How to buy a Parakeet

Markthespark By Markthespark, 5th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Birds

A cockatiel-lover's take on how to buy cockatiels/parakeets and the care that must be taken when purchasing such a pet

Make a choice of cockatiels

First of all, I have learnt that it’s not wise to purchase one cockatiel only as a pet. Presuming it is tame, you will be doing it more of a disservice when it becomes attached to you, if it is the only bird in your cage. Cockatiels are better off having a mate, as they will need stimulation of some kind all the time. Remember, life is hectic out there and you won’t always be around to give a solitary bird, especially a cockatiel, all the love, attention and stimulation it needs. In fact if you have only one tame cockatiel, it will become so dependent on and attached to you, that it might cause you more stress than satisfaction in the end.

Be careful of your choice

That being said, try not to buy the chicks from different nests. Birds from the same nest commune from the time they are born, and you lose that advantage if you chose birds from two different nests. Birds from different nests most times, will not sit on the same perch so to speak, once they have settled into their new surroundings. Don’t ask me why, but it’s probably something to do with instinct. If you purchase them from different nests or at different times, they become easily irritated with each other as time goes on. There have been reports of birds, who are not from the same nest, actually inflicting serious injury on each another.

Proper transport

Once you have made your choice (two to three months old chicks) ensure that you transport them from the pet shop in a small cage or light cardboard box that is well ventilated. Make sure that the box/cage is not too big and the trip not too stressful. Any stress inflicted on the young birds, is traumatic for them and could negatively impact on their health later on. If you are transporting the cockatiels by car, ensure that the trip is a relatively short one. Now remember that you are removing the birds from a protected, sheltered environment where they have communed with other birds and become accustomed to it. So coming into a new home, will be a bit unsettling at first for them. Carefully introduce them into their new cage at home and it will take them at least a week or two to get used to their new abode. Once they have been placed in their new cage, ensure they have enough water, seed and a bit of soft food. Birds need enough daylight during the day where they are kept, but ensure there are no draughts please. However, there must be enough ventilation, especially on hot days. Though a bit of exposure to the sun can be healthy for cockatiels, keep sun exposure to a minimum – you can place them outside in the sun under supervision for about 15 minutes.

nuts and broccoli

Ensure the cage is big enough, so the tail part of the wing doesn’t touch the cage when they are perching. Remember it is a cage and your cockatiels must have enough space to be comfortable, relaxed, calm and at ease. Also place their perches, at least three or four, strategically so they can reach their food easily and move around with ease. As far as food is concerned, the mixed cockatiel seed variety is a good choice. You can add spray millet and canary seed to their food bowls. However, cockatiel owners must remember that seed actually makes up a very small percentage of a cockatiel’s diet. And it is doesn’t do too much to help bone growth and give them the necessary vitamins they need to help growth and development. It could take some time for them to get used to it, but besides the seed, introduce them slowly to foods off your plate, such as broccoli, boiled egg, rice, pasta, and fruit such as apple. They will also show an affinity for crackers (no salt) and dry cornflakes. You can experiment with various foods, it is up to you. DON’T feed them avocado, chocolate and rhubarb, as if ingested are lethal foodstuffs for your bird. Cockatiels are very picky eaters, their stomachs are tiny – so it will take some time for them to become accustomed to a new diet. Eventually you will know what they like and prefer, and you can be assured that once they take to the little titbits it will be a scramble as to which of your birds get to them first. However, no two cockatiels are the same. One might have a preference for pasta cheese and the other nuts.

At home

Now you have ensured your cockatiels have settled in quite comfortably and you can look forward to them adapting quite quickly to their surroundings. Ensure there is clean water every day – and that it is free of droppings which sometimes fall into the water. The problem with that is, that if the water is kept too long in the cage, with the droppings in it, they can pick up diseases. If you follow all the precautions your cockatiels will stay relatively free of disease – and after their first check up to the vet, won’t need another unless they fall ill.


Birds, Cage, Cockatiels, Nest, Parakeets

Meet the author

author avatar Markthespark
I am a 49 year old journalist, and have been involved in the profession for 19 years. I am currently a newspaper sub-editor at a newspaper group in Port Elizabeth on the east coast of South Africa. .

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
6th Feb 2015 (#)

I have kept some pet birds but mostly larger outdoor ones such as pheasants.

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author avatar Markthespark
6th Feb 2015 (#)

Thanks. Must admit didn't know pheasants could be kept as pets. But there you have it ... I've learnt something. Tame cockatiels/parakeets make for very good pets

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author avatar Kingwell
20th Feb 2015 (#)

Good tips. Having a pet has many obligations. Blessing.

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