By Laura Ira
Posted Feb 05, 2013
Cockatiels as Pets
For such a little bird, cockatiels can be really enjoyable companion parrots. Many a cockatiel has been seen snuggled up against the neck of his or her owner. A hand raised bird is often inclined to enjoy head scratches and can be taught to talk, dance, and remember songs that they sing or whistle. Typically the male cockatiel has a reputation for picking up sounds. More so than the females do.
Because Cockatiels make a whistling sound naturally as part of their courtship display, teaching a male Cockatiel to whistle a specific tune is relatively easy. They need at least an hour per day training or learning and it is a lot like teaching a dog tricks . treats are used as rewards for desirable behavior. Unfortunately, female Cockatiels are not known for being as open to picking up talking or whistling. they are very hard to train.
For such a little bird, Cockatiels can be really enjoyable companion parrots. Many a Cockatiel has been seen snuggled up against the neck of his or her owner. A hand raised bird is often inclined to enjoy head scratches and some do learn to talk. Typically the male Cockatiel has a reputation for picking up sounds more so than the females do. Because Cockatiels make a whistling sound naturally as part of their courtship display, teaching a male Cockatiel to whistle a specific tune is often a realistic goal. The female Cockatiels are not known for being as open to picking up talking or whistling. These tiny birds are big on personality and are equally trainable as any of the larger species of parrots.
Cockatiels are mostly ground foragers. It is important to provide a shelf, access to the bottom of the cage or other flat surface for your cockatiel. Cockatiels in the wild will eat over 30 different types of grass seeds, grain and other types of seeds such as sunflower. So the food they eat is readily availible and is relatively inexpensive.
They are very social love the company of other Cockatiels. They love to look in the mirror. Sometimes access to the mirror can work well as a tool when teaching them.
Typically smaller parrots do not live as long as larger species. This is true for Cockatiels. But, there are Cockatiels that have lived as long as 28 years in captivity. They can get ill easily. They die suddenly, and because they are often prey for larger predators they often won't show signs of illness until it is too late.
Cockatiels are also prone to something called “night frights.” During a night fright episode a Cockatiel will thrash and flap frantically within the cage. if the Cockatiel is startled by something. When owners turn on the light to investigate, they often find a panting, wide eyed bird. Sometimes they will break blood feathers during these panic flights. This be prevented by having a night light close to your Cockatiel's cage.
Cockatiels are among the most popular pet birds. Small parrots with a variety of color patterns and a crest, they are attractive. Because of their small size, care and taming is a lot easier than some other parrot species.
It is best to choose a hand fed baby or 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 worth any extra cost. Cockatiels are quite widely available at pet stores, for about one to two hundred dollars each depending on breed and color.
You want to look for a bird that is bright, alert and active. A bird sitting quietly with puffed feathers might be ill. The feathers should be smooth and shiny and lay down flat on the body. The feathers around the vent/cloaca 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.
These tiny birds have tons of personality and love to show off. They are know to cuddle and snuggle on your shoulder, nibble your ear and ride on your shoulder or hat brim where ever you walk. They are talented entertainers and a really rewarding pet to own.