Guest Author - Diana Geiger
Cockatiel Housing: Cockatiel Cages and Cockatiel Accessories
The cage wires should be a thick wire and run horizontally. Cockatiels enjoy climbing up their cage. The wire should be spaced from 5/8th to 3/4 inch. Any bigger poses a safety risk. Their little heads can get stuck. Make sure color coating is non-toxic.
The cockatiel will enjoy a playpen on top of its cage or a separate playpen.
Make sure the cage is not in a drafty area. Cockatiels need light, but do not put the cage in direct sunlight, if no light is available from natural sunlight, supply a full-spectrum artificial light. They do need 12 hours of darkness so that their internal clock isnít confused. They will stress, get sick, and possibly die. The cockatiel be in an area with the rest of the family however, use a cage cover at night. (Cockatiels have a very advanced social structure and should be among their human family in the room they frequent the most.)
Make sure the cage is in a well-ventilated area. Fumes are especially hazardous to all birds. Teflon coated pans emit a deadly fume when the pan gets too hot. Since it is not possible to know exactly where the overheating point is. I have never, nor would I ever use Teflon coated pans around my parrots. Many products are Teflon coated including, some varieties of heat lamps. Don't use sprays such as air fresheners or other contaminates in the air the bird can getting into their lungs. This includes scented candles.
There should be perches with varying diameters. The different sizes offered are beneficial to the health of the cockatiels feet. Natural tree branches work very well too. Be careful not to use any trees or plants that are toxic or poisonous. Branches that make safe perches are apple, ash, almond, apricot, peach, maple, and elm. If you live in a cooler area as I do you may want to consider a Thermo Perch, at least for small birds.
Avian water bottles are great in that the birdís excrement does not contaminate the water. Make sure the bird has learned to use the bottle before removing the water dish. He or she will also need food dishes. One dish is for seed and one for fresh foods. Be sure to remove the fresh food after a short period of time so that the food doesnít spoil. Keep the cage cleaned. It must be cleaned every day. The cage should be disinfected regularly (weekly). Make sure the cage it is dried and aired out before returning the bird to the cage. A drop through wire cage is the best. Make sure the food and water is changed daily (filtered water).
Cockatiels need calcium. Provide the cockatiel with a cuttlefish bone (cuttle bone). At one time it was thought that just seed was good enough for birds. This is not true at all. Protein is important. Provide a good avian vitamin/mineral supplement. Please remember to follow the instructions. More is not better.
Some pet manufacturers have formulated well-balanced pellets. Many manufactures have begun offering fortified seed mixes that include the other foods that they need. Dried fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and concentrated food supplements. You should supplement other foods for nutrition and variety, after all the same old diet everyday is boring for birds too. Supplement healthy peopleís food. Serve your birds bean mixes and ready-made bird breads. A good diet helps the bird resist infection and they are stronger and healthier.
You must take care of a birdís wings and feet. Keep the toenails cut. If you cut too close use Clotisol - blood clotting agent.
Cockatiels are very strong flyers. You should trim their wings. Even trimming their wings only slows them down. When clipping the wings be careful to watch for new growth, or blood feathers. If you do cut one, the remaining part of the feather will act as a straw and siphon blood. This can cause them to bleed to death. Grab a pair of pliers and pull the entire feather out quickly. If you are unconformable, clipping wings for the first time have your avian vet do so, showing you how to do the clipping. If you do decide against clipping wings make sure you cockatiel is in a safe location. Somewhere where he can't get outside, fly into a boiling pan of water, get a hold of a poisonous plant, get mutilated by a ceiling fan, and dozens of other possible dangers, the worst being, the ones we haven't thought of!
Birds will hide their illness. Birds that are ill in the wild become easy prey to predators. It is difficult without watching your bird very carefully, everyday for any signs that something could be wrong.
Safety issues are a great concern for your pet. There are many hazards in your home you might not recognize as a hazard. Watch your pet's access to ceiling fans, hot boiling water, or oil on the stove, toxic houseplants, chocolate, and cedar. I have just mentioned a short sampling of the dangers in a common house.
Cockatiels are wonderful, entertaining, delightful animals. They are a wonderful choice for most families. People that do not have a great deal of space, a bird could be a perfect pet. Please research before purchasing. After all, we want these little birds to survive as much of the thirty years that they are capable of living. Learn all you can about the cockatiel before you venture into this friendship. Above all else enjoy your pet cockatiel.
Cockatiel sounds. Notice as he goes he gets more proficient at singing the song from Sound of Music
***First article in the cockatiel series cockatiel care
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Learn all you can about the pet cockatiel before you acquire or purchase the bird. Here is an excellent resource book to keep at your fingertips. Knowledge and following through with that information is crucial to having pets.