Cockatiels

Image of three cockatiels.

Cockatiels are among the most popular pet birds. Small parrots with a variety of color patterns and a crest, they are attractive as well as friendly and easy to tame. Because of their small size, cockatiel care and taming is easier than some other parrot species. They are capable of mimicking speech, although they can be difficult to understand. However, they are quite good at whistling and can often be taught to whistle tunes.

Choosing a Bird

It is best to choose a hand fed baby or at least a young bird that has been handled regularly. Prices will vary with color and you can expect to pay a bit more from a conscientious breeder, but a well handled young bird is worth any extra cost. Cockatiels are quite widely available at pet stores, but these birds may have an unknown history. As a result, they may be older, not used to being handled, and harder to tame.

Look for a bird that is bright, alert and active. A bird sitting quietly with puffed feathers might be ill and is best avoided. The feathers should be smooth and shiny and lay down flat on the body. The feathers around the vent/cloacae should be clean, dry, and free of fecal matter. The scales on the feet should be smooth, the nails in good condition, the beak should be smooth and well-shaped, and the nostrils should be clear and clean.

Housing Cockatiels

Cockatiels are active and playful and should have a large cage. Opinions on the minimum size vary, but a good rule of thumb is at least 20 inches by 20 inches wide, and 26 inches tall as a bare minimum. The spacing on the cage bars should be no more than 3/4 inches (any larger is a safety hazard). Horizontal cage bars offer the best opportunity for climbing and exercise. There should be space to place at least a couple of perches at different levels with enough space to comfortably move between them. Many cockatiel cages come with a removable bottom tray for easy cleaning.

Feeding Cockatiels

Variety is the key to a healthy diet. Seeds can be a nutritious part of the diet, but are high in fat so should only make up a part of the diet (some experts recommend no more than about 30% of the diet). Pelleted diets are often a good choice for birds as they are nutritionally balanced and birds can't pick out their favorite seeds and leave the rest. However, with both seeds and pellets a wide variety of other foods should complement the diet. A variety of fresh vegetables and fruit should be offered, although persistence might be needed before your bird will try new foods (particularly if they are accustomed to an all-seed diet). Proteins such as hard boiled egg, legumes, and cooked meats can be offered in moderation. Sprouted seeds are also an excellent way to add variety to your bird's diet. Avoid avocado.

Cockatiel Information:

  • Life span: cockatiels regularly live 15-20 years with proper care (up to 30 reported).
  • Colors: wild type is grey body with a yellow face and crest and orange cheek patch. The colors on the face are brighter and more vivid in the male, and the female has bars on the underside of the tail feathers. Color variations include albino, lutino, pied, pearl, cinnamon, and silver. The differences between males and females vary in the different color variations and can sometimes be hard to distinguish, especially in young birds.
  • Reputation as a gentle and docile bird; often like to be petted and held.
  • Males are thought to be better at mimicking speech and whistles.
  • Pairs of birds make good company for each other, but usually will not bond as well with their owners or mimic speech or sounds. A single bird is fine, as long as you spend a significant amount of time interacting with the cockatiel on a daily basis.
  • Have a powder on their feathers (used in grooming) that may leave a powdery coating on cages and accessories.
  • Playful and active, and while they vocalize and whistle they are not as loud as some other parrots.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Tacoma Office

Monday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "Unfortunately had to put down my 15 year old cat. Jones animal staff is compassionate and honest when you need them to be most. Every time in you can see the passion everyone there has for every pet they see. I know who I can trust when i get a puppy soon. Thank you for the care and making the best of a tough situation."
    Justin S.
  • "Friendly Drs and staff fancy coffee for while you wait!"
    Tom D.
  • "Love goes they care for my boys and are so helpful!!"
    Trisha C.
  • "The staff is wonderful, just a pleasure to work with"
    Tonja P.
  • "We used to see another Veterinarian, however, when our dog was sick we couldn't get an appointment for a couple of weeks. My daughter recommended Jones Animal Hospital, and I called. I was able to get our dog in the same day. When we met with Dr. Jones, he answered all of my questions completely without rushing me at all. We have been treated promptly, with friendly respect by the entire staff each time we visit. The medical care has been knowledgeable and helpful. The fees are extremely reasonable, too. We have found our animals' home for medical care!"
    Dori O.
  • "The people here are so nice and are very concerned for the animals they treat. Prices are the most reasonable I have come across as well. I recently took in one of my young kitties to be spayed, they keep them override which is nice so they can make sure they have they the experience well. The day after I brought her home, they called to check up on her to see how she was doing. I have never had a veterinary office do that before. I would recommend this office to anyone & everyone!!"
    Darlene B.
  • "They always seem to offer great compassionate care. And they were relatively affordable as well."
    Erik N.
  • "They have been taking wonderful care of my pets for many years."
    Corey D.
  • "I never take my fur babies anywhere else! I know I can trust the staff here & I know they CARE about the animals & their companions. Dr. Jones did retire, but the remaining staff is like family to me. They never charged more than I could afford because they always run the options by me first. I recently had to say goodbye to my 20 year old cat - It was inevitable but VERY painful. Even though they were very busy & they had to squeeze us in that day, they still offered to have one of the staff members sit with me as I said goodbye. I don't know anywhere else that gives that level of comfort!"
    Danielle P.
  • "We love our vet! Been using this vet for over 15 years. NO complaints!"
    Karen S.