View Full Version : Question for all those Cockatiel Owners/Lovers

08-05-2004, 09:12 PM
I'm thinking of possibly getting a cockatiel and I was just wondering how much work they are. People at petstores say that all you have to do is feed them and take them out once a week, but I know that is untrue.

I know there are a lot of tiel owners out there, and I know you guys will be honest with the facts of owning them.



08-05-2004, 11:02 PM
IMO, once a week is RIDICULOUS.

Don't ever leave your bird locked up that long.

Our tiel, Charlie, usually has free roam. She's stopped nibbling on cords, and eating things, but she is still watched carefully. I clean her cage at least once a week, and usually much more, because I have fun rearranging her things... :p I hose her entire cage down once a month... uh... let's see... A tiel needs to be socialized, you can't expect it to be attached to you if you take it out once a week and feed it. Charlie gets covered at night to avoid night scares and whistling... Otherwise, that's about it!

08-06-2004, 08:01 AM
Mine don't get free roam, and their wings are clipped, but they do get out for many hours, each day, to climb, bathe and play. Plus we try to spend as much time as possible interacting with them as well.

If you're raising them properly, you will be not only feeding them dry pellets and seed and providing fresh water (we have to clean the water dish at least twice a day), you will supplement them with fruits and vegetables, sometimes pasta, etc. Read a good Cockatiel book or do some research online about them. There is loads of information available.

I've learned a lot in the two and a half years we have had ours. They are messy (seed hulls everywhere and poop everywhere), but they are fairly easy to clean up after, and I line and cover everything possible with newspaper that can easily be discarded. There is a product called Poop-Off that I buy at Petsmart and it is life saver when cleaning up after them. And the more you interact with them, the happier they are. I have no noise problems with them at night. They like to sleep around 12 hours straight, so noise has not been a problem. I don't cover my cages, but that is certainly something you can do (when I have covered, I've used a lightweight sheet) especially if they are in a room where people are still up and lights are on. Mine have their "own" room to protect them from the cats and dogs we have for their own safety.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. I'm no expert, but I do have a little experience at least. There are many others who have experience as well.


08-06-2004, 12:55 PM

I know a little bit about tiels, but not a lot. I think I'll do some reading online and if I go to the library. My mom used to have a tiel, Mikey, he lives with my uncle now. Maybe I should ask them, too....


My Peanuts
08-06-2004, 01:22 PM
My cockatiels are like my kids. I bathe them, I cook for them, & I worry about them. I have four, two girls and two boys. Tiels are a lot of work, but worth it. When I first got Alex about 8 years ago I would do what the pet stores said. I would take her out about once or twice a week and feed her mainly seed. That is WRONG. I know that now.

The best advice I can give you is that tiels eat pretty much what you eat, not just seed and pellets. My tiels love green beans, tuna, ham, scrambled eggs, potato salad, etc. Each tiel will be different. Also remember tiels need a lot of calcium, especially females. I wish pet stores would tell people that stuff right off the bat. My avian said when you cook for yourself give them some. (Watch the salt and sugar, NO chocolate, alcohol duh!, or avocados) I change the water daily and I add vitamins to it.

Also, weather permitting, my tiels like to go out in the sun (in their cage of course) I bathe them by putting the hose on mist and misting them that way, but only when it's warm enough. They sit in the sun misted and loving it.

I change the cages ( I have two, one with my girls in it and one with my boys in it) about once a week. I usually do a full cleaning, but sometimes it’s just a quickie.

I also have a separate issue with my birds that you probably won't. Alex is a bad egg layer, which is why I have four birds now. Alex lived with Danny and got egg bound so the vet wanted them separated. Well, they were lonely so I got Milton to live with Danny and Evie to live with Alex :p. I also give them daily supervised visits because Danny LOVES Alex and I couldn't keep them separated forever.

This seems like a lot of care, but if you make it part of a routine it really isn't bad. Plus, a hand raised cockatiel will be really affectionate and makes it all worth it. I would suggest getting a pair. Male & female if you don't mind the possibility of babies (A TON OF WORK!) Two females will be quiet, but they still can lay eggs without a male. Two males will be louder, but obviously you don't have to worry about egg bindings or anything like that.

Keep in mind I'm a 23 year old girl with an active social life, a boyfriend, a job, two dogs, and a lot of other responsibilities and I have no trouble fitting my cockatiels into the mix.

Sorry for the looooooooong post, but that's the quick basics of owning a cockatiel. :D

My Peanuts
08-06-2004, 01:26 PM
Oh, by the way, I noticed you live in Chicago. I live in Melrose Park and I got Evie about 3 weeks ago in Harwood Heights. It's a nice little pet store called Coral Reef on Lawrence Ave. They are very responsible people and they have hand raised cockatiels there for $85.00. When I was there they had a beautiful white faced tiel for sale. I really wanted her, but I was already hooked on Evie. Who knows, you might get Evie's brother or sister :D. Please let me know what you decide to do.

My Peanuts
08-06-2004, 01:36 PM
Originally posted by Logan

I have no noise problems with them at night. They like to sleep around 12 hours straight, so noise has not been a problem. I don't cover my cages, but that is certainly something you can do (when I have covered, I've used a lightweight sheet) especially if they are in a room where people are still up and lights are on.

I am in no way saying what you are doing is wrong because I'm sure you know more about tiels than I do especially since you are raising them, but I was told to cover them. I read and was told by the vet that birds, especially cockatiels, are prone to night terrors and covering them can minimize them. I never covered Alex when it was just her in the cage, but I remember hearing her fall off the perch at night. I thought she just lost her balance, but it was a night terror. I started covering her for the past 4 years and her night terrors have decreased a lot. Just a friendly thought :)

08-07-2004, 12:10 AM
Well, I know if I only took Piper out once a week, he'd go insane. They're very social animals, and they need and thrive on attention. Piper's out for mostly the whole day, and only goes in his cage for naps, bed time, or when we're not home. We cover his cage at night with a blanket.

They're very smart birds too. Piper can bark like a dog, mimic a squeaky toy, mimic a person laughing, "wolf whistle", make kissing noises, and says "Hello" and "Uh Oh" in his own little voice. :p

He's also very messy, but considerably easy to pick up after. I clean his cage once a week, and his water dish is cleaned out one or two times a day. He's a picky eater, so he doesn't each much people food like some of the tiels here, but he'll eat a little bit.

Good luck with your decision! You've been giving some great information and advice by everyone here already. :)

08-07-2004, 09:33 AM
Thank you so much everyone!

I don't think I'm going to get a cockatiel any time real soon. School for me starts in 2 weeks and first I would like to see if I have the time to care for a feathered friend. Plus, my parents don't seem to thrilled about the idea. (I'm going into 7th grade, they're say rules :p ) Also, when we go on vacation with a lot of my family, grandparents, my uncle, etc. we don't know of anyone who would watch the bird. We always have someone lined up for Snowy and Taffy but I don't know anyone right now that I think would like a feathered friend for a week....(My grandparents and uncle love birds and would watch him/her if they could)

Lots of problems have to be worked out before then. I would hate to get a beautiful cockatiel and not be able to care for it my very best.