Bringing Your New Cockatiel Home

Bringing Your New Cockatiel Home


Michel Maling

When you buy an new cockatiel, you will be tempted to rush right in and start training him. Be patient and let him settle into his new surroundings first.

Make sure the cage is set up and ready before you bring your bird home. Place food containers on the floor and some near perches so that your new bird can choose where it wants to eat.

When you release the cockatiel from its traveling box, he may fly around wildly in his cage for a few seconds before settling on a perch. Leave the cockatiel on its own for an hour or so to get accustomed to its new surroundings. Turn on the light before it gets dark, as a young cockatiel will get a fright if a light suddenly comes on and it is used to darkness at night, especially if he has been living in an outdoor aviary. This fear does pass in time, but for the first few days avoid turning the lights on and off.


You can try offering your cockatiel some greens through the bars of the cage on the second or third day. Hold it still and keep it a slight distance away so you don’t overwhelm him. If he shows no interest at first just drop the food through the bars, and repeat this process every so often. With a bit of patience, the cockatiel will start to enjoy taking the food from you.

How long it takes to train your new cockatiel depends on how tame or wild he is when you acquire him. Hand reared birds will generally be easier to tame, and if you have bought a young cockatiel, it will also be a faster process. The more time you spend in the company of your cockatiel each day, the shorter the training period will be.

The experts recommend letting your new cockatiel settle in for a week or so before starting to finger train him. You can offer him food in your hand for the first week so that he can start getting used to you and learning to trust you.

Next, try opening the door of the cage and offering the food to him directly. Always move slowly so as not to upset your bird.

Once your cockatiel is used to you, you can slowly start tempting him to climb onto your finger. Coax him gently by offering your finger just above the perch that he is sitting on. Start by touching his toes and gently running your finger up his feet.

Once your new cockatiel steps onto your finger, half the battle is won and you can start by moving him short distances within his cage, and then eventually taking him out of his cage. These are the moments that build trusting relationships, so make them all count.

Michel Maling has owned cockatiels her entire life. To find out just about anything about owning and caring for a cockatiel, visit:

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