Due to predators and the deforestation of their natural habitat, cockatiels fare far better in captivity than they do in the wild. They still require a good diet with plenty of opportunities to exercise and with that, a lifespan of 15 to even 25 years can be achieved.
You may be surprised to learn how varied the diet of a cockatiel should be. A high-quality seed mix should form part of its diet, as should fresh fruit, vegetables, and the odd treat.
Equally important is the environment in which your cockatiel lives. Keep the room relatively quiet and free of fumes with plenty of stimulation from toys and the cockatiel should enjoy it.
Unfortunately, a cockatiel’s genetic makeup and the odd accident can quickly curtail its lifespan. With annual check-ups and plenty of attention, you should be able to look out for the bird and increase its lifespan.
How To Keep Your Cockatiel Healthy While Indoors?
Thankfully, captive cockatiels can have a much-improved life expectancy than when left in the wild. That does mean that they are hugely dependent on the care provided by their owner so you need to know how best to look after them.
Keeping them healthy can vastly improve their chances of a lengthy lifespan. If you can look after a cockatiel properly then it can easily live to 15 years old without any genetic defects, compared to just 10 to 14 years in the wild.
There are a few simple rules that can help keep your cockatiel healthy when you keep them at home. Basic hygiene can go some way to ensuring that your cockatiel avoids any nasty infections and prolong its lifespan.
Try to treat your cockatiel like you would a guest in your home. By keeping their living environment (cage) clean and removing any uneaten food like you would take away their plate when they have finished eating.
They also need to remain clean themselves which can be done by providing them with a daily bath. Making sure that they remain clean goes a long way to ensuring that they do not pick up any nasty infections that can quickly become a real issue.
Try to keep their water fresh too so if you do spot any seeds or food getting into their container then refresh it.
What your cockatiel consumes is also crucial to their overall health. Particular fresh fruits and vegetables such as papayas, apples, kiwis, kale, spinach, celery, and fresh bananas will do and you should keep the water fresh every day.
Offering a large variety of fresh fruit and vegetables can also offer a good and exciting balance to their diet.
Natural supplements are also important as minerals can be crucial to keep them healthy. You can provide millet sprays and pellets to keep them happy.
Cockatiels can be temperamentally picky eaters so try to keep the diet varied and even introduce some protein such as plain yogurt or boiled eggs when chopped up into small pieces.
Even small changes like that can vastly improve the mood of a cockatiel which goes some way to improving their behavior and lifestyle.
Of course, some foods are not just bad for cockatiels but can be fatal. These deadly foods include avocado so never be tempted to let your cockatiel try a bit and do not leave it out when your cockatiel is exercising.
Caffeine can also be deadly which is why you should avoid leaving out your coffee or tea in a cup as they may be tempted to try it. Even caffeinated soda or alcohol can be fatal when consumed by a cockatiel in various quantities.
Just like humans, if a cockatiel purely eats junk food then its health will deteriorate rapidly, especially if it cannot commit to regular exercise. In the case of a cockatiel, that means substances such as sand and grit that can find their way into their seed mixes.
Yes, seeds can contribute to part of a cockatiel’s diet yet these should be fresh seeds and partly sprouted ones so have a high-quality seed mix available. Even fresh berries on the stalk or insects can form part of their healthy diet too.
Further nutrients can be found in cuttlebones which can be naturally or commercially available. These can be used as a grooming tool as they can keep a cockatiel’s beak in trim condition when they peck and chew on them.
However, the main reason for introducing cuttlebones is the calcium content which is much higher than that found in seeds. That calcium can maintain your cockatiel’s strong and healthy bones so flight should be a breeze though you can also use a mineral block.
Natural and fresh food may be more expensive yet the benefits can be seen in the long run. To keep your cockatiel in fit shape means finding the best food to feed them and ensuring they can exercise well.
Keep an eye out for whatever they leave on their plate as you do not want to force them to eat foods they do not like. Remember that as your cockatiel is not flying as much as it would in the wild, they do not require such a calorie-rich diet.
Treating Your Cockatiel Well
Looking after your cockatiel is not just a case of ensuring that they eat the right foods. Their physical health is important but so is their mental and emotional wellbeing too.
That means keeping them in a stress-free environment where regular exercise can be attained just by opening the cage door. You should also form a bond with your cockatiel as they have a personality all of their own too.
Form A Bond
Like any domesticated pet, you should form an emotional bond with your cockatiel. At first, a cockatiel can be shy so you should be patient to let them adjust to their new surroundings.
You should also speak gently to it and try to interact with them even if that means trying to introduce them to a new toy. In return, cockatiels can have surprisingly social personalities and even show affection with interactions such as cuddles and stroking.
If your cockatiel can begin to trust you then their lifespan should be extended. This can be especially important as you will be one to feed, water, and keep them clean. A depressed or lonely cockatiel may fail to consume as much food or drink as much water which can lead to health problems.
That bond is significant but there may be many reasons for sudden, erratic behavior so consider any changes that may have occurred in their diet and environment.
Exercise is also essential for a cockatiel if you want to keep it healthy so let it have some time flying indoors. As soon as the cockatiel becomes fat then they will need a significant amount of exercise to return to a trim figure.
You likely do not want it out of the cage for too much of the day so keep it healthy by leaving the cage door open at certain times as prevention is better than cure.
Without flexing its wings on a quick flight outside the cage, the cockatiel may develop fatty tumors. Obesity is also a concern from a poor diet so offer them at least one daily flight and try to insist on a second one too.
One of the dangers for obese cockatiels is fatty liver disease so treat regular exercise as a necessity.
If you do have other pets it is imperative that they are kept out of the room, especially early on, as cockatiels should be encouraged to perform their regular exercise and not feel threatened.
You could also introduce training early on to get your cockatiel ready for flying indoors. That could mean standing on your finger once out of the cage before they venture to fly.
You can also ensure that your cockatiel knows that feeding follows exercise in the cage which can encourage them. If you do want to offer your cockatiel some treats then honey seed stick and millet will do but in moderation.
Keeping your cockatiel out of danger is also important which may mean a compromise between allowing them freedom and keeping a close eye on them.
Cockatiels can be playful and inquisitive so they may find their way quickly around your home which may cause them to get hurt. The windows should be shut so your cockatiel cannot escape and be confronted by the outside world.
Even inside your home, your cockatiel can quickly become lost. Whether that is in a room you barely use, behind a curtain, or underneath a table. If you cannot find your cockatiel then a domesticated animal can, which does pose a danger.
You may also leave food out that your cockatiel wants to try which may not be good for them or their diet. Get into the habit of removing plates of discarded foods and snacks that are left out as you do not want to tempt your cockatiel when you are not looking.
Believe it or not, living a stress-free life can be a big factor in prolonging the lifespan of your cockatiel. If you have a particularly busy household with kids and other pets then your cockatiel may be living on the edge and suffering in silence.
This is largely why the bird is such a preferred pet for the elderly as they can live without being pestered by children and they always have a companion at hand.
Relaxation is one thing as is the air quality so try to keep a freshness to the room where you keep your cockatiel. It should be relatively quiet without any distractions which include the TV set or a loud exercise bike.
Cockatiels have particularly sensitive respiratory systems so you may not realize that the fumes from the kitchen are harming either. So will candles, air freshener, and even sweet-smelling candles.
Of course, there are health issues that you might not be able to spot. You can try to check your cockatiel for fatty tumors if it lets you.
However, taking your cockatiel to an avian vet or a veterinarian’s once a year is a good practice. Getting it checked as soon as you bring it into your home is also a worthwhile idea to consider.
If anything appears wrong in general then get your cockatiel checked, even if it is something as trivial as erratic behavior or that they seem depressed.
Cockatiels, and birds in general, are very good at hiding issues that include concerns over their health. If you can keep an eye for any changes then you should get it checked before it gets worse.
You can also keep a bird emergency kit handy within reach in case anything goes wrong.
Best practice for looking after your cockatiel and extending its lifespan can be relatively straightforward. By offering it a varied diet including a high-quality seed mix as well as certain fresh fruits and vegetables, you can take care of their diet.
Though they do not require as many calories as they would in the wild, they still need regular exercise in a stress-free environment.
A lot of best practices with a cockatiel can simply be spending time with them. Form a bond with your cockatiel and train them to commit to regular exercise then lookout for any changes in their behavior or eating habits.
Maintain a safe environment and they should live a relatively carefree lifestyle. However, you should always book a trip to the vet regularly, especially if something seems wrong.