Texas, United States
Posted Oct 27, 2008
This review is absolutely nothing but my opinion which was obtained throughout fifteen (15) years of involvement with avian rescue and rehabilitation. Overwhelmingly, the most often dumped bird was the cockatiel. I've walked outside my door of a morning to find that the cockatiel fairy had come during the night, leaving me more than one cage full of cockatiels on my porch. Being brutally honest, I will tell you that unless one obtains a cockatiel from a cockatiel breeder who loves, and is dedicated to the improvement of, the species, what you are getting is the bird equivalent of a pinkie mouse bred to be fed to a snake. Many, many, many breeders of the higher end birds also breed cockatiels (and budgies and love birds) to support the breeding operation of the larger, more expensive birds (they will deny it, but it is true). These unethical breeders know that cockatiels are about a 95% impulse purchase; that they consistently re-clutch (lay fertile eggs over and over); that they have large clutches; and that they sell for about $40 or so each. This is major mark-up for those breeders because it is doubtful they have more than $40 invested in the pair of parent birds. More often than not, the parent birds are fed a diet of nothing but seed and they are over bred, being allowed to have clutch after clutch until they die or get too old, consistently producing chicks that have had poor nutrition in the shell and poor nutrition from the mother. A calcium-depleted cockatiel hen is going to hatch inferior chicks. As a rule, their cockatiel hatchlings are not pulled for hand-feeding; therefore, the cockatiels they are selling are unaccustomed to close human contact having had none until they were pulled from the nest box to sell. Absolutely none of this adds up to create a bird that you're going to be happy you added to the family. Folks, don't buy a cockatiel at a pet store, chain store, bird fair, flea market, or anywhere else except directly from a reputable cockatiel breeder who sets great store by their birds, who breeds to improve the species, and who takes delight in the fact that you are interested in seeing their breeding set-up. That is the breeder from whom you can purchase a well-bred cockatiel. Though it is not common, occasionally a poorly bred cockatiel that has had little or no human contact during its infancy can turn out to be a good little companion but that is by far the exception rather than the rule. A well-bred cockatiel that comes from a caring and concerned breeder can be a charming, entertaining and long-lived little companion. Some do learn to mimic a few words, many learn to whistle tunes, and most enjoy close contact with their person - happy to ride on their shoulder all over the house and supervise their activities. Don't take a person's word for it that they breed the cockatiels for the love of it. Insist upon seeing their breeding operation. Insist upon seeing the babies in the environment in which they're raised after they've been pulled from the parent birds. Ask if the breeder separates the parent birds after they pull the chicks so that they don't immediately clutch again. If this “nosiness” on your part offends the breeder, you’ve more than likely just figured out from whom not to purchase your cockatiel. It’s important to know that cockatiels are one of the “dustier” birds, and this will typically affect anyone in the household who suffers from allergies.