Family:Cacatuidae Nymphicus hollandicu
Cockatiels are about as close to the perfect pet as you can get! With their happy personality and easy going nature, these attractive little parrots will soon win you over, lavishing you with love and attention!
In their native habitat, the arid interior of Australia, these small parrots are quite nomadic. They travel in flocks following food availability, settling in scrubby low desert vegetation but always close to water, such as creeks and rivers. When their food supply dwindles down they move on.
The cockatiels native habitat has made them well suited as pets. They are hardy, adapt easily to change, and are easy to breed. A big plus is that cockatiels are not noisy and can be left alone for long periods of time. Their intelligence and inquisitiveness makes them easy to train. This coupled with a very gentle nature makes them a pet that children can safely care for!
CARE and FEEDING:
A commercial cockatiel seed mix is generally regarded as suitable along with a good vitamin supplement. You can also supplement with green foods such as dandelion leaves, certain weeds, carrot tops, celery, watercress, spinach, peas, seedling grasses and millet. Various fruits and vegetables will also be enjoyed such as apples, oranges, bananas, corn and others. Wholegrain bread is readily accepted as well. Proteins can be offered in the form of mynah pellets, game bird starter, dog food, and even mashed hard-boiled eggs. Pellet diets will also provide a fairly balanced feed, however it does not contain the phytonutrients (antioxidant pigments) that are found in vegetables, fruits, grains and seeds, so should be supplemented.
Cuttlebone is recommended to help provide calcium and to help keep the beak trim.
While birds in the wild ingest small pebbles or sand to obtain grit, pet birds need a small amount of grit added to their food a couple of times a month. Food is ground up in the gizzard with the aid of grit.
As a pet, it is important to keep their wings clipped! This will prevent them from taking to the air and never seeing them again and making serious injury less possible, as well as facilitate you taming and training your bird.
Fresh branches from trees and bushes such as bottle brush, hybiscus and fruit trees will give hours of chewing and climbing pleasure while exercising and trimming the beak and nails.
Give your cockatiel fresh drinking water every day. You can also provide soluble vitamins and minerals to the water. Your bird will require worming at least twice a year. This can be done using a commercially available worming solution, simply diluted in their drinking water.
Your cockatiel will enjoy a bath, either with a dish in the bottom of the cage or a light misting with a spray bottle.
These attractive little parrots are considered part of the cockatoo family (Cacatuidae). As a member of this family, they display their cute little erectile crests, as well as have their male/female colorings and their nesting behaviors. Young cockatiels are more slender than the adult, have incomplete feathering on the head, extensive barring on their breasts, and pinkish to light grey bills. Young birds reach full size at about 9 months, though they begin to moult at about 6 months and will continue to moult yearly from then on. The adult cockatiel weighs 3 to 4 ounces and is 12 inches from beak to the tip of the tail. The adult generally has darker feathers and beaks. Male cockatiels generally have brighter yellow heads and cheek patches, as well as prominent crests. Most cockatiels live 12 to 14 years, though they can live as long as 20 to 25 years.
In the wild, the cockatiel is predominately grey. There have been a variety of colour variations, or mutations produced over the years, resulting from domestic breeding which are generally referred to as Pied, Pearl, Cinnamon, Lutino, Silver and White Faced. There are other mutations available, such as Platinum, Olive, Fallow, Spangle, Platino, Pastel Face and Yellow Face, however we'll concentrate here on the more popular varieties. The basic pigments in the cockatiel are yellow, red, and black. The first mutation is the Pied, which has white and yellow spots on their bodies wherever they lack black pigmentation. The second mutation is the Lutino, which is where they lack black pigmentation; the third mutation is the lovely Pearl, where they have white and yellow feathers with dark grey borders. After the male moults he loses his pearling sometimes just a faint hint remains, while the females pearling remains. The fourth mutation is the Cinnamon, where the black pigmentation turns brown. The fifth mutation is the Silver, a paled grey resulting because the black pigmentation has been partially reduced. Sixth is the White Faced, a variety where there is no yellow and no orange cheek spots and is available in all the other mutations such as Pied, Pearl, Cinnamon, Lutino and Silver.
Cockatiels love roomy cages! It must be at least wide enough for the cockatiel to spread its wings out without touching the sides, so a minimum of 18" wide by 18" high by 24" length (45 x 45 x 60 cm) is essential. A chew resistant metal cage is important; a wooden cage will easily be destroyed. A cage with horizontal bars on the sides is nice as they love to climb. Provide one or two perches about 3/4" in diameter and dishes hanging from the side for feed, water and grit. Try to place the perches away from dishes so the food and water dish do not become soiled with bird droppings. Do not use plastic because your bird will chew and break the plastic which can become hazardous. A cage skirt or fine screen around the bottom of the sides will help lessen seed scattering. Place the cage in an area out of drafts and sudden temperature changes. Putting it at eye level or higher will make the bird feel more secure. Covering the cage at night is not necessary but will help to keep the bird calm and give it a greater sense of security.
The cage bottom can be covered with paper, sand, gravel or a corn cob litter.
The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Change paper bottoms daily and litter coverings every 2-3 days. Weekly you should clean and disinfect the cage. Wash and completely dry the perches and toys whenever they become soiled. Sand floors in aviaries should be renewed annually.
Cockatiels love climbing and stretching their wings, as well as playing. Keep the quantity of toys and accessories in the cage light so that you don't inhibit the bird's movements. They enjoy a variety of toys such as seed treats, swings, ladders, bells, and mirrors. Tree branches and wooden chews provide excellent exercise and keep the beak trim. Bright shiny plastic toys are for parakeets, not cockatiels! Never give them rubber toys!
A tame cockatiel will enjoy a playpen outside of the cage. It makes a superior cockatiel toy and can be equipped with ladders, perches, swings and hanging toys.
10 to 12 hours of rest are needed each day for a healthy, well adjusted cockatiel.
The cockatiel is a very hardy bird. However, signs of illness to be aware of are if a bird shows a lack of activity, the feathers are ruffled, or if it shows any signs of weight loss (weight loss can be quick and fatal).
Some of the common illnesses and injuries your cockatiel could contract are broken wings or legs, cuts and open wounds, overgrown beaks and nails, lameness or sore feet, feather plucking, feather cysts, weight loss, heat stroke, shock, concussions, egg binding, indigestion, eye disease, mites, watery eyes, colds, tumors, Psittacosis, coccidiosis, French molt, goiter, E. coli, Aspergillosis, conjunctivitis, constipation, diarrhea, arthritis and rheumatism.
Set up a hospital cage where you cover all but the front of the cage and add a light bulb or heating pad to keep the interior cage at a recommended constant temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove all perches and put food and water dishes on the floor. If you don't see improvements within a few hours, an ailing parrot should be taken to an avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
HAPPY BIRD KEEPING