The following information is provided as a guide to help you get started with your Cockatiel and general tips on its care and maintenance. A Cockatiel is a high maintenance pet. It requires many hours of love daily, which it will then return to you. Cockatiels are extremely skittish, any high pitched sound (cell phone) or abrupt noise can send it off in a flight of terror, DO NOT take your bird outside unless it is properly caged and you stay within sight of it. Cockatiels are originally from Australia and are more of a tropical (warm) climate bird, however they can take cool temperatures well if no drafts occur. Even a tame Cockatiel might bite if startled, or mad (yes, they can have a temper, or feel jealous), so be extra careful around small children.
FEEDING: Daily: Our birds are fed pellets (Zupreem) as a staple, with fresh cut up fruits and vegetables (see Cockatiel Nutrition sheets provided separately) as well as cooked brown rice with corn and peas mixed in. Occasionally they have some millet as a treat, scrambled and diced egg (do not leave out for consumption too long as bacteria will develop and cause the bird to get ill), seed (less then 10% of their daily intake, there is no nutritional value here), pepper crackers (available at some pet stores), and some "birdie bread" baked in our oven and kept handy in frozen form. Teflon coated pans when heated give off a fume undetectable by humans but deadly to a bird, DO NOT COOK on Teflon (Silverstone, etc.) pans once you have a bird at home.
EXERCISE: A Cockatiel needs at least one flight period (one morning and one afternoon is best) daily to exercise its muscles. This period should be about an hour (or more), and you can take this time to also train your bird.
TRAINING: Our birds are normally hand raised and used to people contact, however you should always take some time to talk to (and whistle at) your bird. Have it ride around on your shoulder and move from hand to hand. When you have your bird out of its cage, BE CERTAIN all doors and windows are CLOSED AND LOCKED (if possible put a sign on the outside of the door advising you have your bird out) so it will not accidentally be opened and your bird lost. To train it to "stay" in one room, every time it goes into another room, just get it back on your finger and bring it back into the room you want it to stay in (after a short period of adjustment, that is what it will do). Cockatiels are highly intelligent and inquisitive birds, be careful what you leave laying around, or open. A Cockatiel will look into, and play with every thing it can find. It does not know what can harm it, so you need to be aware.
BUYING AND PLACING A CAGE: Buy a cage large enough for the Cockatiel to spread and flap its wings without hitting any sides (parakeet cages are NOT large enough). A wide cage is necessary and the bird will find the highest point to rest at night, so tall is good also (small parrot cages work very well). Place the cage where it will not be subject to any drafts, drafts can kill birds. Do not place the cage where it will get direct sunlight, your bird should get some sun light when it is out for its daily exercise period(s) similar to us going outside during a normal day. Sun light is necessary (it is a vital source of vitamins to us and the bird). Place the cage high enough off the floor so nothing at floor level can get at, or into the cage (dogs, cats, children, etc.).
HEALTH CARE: find a local Veterinarian that specializes in birds and keep their name and address handy, just in case an accident happens. One list of Vet's can be found at: http://www.aav.org/activemembers.html, you'll have to scroll down to California and then by zip code to find a local vet. As a reference for birds, in Concord there is Dr. Becker at Four Corners Vet Hospital, Concord, 685-0512, Dr. Wallace at Four Seasons Animal Hospital, Lafayette, 938-7700, or in Oakley, Dr. Speer at Medical Center for Birds 625-1878. Cockatiels have a small supply of blood, so any bleeding can be fatal. If you have any doubts, take your bird to the Vet immediately. Our birds are home raised and healthy, however a draft or airborne virus can cause a bird to get sick, so watch for any signs of illness (such as: fluffed up and sitting on the bottom of the cage most, or all the time, red nostrils, sneezing for long periods of time, etc.).
GOOD REFERENCE INTERNET SITES: http://www.cockatiel.org (lots of information); http://chats.upatsix.com/chats.php?board=cockatiel, chat room filled with knowledgeable people looking to answer questions - off of the Upatsix.com home page; http://www.PetEducation.com, lots more information from a Vet.; and there are others. Just search for cockatiel and see what's available.
LIFE SPAN: When you take a Cockatiel as a friend, you do so for 20-40 years. Be prepared for a long relationship. The bird depends on you for its life (if it gets loose out-of-doors, it does not know where to get food and starvation is likely within days and it has only a vague understanding of survival in the wild and can end up a predators meal within hours of escape). Please treat it as you would your child and protect and nurture it at all times.
RETURN POLICY: If you purchase one of our birds and then return it alive, we will give you a full refund within the first 30 days. If one of our birds dies due to a health problem, please return it for an necropsy. We will take back a bird at any time, all you have to do is call. This is our child you just adopted and we always care about its welfare.
QUESTIONS: Any time you have a question, please feel free to call us at (925)686-2350, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Ron and Charlie