How to choose a Pet Cockatiel

Cockatiels will entertain you for hours with their intelligence and are suitable for peo  ple of all ages and experience. Easy to handle, train and maintain its no wonder Cockatiels are our most popular hand raised bird. We highly recommend Cockatiels for families with young children, elderly or anyone looking for a delightful companion. 

If you decide a Cockatiel would best suit your lifestyle, it's best to buy one that is hand raised, as they are raised from a young age to be tame companions. Choosing the most active bird is not all you will be looking for, use the guide below to help you through the process.

Allow enough time to observe the Cockatiels in their cage, this is where they are most comfortable and will show their true colours;

A young, unweaned Cockatiel, notice the short tail and clumsy appearance.

A young, unweaned Cockatiel, notice the short tail and clumsy appearance.

Always ensure they are fully weaned (eating independently, no formula). At least two weeks from weaning is ideal (around 10-12 weeks old). Young Cockatiels are well known for regressing so get confirmation from the hand raiser/breeder/staff that they are eating and drinking independently. If you observe the Cockatiels eating in their cage, that is a good sign. Don’t be tempted to buy a Cockatiel that is not weaned correctly or too young as it will only end in disaster. Young Cockatiels cry (screech) to be fed when being raised, a fully weaned bird should not do this;

The same Cockatiel as above, but fully weaned. Notice the large crest, long tail and confident appearance.

The same Cockatiel as above, but fully weaned. Notice the large crest, long tail and confident appearance.

Look for a bright, active and tight feathered Cockatiel. Don’t choose the mutation (colour) over the overall look of the bird. If the bird shows particular interest in you and has bright clean eyes, clean beak (mouth) and vent (bum), this would be the best Cockatiel to consider taking home;

Whenever buying a Cockatiel, take particular interest in their living conditions. Cages should be clean, brightly lit and have no smell. Any animal kept in overcrowded, damp dirty conditions are more susceptible to disease and a sign of poor husbandry;

Request as much information about the bird from the breeder/hand raiser/staff which includes exactly what brand food they are feeding, health routine (worming etc.), age and any temperament observations. Any good breeder/hand raiser/staff will have some idea of each Cockatiels temperament;

Never buy a hand raised bird you have not handled. Every bird has their own likes/dislikes and temperament. A good hand raised Cockatiel will sit on your hand/shoulder with little fear. This is also a good time to inspect the bird's physical condition; eyes/beak/feet/vent;

Vetafarm range of Pellet Staple food and treats.

Vetafarm range of Pellet Staple food and treats.

Always ensure you buy the exact brand of food whether it be seed or pellets that the Cockatiel is currently eating. Staying on the same food will ensure a smooth transition to its new home and reduce the risk of the Cockatiel regressing and unnecessary stress. NEVER change the diet of a young Cockatiel that is already weaned onto a particular diet straight away. If you want to change the Cockatiels staple diet (e.g. from seed to pellets) wait at least 6 months;

Ensure you have the necessary accessories before picking up your new Cockatiel. If you are buying a Cockatiel from a breeder or store that does not sell accessories, at least ask what brand of food they are feeding and have it ready;

When transporting your new bird home ensure they are properly contained, most good pet stores will sell bird transport cages/boxes.

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Pet Cockatiels