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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The idea for this thread has been sparked by the ever growing number of threads by people who have bought new tiels. :D With so many options it can be overwhelming when looking for a good source to purchase your cockatiel! Here are some tips that i hope will help.

Pet Shop, Breeder or Rescue

I have cockatiels from all three of the above options, so i hope i can shed some light on where to go for a cockatiel! :) I will begin with looking at pet shops vs breeders. So many sources will say always go with a breeder, never go with a pet shop. This is easy to say, but in my opinion it shouldn't be taken as 100% set in stone. It is much more important to judge each pet shop or breeder individually.

Many large chain pet stores are undesirable sources of birds. They stock their birds from bird mills which are essentially breeding farms which are solely run to mass produce birds and make a profit. Good breeding and health are low priority. They often put their prices up because the birds are a certain mutation or they are "hand reared". Babies reared at bird mills aren't necessarily tame. It is not the feeding that makes the birds friendly, but the socialising and in a mass producing business they just don't get the time to socialise with the people who rear them.

I have found that smaller, family run pet shops are much better choices. Many source their birds from local breeders or even breed their own birds. They often have a smaller supply of healthier and friendlier birds. I have bought several birds from local family run pet shops with very few problems.

Breeders are often better sources, but while there are lots of responsible ones there are plenty of bad ones too. You should be able to visit a breeder before purchasing a bird so that you can look around and judge for yourself if you're happy with the standard of care their birds are receiving. Obviously if they have dirty cages and sick birds, you are unlikely to be buying a healthy bird.

For me, the BIGGEST warning sign of an irresponsible breeder is if they are willing to sell unweaned babies. A responsible breeder would NEVER do this, ever. Under no circumstance whatsoever. When people breed birds they are taking responsibility to care for the babies until they are ready to go to a new home. Selling them before they're eating independently in not waiting until they're ready. Any breeders i've visited have told me straight up that they DO NOT sell their babies before they're weaned. In many states in Australia (and i'm sure many other countries) it's actually illegal for breeders to sell babies unweaned. It is a MYTH that to bond with a new owner the baby needs to be handreared by them for a length of time.

***will add info on rescues/rehomes asap***

What To Look For

- bright eyed, healthy looking birds
- clean, smooth feathers
- active birds
- knowledgeable staff/breeder
- good diet provided
- clean caging

What To Avoid
- breeders selling unweaned babies
- fluffed up, quiet birds
- dirty caging
- seed only diet provided
- cramped cages

I hope this has been helpful to people. :) If anyone wants to make a suggestion to anything else that should be added just let me know. I'm happy to add to this over time!

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11,168 Posts

I found this and thought it may help some of the people who are new to owning a Cockatiel. Just a checklist, and a few commitment questions. :) (feel free to add onto this if you have anything)

Before you make the Commitment..

1) Cockatiels may require medical care. Have you planned in your budget for emergencies?
2) If you rent, have you checked to be sure that you are allowed to keep a cockatiel?
3) What will you do with your cockatiel during vacation time?
4) Cockatiels generally live from 7 to 10 years. Are you prepared for this commitment?
5) Young children should not be left unsupervised with cockatiels. Will you have the time to spend with the children and their pets? Will you teach them to treat the birds gently and carefully?
6) Do you have other pets to consider before bringing a cockatiel home?
7) Cockatiels moult. Are there allergies in your family?
8) Will a cockatiel fit into your home and lifestyle?


Adequate sized bird cage (larger the better)
Heavy food and water dishes (or water bottle)
Perches of different diameters (natural branches)
Paper lining for easy cleaning (lines bottom of cage)
Stand for the cage
Cage cover

Cockatiel seed and pellet mix
Fresh water
Fresh, washed vegetables and fruits
Cuttle bone (minerals)
Mineral block

Multiple toys (swings, mirrors, ladder, bird bath)
Good book on Cockatiel care
Nail clippers
Styptic powder
Bath dish or plant mister

Vet Care and More
Annual check-up
Emergency medical care
Vacation care

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167 Posts
Give any cockatiel you propose to buy a test flight. If it plummets to the ground, it has a very bad wing trim and is injuring itself every time it tries to land. Lots of birds have ghastly wing trims. This kind of injury has lifelong consequences. The bird you buy should be able to flutter to the ground in a controlled way or not be trimmed at all. You can get the wings done properly later.

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4 Posts
A couple more things to add from personal experience -

1. Try to avoid buying a bird looking ill out of pity. You are only setting yourself up for heartache and promoting people who sell such birds. This applies to every pet in fact!

2. Make sure your family is on board when you decide to bring home a bird. If only more people took this advice, there would be far fewer abandoned pets!

3. Learn about the species in advance, so that you don't have unrealistic expectations of it. For example, if you buy a female cockatiel expecting it to talk and it doesn't, it might result in a frustrating time for both you and the bird.

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5 Posts
Before you buy a parrot, realize that you’re making a lifetime commitment that requires work, time, effort and expense on your part. If you’re ready to make that kind of promise to a feathered friend, then you’re ready to choose your ultimate parrot. If you have any kind of second thoughts, it’s absolutely necessary that you postpone your decision and think about choosing another type of pet.

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1,811 Posts
Great information..I know this is old, but I was wondering if it was possible if someone could make a correction in one of the original posts? I think it was from another source and copied and pasted, but cockatiels should live much longer than 7-10 years if cared for properly. Those short life spans are due to inadequate care many people give their birds (dirty cages, all seed diet, etc.).
Their ages can range from 20-30 years if kept healthy. Many people may be willing to make a under 10 year commitment, but not a 30 year.
People should realize these birds will stay with you for the LONG haul.

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8,141 Posts
Anyway,we dont advise anyone to clip birds wings.Have meshs installed in your house instead,or a room for them to fly.:love:
Whether or not to clip a bird is a personal decision, and must be evaluated on an individual basis in terms of pros/cons, safety issues, etc. We welcome your sharing your personal experiences here, but prefer not to make absolute generalizations about clipping or not clipping. For some people, clipping is a safer option than free flight. For others, it is not. There is no hard and fast rule about what is best.

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8,297 Posts
Give any cockatiel you propose to buy a test flight. If it plummets to the ground, it has a very bad wing trim and is injuring itself every time it tries to land. Lots of birds have ghastly wing trims. This kind of injury has lifelong consequences. The bird you buy should be able to flutter to the ground in a controlled way or not be trimmed at all. You can get the wings done properly later.
I would just like to put some input from personal experience on this..

Luna had the most horrible wing clip I had ever seen. His primaries and secondaries were clipped as close the the wing as someone could get it. So growing up the past 6 months, he had plenty of crashes and less than graceful landings...but now that his feathers are growing back in he is doing very well with flying--no "lifelong consequences" at all.

Then my other, Kirk, had an appropriate wing clip but clearly did not learn how to fly beforehand. So he had tons and tons of crashes into the walls and plenty of horrible landings. He was extremely unconfident about flying when his primaries came in, but is now 12 months old and is the most graceful flier we have in our flock of 4.

So, if you do test out a bird's flight keep in mind they may be young and inexperienced fliers...but with practice they do get better.
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