Cockatiels are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. Because they are small, quiet(ish) and even tempered they are one of the parrot species that turns many people into parrot lovers for life. Cockatiels started my personal journey with parrots.
It is important to understand, though, that ANY parrot, even small ones, require the same level of care as do the macaws or cockatoos. Neglect in their diet and daily care will not only cost you a fortune in vet bills, but unwell birds are cranky and quickly resort to aggression. You will not have a great relationship with a sick bird.
If you truly want to get the most out of your experience with your cockatiel, I cannot stress enough the benefits positive reinforcement training…
Once A Cockatiel Is Properly Trained…
Trained Cockatiels want to always be a part of the action. When the family has gathered in the living room for movie night, your cockatiel will be the first one making its way to the popcorn bowl (you will want to prepare a separate unbuttered, unsalted bowl for him). When you vacuum the house, your cockatiel will be riding shotgun on your shoulder.
He will thoughtfully preen your hair when you are sad, and generate unlimited amounts of fun and laughter with his antics. A well trained and socialized cockatiel will quickly become a beloved family member and you will wonder how you ever managed life without him.
Unfortunately, too many people get parrots with the expectation that they are like the family dog, who can be contended simply sleeping at their feet. A cockatiel is a highly intelligent species that loves to explore everything in the world around them. They are in constant motion and need to be active and mentally stimulated in order to thrive.
Keeping Cockatiels Mentally Stimulated
We here at BirdTricks.com have 2 favorite methods for providing your Cockatiel with enough mental stimulation to make him or her happy. One involves 1 on 1 interaction with you, and the other they manage happily on their own.
Training is like a board game you can play with your bird. It provides the ideal opportunity for your bird to use its brain, expend some of that boundless energy and bond with you. Its a fun and rewarding experience that allows your cockatiel to alleviate frustrations from boredom, inactivity or confinement in a positive way for everyone involved. You bird will also tighten the bond with the player on the other side of the “board”.
Taking basic target training a step further, trick training a Cockatiel is incredibly stimulating and if done regularly creates the expectation for fun and excitement. You will begin to notice behaviors in your bird that tell you that he would like to do some training. And you will not be able to miss the improvements in your relationship with your bird. I have to tell you, that feels pretty good.
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But Don’t Forget About Providing Stimulation When You Are Away!
Let’s face it, most of us have jobs we have to go to where we must leave our Cockatiel behind to fend for themselves and find their own entertainment. It is up to us to provide them with the means for this and, honestly, most people do a terrible job and end up creating serious boredom-related issues with their Cockatiels, one of them is plucking.
Bored parrots are unhappy parrots. Unhappy parrots do not keep their complaints to themselves and you might find yourself enduring the incessant, piercing scream issued by your bird as it DEMANDS to come out of its cage or it INSISTS that it be allowed an activity that you know is unsafe. A bored cockatiel will eventually become angry, and an angry cockatiel will bite and make no mistake about it, that small beak CAN inflict a painful wound.
Imitate nature by using foraging toys to hide your Cockatiels food, INSTEAD of its food bowls. When daily food is hidden inside paper products or inside plastic foragers that require contemplation and repeated efforts to open, it can take hours for your bird to collect the day’s food – just like it would in the wild. This, and a good collection of toys, is the BEST solution for reducing boredom and keeping your cockatiel from developing behavior problems resulting from boredom.