COCKATIELS All livestock will be on customer collection only basis as we will not send animals by mail.
The cockatiel is a friendly, intelligent bird normally overshadowed by the budgerigar. Nonetheless, the cockatiel is a distinguished bird in its own right; it is virtually vice-free, has a placid temperament and is socially accomplished. It gets along well with other birds and it is almost unheard of for a cockatiel to harm any small bird. Cockatiels are a fine introduction to bird keeping because they easy to feed breed and house.
Types The wild-type cockatiel is the most common: grey body, orange cheeks and white face. Several interesting colour mutations have been formed in recent times. These include the Pied Cockatiel, in which the colour varies from predominantly grey to almost white. Another is the common Lutino, first bred in the USA. The colour is pale yellow; the grey has almost faded but the bird retains orange ear patches. Pearls are a Lutino mutation with an intermixing grey-lemon plumage.
Gender The cockatiel is distinguished by its long tail and uneven coloured plumage. The upper body tends to be medium grey while the underparts are a lighter grey with a faint tinge of yellow buff. The head, crest, cheeks and throat are bright yellow. The female is similar but the yellow areas on the face and throat are less bright. Unlike the male the underside of the female's tail feathers are barred with yellow and grey. In the wild, cockatiels live in small groups so in the domestic setting they are happier with company, whether budgies, canaries, finches or their own breed. Don't house them with birds that are much bigger than them. The most satisfying combination for bird and owner is obviously a male and female pairing but you would have to think about long term breeding provisions. Buying Some owners will prefer a particular sex of bird but the problem is that when young, cockatiels are difficult to sex, especially before the first moult which is between the ages of three and nine months. Owners are advised to buy young birds as they tend to be more adaptable and quicker to learn. Tell tale signs of youth include shorter tail feathers and duller colours, while older birds lose the sheen in their plumage and find it difficult to balance on the perch. With all birds it is important that you choose a healthy bird. You can spot a sick bird by its behaviour and appearance.
It will sit still on its perch, its plumage puffed up, and its tail drooping slightly.
It avoids all contact with other birds and often its beak will be tucked into the back feathers.
The eyes may be half shut and the bird will rest on both feet. When in good health birds rest on just one foot.
Its eyes will be dull and it will stare vacantly into space.
Green runny droppings are an indication of sickness.
Avoid birds that have irregular or laboured breathing.
Whitish encrustations around the eyes and bill of the bird are bad signs. This could indicate an infestation of scaly face mites, which distort the beak to such an extent that the bird has difficulty preening itself and husking seeds. What you will need Cages A cockatiel will need a large, long cage, measuring at least 24 inches long x 20 inches wide x 16 inches high. Many of the budgerigar cages will be too small but a parrot cage should be suitable. Many experts discourage owners from buying round cages as this disorientates the bird causing circling disease.
Perches Various types of perch are available, plastic, wood dowelling or natural wood. The artificial perches are easy to clean, and being very smooth and non-porous - they offer simplicity of cleaning. While beneficial to the owner the bird may be less than pleased.
Cockatiels benefit more from natural branches; the contours of the bark keep the cockatiel distracted and if eaten by the bird condition its beak and boost its intake of vitamins and minerals. Always check beforehand that the wood is not poisonous and is free from dirt.
Offer a selection of perches of varying thickness. A perch should not be so small that the bird's foot can totally enwrap it; the front claws will dig into the back foot, causing muscle cramp for the cockatiel. Equally a perch which is too large will prevent the bird from gripping it effectively.
Offer perches at varying heights but ensure the gap between them is big enough for the cockatiel to hop or fly through as it wishes. And when a bird is perched its tail feathers should not be touching the bars of the cage. Some owners offer a broad, flat perch which gives the bird a rest from balancing. Finally ensure the perch has some flexibility, particularly when the bird is landing as it prevents muscle compaction. As always ensure the perch is securely in place and doesn't rotate when the bird alights - it could cause injury. Cuttlefish Bone This belongs in every cage. It is usually clipped to the cage wire. It's used for beak trimming and a source of calcium and phosphorous. Sand and grit
The cage floor should be lined with grit or pebble sand. Grit is essential for the bird's digestive system and the absorption of food. Birds do not have teeth and so their food is processed in a muscular gizzard, which grinds food. In order to function, the gizzard relies on grit to rub against the seeds and produce the grinding action. Drinkers The most popular type is the spouted gradient drinker, which has the advantage of keeping the water clean and free from contamination.
The drinking water should be changed at least twice daily because bacteria multiply rapidly, particularly in warm conditions. Never leave food or water containers under perches as these will be contaminated with droppings. Contaminated water can be fatal; the cockatiel will refuse to drink altogether which leads to dehydration.
Cockatiel Diet Cockatiels eat a mixture of seeds (canary seed, millet, linseed, and rapeseed). They are also fond of sunflower seeds and a selection of seeding grasses in winter you can add some drops of cod liver oil to dry seed each week to provide extra vitamins. Cockatiels will need fresh green feed, which provides a range of vitamins and trace elements. Recommended are sprouted feed, fruit and vegetables; brussel sprout leaves, dandelions, lettuce, apple, etc. Shredded carrot can also be fed, as it is a valuable source of vitamin A. Spinach should be fed sparingly; it contains small amounts of oxalic acid which can be poisonous to birds. Equally cabbage and rhubarb leaves should not be fed to a cockatiel. Be sure to wash all fresh products before giving them to the cockatiel. Don't leave fresh foods in the cage for any more than a few hours, as bacteria will quickly form on it. Never give junk food, strongly salted or spiced food, butter, crackers, crisps, and soft drinks to cockatiels. Finally don't feed cage birds dried substances such as bread, or dried fruit as these can swell in the bird's intestines, causing discomfort and in extreme cases can be fatal. Location of cage It is important to have the cage away from direct sunlight, in a draught free place. The cage should be at the same level as the human head or slightly higher. There should be nothing above the cage because a cockatiel is frightened by overhead activity, (reminiscent of predators in the wild.) The cage should be sited in such a way so that any person entering the room does not create a shadow over the cage; this alarms a cage bird. The cage should not be placed in bedrooms as these are too quiet causing the bird to get bored, or kitchens as these get too hot or in areas where air pollution is likely (tobacco smoke in living rooms). Cleaning The bird's cage should be cleaned on a weekly to kill bacteria and ensure the continued health of the bird. Perches and containers should be cleaned and leftover seed removed. The cage should be completely dry before the bird is returned.£30.00
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