Cockatiel Quick Care Guide

Fun and talkative, cockatiels make wonderful household pets.

Did you know?

  • Cockatiels are one of the most popular companion birds in the world

  • Cockatiels are native to Australia and were discovered to be great companion animals around 1770

  • Cockatiels are emotionally complex & intelligent

  • Cockatiels often fall in love with their owners!

  • Cockatiels use their distinctive crest to express their emotions

  • Cockatiels are monogamous

  • Cockatiels use their crest to express their emotions.

  • Male cockatiels tend to be better at talking than female cockatiels

  • Male cockatiels are also better whistlers

Occasional foods: (twice a week)

  • Sprouted seeds such as Topflite ‘Soak n Sprout’ can also be offered (follow instructions carefully!). Sprouting seeds must be rinsed with water often during the sprouting process to prevent fungal and bacterial contamination. Only sprout as much seed as you can feed at any one time and thoroughly rinse the sprouts before feeding. (Remember to remove any uneaten sprouts after 4 hours).

  • Include whole grain or whole wheat bread, whole grain breakfast cereals, cooked pasta, cooked brown rice, a very small amount of cheddar cheese, a small amount of cooked potato, cooked chicken’s egg (scrambled or boiled – remove after 2 hrs), walnuts, brazil nuts, dried banana chips, dried apricots and raisins.


  • Make sure you offer your cockatiel some cuttlefish bone, a mineral bell, and a small amount of oyster grit.

  • The cuttle-bone and mineral bell will provide your bird with calcium, and the oyster grit serves a dual purpose: it is both a source of calcium and phosphorous and it is used to aid digestion.

  • Ornithon is a powdered multi-vitamin and mineral supplement that can be mixed into your bird’s water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and be aware that water that has been supplemented with vitamins must be discarded at the end of each day to prevent bacterial growth.

  • When supplementing – take care not to overdose, an overdose of vitamins could make your bird just as sick as a vitamin deficiency!

Fresh vegetables and fruit:

  • You can feed your cockatiel small amounts of thoroughly washed and non-sprayed:

    silver beet, spinach, carrot tops, non-sprayed chickweed and dandelion leaves from the garden, cooked or raw carrot, red + yellow pepper, cooked pumpkin, cooked kumara, cooked yams, green beans, peas, peas in their pod, corn, cooked or uncooked corn on the cob, zucchini, mung bean sprouts, tomato, banana, apples (without pips), pears (without pips), apricots (without stones), peaches (without stones), oranges, mandarins, kiwifruit, grapes and raspberries.

  • When fresh veges are unavailable, frozen mixed vegetables can be thawed and offered. Vegetables should be offered daily, but fruit is recommended only 3 times a week ( it can cause diarrhoea if fed in excess).

  • Broccoli and spinach should be given in only small amounts once or twice a week as it is thought to interfere with calcium uptake.

  • Remember to discard any uneaten fruit/veges after 4 hours as they will become spoiled and can cause gastro-intestinal problems if eaten.

Toxic Foods:

  • Include mouldy or perished foods, avocado, the onion family, the green parts of the potato (cooked or uncooked), milkweed (which looks a lot like chickweed), alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, cocoa, rhubarb (leaves or stalks), fruit pips/stones, asparagus, tobacco, raw egg, eggplant, also damp, wet, or mouldy nuts.

  • It's important to avoid cooking with non-stick Teflon cookware in the same room as your cockatiel, as it produces fumes that are highly toxic to birds.

Foods to avoid:

  • Dairy foods (apart from cheddar cheese which is low in lactose), sugary foods, salty foods, raw potato, potato skin, red kidney beans, lima beans, grapefruit, lettuce, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts and parsley.

  • Lettuce can cause diarrhoea and research suggests that cabbage, kale and brussels sprouts may contribute to iodine deficiency.

    Canned foods are not recommended due to their high sodium content.

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