Acquired: Pet store
Posted Mar 11, 2014
I absolutely love birds and we decided to pick up a cockatiel from a local pet store when I was around eight years old. Gaga was the second bird we owned, the first being a parakeet who was very unfriendly. Gaga turned out to be the polar opposite and was just another member of the family.
It did and does take patience to train a bird. If you can afford an hour a day or so to work with your bird starting out, you will see a huge difference very quickly. Socialization is the biggest issue that you will face and you must show your bird that you are not a threat. Be gentle, give love and don't give in.
While cockatiels are technically members of the parrot family, do not expect them to be constantly talkative. While I have had friends who owned cockatiels who learned to mimic phrases, Gaga would limit her interactions to whistling. She would preen and stretch her wings to communicate with us (and give us little love nips too.)
She loved being let out of her cage and getting to explore the house. One thing to remember is birds can get stressed out very easily, especially by a change of surroundings. Gaga would sit on my shoulder if we ever needed to go into a room she had not been in before. I would simply walk around the room a couple times and gently pet her and she was fine.
The key to keeping a cockatiels stress level down is as simple as just loving on them and giving them attention. I've heard horror stories of cockatiels being left alone and becoming so lonely they refuse to eat. Also, avoid sudden or jumpy movements when spending time with them.
In terms of simple day to day care, I would recommend getting as big of a cage as your budget will reasonably allow you. While this does mean more "clean up time," it also makes a world of difference in terms of making sure your bird is happy when he/she is confined to the cage. For the owner, this means if you are a busy person, you can feel better about leaving the bird alone for longer stretches of time. Especially if you provide your sweet little bird with some toys to play with!
One last note is that you are doing your bird a disservice if you only feed it seed. Be sure to provide your feathered friend with some fresh veggies as well! Make sure you look up what your specific breed can munch out safely.
If you are looking for a bird and not looking to spend copious amounts of money on an exotic parrot, a cockatiel is a fantastic decision. Just remember that even though they are a "caged" animal that it does not mean you can leave them left alone.