I’ve become rather sceptical about the many data provided to us on a variety of issues over the years. However, I am convinced that those counting beaks are correct when they declare that Cockatiels are second only to Budgies in popularity as companion pet birds. Their long-standing popularity is well-deserved. They have charming, lovable personalities, are joyful and lively, and are readily tamed and taught. Males in particular acquire huge vocabularies. The majority whistle, sing, and laugh. Their voices are not exactly human-like – somewhat squeaky and high-pitched – yet they are frequently clear and understandable. Given the inexpensive price of a hand-fed baby and their anticipated life expectancy of fifteen to twenty years, they remain one of the finest buys in the pet store.
For more than a century, the Cockatiel has been a fixture in European aviaries. Although they originated in the Australian desert and are known as Quarrion, they may now be found in any nation where birds are reared.
Because so many cockatiel aficionados undertake selective breeding, the typical size of this bird has altered. I was ecstatic five to six years ago when one of my finest birds weighed 125 grams. Although the normal pet shop bird weighs just 90 to 100 grams, I now consider this pet size to be of high quality. Show grade is now regarded to be in the 130-150 gram bracket, with some of my better birds weighing in at over 200 grams. This is the weight of broad-chested and long-legged birds, not overweight birds. The American Cockatiel Society’s length requirement is 18 inches, although we have yet to meet this objective. The typical display bird is now 14 to 15 inches long, with the pet grade bird being an inch or two shorter.
The normal gray, the ancestor of all mutations, is a remarkably beautiful bird. The gray plumage, which ranges from light to almost black, contrasts brilliantly with the yellow face and crest, as well as the trademark vivid orange cheek patches. Several color and pattern options are normally available, with more being created. There is no benefit to getting a rare mutation as a companion bird other than the pride of having a cockatiel that is different from all of your friends’. Their charming and gregarious personalities are unaffected by the color of their plumage, and they are all beautiful birds.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I TAKE HOME?
When looking for a pet, look for a hand-fed young bird that has already begun to be tamed and socialized. Only after their first molt, at about six months of age, can the bird’s sex be confirmed definitively by its plumage. Only the females have their striped undertail feathers, and the Pearls keep their ornate lacings. The mature male’s face is often brilliant yellow.
There is a simple technique for detecting sex in infants that, although not perfect, is remarkably accurate. Male greys, cinnamons, and pearls have underwing markings or bars that reach just halfway up the wing. They reach the whole length of the wing to the body in hens. Most of these approaches are difficult to apply to pieds, but the birds’ behavior, especially at a young age, indicates their sex. Males are significantly more noisy, whistling and chirping as they parade about. Females are often cuddlier and quieter.
More crucial than identifying sex is thoroughly inspecting your possible buy for signs of excellent health. When on the perch, your baby should be bright-eyed and attentive, with no ruffled feathers or sagging posture. A healthy Cockatiel is lively and busy. The vent feathers should be clean, there should be no discharge from the nares, and the plumage should be smooth and shining.
ABOUT YOUR NEW PET’S CAGE
Your Cockatiel’s cage needs are minimal. A bird that has the possibility for regular activity outside the cage should be at least 18 inches by 18 inches by 18 inches in size. This provides enough space for wing flapping and movement. If the bird is only to be permitted out of the cage on occasion, a minimum of 36 inches in length, 18 inches in width, and 24 inches in height is preferable. The bars should be no more than 3/4 inch apart for the bird’s protection. They should run horizontally on two sides of the cage to make climbing easier. Bars on curved parts of the cage should not converge; there should be enough room at the narrowest point to avoid toes and beaks from being trapped. With the addition of a swing and a few brightly colored toys, your bird will have a happy and secure home.
WHAT TO FEED YOUR COCKATIEL
In order to keep your bird healthy, proper nourishment is essential. We mostly employ pelleted feeds because we know that each piece of food consumed by the bird has an exact balance of all the nutrients it needs. Some pet owners and breeders still choose to give cockatiel-specific seed combinations. These have the downside of enabling the bird to choose its favorites while ignoring a significant percentage of the food necessary for a balanced diet.
If you want to feed seed, make sure it includes a range of seeds such as millet, hemp, oats, safflower, canary, and sunflower. Then, when you remove the hulls and refill the cup, be sure you are not pouring out the same kind of seed.
Additional meals should be provided on a regular basis, especially with a seed diet. Most Cockatiels are sluggish to accept new feeds, but perseverance pays off. Nutritional value is provided by one-inch pieces of corn on the cob, raw spinach, endive, tiny pieces of carrot, halved grapes, and small pieces of apple. Whole wheat bread, corn muffins, practically all greens, millet spray – in fact, any meal that is excellent for humans is wonderful for our birds, and your dedicated companion will appreciate sharing with you.
Any item containing a considerable quantity of salt, sugar, or fat should be consumed in very little amounts at irregular intervals. Because both alcohol and caffeine disrupt your bird’s high metabolic rate, don’t share your morning coffee or evening glass of wine. Chocolate and avocado are both deadly and should be avoided at all costs.
A continuous supply of fresh, pure water is required. Keep drinking containers spotless and replace the water at least once a day.
We don’t utilize supplements or additives since the pelleted food that makes up 90% of our birds’ meals provides enough levels of minerals and vitamins. Supplementing a prepared diet may result in a vitamin overload, which can be dangerous.
If you are looking for a companion bird to introduce you to the amazing world of birds, or to add to your already established bird family, a cockatiel is an excellent option.
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