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Old 08-20-2011, 02:41 PM
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Considering a Cockatiel

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Hello everybody,

I am writing (after browsing through the forum for a few months) because we are considering adding a cockatiel to the family. We have looked into conures in the past (GCC), but we have moved every 2-3 years and realized that is no life for a bird, so we decided to wait for when the time is right.

We moved a few months ago and have finally settled into a home where we will be for several years to come. My mother owns the main house, where she and my brother live, and my boyfriend and I rent a smaller house located in the back yard. We have... (are you ready for it?) 4 dogs and 3 cats. Two catahoula leopard dogs, a pit bull terrier, and a cocker spaniel/lab mix, and three cats we have somehow acquired through the years. The cats roam the main house, the dogs go back and forth. (I am only giving you this information because I want you experts to know my lifestyle and give me an honest opinion as to whether my home could be a good environment for a feathered friend).

Now, I have fostered small parrots before - a couple budgies and a cockatiel (at separate times). I know there is a lot of controversy on having cats and birds in the same household but I have lived in a smaller space with my cats and the foster birds, and to be honest the cats really could care less about the birds. Two of them are very old, and the other was a kitten when I had the foster birds, so he is pretty desensitized to them. Kind of like my dogs with the cats... they have a respectful "fear" of them... lol. Of course this doesn't mean I would be negligent, I would never leave the bird's cage in a room unattended with the kitties.

Okay, sorry for rambling. I guess I want you guys to "critique" my ideas. If you think my ideas are wrong and you have better suggestions, please, suggest away! I also have a few questions.

What cage size is appropriate for a cockatiel? 24 x 16 x 53? Or is that too big? Or too small? I have always heard the biggest cage you can afford is the best, but I also don't want him to feel like the cage is too big, and not cozy... I would obviously purchase lots of safe toys to rotate in the cage. Also, what bar spacing should I be looking for? I will be purchasing a cage online. Is 5/8 too big? We also have a large completely screened in porch (no cats allowed) that gets sunlight but not directly so it doesn't get too hot - would this be a good place for the bird to soak up some Vitamin D (caged of course) for an hour a day, or so? If so, should I have two cages, one for inside, and one for outside? I have read that sometimes birds will freak out if you move their cage around... or is it not a good idea to have the bird outside at all (again, in a completely screened in porch)?

I plan on feeding him/her Harrisons pellets, nuts and seeds as treats, and fresh fruits and veggies every day. Anything else you recommend?


Well, I guess that's it... sorry for the long post, been thinking about this for a while! Oh - and I own my own pet sitting business - so I am in and out of the house all day. My regular schedule has me out of the house in the mornings from 9-11, then back at the house for two hours, away again from 1-3, back for two hours, then out again from 5-7. As you can see, I am home often throughout the day and spend my evenings at home as well as the majority of the weekend (my idea of a relaxing weekend is spending it with the furkids). This bird would not be attention deprived, that's for sure.

Please, feel free to comment, give advice, critique, or, if you believe it to be true, tell me if you don't think a cockatiel will fit well in my family. I would love one, as the rest of my family would, but I would not want to compromise an animal's happiness.

By the way, wonderful forum, with lots of information. Thank you in advance for your input.
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:03 PM
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Re: Considering a Cockatiel

Well, short answer: I think a cockatiel would be fine for you guys.

Like you've mentioned already, you've had cats with birds before and you know how to deal with that. Harrissons is a good food brand, you're in and out all day which would be good for the bird as he's got "nap time" and "play time" with/without you. The cage bar spacing I'm not 100% sure on, but I'm sure someone else would be able to help with that, I'm terrible at measurements.

Try to go for 'as big as you can' (preferably wider than taller) and with a fairly small bar spacing, obviously not a macaw sized bar spacing!

I'm suprised you haven't opted for a larger more demanding bird to be honest. Cockatiels are wonderful, I'm sure he'd have a great home with you guys.

HOWEVER, with the conservatory issue, I'd rather he wasn't in there during the middle of the day, so maybe morning/evening time when it's still warm. Although you said the sun doesn't directly hit it, it'd be better if he had an inside/outside cage instead.

That's my only issue I suppose!

Glad you guys finally got somewhere to settle, moving all the time can be quite annoying!
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:19 PM
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Re: Considering a Cockatiel

Thank you for your input. My boyfriend and I have spoken about "one day" getting an African Grey, we just don't have the time for a bird that demanding now. I know that the cockatiel will need frequent daily attention and love and training... but I've seen first hand how having large birds are like having a 5 year old in your house for 60+ years. My father and his wife have a Moluccan cockatoo and a lesser sulfur crested, and boy are they a handful. They're great birds and they adore them, but during mating season... watch out for George

I'm going to continue looking online for a cage. Most of the ones I have looked at are taller than wide... I'll purchase a smaller one for the screened-in porch to give him some fresh air for an hour or so in the morning and a larger one for inside. Thanks again!
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:17 PM
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Re: Considering a Cockatiel

Wow it sounds as if you've done your homework.I love it when people care enough to research what it takes to be a good parrot mom. I'm sure you'll do great with a tiel, they're super birds.I'd give some thought to where to get your pet from.Don't get in a hurry, go and meet lots of birds ,find one that comes to you and regardless of color that's the one i would get.Young baby or older rehome i'd look around and meet as many as you can. Good Luck
PS and 5/8" spacing is good for cockatiels, I know it doesn't fit in your house very well but a longer cage is better than a taller cage, especially if keeping a flighted bird.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:34 PM
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Re: Considering a Cockatiel

I currently have 5 cats and 1 Lab pitt mix dog and what I have learned is that its possible to have birds safely if you have free standing one piece wrought iron cages, so whatever you look into, it's worth the extra money.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:15 AM
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Re: Considering a Cockatiel

What needs to be said is already said. Cockstiels are wonderful birds to have around. Even having my big birds, I have the love for Cockatiels so I adopted 4 last year. Cause I've been rambling on about them to my partner for years. And we love them dearly! Just remember only the males sing and talk, the females don't do much. I like them both either way but I've found the females can turn into chronic egg layers, that's something for you to think about in determining the sex to get. Good luck!!!
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Old 08-26-2011, 03:41 PM
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Re: Considering a Cockatiel

I know you've already said you would, but just make sure the door to the room where he bird is is always closed off with no cats able to get in. Even if it's just to go grab something and come back, tragedies happen in seconds. Also, watch out for kids. The kid my mum watches used her 'opening door' knowledge to open my door and the cat raced in. I got there just in time to find my bird wedged into the back of the cage screaming as the cat had halfway made his way through the tiny bird door. I was able to get there in time, but cats are extremely sneaky.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:54 AM
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Re: Considering a Cockatiel

I'm all for outdoorsiness for birds! It sounds like a safe setup you have in mind. My mom has a rock dove ("pidgeon") in her aviary that's been there for 7 years (we found him as a chick that fell out of the nest), and he's happy and healthy with his other dove buddies.

Btw, they can reproduce with ringneck doves to produce a cool looking hybrid. XD
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:12 PM
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Re: Considering a Cockatiel

I know a good cage for a cockatiel , go to petco.com/bird cages
Then click on petco cockatiel designer cage . I have the same cage for my 2budgies and it's roomy enough and it also have 3 doors
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