After all, you want to give your pet bird the feeling of safety when it’s dark outside. The cover provides a level of protection from the outside world – where they feel more secure and less vulnerable.
Secondly, for you as an owner, covering the cage enables you to lower their noise. Cockatiels are quite a vocal species of bird, even during the night.
A cage cover can effectively dilute the noise in which they make, which can of course be helpful when it comes to you and your own sleep.
Lastly, another benefit of placing a cover on the cage is that it indicates to your bird that its time to sleep. Its a sign that they can learn to look out for and become familiar with. They will soon learn what this means and what is then required of them.
You can essentially help train them when and when not to sleep (although of course this will happen naturally when the sun goes down and darkness begins to set.
With a cover, you are able to manipulate the darkness – perhaps bringing extra darkness on early and influencing the time in which your birds can settle down for the night.
How Do You Cover A Cockatiel Cage?
When it comes to covering your cockatiel cage, you must be aware of what cover to use and how to appropriately put it on.
If you get either of these two wrong then you run the risk of suffocating your bird(s).
You need to ensure you are using a cover which is breathable; not too dense and heavy. This is the kind of cover you will want to purchase from Amazon. Being black in color, being non-toxic and breathable are some of the features you should be looking for.
You will of course need to consider the size of your cage and dimensions of the cover.
When it comes to placing the cover on the cage, you will need to be strategic in how you do so (depending on the cover and how it was designed).
A lot of covers that were designed exclusively for birds cages may be able to completely cover the cage (due to the materials used).
However, if you are using your own cover – or are not sure how breathable the materials are, you will need to ensure that not all of the cage is covered. This will allow air and oxygen to flow in and out of the cage freely – letting your bird(s) breathe.
Its important that you only use the cage cover during the during sleeping hours. So, it should be mostly used during the night, or for infrequent periods during the day if your tiels want to take a nap.
How effective covering the cage is for you and your bird is going to be a matter of preference.
Some birds so really well with a cover; whereas others not so much.
Some owners have even reported that their birds attempt to pull the cover away.
Ultimately, you are going to need to experiment – monitoring your bird in the process and seeing how they respond.
Nonetheless, here are the important rules you take into account at all times:
- Always use a breathable fabric.
- Opt for a fabric that is black or dark in color (this will prevent light from accessing the cage).
- Ensure air/oxygen can enter the cage to prevent suffocation.
- A small amount of light can be used to prevent night frights in your birds.
What Time Should I Put My Cockatiel To Bed?
Putting your cockatiel to bed may differ from individual to individual. However, it is important that you stick to a set schedule and they you try to align with the night/day, light/dark schedule.
This will enable your bird to set their circadian rhythm and get all of the rest they need.
In the wild, these birds naturally settle at dusk, waking when they light begins to surface. This will change across the year and as seasons change – so they are very responsive to light and align their sleep accordingly.
For birds in captivity, you must try to stick to such a schedule. It is debatable whether keeping them up long after dark is healthy for them.
That being said, many cockatiel owners will put their birds to bed at the same time that they go. This can be anywhere between 8-11pm.
Generally, when the lights are off and it gets dark, your cockatiels will know that it is time to bed. This is why you need to ensure that you keep a consistent schedule and do not manipulate the lighting drastically day by day, night by night.
This is also why you need to be careful where you place their cage, as you do not want them to be kept up if you decided to have a late night for example.
How Much Sleep Does A Cockatiel Need?
A cockatiel requires quite a lot of sleep, just like many other birds and parrots. It is recommended that a cockatiel gets around 10-12 hours of sleep per day.
This is another reason in why you need to be very particular of where you place their cage; to ensure they get all the hours in which they need to rest.
Owners should also consider that a cockatiel usually will nap during the day. This can vary between birds, but they generally will show signs and symptoms that they want to take a nap. During this time you can cover the cage with a breathable cover to help support them.
With naps, you do need to be careful about how and when you wake them up. Usually, a couple of hours sleep during a nap will suffice.
However, you want to be relaxed and patient towards the end of their nap. Let your birds naturally wake and listen out for noise that they make – like chirping.
When it comes to taking the cover off, do so slowly as to not let a lot of light enter the cage all at once.
Do not approach them too quickly – tapping their cage on the outside will help to give them a little warning that you are about to approach.
This will all prevent your bird from panicking and becoming stressed.
How To Make Your Cockatiel Feel Safe In The Dark
Not all cockatiels will naturally feel safe when darkness comes around. Thankfully there are some things we can do as owners to help them feel safer and more secure during the night:
- Move your bird(s) to and from smaller and larger cages. You can place your cockatiel in a smaller, more confined space during night, and then move them to a larger cage during the day.
- Keep the temperature of the room optimal for your birds – especially during sleeping hours. This should be 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit (18-21 degrees Celsius).
- Shut curtains and/or blinds and ensure that there are no shadows that can frighten your bird(s). Installing a nightlight into the room of the cage can be useful here.
- Keep other animals/pets outside of the room that you keep your cockatiels.
Not all birds are the same, so you will need to see how your cockatiel responds to the night and the changes you implement.
Its also important that you do not regularly or consistently change their enclosure/environment. If you start moving things, changing things etc it can startle your bird(s) as they need to get familiar with their new surroundings.
If your cockatiels begin to suffer from night frights, then you need to respond in a certain way to ease their stress. Otherwise, they may begin to flap around in their cage and can injure themselves in doing so.
If you observe/hear that your tiel is distressed, then enter the room of the cage – turn on the light and begin to talk softly and calmly to your bird. Do not approach their cage, nor ever attempt to pick them up during this time.
Then, when your bird calms down, ensure there is nothing in the room startling them, turn the lights off, and replace the cage cover appropriately.
Some owners have installed a baby monitor (like this type from Amazon) to keep an eye over their bird(s) at night. this will allow you to monitor their sleeping behaviors and also to ensure they are comfortable. You can also identify anything that may be causing your cockatiel distress.
If your birds remained frightened at night, then you may need to contact your vet. There could be a health issue that is causing the issues.
Covering a cockatiels cage can be done. Whether it should be done is another question entirely and it will come down to you and your birds own personal prefencers.
Generally there are many benefits to covering your birds cage. Not just for your bird, but for you as the owner.
However, you do need to ensure that when covering the cage you do so with the right style of cover and that you place it on the cage appropriately.
Purchasing a cover designed for bird cages is the way to go – as they are made from a breathable material, are non-toxic and they also are black in color, and can block out light.
Either way, you need to ensure your bird(s) have enough access to oxygen to ensure that they do not suffocate.
You can keep a cockatiel in your bedroom. However, consider that they may make some noise which may be an issue when you attempt to sleep. You will also need to consider ventilation in your room and it is recommended to get an air purifier to remove feather and dust particles that can cause damage to your lungs. Drafts need to be limited along with any loud noises which could scare your birds (like music). Its also recommended to keep your bird’s cage clean and to do so frequently.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.