Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Understanding Your Cockatiel: How to interpret your bird's behavior.

Cockatiels are like infants in the sense that they cannot communicate how they are feeling, what they want, or if they like or do not like something. Your bird will communicate her feelings to you through her behavior and actions, and it is up to you to learn how to interpret what she is trying to tell you.

Every bird is different, but there are some specific behaviors that almost all cockatiels use to communicate with their owners.
  • Screaming- cockatiels do this for a few different reasons: they are trying to get your attention, are afraid, or because of a change in the bird's routine. Cockatiels that are overly excited or not feeling well will scream. Screaming is considered normal when your bird does it because of danger, to call for you because they are in the other room, or after losing a mate. Loki often screams for me when I leave the room. Once I return she stops (she sure knows how to get her way).
  • Biting- your bird is afraid. It is a response to a situation the bird is in. Your bird feels uneasy, nervous, and in danger; birds use this as a last resort.
  • Hissing- your cockatiel will do this when she feels threatened, usually right before biting.
  • Making a grinding sound with its beak- cockatiels do this when they are happy. Loki does this often when she sits with me. Cockatiels also do this before they go to sleep.
  • Backing into a corner-the bird feels afraid and intimidated. The best thing to do is leave your bird alone until it comes out on its own, especially if it is a new bird.
  • Fluffing up feathers and then shaking- your bird relieves stress by doing this.
  • Fluffed up and tired all the time- your bird is sick.
  • Puffed up- your bird is cold.
  • Lifting one foot into the air- your bird is excited and wants you to take her out. Loki always does this when she wants to come out.
  • Wagging its tail- your bird is happy and in a good mood; if she does it when you are near it means she loves you.
  • Moving its crest (what I call Loki's mohawk) up and down- this is the best indication of how your bird is feeling. Birds are happy when they keep their crest relaxed, but not completely down. Aggression is marked by a crest that is completely flat on the head. A nervous or excited bird will raise its crest so that it is completely vertical.
  • Slamming toys against its cage- birds do this when they are upset. Loki does this to her duck toy when she is angry because she cannot easily get to the millet inside.
  • Sitting in food or water dish- birds do this for two different reasons: young birds do this to feel secure, while adult birds do this when they become hormonal.
  • Hanging upside down- your cockatiel feels playful and happy. Birds also do this to stretch out their wings.
These are just some basic behaviors of cockatiels; however, each bird is unique and once you get to know your bird and her personality you will learn what she is trying to tell you.

In the mornings, Loki sits on my shoulder while I clean and refill her food and water dishes. Once the water is filled I hold up the dish for her to take a sip. She drinks, sometimes one sip, other times three sips. I never move the water dish until she makes her little chirp signaling to me that she is satisfied. I have learned how to interpret Loki's behavior.

It is in the best interest of both you and your bird to learn what she is trying to tell you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cuttlebones: The best source of calcium for your cockatiel.

A cuttlebone should always be left in your cockatiel's cage. They are essential to your cockatiel's health because of the calcium they provide.

However, they also have many other health benefits for your bird:

  • They help keep your cockatiel's beak sharp and trimmed.
  • They provide a source of entertainment and activity for your bird.
  • They are extremely valuable for female cockatiels, who need the extra calcium for egg production.

Many female cockatiels will lay unfertilized eggs on their own, even if they have no mate. A lack of calcium can cause egg binding, which can kill your bird.

I provide Loki with a cuttlebone at all times. She uses it frequently to sharpen her beak.

There are many types of cuttlebones available. Make sure to get one that says medium size.

The cuttlebone I have for Loki has a white center and a pink, fruity outside. Many birds like the fruit or honey that is added to cuttlebones as an extra incentive.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Toys for Your Tiel: The importance of entertaining your bird.

Toys prevent your cockatiel from becoming bored. They are essential to the happiness, and therefore the health of your bird. Bored birds develop behavioral problems, such as aggression and irritability.

Remember your cockatiel cannot directly say to you how she is feeling (at least not until you train her to talk); therefore, your cockatiel communicates her emotions through her behaviors.
Your cockatiel will spend the majority of her time in her cage, even if you do take her out for at least two and a half hours a day. She needs to be entertained when you are not home. It will also make you feel better leaving her home alone knowing she is occupied with plenty of fun toys!

There are some important things to keep in mind when purchasing toys for your tiel. These ideas come from Jennifer Hammitt, an eHow contributing writer specializing in Birds.

  • Size is important- You do not want a toy that is too big or too small for that matter. Toys meant for cockatiels are usually considered "medium" toys. Just look for a picture of a cockatiel on the packaging.
  • Safety- Make sure the toys DO NOT have lead or zinc in them. Both of these are toxic to birds and can cause long-term health problems, including seizures.
  • Cater to your bird's personality- Try out different types of toys and see what your tiel likes best.

Loki likes shredding toys best, like her paper mache duck, which can be stuffed with millet. They look like little pinatas. She rips these toys to pieces and then goes for the treat inside. It is the funniest thing to watch! She has already destroyed three of these. I found out about her love for paper shredding by watching her annihilate the paper in my printer.

There are many different types of toys out there and they come in a bevy of colors. There are mirrors (tiels love the sight of themselves), toys made with paper, toys made with rope, and toys made with a mix of mirrors, rope, and paper. Cockatiels are foragers by nature, so the prospect of destroying paper (especially to get to a treat) really appeals to them. Toys can be bought anywhere from $15 dollars to $5 dollars.

The number of toys you keep will vary depending on the size of your cockatiel's cage. It is important to have enough toys to keep your bird entertained, but you do not want to overcrowd the cage with them. I keep three toys in Loki's cage at a time. It is also necessary to change the toys out at least once a month. This will prevent your bird from getting bored with the same old toys. I rotate between 10 different toys that I have.

If you do not have the funds to buy toys or if you have a creative side and want to make a toy to fit your cockatiel's unique personality, you are in luck. There are many cool ideas out there for creating handmade toys.

Briana Blair has some great ideas for making handmade toys. They are easy to create, inexpensive, and provide your bird with excitement.

  • Macaroni toys: take any dry macaroni that has a hole, rub food-safe coloring onto each piece with a cotton swab, string them together on pieces of hemp. Lastly, hang them in the cage from a hook or in the ceiling of the cage.
  • Bird t-shirts: take any old shirt that you do not care about. Sew on buttons, ribbons, and beads. This will keep birds occupied while they sit on you. It will also distract them from chewing on jewelry.

I made a handmade t-shirt for Loki to play with because she always sits on my shoulders when I do my homework, and I do not want her to get bored. Also, she was constantly playing with my earrings and necklaces, which is very annoying. Loki loves the shirt and it was so simple to make.

There are so many great ideas for handmade toys. Here are a few complete with instructions:

Sandal Toy (made by TaffywDuck)


  • Dog Toy Sandal (must be 100% natural leather)
  • 100% Vegetable Tanned Leather
  • Beads
  • Cotton rope
  • Cardboard paper
  • Toilet paper


  1. Make 5 strips of cotton (about 5 inches long) and string beads, cardboard paper, and toilet paper through them.
  2. Take a dog toy sandal and string the cotton rope strips through the holes in the sandal.\s

Spider Toy (made by budgielover4ever)


  • Cardboard
  • Toilet paper (unscented)
  • Straws
  • Shoelace or cotton rope


  1. Take some cardboard and cut them into squares, putting a hole in the middle of every one.
  2. Take some straws and cut them into different sizes.
  3. Take some toilet paper and cut it into shapes, putting a hole in the middle of each.
  4. Take shoelaces or cotton rope and fold it in half. Take another strip and do the same; you now have four spider legs.
  5. Now string the cardboard, straws, and toilet paper together.
  6. Tie the ends of the shoelace/cotton rope and you are finished.

Bead Toy (made by budgielover4ever)


  • Hardwood beads
  • Cardboard
  • Shoelace


  1. Cut the cardboard into squares.
  2. String the cardboard through the shoelace with beads in between to separate them.

There are two very important things to remember when creating toys for your cockatiel:

  1. Incorporate your bird's favorite things into the toys.
  2. Make sure the toys are safe for your bird.

* Always use food-safe dye for coloring.

* Never use "jingle" bells in toys (bird's toes can get stuck in them), use "clapper" bells.

* Never use painted or coated metal in toys (it is poisonous).

* Only use natural leather.

Cocktiels often enjoy playing with the simplest things around the house and as long as these things pose no danger to the bird, they can play with them. One day I found out about Loki's love of playing with my hair ties. She loves to chew them and plays tug of war with them. I never let her play with them unattended, but together we have a good time with them.

It is essential to keep your bird entertained and occupied with toys. They can be store bought or handmade. A variety of toys will keep your bird happy and healthy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Perfect Perch

The irony of finding the "perfect" perch is that there is no one perch that can suffice all the needs of your cockatiel. It is best to purchase a variety of perches. Your cockatiel's cage should include:
  • Wood Perches, which are great for cockatiels feet and are often nibbled on.
  • Cotton Rope Perches, which are soft on their feet and are great for them to rest on.
  • Calcium Perches, which provide essential minerals to benefit your cockatiel's health.
  • Sand perches, which keep your cockatiel's nails trimmed (Loki also uses her sand perches to sharpen her beak).

It is important to buy perches of different sizes to maintain the health of your cockatiel's feet.

Other great places for your cockatiel to sit include ladders and swings. Loki has both in her cage. The swing is both practical and fun for your bird. Loki's swing is made of sand, making it great for keeping her nail's trimmed; however, she also uses it as a toy.

Another great place for your cockatiel to sit is on a ladder. These can be placed in the cage in numerous ways, preventing your cockatiel from getting bored. For instance, I change Loki's ladder from being vertical to being horizontal once a month. Ladders often have bells or other small accessories on them for your bird to enjoy.

Some basic rules to remember when placing perches in your cage include:

  • Do not place perches too closely to the sides of the cage (this gives inadequate space for your bird to move and can cause broken tail feathers).
  • Perches should be thick enough so that your cockatiel's toes do not touch all the way around.
  • Make sure each perch is spaced far enough away from the other perches.
  • Do not overcrowd your cockatiel's cage with perches because too many can interfere with your cockatiel's movements.

Remember there is not one perfect type of perch. Cockatiels will thrive when they are provided a variety of perches. Many pet stores supply a multitude of different types, colors, and brands. So, get out there and find the perfect perches!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Your Cockatiel's Diet: How to get your bird to go beyond seeds.

Your cockatiel's health depends upon the diet you feed it. Obese birds suffer health problems and have earlier life expectancies.
My avian vet, Dr. Vanessa Rolfe of The Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital in Lake Worth, Fl has given me so much useful information on the best diet for cockatiels. The first time I went to visit her, she asked about the diet I was feeding Loki, which was seeds that I purchased from Petsmart.
"It is a common misconception that a bird's diet should only consist of seeds," she said. Dr. Rolfe explained that cockatiels are "carboholics." They love carbohydrates, and seeds are a form of carbohydrates.
Feeding Loki only seeds would prevent her from getting the essential vitamins and nutrients she needs. This is when she recommended feeding Loki pellets as her primary food source, and seeds only as a treat.

Dr. Rolfe told me that this transition from seeds to pellets would not be easy for Loki. "Its like trying to get a child to eat vegetables after you have been feeding them junk food all their lives," she said. She gave me some tips on how to get Loki to eat the pellets. I was determined to get Loki to eat these pellets, no matter what! I wanted to make sure she had the right diet to stay healthy and have the longest life expectancy (I could not imagine life without her).

Listed below are the tricks I employed to get Loki to eat pellets:
  • I put the pellets on the ground and let her "forage" for them (Cockatiels are foragers in the wild).
  • I pretended to eat the pellets in front of Loki and showed her how much I enjoyed them (Cockatiels are very flock orientated and since I am in Loki's flock she looks to me for what is safe and good to eat).
  • I hand fed her pellets and also would put a pellet in between my lips, which she would take with no hesitation (again using the flock mentality to my advantage).
Cockatiels really love seeds so this transition can be difficult. It will require plenty of patience on your part. Do not give up! It took a little while for Loki to accept the pellets, but she has and I know her health is better for it.

NEVER take out the seeds altogether when in the transitioning period to a pellet diet. If a cockatiel does not recognize the food she will not eat it; she does not think it is safe. Begin gradually, for the first three days that you introduce the pellets remove the seed and put the pellets in all day. On these three days give them 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night to eat seeds. The next three days, given them only 15 minutes in the morning and the evening to eat the seeds. On the seventh day, do not give the seeds at all. It is very important to be watchful that the bird is eating during this transitioning period; you do not want her to starve. Incorporate the three methods listed above along with the suggested routine.

I feed Loki Harrison's Bird Food, which is organic pellets. Try feeding your bird super fine pellets in the beginning as they are easier to transition to. I still feed Loki them.

I am still in the process of getting Loki to eat fruits and veggies. Even if your bird rejects vegetables and fruits at first don't give up. Give the bird different temperatures and textures of the food. Try serving your bird the food warm or cold, also try feeding them the food raw or cooked to a mushy texture.

Your cockatiel's diet should include:
  • Pellets (preferably organic)
  • Veggies and fruit (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, spinach, green beans, peas, corn, sweet potatoes).
  • Millet and seeds (as occasional treats only).

A pellet based diet makes for a more healthy and active cockatiel. It can make the difference between having your feathered friend for 10 years or having her for 25!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Perfect Cage for Your Cockatiel.

Finding the perfect cage for your cockatiel is important because cockatiels are very active and need to be in a large cage. Even if you take your cockatiel out at least 2.5 hours a day, they will still spend a large portion of their time in the cage. Thus, it is essential that the cage be large enough to accommodate your cockatiel. The cage should be able to fit several perches, a couple toys, and leave them enough room to stretch out their wings. Cockatiels will frequently hang upside down from a perch and flap their wings as a means of exercise while in the cage. The cage needs to be big enough that the bird can do this without injuring its wings.

According to cages for cockatiels should be:

  • At least 20 inches by 20 inches wide, and 26 inches tall as a bare minimum.
  • The spacing on the cage bars should be no more than 3/4 inches (any larger is a safety issue).
  • Look for horizontal cage bars, as they offer the best opportunity for climbing and exercise.
  • There should be enough space to place at least a couple of perches at different levels with enough space to comfortably move between them.

I currently have Loki in a Hagen Vision Medium Bird Cage, Model M11. I like this cage and I do believe it has adequate space. I also like that it has a debris guard around the base of the cage to keep Loki's mess mostly inside the cage. However, I am thinking about getting her a very large cage, meant for a cockatoo. I think with cockatiels, or any bird for that matter the bigger the cage the better. She will only enjoy it more and feel more free. I would recommend for any bird getting the next largest size (i.e. for a small bird get a medium cage, for a medium bird get a large cage, and for a large bird get the largest cage you can afford).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Brenda's Birds-The Best Place to Buy Cockatiels in South Florida.

Now that you are ready to buy your cockatiel and know what signs indicate a healthy bird, it is time to pick the right place to purchase your cockatiel. It is very important to buy from a store or breeder that shows genuine concern for birds; conditions should be clean, food and water should be provided, and the cages should be of sufficient size for the birds and should not be overcrowded.

I have found the most awesome bird store EVER in South Florida: Brenda's Birds. They really take excellent care of their birds. Going there is such a fun experience and anytime my boyfriend and I go we spend at least an hour there checking out the different species.
Upon pulling into the parking lot you are immediately greeted by the sound of birds chirping and singing. There is a giant rain tree covering the outdoor section, which includes a small pond. This is where they keep the cockatiels, love birds, parakeets, chickens, doves, quaker parrots, and one white peacock. This outdoor style of caging allows the birds to feel as though they are in their natural habitat. The cages are of perfect size and are not overcrowded. The white peacock and some of the chickens wander the enclosure freely.
Moving under part of the building, but still outside is where the macaws and cockatoos are kept. Once inside there are small cages for baby birds, a plethora of toys, food, and perches. There are many species of finches in the long corridor (Ryan and I bought our two gouldian finches here). Then there is the area where they keep the birds that are boarding.
Me petting the sweetest little Cockatoo; she was boarding.
A Macaw in his very large enclosure.
Brenda's Birds is owned by Bob Turner and his daughter, Brenda. Both have always had a passion for birds. Brenda's Birds has been featured in the popular magazine, "BIRDTALK." It is an extremely reputable store and they take great care of the birds. Bob takes caring for the birds very seriously. "I want to match the right bird to the right person, or family. For instance, a couple with children would do much better with a cockatiel than anything else," Bob said. "And if a person's personality isn't that of a bird owner, than I tell them that, too. I don't want to sell anyone the wrong bird."
This cage is perfect for cockatiels; very well lit and not too crowded.
Brenda's Birds is family owned and was opened in 1994.
I found Loki, but if I were ever to buy another cockatiel I would go to Brenda's Birds. Even if you are not interested in purchasing a bird you should still go check this place out...its that great!
Brenda's Birds is located in Delray Beach at 324 N.E. 3rd Ave.

How to Buy a Healthy Cockatiel

It is extremely important to purchase a cockatiel that is healthy. You do not want to have to deal with the added expense of a sick bird. According to "The Cockatiel Handbook" by Matthew Vriends, Ph.D to determine if a bird is healthy you should look for the following signs:
  • The bird should sit upright and nimbly on its perch.
  • The cockatiel's eyes should be bright and clear, and there should be no redness or discharge.
  • The nostrils should be free from blockage and have no redness or discharge.
  • The tail, vent area (the bird's bottom), and the feet should be clean and free from feces.
  • There should be no dirt hanging from its feet.
  • Its plumage should be tightly packed.
  • A healthy bird will not allow itself to be harassed by other birds in the cage.
  • A healthy bird will be fearful and fly away when you approach too closely, but will still focus its attention on you.
  • The bird should not be sitting on the bottom of the cage.
  • A healthy bird will be alert and observant.
  • The beak should close properly and be smooth.
  • There should be no bald spots on the birds head.
  • The skin should be clean, not spotty or red (check this by blowing open the feathers).
  • The bird should not have labored or raspy breathing, both of which are signs of a respiratory infection (check this by holding the bird up to your ear and listening to its breathing for one minute).
This is a healthy cockatiel; notice its posture and tightly packed plumage. Also, it is very alert.

Pictured above is a very sick cockatiel; a bird in this condition should NOT be purchased!

Make sure to view the bird up close, but also from a moderate distance. This will allow you to observe the bird as it goes about its activities without a distraction from you. Also, look carefully at the cockatiel's living environment and diet, which should include pellets and seeds. Also make sure the water dishes are clean and are free from dropping.

Make sure to purchase your cockatiel from a clean, well-lit store. The person in charge should be knowledgable about cockatiels and handle them gently.

Try to buy a cockatiel that has been bred in the summer or spring, when the natural nesting instinct occurs. These chicks are usually stronger because they have not come from parents who were breeding all year long. Go to buy your cockatiel in the morning or in the evening when the birds are the most vocal and are often feeding.

Now that you know how to correctly purchase a cockatiel its time to get out there and find your new friend! Good luck and have fun.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Are you ready to become a cockatiel owner?

Cockatiels can be the most loving little pets; however, they do require plenty of attention and interaction with their owner. If you do not have at least 2 1/2 hours a day to be with them and
have them out of their cages, I do not recommend getting a cockatiel. Don't get me wrong, cockatiels are easy to maintain but they need attention; it is essential to their health and well-being. Cockatiels who do not get enough love become depressed and pluck out their feathers. The 2 1/2 hours does not have to be constant play time with the bird. Simply having them out of their cage, possibly on your shoulder works. Loki often sits on my shoulder while I go about doing my homework. You can also let your bird roam around on the floor, but make sure to keep an eye on them. Another option to keep them active and occupied is to buy a "playpen." These are awesome! I actually just bought one for Loki and she loves it. These playpens are little fun stations for your bird. They come in many different styles and most include a mirror, bright coloring, a place to put treats, swings, and other ladder-like toys.

Loki loves her playpen, but she loves me more! When given a choice between the two, she chooses me.

Cockatiels are relatively inexpensive to buy, running from $35 to $45 for a normal gray cockatiel. They are also not very expensive to maintain, but the amount spent really depends on the owner. Cockatiels can be modestly kept for around $493 ($45 for bird, $200 for a cage, $100 for biannual veterinarian visits, $50 on toys, $65 for food and treats, and $33 for wing and toe nail clipping) for the first year and around $248 for each additional year. This figure is based on only one cockatiel, so if figuring for two double the amount. Also, an outdoor aviary will be far more expensive to maintain. And, if your cockatiel does become sick it can be rather expensive, which is another reason to keep your bird healthy. I recently spent $125 for a vet visit, a fecal gram test, and medicine for Loki because she got worms. This was most likely my fault because I was not cleaning her cage weekly. This brings up another important point: if you do not have the time to clean a bird's cage once a week, I do not recommend getting a cockatiel. I now clean Loki's cage once a week joyfully, knowing I will not have to spend $125 again on a vet visit!

Cockatiels are lifelong friends, living between 12 to 15 years. There have even been some cockatiels who have made it to 25 years old! If you are not prepared to have a cockatiel for a large portion of your life, they may not be the pet for you.

Other considerations before getting a cockatiel include:
  • Cockatiels are messy...seeds will be scattered around the cage. If you do not like a mess, do not get a cockatiel.
  • Their food and water dishes need to be cleaned daily and refilled with new food and water.
  • Their cages need to be cleaned once a week and disinfected every two weeks.
  • You need someone to look after them while you are away.
  • Do you have other pets which could pose a danger to the bird? A good majority of cockatiel fatalities are due to cat and dog attacks (Do not be completely discouraged if you already own a cat or dog, as long as you have adequate time to spend with the bird away from the other pet(s) they should not be an issue).
If you cannot fulfill these requirements I do not recommend becoming a cockatiel owner.

Cockatiel ownership may sound daunting, but I feel that the rewards of companionship and constant love far outweigh the maintenance of these awesome animals! I came into the world of cockatiel ownership without a clue and I have managed just fine. I was not really sure what to expect, never having owned a bird, but now I would not trade Loki for a million dollars! The work is 150 percent worth it and remember you get out what you put in!

The Basics About Cockatiels:Everything you need to know about the species.

I am a big believer in keeping animals in accordance with their lifestyle in their natural habitat. It only makes sense to me that if one is going to take care of a wild creature, they should be able to accommodate that animal to feel like it is in a similar environment to its natural one. In order to provide the best home for your cockatiel you need to know where they come from and some basics about their personalities and physical characteristics. Although cockatiels are one of the most adaptable birds to an owner's home and have become very domesticated, they are still "wild" and the characteristics they possess for living in nature really help explain why these little birds are the way they are.

Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) originated in Australia, where they can still be seen flying wild today. In fact, the cockatiel is the most widely distributed hookbill on the Australian continent(The Cockatiel Handbook by Matthew Vriends). Australia has a subtropical climate thus cockatiels often do better in warmer conditions. In their natural habitat they live in open terrain with scattered groups of trees. Cockatiels are also nomadic and spend most of their days searching for food, mostly seeds of acacia and spinifex grass on the ground. However, they are opportunistic feeders and will eat anything from berries to insects. As you will see cockatiels will also be opportunistic feeders with their owners. Frequently,my cockatiel has wanted to try just about anything I am eating. One should be warned that just because your cockatiel may want to try something you are eating does not mean it is good for them and does not mean they should have any of it!

Toxic foods include:

  • Alcohol

  • Avocado

  • Caffeine

  • Chocolate

  • Dairy products

  • Raw eggs

  • Salt (in moderation is okay ie:cooking with)

  • Soda

  • Sugar

  • Uncooked beans
There are also other foods and plants which pose a danger to cockatiels.

Your cockatiel will want to try what you are eating because the species is very "flock" orientated. In the wild cockatiels usually live together in groups from 12 to 100 birds. They are not solitary creatures and when in captivity the owner takes over the role of the flock. Your cockatiel will imitate you with respect to food and actions. Cockatiels are birds that strive for companionship, an innate characteristic of the birds. Since they are ground feeders they are often a tempting target for birds of prey; therefore, nature has equipped them with an extremely swift and strong flight to flee from danger. This is explains why cockatiels in captivity, even after having their wings clipped can still to some degree fly and should NEVER be left out of their cage or aviary when alone.

Cockatiels came to Europe for the first time as pets in the late 1800s. The word cockatiel originates from a Portuguese word meaning "small parrot." Most cockatiels are from 11.5 to 13.5 inches in length, including the almost 7 inch tail! The cocks weigh between 80 to 102 grams and the hens weigh between 89 to 92 grams. My cockatiel, Loki is three years old and currently weighs 84 grams. A healthy cockatiel should fit within these weight requirements, as obesity often occurs because of a lack of adequate exercise for captive birds. Obesity leads to premature death and many other health complications.

Both the male and female cockatiels have similar coloring and it can be hard to distinguish between the sexes if you are not sure what to look for. During the first four months I had Loki I thought she was a boy! Males and females are mainly gray in color, with their forehead, face, and throat being yellow. The cheeks are orange. Females have a much lighter yellow face and the orange is more pale. The main distinguishing feature between males and females is the horizontal barring or stripes on the underside of the females tail. Make sure to look for these differences when going to pick out your cockatiel.