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Cockatiels are wonderful birds to have as pets. They are fun, loving, and overall a great companion to have! As awesome as they are, they do in fact come with a few demands as pets. Here are 5 things to really think about before you make the final decision of bringing home a feathered friend!
1) They are Attention Hogs.
The first thing I noticed with my cockatiel is that he is a rather demanding fellow. If I leave the house or just leave my room for a few minutes, he would scream considerably to get my attention, basically saying, "HEY NOTICE ME I'M SMALL AND NEED A LOT OF LOVE OR ELSE I'LL WILT LIKE A FLOWER."
Cockatiels need a TON of love and affection. They are flock birds and are used to a lot of interaction, so be sure to spend a significant chunk of the day with them, 2 hours a day outside their cage for playtime is ideal, but if you have a rather tight schedule and are not able to interact with your 'tiel on a daily basis, then I suggest that you should get another cockatiel, as they will provide each other company.
Talking and/or singing with your 'tiel is a good start for a new bird in your home. Although they are known for being significantly affectionate, there have been some rare cases where some 'tiels do not like to be pet, so observe him closely to see their likes and dislikes over time. They may be a bit nippy during the first few weeks during the taming process, but they should get over it gradually.
2) They Can be Pricey.
The prices of cockatiels range from $60 to $100 and can sometimes cost as much as $250 if you are looking for a particular color mutation or are buying from a trusted breeder. I also advise that you would be smart with picking out your feathered baby as well. A small mom-and-pop shop and a more well-known pet store could sell you a 'tiel of the same quality for drastically different prices.
Cage, toys, food, perches, and veterinary visits aren't cheap. Cages range from $80 to $200, and you also have to be mindful of how much you may need to spend on perches, food, toys, and cleaning supplies.
The average veterinary bill is $65 to $200, and more with any other medical tests that your 'tiel may need. 'Tiels are rather clumsy creatures and occasionally suffer from night frights, which are episodes where the bird may get scared by something while they sleep. They may end up with blood feathers which may be fatal if left untreated, so I suggest taking your cockatiel to an avian vet immediately if you are not comfortable or inexperienced in treating this affliction.
3) They Can be Messy and Noisy.
Even though tiels are considered to be a quieter bird, it does not mean they are completely mute. They love to sing and talk, and have a tendency to scream if you leave them alone in a room. If you are not really fond of the idea of hearing frequent squawking, but are still interested in a tiel, you should get a female rather than a male, as they are significantly quieter.
When they eat, cockatiels have a tendency to make a mess. You may find seeds and pellets on the cage floor and around the cage. Keep the cage clean and invest in a mesh seed catcher to prevent any food ending up outside the cage.
4) They are Dusty.
Most parrots have a particular gland that secretes oil that aids in the preening process. Birds like the cockatiel, however, do not have this gland and are considered a powder-down bird.
Cockatiels produce a white powder, or dander, that helps keep them clean and minimizes oil buildup. The production of this powder is beyond the 'tiel's control, and can be manageable. To help reduce the amount of dander, you can frequently mist the bird, or give him or her a bath every one or two weeks. If you are asthmatic and/or have severe allergies, you should invest in an air filter to reduce any amount of the white powder in the atmosphere.
5) They are a Long-Term Commitment.
The average lifespan of a cockatiel is 15 - 25 years, and there are some cases where these birds live up to 30. When getting a 'tiel, be mindful that you are signing up for all of the responsibilities that come with being a caretaker for this bird. Everything discussed leading up to this point need to be kept in mind when getting a 'tiel. Are you ready to contribute time and money to the care of your feathered companion for the next decade or so? Are you prepared for the time after that? Take these questions into consideration before making your final decision.
Cockatiels are wonderful to have and are considered one of the best birds for first-time owners. If you have any inquiries or want to know more about the care of this particular bird, consult books, online forums, and other fellow bird owners for advice. I hope you have a wonderful time with your future bird!