Posted Apr 27, 2013
We got 2 cockatiels from a friend. They had been abused or neglected in the past, so we don't know how old they were. One bird had a wing that broke and healed in the wrong place, he could not fly but was the sweetest thing in the world. Loved my toddlers to death, but frequently had to be saved from less than gently hands.
Osiris, the second, is in perfect health. He socializes with the entire family, in his own way. These are flock birds, and the 'flock' includes everything from me to the pet rabbit. The more time spent with them, the more they socialize. They are VERY intelligent animals and love to play. Osiris plays chase with my 2-year-old, and hide and seek with me. My son likes to wake him up to play, and when Osiris is not in the mood to play, he will lead the kiddo under our table where the tot gets stuck so he can escape. This makes them very trainable. However, like most animals, the younger you train them the better.
They are rarely aggressive with members of their 'flock'. My son has taken to cornering the bird, something he gets disciplined for, and because Osiris likes him, he does not bite the kid. He threatens him, but has only nibbled my sons fingers. He has bitten me for clipping his wings, this is apparently common. The other bird would draw blood for the same chore, but his wing was tender.
They do enjoy baths and showers. Both birds loved taking showers with me, but I had to be be careful not to get soap on them. They happily preened and groomed themselves, perched on the shower curtain rod, while I shampooed my hair.
They will also groom people when they have gotten to know you. Osiris likes to groom my husband and me on occasion. They also share meals, and enjoy people food. Osiris loves it when my son shares the crust from his peanut butter sandwich.
They can be trained to be free in the house, but have a habit of shredding things and poo everywhere, so most people keep them in a cage. Osiris prefers his perch and we provide him with shredding toys, so he does little damage when he is loose. He does shred papers left in his reach, though. He has worn large grooves in his perch over the last two years this way.
Cockatiels require yearly check ups, and do much better on a kibble diet than seed. For these reasons they are not cheap to keep. They also do not make good pets for small children. I have to keep a VERY close eye on my toddler around Osiris, for the bird's safety. Osiris cannot do much more than make my son bleed, but my son could easily kill Osiris without meaning too. They also have a painfully high pitched call. I love the bird, but that song can really hurt.