Everything you need to know to raise Cockatiels
Well, if you had a cockatiel (pronounced cock-uh-tee-il), it probably would, as long as you trained him or her to say what you wanted - after all, they do belong to the parrot family!
Although their 'voices' aren't as clear as those of larger parrots, and they aren't really the best choice if you're looking for a talking bird, cockatiels make great companions - they love to be handled and stroked, perch squarely on your shoulder as you walk about the place, take fruit from your hands, and are as loving as they are lovable!
This bird is native to Australia (don't expect it to have an Australian accent, or say "G'day mate" without teaching it to!), and flocks of hundreds of these birds fly wild in most of the inner regions of the country. Best of all, they're quite easy to care for, and inexpensive to buy, unlike larger parrots like African Greys and Cockatoos. Also, they do not fall ill as easily as larger parrots and other birds do, and chances are they will be around for as long as twenty years, well after you've graduated from college!
I'm sure you'll think of some great names for your bird, but if you need some suggestions, here they are:
Some interesting names for boy cockatiels:
Some interesting names for girl cockatiels:
Best buddies are often the ones you've known for the longest time, so you have to decide to be a faithful friend to your bird for a long time to come. Ask the pet shop attendant to show you the largest cage your mom and dad are willing to buy, a minimum of 24" x 24" because keeping a bird in a small cage is cruel. Be sure that the bars are spaced properly, not more than 3/4 of an inch apart, as they could get their heads trapped in between badly spaced bars, and if at least one side is made up of horizontal bars, the bird could climb to the top easily.
Think about spending a part of your allowance to buy this intelligent little bird toys that have mirrors, open bells and chewable items such as 'rawhide' and plaster; far from being birdbrains, they are smart and very active.
Also ask the attendant to suggest food granules that have vitamins and minerals, which are essential in keeping your cockatiel healthy.
Here's a new twist to the selecting game - let your cockatiel choose you! The one that's bright-eyed and friendly will come up to you and step-up, and might even want to sit on your shoulder while you stroke its head lightly. If you don't find one that does this, don't lose heart! It just means that it has to get to know you better before it can trust you fully. Its mother probably taught it never to talk to strangers!
'tiels are fussy eaters, and you should ask the pet store owner what the one you choose has been weaned on. Avoid seed-eating 'tiels because they could, in time, develop a disease called fatty liver syndrome.
Try and fit at least two perches in the cage, one different in thickness from the other, to exercise the cockatiel's feet. If the perches are natural, so much the better.
As far as food goes, vitamin- and mineral-containing pellets are probably your best option, and you can also treat your bird to fresh chopped fruits, vegetables and other greens. While chips and coke might be the 'best thing ever' (OK, that's a joke) for most kids, avoid feeding your bird foods high in salt, sugar or grease.
For your bird's health and safety, keep it away from: