Creating the “Happy Home” For Your Bird
Copyright © 2005 by Margaret
All Rights Reserved
The minimum size cage for one cockatiel should
be 18 inches square and of course, the larger dimensions the
better. The bird should ideally be able to spread its wings in all
directions inside the cage. Bar spacing should be such so that the
bird doesn’t get its head stuck in the cage bars. For cockatiels
the bars shouldn’t be more than ¾”. Your bird should have room in
his cage for a few toys and a variety of perches.
A variety of toys can provide mental
stimulation, beak exercise and something to help fight boredom.
Perches of different materials and different diameters can help your
bird find a comfortable foot position, exercise their legs and feet,
and help stave off arthritis and other foot problems later in life.
Some perches are also good for helping keep your bird’s nails under
control and their beak in good condition as well. Perches are
important for your bird because they do spend most all of their life
on their feet.
Many birds like sleeping in an upper corner of
their cage farthest away from the door so if you can position a
perch in a corner up high away from the door, your bird would
probably appreciate it. I also believe that square cages help to
make a bird feel more secure, they have a corner to retreat to. In
round cages you have no little corner to seek shelter in. Covering
your cage at night helps give your bird privacy and creates a safe,
secure environment in which your bird can rest. In the wild birds
will seek shelter and protection in which to sleep and feel safe.
Make sure your bird receives 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep each
night or else you can have a cranky, uncooperative bird in the
daytime. Over time, lack of sleep can cause undue stress on your
bird and may make them more susceptible to getting sick. Some
cockatiels who are especially prone to night frights do well if
there is a night light left on so if they awaken suddenly they can
see things around them and they know they are all right. A little
bit of “white noise” can help too and I like to leave my HEPA air
filter running 24/7. It creates a little “hum” so little noises
during the night (the click-click or jingle of a dog walking past to
get a drink of water, or you walking past to let dogs go potty at
night, the furnace kicking on, etc…) doesn’t cause a huge stir
within the flock and send them fluttering and flapping into a “night
Place your bird’s cage where he will feel like
part of the family and be able to see everyone most of the time.
Put the cage where the people usually hang out in the home. Keep
the cage away from any immediate area in which you don’t want his
little beak to find and chew (think of walls, trim, furniture,
anything hanging on your walls, curtains, etc…). Place the cage in
an area that is easily cleaned and away from drafts. If a TV is
available during some of the day, that can help pass the time. A
nice view out the window, but not necessarily directly in front of
the window can provide something interesting for the bird to watch.
If he was right near the window, the bird should have an area in the
cage to retreat to if he didn’t want the outdoor view right in his
face or if the sun got too hot. Leaving a cage corner partially
covered with a perch he can retreat to can help.
Keep your bird safe from household dangers and
never let him out of his cage unsupervised, especially around other
pets. Many household accidents can also be avoided if you keep your
pet cockatiel’s flight feathers trimmed and his nails trimmed so
that they are not snagging on material or carpeting. Having flight
feathers trimmed can help keep your bird in one location, such as on
his play gym, which not only keeps him from dangers but also helps
control the location of his mess. With full flight ability, the
bird flying loose inside the home can meet serious consequences if
they fly into an uncovered window or mirror, a ceiling fan, or if
they flew right out of an open door or window.
Other Common Household Dangers
Fumes/Toxins – paint fumes, cooking
fumes (burned oils, etc..), smoke, chemicals/cleaners, car exhaust,
over heated non-stick cookware, space heaters, self cleaning ovens,
glue guns, new carpet and carpet powders, tobacco, cigar/cigarette
Metals - Curtain weights, jewelry,
pewter items, paint, varnishes, twist ties and many hardware
fixtures, even some cages and toys contain toxic metals.
Household Plants – research your
particular house plants and if in doubt, keep them away from your
Electrocution – chewing cords and wires.
Crushing – sitting on or stepping on
your bird, closing it in a door.
Drowning – open toilets, sink full of
Burning – hot stoves/ovens, hot
pans/pots, hot light bulbs.
Foods – avocado, chocolate, caffeine,
alcohol, salt, human “junk” food
Other Pets - bacteria from cat saliva or
their claws, even a mild mannered dog might snap at a bird that is
biting or teasing it.
Unsupervised Children – they don’t
realize how rough they are or how fragile a bird can be with their
air sacs and air filled bones.