The more common normal gray colored Cockatiels are usually less expensive than many other parrot species so often they fit the budget as well as the heart. However there are many color mutations and some beautiful patterns from Pieds to the very lacy Pearls and some may feel the White Faced mutations are magnificient. Lutinos will vary from almost a lemon yellow to white in color and are very popular choices. Whichever color combination you choose, a Cockatiel will brighten your world with unbound love and devotion if given the same by their humans.
Choose a large size cage to give your cockatiel lots of room to play in. A minimum size would be 18x18 inches in size. Remember size does matter as cockatiels have long tails and wide wing spans and flapping is great exercise. Make sure the cage bar spacing though is only 1/2 inch or less, as even a 1 inch size space can become a head trap for some cockatiels. With their feather crests, they will push their heads through an opening, but when they try to pull their head back through the bars, the crest may open and the bird may believe it is stuck which can cause a bird to panic and can possibly cause injury. So you either want the bar spacing so small the head cannot go through it, or make sure it is wide enough so that the head can never get caught causing the bird to panic.
Make sure your bird's cage has more than one kind of perch, and more than one size, so your bird can flex his or her feet and toes and get good foot exercise. Providing some type of small platform perch can also allow your bird to occasionally sit flat footed if they desire.
If you are a new bird owner, we recommend starting your bird on a high quality small seed mix, some pellets, small amounts of spray millet as a treat, and introduce some fresh fruits and vegetables to widen your bird's food interests.
Start with several cockatiel appropriate toys, and then add new ones so you can rotate toys every couple of weeks to help keep your bird interested in playing. Choose lots of different textures of toys, and soft woods which will help your bird also keep it's beak in shape. Cockatiels generally love small beads and bells, and cotton rope, sisal, and leather. They often enjoy untying leather knots and preening fleece. Some birds also enjoy cuttlebones which can provide some calcium as well as a beak aid.
Contrary to some very old outdated beliefs, pet parrots such as cockatiels, do not require grit or charcoal to be healthy. These items can actually be harmful for your bird because if overeaten they can impact crops causing illness and even death in rare occasions.
If you need additional help, a really good book is our Cockatiel Handbook with lots of information to get your started on the right track with your new bird.
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