Cockatiel Care Sheet

Cockatiels, photo by alakulo

Basic Info

  • Scientific Name: Nymphicus hollandicus
  • Lifespan: Approximately 15 – 20 years.
  • Handling: Anytime after he/she gets use to you.
  • Size: About 10 -12 inches.
  • Care: Easy
  • Community: Yes, it is even recommended to house a pair of cockatiels together. It will not matter if you house two males, two females, or even a male and female together. They will both get along together just fine. However, if you do decide to house a male and female together, you are going to want to prepare for your female laying eggs.
  • Lifestyle: Diurnal, active during the day.

Enclosure Requirements

  1. Cage: The recommended minimum size cage for one cockatiel is the 20in x 20in x 30in (L x W x H). If housing more than 1 cockatiel, you are going to want to double or even triple the dimensions given. Remember… the more room, the better! The sides should be made up of metal bars that are close together. Make sure the bars are close enough that your bird’s head can not fit through. There have been incidents of birds sticking their heads through the bars and breaking their necks. Avoid this, by choosing the right cage.
  2. Bird Toys: Your bird will be very active in its enclosure, so it is very important that you keep him/her occupied with things to do. Cockatiels love to chew and shred things up, so choose toys that are edible, safe, and entertaining for your cockatiel(s).
  3. Perches: Cockatiels do everything with their feet. They eat, sleep, climb, and play with their toys using their feet. So it is very important that their feet should be able to grab something everywhere they go. A few perches around the enclosure should do the trick. The perfect size perch will be the one that allows your cockatiels feet to wrap around 3/4 of the perch.
  4. Water bottle and Food bowl: In order to keep your bird cage clean, you will need to put your food and water somewhere. Most birds will drink out of a water bottle made specially for birds that hangs onto the side of the cage.
  5. Bedding: Newspaper will be just fine.

You should clean the enclosure every two weeks to avoid any bacteria build up. All food and water bowls should be cleaned out weekly thoroughly.


Most pet store workers will give you a bag of bird seeds and say: “you’re good to go”. That is not entirely true. For a well-balanced diet, you will need to feed your cockatiel a variety of foods. Your food should consist of: bird seeds, veggies, fruits, and protein.


Note: You will want to store your bird seeds in the freezer in an air tight bag. If you do not store your bird seeds in the freezer, you will most likely have little insects emerging from the food.






Turnip Greens

Mustard Greens




Beet Greens

Bok Choy

Mashed/Shredded Carrots

Collard greens

Corn on the Cob


Sweet Potatoe (cockatiels like it better cooked)













Note: All fruits must have seeds removed.


Hard boiled eggs (white part only)

Chicken (No spices/seasonings or chicken skin)

Beef (No spices/seasonings)


Cottage Cheese


Note: All protein foods must be fed in small amounts. Any left over food that is not eaten at night must be removed and thrown away.


Feed veggies, fruits, and proteins all on separate days. Always leave bird seeds in your cockatiels enclosure to snack on throughout the day. Never mix the seeds with the fruits, veggies, or proteins. You should have separate food bowls.


Most cockatiels will be able to imitate their owners at around 8 – 10 months old. They mostly will be able to imitate whistles and songs rather than words/speech.

Bathing Your Cockatiel

Bathing your cockatiel is very important. Baths help keep feather dust down, prevents your bird from getting dry skin, and helps soften the keratin coating on new feathers so it sheds more quickly. Now when I say bathe, I am not talking about submerging your cockatiel under water and giving him a scrub down. I just mean simply spraying your cockatiel down every once in a while with a spray bottle or mister. If you want, you can even let your cockatiel bathe himself. The way you can do this is by getting a very shallow dish which your bird can easily walk into and out of easily and by putting an inch of water into it. Lightly dab your fingers into the water to show your bird that there is water in the dish. He will then walk into the water and start bathing himself. Another thing you may enjoy doing is showering with your bird. Yes, I am talking about literally showering with your cockatiel. Most pet stores and online shops sell special perches for bathrooms to allow their owners to shower with their birds.




First thing is first, NEVER EVER get soap on them. Soap will only harm them. So when your washing your hair, make sure your shampoo isn’t getting on them when you’re rinsing your hair out.




Next, the water bouncing off walls is what the cockatiel should be receiving on it’s perch, nothing more. Any direct water from the shower head to your bird will only be harmful. Remember cockatiels are very delicate and have very sensitive heads. A mist shower is all that your cockatiel needs. They become very cold if they get too wet, which is why you should never soak your bird. If you realize your bird got too wet, simply dry him down with paper towels. Avoid using a hair dryer at all costs. You give your cockatiel a bath to keep the dust down and to help with dry skin. Blow drying your bird will only increase the chance of getting dry skin.




Lastly, never use HOT water or COLD water. It should be room temperature or a little warm. Just keep that in mind when taking a shower with your cockatiel or when you’re misting them.



Some cockatiels will tolerate water, while others wont. If your cockatiel is the type that hates water and will do everything possible to avoid water, spraying your cockatiel with a mister once a week is your best bet.


All in all,

  1. Mist your bird, do not soak your bird.
  2. Use room temperature water, not HOT or COLD water.
  3. If you shower with your bird, never get soap on them.
  4. Never ever face a shower head or faucet head at them.
  5. Never blow dry your bird, use paper towels if necessary.
  6. Always use clean water.

Note: The information on this Cockatiel care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.


  1. I have a cockateil previous had him 13yrs she didn’t have time he seems rebellious. A biter scared. What am I too do its been 4 days , help

    • Hey Michelle,
      Thanks for the feedback. If you ever have any ideas on cockatiel articles, let us know. We’ll be happy to write them up.

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