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What Do Cockatiels Eat?

Cockatiels are also called weiro birds or quarrion birds.  These birds are a small parrot and are part of the cockatoo family. 

They are beloved pets in homes across the globe because they can be so charming and funny if well tamed.  

Well tamed cockatiels can be house trained so they can walk as freely about your home as any other pet.  Many of these birds do learn to speak, whistle, or sing which also makes them such popular companions.  

These birds are also found in the wild.  Cockatiels are native to Australia and they are still found living nomadic lifestyles that are completely independent of human intervention.  In the wild, they prefer to live as pairs or in small flocks. 

 

What Do Cockatiels Eat?

Cockatiels are also kept as pets because they are relatively easy to feed and keep healthy. 

Their foods are relatively affordable and you can easily find their food in most pet stores or even in grocery stores. 

Here is a quick look at some of the foods these lovely birds enjoy eating;

 

Seeds

Cockatiels love to eat a variety of seeds.  You can buy them seed mixes from pet stores that include seeds like millet, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, and other seed types.  They also enjoy venturing outside where they can eat other seeds like grass seeds.

You shouldn’t offer your cockatiel peeled seeds.  Their hard beaks are perfectly capable of cracking open hard shells of peanuts and sunflower seeds and they do need this exercise to keep their beaks filed down.  

 

Pellet feeds

Pellet feeds are also good alternatives for cockatiels.  These pellet feeds usually consist of various seeds, fruits, veggies, and grains.  Pellet feeds also contain lots of nutrients such as vitamins and calcium to help keep these birds healthy.

 

Fruits

Cockatiels love to eat fruits.  They can eat a huge variety of fresh fruits such as apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, coconut, dates, damsons, figs, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, melon, pears, pineapple, plums, pomegranates, peaches, raspberries, mango, melon, nectarines, and strawberries.  These fruits are best served cut into thin slices.

Fruits can be offered freshly cut or dried.  These foods should however never be offered frozen.  

 

Vegetables

Cockatiels have hard beaks that can easily crunch through hard veggies.  They love to eat a variety of vegetables such as asparagus, cooked beans, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, carrot tops, Chinese vegetables, corn, courgettes, cucumber, kale, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash, and sweet potato. It is best to offer these foods fresh and cut into small pieces.  Some vegetables like beans, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, and carrot can also be offered cooked. 

Some bird food mixes may also contain dried veggies.  These veggies can however be a bit too hard for these birds to eat.  Cockatiels prefer cooked veggies over dried veggies. 

 

Vegetation

Cockatiels also enjoy eating fresh vegetation.  They enjoy eating freshly harvested legumes, flowers, and seeds.  Sprouting seeds can also be a good food to offer these birds.  In the wild, they may choose to eat all sorts of vegetation such as grass, leaves, and soft stems from certain plant types. 

 

Water

Your cockatiel needs access to fresh water every day.  Without water, it will become dehydrated and can die.  Cockatiels also enjoy bathing in water.  Allowing them to enjoy birdbaths is ideal for keeping them cool on hot days or for washing oils from their feathers.  

 

Supplements

Cockatiels that are not fed a healthy and balanced diet should be offered additional vitamins and minerals.  These vitamins can be acquired from pet stores or vets and can be added to your bird’s water bowl.  It is especially important to introduce calcium vitamins since calcium usually lacks in bird seed mixes.  

 

Diet Variations

Some cockatiels love to taste human foods and they can grow quite fond of various foods. 

They enjoy eating crackers, cereals, cooked veggies and some even enjoy taking a sip of coffee or tea.  It is ok to offer your cockatiel some of these human foods but you should avoid offering foods with too many spices, sugar, and preservatives.  It is also best to offer human foods in moderate quantities.

 

How to Feed Cockatiels?

Cockatiels are very easy to feed. You can simply add food to their bowls or feeder.  These birds are not very likely to overeat but they might prefer certain foods over others.  If your cockatiel enjoys eating pellet feeds, you can add as much as you like to its feeder.  If you are offering seed mixes, only offer enough for a day.  This way, you can ensure that your bird will eat a variety of seeds, fruits, and veggies every day and it will get all the needed vitamins and minerals.  

 

How Much Do Cockatiels Eat?

An adult cockatiel needs about 1.5 – 2 level tablespoons or 30-40grams of cockatiel pellets per day. 

If you are offering seed mixes, try adding ¼ cup of seed mix.  If there is a lot of food left by the end of the day, you can reduce the food you offer. 

If the food is finished and your bird is still hungry, try to offer a little bit more until you reach a good balance.

You can also offer your cockatiel healthy treats such as fruits, veggies, and other vegetation daily to keep them nourished.

 

What do Baby Cockatiels Eat?

Baby cockatiels are called chicks.  As hatchlings, they need to be fed every two hours.  The parents feed their chicks by regurgitating foods to them.  Orphaned chicks need to be offered a specialized feed because these birds need Pedialyte and probiotics during their first week to survive.

From two weeks on, they can be fed every four hours during the day and they can go 8 hours without food for sleep at night.  

From three weeks, your bird can be fed every five hours and they shouldn’t be left without food for longer than 8 hours at night.  

From four weeks they will start to eat small seeds and soft fruits or veggies.  At this point, they only need food three times per day and they can be hand-fed relatively easily.  They will gradually increase food consumption until they can eat all on their own.  

 

What do Wild Cockatiels Eat?

Wild cockatiels can have a great variety of foods.  They need fresh clean water and they will eat a huge variety of seeds that they find in their natural environment.  They can also eat 20 – 25% fruits, vegetables, and vegetation every day.  Their food intake is greatly affected by their habitat since certain food types such as certain fruits are only available in certain regions.  

 

What Fruits And Veggies Do Cockatiels Eat?

These beautiful birds can eat a huge variety of fruits and veggies.  They love to try new things and are quite curious to explore foods. 

Some cockatiels might prefer certain fruits or veggies over others.  

These happy birds enjoy all fruits you can find in supermarkets such as bananas, grapes, apples, and more. 

They also love citrus fruits like nectarines, peaches, pears, apricots, strawberries, and many others.  Tropical fruits like papayas, mangos, guava, kiwi, melons, cantaloupe, watermelon are also loved.  They can also eat all sorts of berries.  As a rule of thumb, you should offer fewer fruits than veggies because fruits contain more sugar.

You can also offer all sorts of vegetables.  Cockatiels love greens such as lettuce, bok choy, kale, swiss chard, watercress, and others. 

They might prefer some vegetables like sweet potato, pumpkin, or carrots cooked.  The important thing to keep in mind when offering veggies is to thaw frozen fruits and to cool cooked foods before offering these to your birds.

 

What foods are toxic to cockatiels?

Some foods are not healthy for cockatiels at all.  Alcohol is one food you definitely want to avoid offering these birds.  You should also avoid offering them avocado and chocolate since these can kill your bird.  Veggies like eggplant, raw potato, rhubarb, and cabbage are also toxic to them. 

You should also avoid offering caffeine drinks like coffee and tea, milk, cream, and other foods that contain lots of sweeteners or spices.  

 

What Kind of Seeds do Cockatiels Eat?

Cockatiels love seeds and they can eat a huge variety of seeds including grass seeds.  If you are shopping for a good seed mix, choose something that contains a variety of seeds such as canary seed, hemp seed, hulled oat seeds, Japanese millet, paddy rice, red millet, safflower seeds, sunflower seeds, white millet seeds, yellow millet seeds, red sorghum, peanuts, and nuts. 

You can also offer healthy fruits and veggies in addition to these seed mixes.  

With the right care, healthy food portions, and a balanced and nutritious diet, your cockatiel should be very healthy. It is however important that these birds get a lot of exercise during the day and that they receive lots of love and care. 

Cockatiels that feel neglected can start to stress.  If your bird becomes stressed, it could pluck out all of its feathers and stop eating healthy.