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Thinking of getting a pet cockatiel?

Updated on January 13, 2008

What you need to know about cockatiels

If you've always wanted a parrot, cockatiels are some of the sweetest birds to have as pets. But before getting a cockatiel, or any other parrot, you have to be sure you'll be able to properly care for your new family member. This article will discuss some of the major cockatiel characteristics to help you make an informed decision before buying a cockatiel.

  1. Cockatiels, like all parrots, live a long time. Many cockatiels live between 15-20 years. Compared to some other parrots, this is a relatively short time, making cockatiels suitable for many families. Longer-lived parrots sometimes outlive their owners, which can be pretty hard on the birds. On the other hand, 15 years is still a very long time, and you need to strongly think about whether or not you can make the commitment.

  2. Cockatiels are extremely smart birds. Some say they're as smart, or smarter than, a two-year-old human child. This intelligence means you'll have a lot of fun with your bird, but it also means they need a lot of stimulation and love. Parrots can become depressed, hurting themselves and exhibiting unwelcome behaviors. You have to have time to spend with these highly social animals.

  3. Though not as noisy as some parrot species, cockatiels can get pretty loud. A singing cockatiel is often a great thing, but an upset, bored, or scared cockatiel can make things rough for the owners and any nearby neighbors. Keep this in mind if you live in an apartment complex, or if you're particularly sensitive to noise.

  4. All pets can get ill, but some are more costly when you have to take them to a veterinarian. Not all veterinarians treat birds, so avian veterinarians can be expensive. Cockatiels are sensitive animals, and can get a variety of illnesses that require expert care. Be sure you have the money to handle emergencies, and look for recommendations of good avian veterinarians in your area.

  5. Cockatiels sensitivities include common household items like Teflon, other chemicals, drafts, candles, and more. If you're not willing to make your home environment extra safe for your pet bird, a cockatiel may not be for you.

Read as much as you can about cockatiels before deciding to add them to your home. Join online forums to ask other cockatiel owners about their experiences. The decision to buy a pet cockatiel is one that will affect your family for years. Cockatiels and parrots are not as simple as hamsters or goldfish, so do your homework first. You will be very thankful, and so will your bird.



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