View Full Version : Cockateils???

01-05-2009, 03:49 PM
Just saw an ad for two FREE Cockateils. I normally don't like birds inside, but husband has expressed an interest. We know nothing, although I have done a little research. What's maintenance like? Answer honestly as I'm a CLEAN FREAK! Also, can birds be left for periods of up to a week, as fish can...or are we looking at necessary daily feedings?

01-05-2009, 03:57 PM
All you need is a food bowl and he will not starve.

01-05-2009, 04:02 PM
We clean the bottom of our cage every other day if its bad and every 4th day on routine.They get fresh water daily and food when neccesary.
They can very loud when expressing themselves and the area around the cage may end up littered with gravel and seed.
They are really a joy to have but they do require attention.

01-05-2009, 04:04 PM
I think that finches are better. They are not mesy they aare quiet and when they do make noise it is tweeting and it sounds great.

01-05-2009, 04:06 PM
If you are a clean freak birds may not be the best pet for you, although they will give you something to do. The cage can also effect how much mess stays in and how much ends up on the floor.

I suggest starting off with two books, one thicker one just on cockatiels, the second is Parrots for Dummies. Parrots for Dummies is a great book, whether you are just starting with birds or are an experienced breeder. There are all sorts of things that you would never think could be an issue, but can be very important.

01-05-2009, 04:06 PM
Thanks!!! We're considering....

01-05-2009, 04:07 PM
Birds can be messy...some more so than others. Especially if they are seed slingers. You'll have seeds all over the floor around the cage if they are.
They need to be fed and watered everyday. Some people may leave theirs for a couple of days but I personally would never do that. You never know what could happen while you're gone.

01-05-2009, 04:25 PM
Sharon there are a lot of good books as Fishguy has suggested but there are several good websites as well.
Birds once trained are great friends and pets.
The bigger the bird the more noise it will make.They can make very peaceful chirps or they can squawk like nothing you have ever heard before!lol
Its a pet that you may want to look into first.
Go to a pet store that specializes in birds and go spend some time there.

Wild Turkey
01-05-2009, 04:30 PM
I would give you probably 12 reasons why i dont have birds....but up pretty high on that list is the mess. If you are a clean freak...i agree with FG birds may not be the ticket for you, though it would definitely keep you busy as long as you dont go insane.

01-05-2009, 04:42 PM
If you have a calm quiet house it will help keep the bird calm.
When you have kids and loud music it tends to make your bird loud and messy.A lot of it is your frame of mind when you approach the bird ,dog ,cat whatever.
At least thats what I have noticed with mine.

01-05-2009, 05:01 PM
We have a houseful of birds of various types, 15 total at last count.

I've had cockatiels for 25 years - in fact, I have a 24-year old 'tiel! We have him and 2 younger females that stay together.

Birds are one of the most neglected pets out there I'm sad to say. People think they're happy locked up in cages and fed standard bird food. This is very wrong.

Parrots, including 'tiels and budgies, are long-lived and more intelligent than the average dog. A well-bred budgie, properly looked after can easily live to 15 years. 'tiels can live to 30 (although the 'average' age is around 15-20).

Given how long-lived and smart they are, the care many birds get is appalling. Anyone leaving a dog in a small crate for 24 hours a day would get reported to the humane society, but we seem to think it's fine for birds. Yet this is an animal that flies! Go figure.

ALL birds are incredibly messy. They toss food, they poop, they moult. They're not hard to clean up after, but you have to be diligent.

They need fresh water daily. Many bird like to poop in their water bowels, or soak food in it. This provides a breeding ground for bacteria, so you have to be diligent.

They need good food. You need to buy them a good quality pelleted food. That will provide for their vitamins and minerals. They need fresh foods daily - and NO junk foods. Seed-eaters do need a seed-mix in their diet. Most larger parrots appreciated an appropriate nut mix as well.

The cages sold by regular pets stores as 'beginner' cages are a joke. They're too small in many cases to be anything other than a travel cage. Buy the largest cage you can find, with the appropriate bar spacing. Bar spacing is crucial for the safety of the bird.

Birds also need toys to destroy. Toys should also be rotated to keep the birds entertained. Toys can be expensive, esp. when they get chewed up quickly.

There is a difference between finches and parrots. Finches are 'hands off' for the most part (some species can be hand-tamed, but this requires experience). If their flight cage is large enough, they can stay in the cage, but they should have company. Keeping one finch, indeed, one of any bird, is cruel. They are are social, flocking, species and need company. You, as the owner, quickly become part of their flock, and they will want to eat when you eat, etc.

If you get the 'tiels, expect them to live to at least 15 years, as I mentioned. Expect them to make a huge mess. Expect to let them out 2-3 hours every evening so they have room and time to exercise and hang out with you.

Now - having said all that. The birds are, hands down, the most rewarding pet I've ever had. But you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time with them.

If that's not for you - get a snake. They're clean, tidy, and you can leave them alone for 5 days at a time.

01-05-2009, 05:05 PM
All you need is a food bowl and he will not starve.

No. That is neglect.

Birds will hull their seeds, and leave the little shells on top. It will look like there is food in the bowl, when there really isn't. Not to mention they need fresh foods daily and pellets. They also need fresh water daily.

01-05-2009, 05:35 PM
If seeds are in the diet they shouldn't be more than about 20% of it. The staple of the diet should be a high quality pellet.

01-05-2009, 06:28 PM
Rue, I asked questions because I would never neglect nor mistreat any animal. I don't need nor want a snake. I've never considered myself a "bird person" and inquired only because my husband expressed interest, and I knew there were bird keepers here. After reading the comments on bird care, I've a feeling I'm probably not a bird person. I inquired about leaving for a 5-7day period, as we are retired now, and don't want to be totally tied down by pets. That is a major issue for us, and we don't want to make a wrong decision. We've raised and loved two dogs which were big commitments, but we're in a different "place" now. I have fish, and love it...but I don't have to be here 24-7. I'm going to leave the decision up to hubby, as he will have the responsibility of taking care of the birds...

Thanks for all the helpful comments!!!:ssmile:

01-05-2009, 06:50 PM
I wasn't suggesting you were neglectful at all.

But I've been very active with birds and bird people for 4 years now. And I've had 'tiels since Day 1 - and I've made many mistakes over the years. I've learned an awful lot over time.

I'm also not suggesting you need be housebound with birds. But should you go away (and we always did) someone has to come in once a day to change the water and provide fresh food - regardless of what type of bird you have.

Paper ideally should be changed daily (cage liner), but unless your particular bird is hanging out on the floor of it's cage, that can be left for a few days, or even a week - unless you live in a very humid area with mould and mildew growth, then the paper has to be changed more often.

Cockatiels themselves are sweet, easy-going birds. They're not overly loud for the most part, but they can be. My old boy used to drown out the sound of the telephone ringing. I had to go to another room to have a conversation.:hmm3grin2orange:

01-05-2009, 06:51 PM
P.S. I wasn't knocking snakes either. I have one. Her name is Ling.thumbs2:

01-05-2009, 06:55 PM
Sharon having one cage is not a lot of work.Hand training (getting your birds trust)the bird is the hardest part.The rest of the training falls into place fairly easily after that.You do have to spend time (as Rue mentioned) every day,but it is very rewarding.They are great pets.
I had a budgie a while back that would fly to my shoulder the second I walked in the door,he would stay there until I went to bed.He also used to help my wife with the dishes or what ever.My dog even used to lay on the floor and the bird could sit on his head or even go into his mouth.
I went out one day and the bird flew upstairs in the house.My other dog followed and well all I found was feather and a beak.:11:

Lady Hobbs
01-05-2009, 07:01 PM
I had two of them and they were so darned mean. I'd have to put gloves on to reach in their cage to give them food and water. I hated them.

01-05-2009, 07:10 PM
Yes. They can be mean. Depends on how they were raised, their individual personality, and the time you spend with them.

My first 2-3 birds were wicked. But they were all older 'unwanted' breeder birds. I didn't expect to handle them.

Piper (my 24 old year old bird) was evil for 18 years...then he started to mellow. I can now handle him without gloves.

Raffi - she's 3 years-old now. She was hand-raised. Sweet, people bird. Prefers to sit with us rather than hang out with other two. She's technically my 13-year old son's bird, but since she's caged with my two, I do most of the looking after. I do make him change the water bowl though...:hmm3grin2orange:

01-05-2009, 08:29 PM
Well...Decision made!!!thumbs2: Ken's just read the comments and decided that he's not as interested as he thought he was! I'm relieved as I wasn't looking forward to all the noise, mess, birds flying around every evening and pooping everywhere, water splashing everywhere during bath time, and let's not forget the bloody fingers!!!:14: ...Maybe he'd like a gecko!!!:hmm3grin2orange:

01-05-2009, 08:50 PM
Glad we were able to help.thumbs2:

I was serious about the snake you know...:cat:

01-05-2009, 08:59 PM
He'll never go for a snake...he's phobic... can't even watch them on TV!!! I just wish he'd get something...so he'd stop complaining about my fish!!! Then maybe he wouldn't notice when I get a 120 gallon!!! Ummmm...maybe I should threaten to get him a snake!:hmm3grin2orange:

01-05-2009, 09:57 PM
Does he have an interest in any type of animal in particular?

We were discussing this the other day. Cats won as the least work and most hands-on and rewarding pet.

01-05-2009, 10:09 PM
We've had dogs, and I know he'd enjoy another, but we don't want that kind of commitment now. I really dislike cats, so that option is out. I think I'll walk him through the pet store, when I next go, and have a look around. Maybe he'll see something that appeals to him, although there's not many living creatures that you can leave for a week. I actually hate to leave my fish, and they aren't that interactive, except for the Bettas, so I don't worry about them missing me. The Bettas do seem to miss my company...

I actually mentioned your suggestion of a snake...his reply was "If you want to get rid of me, get a snake." Anyone got a snake for sale???

01-05-2009, 10:22 PM
If it's for THAT short a time period, I'll send you Ling. She could use a vacation.

BTW...we spent a week in and about St. John's back in July. Now that we have the lack of road signs figured out, I could probably drop her off next time I'm there...;)

01-05-2009, 10:31 PM
Let me know when you're coming! It shouldn't take long!!!:hmm3grin2orange: :hmm3grin2orange: :hmm3grin2orange:

Lady Hobbs
01-06-2009, 01:37 AM
Hey sharon......What did it for you? Must have been the post I wrote that said I had to put clothes on to feed them!!!!!

YIKES! I meant I had to put gloves on!!!!!!!!

01-06-2009, 01:41 AM
Jeez hobbs, first you wanted to create a new fish called neon danios and now you are wanting to put clothes on birds:hmm3grin2orange: :hmm3grin2orange: :hmm3grin2orange:

Lady Hobbs
01-06-2009, 01:43 AM
LOLOLOL Transposing words has been going on for awhile with me. Drives me nuts.

01-06-2009, 02:07 AM
Yeah, that was the clincher!!!...Don't fancy being attacked by sharp powerful beaks!!! The wording of the Ad didn't inspire confidence, either...it said Free for the Taking. It kinda sounds like there's been trouble...

01-06-2009, 11:41 PM
Hi Sharon,

My neice had two tiels that were hand raised. They were very friendly, but messy I must say. She also rescused a tiel she found in her garden that she had to put gloves on to clean out. Well that was about 8 years ago, he has now become tame with her devotion, but the mess is quite incredible and he sings very loudly. He does not like strangers or striped clothing and blows down his nose at small children.

Have you thought about looking after guide dogs, dogs for the deaf or assistance dogs for the disabled. Here in England you would get a lot of support by the various associations and believe me, if you puppy walk half the town will offer to look after it for you for some strange reason. When we had our own dog, our holidays used to revolve around who would accomodate him and where we could take him when there. Dogs are not allowed on beaches, or in pubs serving food, and children are only allowed in pubs serving food.

Once we started puppy walking for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, we were inundated by complete strangers offering to have the dog if we ever wanted to go on holiday. - not that we were allowed to give the dog to anyone to look after. At least that way, if you wanted to go on holiday the association would either take the dog into kennels or give it to another family for respite.


01-07-2009, 12:48 AM
I am so RELIEVED that he has dropped the bird idea!!! The whole thing sounds like it would have driven me CRAZY! Guide dogs sound like a very worthwhile project...I've never heard of anything like that here...

01-07-2009, 04:37 PM
LOL, birds can be funny sometimes, and they're not for everyone, thats for sure.

Birds are not like dogs, they don't give unconditional love. You need to form a bond with them. Forming a bond usually consists of talking to them and interacting with them many times daily.

I agree with pretty much everything Rue has said. They can't just be locked up in a cage all the time.

When most people get a bird, they will just sit there, you know, do nothing at first. They are scared, and many people think that is the norm and they don't persist and form a bond with them. People don't realise how smart birds, especially parrots, are. They can be as interactive as a dog, and as cuddly as a kitten. You just need to put some work into it. It could take months or even years for your birds to fully trust you. Regardless of the size of the bird, they won't hurt you if they like you. Even huge macaws and cockatoos, they can bite a piece of steel in half, yet if they like you they won't hurt you. Even if they don't like you, they shouldn't bite unless they feel threatened. I always buy bird that are just old enough to fend for themselves, you should get them as young as possible from a reputable breeder. Hand raised or parent raised doesn't seem to matter too much, they will still make good pets either way.

I have two budgies and a sun conure in my house at the moment. I love all three of them! They are very rewarding pets to keep.

My budgies love to climb all over me. Half the time when I'm at the computer I have a budgie or two on my head or shoulder, or chasing my fingers on the keyboard. They love to be around me and talk to me. Right now my newest male is in his cage, I just got him this week and he is a little nervous to come out yet. My older male is happily perched on top of my moniter though. He loves it when I reach up and give him a scratch on his belly. They don't like cuddling but they love interacting.

My sun conure is a whole nother story. He is like a new born kitten, and he looooves to cuddle. Nothing is better to him then jumping into my shirt while I'm watching TV and snuggling up. He loves to be scratched and petted, and I can put him on my shoulder and keep him there all day. His beak is strong enough to crack a walnut, yet he'll nibble my ears so gently I can barely feel it. I almost forget he is there sometimes, and he will even fall asleep up there.

Cockatiels are probably one of the cuddlier small birds. I care for the birds sometimes where I work. They too love to be petted and interacted with. They are sort of in the middle as interaction goes. They don't like to be cuddled as much as some other parrots, not that they don't like a good rub, and they certainly won't keep completely to themselves like finches. Yet they aren't as demanding as other parrots. They are very well rounded in general, a great overall bird to keep.

Whoops, got a little carried away there with my post! There's just so much to talk about!

Anyways, like I was saying. They don't love you unconditionally like dogs do. Not saying that is a bad thing, but you do need to work with them. They are very demanding when attached to you, if you are not always at home you should get another bird for them to interact with, or at least to listen to so they know they are not alone.
Talk to them, interact with them, don't hurt them, and in no time you should have a cute, cuddly companion to follow you everywhere!

Have fun with whatever other pet you decide to keep instead! Guide dogs sure would be interesting!

01-07-2009, 05:03 PM
Okay Nick...now you need to post pics of your cuties...

01-07-2009, 05:23 PM
If you must!

First one on the left is my old male Chico playing with his favourite little toy!

The second middle is the two of them eating. The yellow is my newest male, Sunny, too camera shy for a close up.

And the right is my conure! Haven't thought of a good name for it yet!

Now its your turn!

01-07-2009, 05:47 PM
Such cuties! Thanks! No name for the conure? How come?

I think I've posted pics of my crew before...but I can't find them. Here they are again!

Here are my Green-cheeked Amazon and my White-crowned Pionus having a disagreement:


Here's my African Grey:


I moved some photos around yesterday in Photbucket - I think I may have lost some in the process! I had some better ones!

01-07-2009, 06:09 PM
LOL, I love the pic of the african grey!

No name for the conure? How come?
Eh, I haven't yet found a name that suits him. I've been calling him Mango for awhile, but I'm not sure if I like it. I doubt I can change it now though, as he's starting to respond to it. Oh well, whats in a name anyways?

I can't believe you have 15 birds! That and all your other pets, how do you find time for eating?

Are your birds all tame?

01-07-2009, 06:23 PM
Hi you guys the photos of the birds are lovely. I grew up with a budgie and during our married life have kept two, I'm embarrassed to say all were named Joey and all blue. Hummmm I obviously have a thing about blue budgies.


P.S. Anymore piccies of birds always appreciated.

01-07-2009, 06:26 PM
Well, it would be too much for me alone to look after...but we all share in critter chores, and we have it all stream-lined...

They're not all totally tame.

My daughter has the 2 budgies and the 7 finches. One budgie is quite tame, the other is psychotic - likely a result of mass-breeding. However, they both come out when she's studying in her room.

She lets the finches out too - about once a week for some free-flight. They're smart - once she initiates 'round-up' they all fly back to their cage.

One of the 3 'tiels is hand-raised and very tame. She technically belongs to my 13 year old. The 24 year old male is not tame, but he's mellowed out with old age. The 5 year old female is hand-shy, but friendly otherwise, she'll sit on my head. I just can't touch her. But she goes back to her cage too, when we begin round-up, so it's not an issue (except for the odd day).

I have the pets staggered - by the time all the kids are gone, there won't be so many pets, not more than I can look after on my own.

The larger parrots are intended to be my 'family' when everyone else is off doing their own thing! :hmm3grin2orange:

BTW...nothing wrong with 'Mango'. And if's he's answering to it...may as well call him that!

01-07-2009, 07:06 PM
Great shots guys! Birds do make great pets!

01-07-2009, 07:08 PM
Thats nice that your whole family gets to share in your hobby!

I've never kept finches before, personally. I'm more into the parrots. My grandmother had a canary once. It was a cute little guy but is would go crazy every time you got within 4' of it.

My birds have definitely become like family to me. I'm still a student living on my own. It would get pretty quite around here without my birds. They fill in where my fish don't. Physical interaction and compassion.

01-08-2009, 03:12 AM
I have 3 cockatiels and i love them so much. amazing pets

05-11-2010, 06:39 PM
I find my cockatiel not that messy. Only when she has a night fright and breaks off all her blood-feathers. Blood all over. That's why you need to give them night lights.

05-13-2010, 03:07 PM
YES, you are looking at daily feedings!!! Seriously??

Let me tell you a little story. I used to have 4 beautiful cockatiels that I raised from babies. Long story short, my fiancee and I went on vacation last Feb. and left my birds in the care of my 18 year old brother and mom. Half of died within a week because my brother basically didn't feed them. I kept them alive for years and one week of neglect and it all went down the drain. Yeah, it's sh*tty, lesson learned.

Cockatiels are parrots, they're smart birds and can't just be left alone with no human interaction for weeks at a time.

Also, they are messy. Their food is messy, seed hulls will need vacuumed daily, they also need fresh food and several sets of dishes that need washed daily or at least very often. I scrub my cage branches down every day (birds poop - a lot - and it's really really hard to train them where to do it). Cockatiels also create a downy powder that fluffs out from their feathers. My birds have two air filters in their room and get daily baths to cut it down.

Honestly, it doesn't sound like the tiels are a good fit for your family unless your husband really wants to deal with it.

05-13-2010, 03:14 PM
Since this thread was started, Sharon has slowly built up her aviary.

She has 2 budgies, a Lineolated parakeet, a Bourke's parakeet, a canary and is thinking of getting an African Grey (rehome).

Her husband is also getting into birds - and is considering chickens...thumbs2:

Sharon isn't on the forum at the moment...but she and the birds are all doing well!

05-13-2010, 03:30 PM
That's good for them, I hope they know what they're getting into with an African grey, they are pretty much like having a 2 year old child! Congrats to them, someday I'd love a CAG (Congo African Grey).

05-13-2010, 04:48 PM
...they were looking at a TAG.

I have a rehomed CAG...a plucker...right now she's letting some feathers grow in...looks like she has mange...lol...I hope she lets them grow in - but once they start plucking, it seems they keep doing it...