Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is getting another cockatiel right for you?

Wow! I have missed writing for my blog! Recently, a lot has changed in my life, namely that I graduated from college and got a nine to five. I have not had time to update my blog or respond to your comments and for this I am truly sorry, but now that I am in the groove of things I will be avidly writing and replying to comments.

Since starting my new career, I have not had much time for anything but work, and unfortunately, that includes Loki. I feel awful leaving her for eight hours while I am working. Of course, I dote on her when I come home, but I still feel extremely guilty leaving her for so long.

I started contemplating getting another cockatiel for Loki so she wouldn’t be lonely. But, adding another member to your flock is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

There are many reasons you may want to get another tiel. You may want to start breeding tiels or you may want another just because they are so damn cute! Or, if you are like me you may want to provide companionship to your lonely cockatiel while you are at work. Whatever your reasoning is for wanting another cockatiel, this is a big decision.

There are several factors you need to consider:

  • Bonding between the birds and you
  • Caging and feeding
  • Getting the same or opposite sex tiel
  • Quarantining

Your new cockatiel and current cockatiel may not bond; there is no guarantee that they will like each other. If this happens, then you will be left with two birds that each demand individual attention from you. On the other end of the spectrum, the birds may bond so well that you lose your close relationship with your first tiel. You need to ask yourself if you are OK with not being number one to your cockatiel.

The next consideration is the cage. Will you upgrade to a larger cage to accommodate both birds or keep two separate cages? Both options will cost money and the latter will also mean more cleaning. You will also need to consider the costs of maintaining another healthy tiel, including additional food and vet costs.

If you are getting another tiel because you want to breed, then you obviously need to get the opposite sex. However, if you do not want your tiels to breed, then I strongly recommend getting the same sex. Keep in mind; breeding can cause lots of complications, including egg binding. If you do not want them to breed or do not have the time to tend to breeding cockatiels then get the same sex as your current tiel.

The last and most important consideration when deciding to get another cockatiel is quarantining. Because birds hide their illnesses so well, you need to quarantine the new bird for a minimum of 30 days. I actually recommend keeping the birds separate for at least 60 days. The birds need to be kept in two different cages in different rooms. Respiratory infections are very contagious between birds, so all precautions should be taken to keep these two at a safe distance to protect your first baby.

I decided to ask my vet her opinion about getting another cockatiel to squelch Loki’s daytime boredom. Her response was, “Don’t get another bird, unless you are the one who wants it. Another bird means double everything.” I decided rather quickly that I do not want double everything! So, she gave me some awesome suggestions to keep Loki occupied while I am working, including rotating out her toys once a week to keep everything new and exciting and leaving a radio or TV on for her. I must say Loki really seems to enjoy listening to the music I leave on for her and she seems happier now.

Getting another cockatiel is not for me, but it may be for you. Ask yourself the questions above and take time to really consider if adding another cockatiel is right for you and your bird.