Acquired: Bred bird myself
Posted Jan 14, 2014
Raising any animal from infancy is an heartwarming experience. I had the pleasure of raising cockatiels from the egg. Baby birds are not the cutest specimens of new life. The oversized eyes, pink, featherless skin, and gangly, awkward fragility make baby cockatiels more grotesque than adorable. But their utter dependence upon you for regular feedings and affectionate words forge a stronger bond than most pet owners share with their pets.
My babies were named Pete and Repeat. It is difficult to tell the sex of baby birds; when cockatiels get older, the males tend to have brighter colors, especially in the face. Males often have bright yellow surrounding the orange spots on the cheeks which both males and females possess. After Pete and Repeat grew into adults, both revealed themselves to be females. Pete was sold to a loving family, while Repeat remained my personal pet.
Repeat learned simple phrases: “Hello.” “Pretty baby.” “Pretty bird.” She would climb up and down my arms, and allow anyone to rub her head and stroke her back. When anyone would come into the room, Repeat would say a few phrases and whistle a few bars of some recognizable tunes.
Unfortunately, while an average cockatiel lifespan is 16-25 years, it has been my experience that they are susceptible to illness and often death from drafts, and females are especially prone to egg binding, a condition where the egg is formed but is unable to be passed and can break inside. Repeat unfortunately succumbed to egg binding after five years of life.