BY FRAN GIALLORENZI
The Little Bird with The Big Bird Personality.
Cockatiels are often thought of as "A Great Starter Bird". The truth is they are great birds all the time. Lets set the record straight though. Cockatiels are not just birds, they are Tiny Parrots. They are responsive to every move we make and most of them can be taught to talk with the right amount of time and attention.
Cockatiels need to be fed, played with and treated just like the larger parrots do. They need a cage as big as possible to be able to spread their wings and flap around a bit and they need to come out and hang out with you just like the big guys do.
Male Cockatiels have Yellow faces with an orange spot while Female Cockatiels display a grey face with the orange spot. In the case of the White Face cockatiels the male has the white face and again the female has the grey face. No orange spots on either of them. The lutinos and pieds are a bit harder to sex because of their coloring but if you turn your little parrot on it's back and look under the wing and tail feathers you will see transparent bars on the females and no bars on the male.
The best toys for Cockatiels are wood toys that they can chew up. They love to chew wood and also play with beaded toys but check those ropes and make sure that the ends aren't frayed. Frayed ends can cause a tiel to get it's nail caught and cause serious injuries. They also love their mirrors. That's where most of the males practice talking.
The proper diet for a Cockatiel should consist of a variety of healthy pellets...a good seed mix...and fresh and cooked foods such as fruit, veggies, a little pasta, and whole grains. A lot of tiels won't eat their pellets if it's put in the cage with the seed so my way is to give these babies Pellets 5 days out of the week with NO seed and JUST Seed two days a week. Try to give them some kind of fresh food at least once a day.
If You use a good pellet and your bird eats it and they also eat a variety of fresh food then they won't need a vitamin supplement. But if your bird is a Seed Junkie and you want to add a little vitamin to it's water then be sure to change the water a few times a day as the vitamin will grow bacteria and become a health hazard to your bird.
Some of the foods my tiels love to eat are Dandelion Greens, Collard greens, Kale, Broccoli, peas, corn, they love shredded carrots and red and orange peppers,cooked sweet potatos, cooked split peas, cooked lentils, over cooked pasta and very overcooked brown basmati rice and scrambled eggs. I often give them Grahamn Crackers a s a treat instead of the Comercial Bird Treats which have Artificial Colors, Artificail Sweetners etc. Nuts are also good for them in small amounts.
Be sure you have a good Cuttle Bone in the birds cage as he needs added Calcium in his diet...especially if He is a She and starts laying eggs.
All Birds are very sensitive to the environment. Never use Perfume, Room Sprays, Deodorants, Detergents, Frangranced Candles, or Smoke Cigarettes or any other substance around your Bird. Think of it this way...your bird is about a thousandth times smaller than you so the way you smell something he smells it a thousand times more.
Never keep birds in the kitchen. When you cook a thin film of grease from the food gets all over. Take a white wet rag with a little soap and run it across your cabinet. You'll see the thin layer of yellow film on it. That's grease from cooking. That thin layer of film is clogging up your birds pores if its in the kitchen and slowly smothering him as tbirds breath throught their feather shafts also.
Clipping your birds is a good idea as many cockatiels are great fliers but beware of the RADICAL WING CLIP where the wing is clipped so short the bird cannot glide to the floor but instead crashes to the floor. Many tiels break their keel bones this way or split open the area near their tails. Ouch! That has to hurt till it heals.
Even if a bird is clipped he should not be allowed into the kitchen. Many times I've heard that the bird climbed up on my leg and to my shoulder and then fell into the pot of water on the stove. Birds should be locked in their cages when you're cooking. And never go to sleep with your tiel on the bed
as they may cuddle next to you and when you turn over you'll hurt them. All birds when they are out should be supervised at all times. Never leave them
alone as they can bite a live electrical wire, get caught behind a piece of furniture, jump in a dish of hot food, etc etc etc. They can and will get into trouble.
NEVER USE TEFLON in a BIRD HOUSEHOLD. TEFLON when over heated will kill your bird. It's not a quick death either, it's a very slow painful death where the lungs rupture and explode. Teflon lets off fumes that cannot be detected by us but can be by birds and it's always FATAL. I don't know about you but I love my Babies so much I threw all of my Teflon away. It's been proven also to be dangerous to humans and is still under furthur investigation.
ANALON, CEPHALON, anything cooking ware with the word LON in it is a form of Teflon. Self cleaning ovens have Teflon in them so BEWARE.
Any thing that is NONSTICK COOKWARE is Teflon. So go and invest in a good set of Aluminum or Stainless Steel cookware and GET RID of that TEFLON.
Then Relax and Enjoy your Babies!