Now I know what you’re thinking and no, you did not misread that title.
This is not about the five things you should know before buying a cocktail.
It’s 5 things you should know before buying a cockatiel (the former’s a list for another day).
Just look at a few pictures of a cockatiel. Watch a few videos of them whistling songs and playing…
…and then watching a few more until the entire day is gone and you realized you haven’t done any work. Anyone can see that cockatiels are adorable, playful birds.
But what should you know before you race to Cockatiel Mart?
Do you know about how long the average cockatiel will live?
Do you know what the proper diet for a cockatiel should be?
Did you know that if you give them a little top hat and cane, they will sing every number from My Fair Lady?
Well, two of those topics will be touched on in this article.
Let’s take a look at five things to know before getting your first cockatiel.
Here’s the deal…
Cockatiels Are Good For The Young Ones (But Not Too Young)
Why does that matter?
Like many small birds, cockatiels can make great pets if you have children in the house.
They’re small, colorful, and can make a bunch of different noises.
So they’re pretty much your child’s imaginary friend brought to life.
They’re also known for their general mellowness. (Sidebar: Is mellowness a word? Just leave a comment if it is. Or if it isn’t.)
Cockatiels are some of the most active birds on the planet and you will notice this within the first couple weeks.
They’ll want a lot of time outside of the cage, so they’ll get along well if you’ve got a pretty active child.
While they are great with kids, it’s not suggested that you have a cockatiel with children under the age of 6 in the house (and that’s mainly for the birds well being).
After all, if you wouldn’t trust someone under 6 to hold your smartphone, can you really trust them to hold your beloved cockatiel?
A wide variety of things could happen with a 40 pound child and a bird weighing just a few ounces.
Keep an eye on the twosome regardless.
A lot can go sideways quick, so keep a watchful eye to help keep an imaginative youngster on their best behavior.
Cockatiels Are Better Whistlers Than Speakers
We all know parrots are best known for their ability to mimic speech.
I learned from that talking parrot from Aladdin (before Gilbert Gottfried was a duck and way before twitter).
However, the cockatiel is more like a toddler when it comes to speaking (no offense to toddlers. Or cockatiels. Or anybody).
They’ll pick up some words here and there, but ultimately you won’t have your cockatiel reciting inspirational speeches in front of a packed auditorium at Dartmouth College.
I hope that’s not a dealbreaker.
While cockatiels aren’t the most refined speakers, they do have another talent: whistling.
Cockatiels are expert whistlers and love to keep a background tune going for you.
You can teach them early on how to whistle, meaning you can become your bird’s very own musical coach.
Just don’t put too much pressure on it to make it big in the musical world.
You don’t want to be one of those crazy stage parents.
Cockatiels Live A Very Long Time
If you’re afraid of commitment, you may not be thrilled when you hear about the average cockatiel’s lifespan.
However, if you were that afraid of commitment, you wouldn’t have made it this far into the article…
…so kudos on that.
An average cockatiel will live anywhere from 15 to 20 years.
To put that in perspective that’s longer than Kim Kardashian’s first wedding, the total duration of the Xtreme Football League, and the time it takes to read this article combined.
OK, those are pretty bad examples.
Why does that matter?
The fact remains, you’re going to have a companion for quite a long time.
Please plan accordingly. Make sure your feathered companion has a space with someone who will care for it in the worst case scenario.
On a brighter note…
Cockatiels Are Social And Smart
I know every pet owner likes to think of their companion as the smartest pet in the world.
I have found myself bragging about my Yorkie puppy being voted the smartest pup in his puppy training classes.
But the fact is that cockatiels really are some of the most intelligent birds out there.
So if you find yourself bragging about the heightened wit of your dear cockatiel, you now have some info to back it up.
Because they are rather intelligent, you have to make sure your cockatiel’s mind is kept occupied.
Therefore, it’s important that you fill your new bird’s cage with plenty of interactive toys when you’re not around (and maybe leave the History Channel on every once in awhile).
Your bird can always get a bit smarter.
In addition to being pretty bright, Cockatiels are very social birds.
They need the right amount of attention, meaning they’ll love it when you take the time to get off your couch and play with them (or sit on your couch and play with them).
After all, they’re not so demanding as to interrupt your TV time.
However, taking some time to spoil your cockatiel will not be forgotten :).
They also want to entertain you, as they will sing and preen for your enjoyment.
A small, colorful, smart entertainer. What more could you want?
Cockatiels Are Health Nuts
Just because you enjoy the occasional quadruple stack cheeseburger doesn’t mean you should let your cockatiel follow your bad habits.
While some birds may prefer to munch on seeds all day, the cockatiel has a more refined palate.
They need a diverse arrangement of nutrients so they can live longer and avoid getting sick.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’m supposed to bake a gluten free vegan kale muffin for my new bird?”
Well, not exactly.
There’s an all-in-one food for cockatiels that will keep it happy and healthy: pellets.
Considered healthier than all-seed diets, pellets specially made for cockatiels are the best way to get the perfect amount of nutrition.
Additionally, you should treat them with fruits and vegetables daily (I realize for some of us it’s impossible to treat ourselves to fresh fruit and vegetables, but play along so your cockatiel thinks it’s a treat).
You will want to make sure to be aware of any potentially toxic foods for your cockatiel.
Avocado is something you should particularly avoid giving your cockatiel, as it can prove very harmful.
Although living without chips and guacamole is a horrific reality for us humans, you’ll simply have to fight the urge to share with your beloved bird.