Sunday, September 13, 2009

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.

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