Welcome to Baby Cockatiel Care 101!
This post is about how to care for your new cockatiel baby (2-4 months old and fully weaned).
It is not so much about raising a baby cockatiel from hatching to weaning. I am going to resist the urge to over-explain, since so much information can already be found online.
Please also see our post, Cockatiel Care for more information on caring for your bird. We also recommend researching online and joining Facebook groups dedicated to cockatiels for more information.
Cages, Perches and Toys
Some things to look for when choosing your bird’s cage:
Half inch bar spacing
Minimum 24″ long by 18″ wide by 24″ tall, but bigger is always better!
Horizontal bars on at least 2 sides. They really love to climb!
Cages with any rust on them (if you are buying second hand)
Larger than half an inch bar spacing
We like cages like this, found on Amazon and runs between $100-150. It is 24 inches long and 54 inches tall. This works great for 1-2 cockatiels.
We don’t use dowel perches that come with most cages. Instead we choose a variety of natural wood perches in various textures and sizes. Cockatiels also like flat surfaces, so look for flat wood perches or flat wire perches.
There are many options for toys that are bird safe including making your own! Natural chew toys are especially popular. Rattan, yuka, seagrass, and foraging paper are just a few of our bird’s preferred toys. Inspect toys regularly and remove anything potentially dangerous right away. There are entire groups on Facebook and websites dedicated to making your own toys.
Cockatiels thrive on a diet that includes a mix of 80% pellets and 20% seed, as well as fresh veggies daily. Millet is the perfect treat or training tool. I recommend providing millet 24/7 for the first week or two when your birds come home. Once your baby is adjusted and is eating other foods well, go to offering millet while training or 1-3 times per week. Remember that millet is like candy to birds so you’ll want to limit the amount they have, but it can be a great comfort while adjusting, molting or illness.
We feed babies a mix of 50% pellets and 50% seed. You can slowly add more pellets and less seed over time. Start offering greens such as kale and spinach right away. We feed all of our birds chop 2-3 times per week, which includes carrots, corn, peas, green beans, spinach, kale, hard boiled egg (with shell), cooked steel cut oats and quinoa all mixed together and chopped small in a chopper. The rest of the week we offer spinach and kale clipped to the side of the cage by a perch and its always a huge hit. Start easy and work your way to more variety! Don’t get overwhelmed by the options that you can feed your bird.
Here are the pellets and seed mixes that we feed. We prefer a mix with NO sunflowers. Sunflowers can be offered as a treat or reward but no regularly as they are good for them but in moderation. Please note, you don’t have to get all of these. Pick your bird’s favorite. We offer a variety because we have a lot of birds and each bird has its preferred food.
Volkaman’s Cockatiel (No Sunflower, we’ve only been able to find this online (Amazon))
Roudybush Crumbles (small size)
Zupreem FruitBlend Flavor
Zupreem Natural Pellets Bird Food for Medium Birds
Some other good options we see recommended often (you can search all of these on Amazon and some pet stores may carry some of these) :
Lafeber Classic Nutri-Berries Pet Bird Food (these are little balls and you just offer 1-2 a day or every couple days)
HARI Tropimix Bird Food (says Hagen Tropimix on the bag)
Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Fine
Other things to offer :
Cuttle bone or a mineral block (keep in the cage)
Fresh water daily. We provide both open bowls and non-leak bottles for our birds. They prefer the bowls, but if the water gets soiled during the day they still have a fresh water source.
Use stainless steel for food and water as these are easy to clean and sanitize.