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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, all, and thanks in advance for your time. I work at an electronics store and recently saw a man come in with a cockatiel on his shoulder. He was just sitting there as the man was walking through the shopping center, not tied down or anything! I was inspired. I have been wanting a bird for a while, but this time I'm determined. First, however, I have a few questions and would appreciate it if you guys helped me out with these:

1) Is it easy to 'potty train' them? I have read several articles on how to teach birds to poop on command and even teach them to go in a specific spot (a waste basket, a newspaper, etc). How long, do you think, would this take for a cockatiel?

2) I spoke to this man for quite a while. He was a simple fellow, didn't sound like an animal expert. He simply said that he had raised his cockatiel since it was just a baby and would never keep a bird in a cage. I got the impression that maybe he found an abandoned or injured baby outside rather than buying one (I'm in Australia so they're not uncommon in the wild here). He and his bird had such a great relationship. He'd talk to his cockatiel and the bird would instantly look up at him, perched on his arm, cock his head, and listen. Now, if I get a cockatiel, I don't want to keep him in a cage. I'd have a specific 'nest' for him to go in and out of as he pleases, but I don't want to keep a bird locked up. Has anyone here raised a cockatiel like this before? I realize there's dangers, but being such a small bird I'd see no problem taking him everywhere around the house with me. I realize that everyone has different methods and don't condemn any one, but I'm afraid that if I have to raise him in a cage, I'd personally rather not get one at all. What are some things I should know about raising a bird outside its cage? Am I making a huge mistake even considering it?

3) How expensive is it to care for a cockatiel? I'm not a wealthy person; I have a part time job. I'd sell all my possessions if I had to to keep my pets healthy, but don't want to take on something I can't handle financially. How much does food usually cost? What are some other spendings except for toys and such that I need to consider? Vet visits? Vaccines?

4) How healthy are cockatiels in general and what illnesses are they prone to?

5) Do they prefer a very calm environment or an environment with a lot of play and activity? My house isn't exactly dead quiet, we can get loud at times, but it's not complete chaos here 24/7. Still, I don't want to put unnecessary stress on the bird.

6) How easy are they to care for in general? What do I need to consider? How do they deal with being alone in the house and what periods of time would you say is safe to leave them by themselves? I plan on switching jobs and working more after my final exams, but it will still be a part time job so I won't be going in every day.

7) How are they around other pets? I have a young dog who is allowed the run of one room of the house and the entire backyard. I definitely don't want to take any risks with the bird, but is it at all possible to eventually introduce them from a safe distance and enter the room in which my dog is with the cockatiel?

8) What do I need to consider when purchasing a cockatiel? Is there anything in particular that I should be careful of or look on favorably? I know I want a male.


Thanks in advance for your help

- Liza
 

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Hi there and welcome to Talk Cockatiels. It's really good that you are doing a lot of research into having a tiel before you buy one because they live a long time 10 - 15 years and it is a long term commitment, not to be taking lightly. I won't be able to answer ALL of your questions, but I'm sure that between us all on here we can let you know what you want.

#1 First of all, I don't know how that man had such a strong bond with his bird. I have a strong bond with Dooby, she sits on my shoulder and goes everywhere in the house with me, but I wouldn't trust her to sit there if we were to go outside, I'd lose her for sure. I really don't think it's a good idea to even try that, obviously it works for him, but that is the exception rather than the rule I would say.

#2 I don't think you can ever make a whole house completely safe for a tiel, they are very curious birds and like to be in with everything. At the moment, I'm having a fight with Dooby over the lampshade in our room. I don't want her to go on it, she does...I'll win in the end, I think, but until then,she has to be watched. To say that you don't want a tiel to live in a cage is ok to a certain extent, but I think they need a place to call their own and somewhere where you can put them and know that they are safe whilst you get on with things they just can't help with, like putting out the trash, opening the door to visitors and loads of other things that are just not safe for a tiel to be helping with. So, although I can understand in theory, it would be good to let them fly free around the house (as Dooby does most of the day) it is also a necessity to have a cage for them, just my opinion of course.

#3 The actual care of a tiel isn't too expensive, food, veg, fruit etc isn't too dear at all, vets bills are of course a thing to take into consideration. I've only had Dooby a month yet and thank goodness, we haven't had any problems to go to the vet with. I will leave this question for someone else to answer.

#4 Again, I will have to leave this for someone else.

#5 I can only go by Dooby, she likes a little noise, music or general chit chat. If there is complete silence, she just sits and goes to sleep, maybe it's a prey thing like with budgies, I don't know.

#6 They are very easy to care for, the absolute basics would be food and water and a clean cage. To really enjoy your tiel though, you need to spend an awful lot of time with them. Dooby is with us most of the day, she lives in the computer room with us, she plays in the same room, we play with her and talk to her all the time. She is responding really, really well and on average, she is learning two new things a week to say and do. When we need to go out, to the shops or something, then we put the radio on for her so that she has a little noise whilst we are out. When Dooby is out of the cage, she needs attention, she loves to play, but you need to play with her, or she will sit on my lap and sleep or on my shoulder and preen, so yes they do need a lot of attention in that respect. If you are working then put a radio on for her, just make sure she gets loads of cuddles and playtime when you get home.

#7 I'll leave that for somebody else to answer. I only have Dooby, a rabbit and guinea pigs, so it's not like having a dog or a cat.

#8 I would go for a hand reared cockatiel, if you are going to get one.

I hope some of that helps, I'm not an experienced owner, like I said, I've only had Dooby a month, but those are my opinions, somebody with more experience might give you a better idea.
 

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Hi there welcome to the forum Plukie gave you some great answers so I will just add abit,
Cockatiels do form strong bonds with there owner they are very affectionate birds but they do have there down sides just like any bird females are known to be sweet and cuddly and males love to sing and dance and can also be cuddly but they do go through there aggressive stages
There are people that take there Cockatiels out and about with them there is a girl on here Aly(Babyluv12) that takes her baby everywhere with her and it works for her she might be able to add more on that but its not for everyone you would have to keep them fairly clipped to be able to do that even Cockatiels clipped can still fly away.
As far as cages I agree with Plukie Cockatiels need to somewhere to go to call there own alot of people on here only have there tiels in cages at nighttime and there out most of the day, you have to take into consideration when your not home it would not be wise to leave your tiel out to fly free and to get into trouble which they will.
As far as other pets I think it depend on what pets you have and there temperment I have a small dog and my birds are out all the time running around the floor and flying around my dog is scared of the birds and stays away from them although my Ollie loves to preen the dog, Pepper hates it and will take off when the birds come around her.
Cockatiels are pretty hardy birds I have 3 kids in my house ages 1-12 and my birds do just fine with them they will go and sit with my 6 yr old I don't live in a rowdy house but having 3 kids it can get loud at times and the birds don't seem bothered either way.
I would also go for the handreared Cockatiel but there are some that buy from petstores and have good luck with that.
Here is a site that lists some of the illnesses Cockatiels can get
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Roy1.html
 

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Hi and welcome to the forums! :D

1) Is it easy to 'potty train' them? I have read several articles on how to teach birds to poop on command and even teach them to go in a specific spot (a waste basket, a newspaper, etc). How long, do you think, would this take for a cockatiel?
Potty training is something i view as pointless with small birds like cockatiels. Their poop is well formed and super easy to clean up with a tissue. Toilet training can have problems associated with it (e.g. tiel won't poop unless commanded, tiel won't poop except in one area - problem if it can't get to that spot). Tiels poo about once every 10-20 minutes, so it would be a big ask to get it to go to the one spot each time. ;) If you're really worried about poop you can purchase something called a flight suit (i got one on eBay), it doubles as a light weight harness and a nappy. It would be easier to train a tiel to accept a flight suit than to toilet train it in my opinion.

2) I got the impression that maybe he found an abandoned or injured baby outside rather than buying one (I'm in Australia so they're not uncommon in the wild here).
Just a note, as i'm sure you weren't planning on doing this, but this would be illegal. In Australia it's illegal to keep a wild native bird for more than about 24hrs unless you're a specific wildlife career and have a permit. I would think the guy bought the baby unweaned and raised it himself. Some breeders sell babies like this, but it's not usual and responsible breeders won't do it.

Now, if I get a cockatiel, I don't want to keep him in a cage. I'd have a specific 'nest' for him to go in and out of as he pleases, but I don't want to keep a bird locked up. Has anyone here raised a cockatiel like this before? I realize there's dangers, but being such a small bird I'd see no problem taking him everywhere around the house with me. What are some things I should know about raising a bird outside its cage? Am I making a huge mistake even considering it?
I can understand where you're coming from as many many people don't like keeping birds in cages BUT the risks far outweigh the benifits. Unless you specifically have a spare room that you could convert to a "bird room" it would be incredibly dangerous. A cage is a comfort zone to a bird, like a bed room where they can relax. It is also a safe place, with food, toys, etc. A bird should be supervised 100% of the time they are out. My two have a large cage and are out several hours a day with my 3 budgies. While in their cage i make sure they have lots of toys and things to shred and forage with. This is like enrichment and it keeps them happy while i'm not there to supervise them out of the cage.

You also mentioned a dog, i have two! :D It will take some training to teach your dog to ignore your tiel (they should never mix as "friends") but it's perfectly possible. There would be no reason (other than cooking, open windows, other dangers) why your tiel couldn't be out of the cage riding on your shoulder whenever your home. I wouldn't completely dismiss a cage yet. ;) This is my guys cage:

For one it would be an absolute palace! You can get them off eBay for around $150 or in shops sometimes. I got this one for $115.

3) How expensive is it to care for a cockatiel? I'm not a wealthy person; I have a part time job. I'd sell all my possessions if I had to to keep my pets healthy, but don't want to take on something I can't handle financially. How much does food usually cost? What are some other spendings except for toys and such that I need to consider? Vet visits? Vaccines?
General care is cheap. A 2kg box of Trill seed costs about $5 and that lasts my two about 2-3 weeks. I also feed them Vetafarm pellets which are $8 a bag, and they last ages too. Then they need veggies which i would imagine you buy for yourself so a little bit a day wouldn't put your wallet out too much. The initial purchase of a tiel, cage and toys is usually the most expensive part. Toys shouldn't cost too much, i make most of mine now which is even cheaper.

Vet visits are the real killer. I would say you're looking at $50 for a consult plus any tests and medications. We usually pay around $60-$100 to take a bird to the avian vet, but that luckily doesn't happen too often. They don't need any yearly vaccines at all, but some people do take their tiels for an annual well-bird check up. This is a personal choice. Make sure you have an avian vet somewhere not too far away. General vets are usually pretty hopeless with birds.

4) How healthy are cockatiels in general and what illnesses are they prone to?
I think it would depend on their breeding. If you go to a reputable breeder you shouldn't have too many problems i don't think as you would more than likely be getting a healthy bird from healthy stock. I've had Cookie for over a year and she's not been to the vet once. Bailee went to the vet for a check up when i got him but not since, i've had him about 10 months.

5) Do they prefer a very calm environment or an environment with a lot of play and activity? My house isn't exactly dead quiet, we can get loud at times, but it's not complete chaos here 24/7. Still, I don't want to put unnecessary stress on the bird.
I think it depends on the tiel. This is where a cage on a wheelie stand (like mine is helpful). For a little more activity you can wheel them to the main living area, for less to a bed room or somewhere quiet. I find that my two like a routine, same bed time, etc. Again, a cage is helpful to establish a real routine here. Wherever you keep a tiel and whether it's in a cage or not, tiels need 10-12 hours sleep a night so some form of indicating bedtime is useful (i cover their cage).

6) How easy are they to care for in general? What do I need to consider? How do they deal with being alone in the house and what periods of time would you say is safe to leave them by themselves? I plan on switching jobs and working more after my final exams, but it will still be a part time job so I won't be going in every day.
I find them easy to care for. I am at school from 4-5 hours a day (yeah, slack, i know) and i leave the radio on for my two. This means they're not sitting in silence all day and i think it helps greatly. :) As long as they're in a cage or a secure place with no dangers (windows, fans, mirrors, power cords, hot lights, etc) their physical health won't suffer from being left alone during the day.

The real pain with caring for tiels is they're stupid (hehe, no offence) and they are prone to "night frights". Basically a bad tiel dream that sends them thrashing, crashing, smashing around. Not fun. I can't imagine whether this would be better or worse in a cage vs room. Either way they could damage themselves. A nightlight by the cage will help prevent night frights though, mine haven't had any since i got one.

7) How are they around other pets? I have a young dog who is allowed the run of one room of the house and the entire backyard. I definitely don't want to take any risks with the bird, but is it at all possible to eventually introduce them from a safe distance and enter the room in which my dog is with the cockatiel?
I answered this up under a different question. :D If you want to know more feel free to ask and i'll try to help!

8) What do I need to consider when purchasing a cockatiel? Is there anything in particular that I should be careful of or look on favorably? I know I want a male.
Just keep in mind that tiels can live for 20+ years, so it's a long term commitment. Babies are impossible to sex visually so i would approach purchasing open minded, both genders make brilliant pets! :D

Sorry this is so long, but i think between Plukie, Laura and my novel you'll get some answers! :p

**just wanted to add that it's MY opinion that it's unwise to take a tiel out with no restraint. The flight suit i mentioned has an attachable leash which makes it great for taking them outside. :D If you do plan on taking your tiel out and about you would have to clip it's wings to prevent it from flying and judging by the fact that you don't want to use a cage i don't know how this would sit with you. Also consider that outside, with harness or not, you are risking exposing your tiel to wild bird illness and other dangers. I take my birds out in their cage.
 

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1) Is it easy to 'potty train' them? I have read several articles on how to teach birds to poop on command and even teach them to go in a specific spot (a waste basket, a newspaper, etc). How long, do you think, would this take for a cockatiel?

I can say I succesfully trained my tiel to potty where I tell her to go. There are things to remember with this. You must learn your tiel's body language. After a while, they will give you very obvious signs and it's quite easy to do with a little persistance. I trained mine while she layed a clutch and her poops where HUGE during this time. I hated the idea of not allowing her to wonder like usual so I trained her.

2) I spoke to this man for quite a while. He was a simple fellow, didn't sound like an animal expert. He simply said that he had raised his cockatiel since it was just a baby and would never keep a bird in a cage. I got the impression that maybe he found an abandoned or injured baby outside rather than buying one (I'm in Australia so they're not uncommon in the wild here). He and his bird had such a great relationship. He'd talk to his cockatiel and the bird would instantly look up at him, perched on his arm, cock his head, and listen. Now, if I get a cockatiel, I don't want to keep him in a cage. I'd have a specific 'nest' for him to go in and out of as he pleases, but I don't want to keep a bird locked up. Has anyone here raised a cockatiel like this before? I realize there's dangers, but being such a small bird I'd see no problem taking him everywhere around the house with me. I realize that everyone has different methods and don't condemn any one, but I'm afraid that if I have to raise him in a cage, I'd personally rather not get one at all. What are some things I should know about raising a bird outside its cage? Am I making a huge mistake even considering it?


I take my Baby out with me everywhere and have done so from day one. one VERY important thing to remember is that she is FULLY clipped and can only glide right to the ground. There's only been a couple of instances when someone or something scared her and she fell off but otherwise she just sits there, preens herself, looks around. She loves it and I love taking her. Alot of people disagree but I do what makes my BABY happy. I recently got a second tiel (yesterday) and he has not been trained yet but ideally I plan to have them both on my shoulder.

Cages are their home, their safe place, their place to be alone when they want and it's good to have this since it creates a stable enviroment. WIth that in mind, cages SHOULD NOT be where they spend all their time. Birds sleep almost half the day. Out of that 3/4 of the time they should have their cages open. I keep mine open from the time I wake up, until I have to leave the house or go to sleep. Whatever you do, do not attempt to sleep with your bird. So, in conclusion, if you spend a good amount of time with your tiel, a cage is benefecial.


3) How expensive is it to care for a cockatiel? I'm not a wealthy person; I have a part time job. I'd sell all my possessions if I had to to keep my pets healthy, but don't want to take on something I can't handle financially. How much does food usually cost? What are some other spendings except for toys and such that I need to consider? Vet visits? Vaccines?

They are not expensive to purchase, however you have to consider a nice large cage, toys, treats, seeds, pellets, veggies, emergency vet funds...etc. I am nowhere near rich either but my birds do have a vet account just in case.

4) How healthy are cockatiels in general and what illnesses are they prone to?

Like other animals and birds, they can be prone to alot of illnesses, however proper diet plays a HUGE part in the way your tiel looks and feels. A happy tiel with a strong immune system is much less likely to become ill. I have a few links on general things you need to look out for when puchasing your tiel and when caring for it.

5) Do they prefer a very calm environment or an environment with a lot of play and activity? My house isn't exactly dead quiet, we can get loud at times, but it's not complete chaos here 24/7. Still, I don't want to put unnecessary stress on the bird.

In my opinion, tiels adjust very well to their keeper's enviroment. I am always up late and I get up what other would call noon. They get use to you very easily, however it's important to keep in mind they need 10-12hrs of dark quiet sleepy time.

6) How easy are they to care for in general? What do I need to consider? How do they deal with being alone in the house and what periods of time would you say is safe to leave them by themselves? I plan on switching jobs and working more after my final exams, but it will still be a part time job so I won't be going in every day.

I work a full time job and overtime on top of that ( or did until recently). They are ussually ok but can get lonely if you neglect them when you get home. There were times where I'd be falling asleep and still have to give mine head scritches..so..it's up to you. Whatever you can manage.


7) How are they around other pets? I have a young dog who is allowed the run of one room of the house and the entire backyard. I definitely don't want to take any risks with the bird, but is it at all possible to eventually introduce them from a safe distance and enter the room in which my dog is with the cockatiel?

My tiel gets along with my dog just fine BUT I would not leave them in the same room alone unless my tiel was in her cage. Tiels tend to be scared easily so introduction is important. Never force them to do something they are scared off.

8) What do I need to consider when purchasing a cockatiel? Is there anything in particular that I should be careful of or look on favorably? I know I want a male.

You have to make sure you know the place you are getting them is clean, that they had fresh foods, clean water, you have to inspect the bird for anything that's unsual. The most common things to look for that might indicate an ill bird are:
Runny nose
Curly feathers
Red nostrils
Infections
Scaly face mites
Poop stuck to vent
Diluted eyes
There's alot more but that's basics.


Hope that helped!
PS_ Thanks for educating yourself first, rather than running out to get the first tiel you see.
 

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I don't think I could add anything usefull, Bea said all the same stuff I would of said, and I'm new to Tiels, but I've noticed there really isn't much differnce between them, my budgies or my quaker when it comes to care/attention etc

I've upgraded my tiels cage from the one they came to me in ( i adopted them) they are my kids birds, while they're in school I feed/water them on the weekends I watch over my kids doing it, making sure they're doing it right My kids are 7 and 10 and have grown up with Dogs and always helped me feed all the dogs we've had

I do believe birds need a cage - ALL mine only sleep/ eat in thier cage they are out of it all day so to me they're not "caged" birds or "stuck in a cage" I don't leave my house much , I go to my doctors apt when i have them which normally is once a month or so I have another Apt. i go to once a month But i'm never gone more then 30 mins. most of the time our t.v. is on 24/7 even if we do shut it off there is always some one on my street blaring thier music - which when it comes through our windows isn't all that loud (most of the time) but you can still hear it, Mine have not had a single "night fright" and I've had them for 3 weeks today they're in my daughters room and it's fairly dark in there at night, a little glare from the living room lamp/ t.v goes into her room but not much I cover thier cage at night but I leave the front panel completly open

It's really cute( or at least to me it is lol) when I go to wake my daughter up in the mornings for school at 6 am, I turn her light on and They both let out a small squeal / Chirp noise like they're telling me good morning, I'll wake her up walk over to the door and peak in and tell them Good morning and they've got thier wings spread wide and always ONE leg stretched out ( just like my budgies do when i walk in thier room)
and after my daughter gets up, gets her bed made, her exercise done ( my kids do exercise every monring before school) after she gets dressed she uncovers them and she talks to them while she's doing it and they do it to the kids too, then she'll put the sheet i cover them up with Over her bed ( so they don't poo on her bed any more she learned the hard way LOL) and then she opens thier door and goes and eats breakfast and finishes getting ready for school and they'll sit in and talk to them or if they've come out of the cage they'll play with them for a few mins before it's time to get on the bus

and all the birds have already gotten thier bus down pat they know what bus is theres and when it's dropping them off after school, they can be extreamly quiet for any where from 20 mins up to a hour before the kids come home and as soon as they hear their bus ( we have 3 other busses that come by the house) they'll start chirping and my quaker starts his LOUD flock call and when he sees them get off the bus and walk across the road , he starts bobbing his head, does his flock call even louder and then starts dancing it's hilarious to watch


my kids did take thier tiels out the other day with thier flight suits on, the birds enjoyed it, they were only out for about 20 mins.. but it was a nice day not too hot not cold nice breeze,

our house isn't loud unless the nieghbor hood kids are in it and they all get excited to see the birds and get extreamly loud (which makes my quaker go nuts and he gets loud) so i got to constanly tell them to quiet down and stop bieng so Jumpy they scare ALL my birds - it's to the point I'm about to tell em they all got to stay out side and not allow them inside any more, After they leave it looks like a tornado went through my kids room's (which is normally spotless) and all the birds are huddled in corners waiting for them to go away..... after about 20 mins of it just bieng back to my kids, myself and my b/f the birds go back to bieng their normal playful, chirping selfs
 

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wow bea here in canada that cage would be around $400.00 my budgie cage was $200.00 regular $400.00 30x24x52
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks so much for everyone's help and I apologize for the late reply. I actually got a cockatiel today; I simply couldn't resist. I'll post details in a new topic as I have a feeling I'm going to need a -lot- of advise.

Thanks again

- Liza
 

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Thanks so much for everyone's help and I apologize for the late reply. I actually got a cockatiel today; I simply couldn't resist. I'll post details in a new topic as I have a feeling I'm going to need a -lot- of advise.

Thanks again

- Liza
I just replied to your post about Ergo! :D I'm sure you will make a great tiel mum!
 

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If you are really insistant on keeping your bird out, and not in a cage, then may I recommend that you get a smaller, inexpensive cage, and just leave the door open. That way, your cockatiel can go in or not...and if you have a sick cockatiel, with a broken wing, or hurt foot, you have somewhere to put him to rest up. You could purchase a used cage and save some money that way as well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, Cryren. I ended up buying a moderately-sized cage for mine because he hasn't been tamed and I'm afraid he'd injure himself if he was out. However, I was wondering if buying another, smaller cage for traveling and over-night stays at my boyfriend's house would be a good idea? That is, once he's used to people of course. Or do you think a small enough cage to carry him around in would be too small to leave him in overnight at a different house?

- Liza
 

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Thanks, Cryren. I ended up buying a moderately-sized cage for mine because he hasn't been tamed and I'm afraid he'd injure himself if he was out. However, I was wondering if buying another, smaller cage for traveling and over-night stays at my boyfriend's house would be a good idea? That is, once he's used to people of course. Or do you think a small enough cage to carry him around in would be too small to leave him in overnight at a different house?

- Liza
A small cage for overnight stays and traveling is a good idea. :) I have a small cage next to my tiels cage and also one next to my budgie cage just incase we have to get out of the house in a hurry. I also use them for vet visits.
 
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