The cockatiel is a small bird that belongs to the parrot family, just like the cockatoo. It also originates from Australia. In recent years, it has become a common house pet thanks to its relatively low care level, its intelligence, and its good looks.
So, what does a baby cockatiel look like? Well, when a cockatiel chick is hatched, its skin is covered with yellow down. It is usually around one inch long. Although they don’t look like much at this point, their feathers will start to grow within around three weeks after hatching, and it will start getting a more adult-like appearance.
Taking care of a baby cockatiel can be demanding and hectic, especially if you don’t have enough guidance. Read on to learn about baby cockatiels and how to set up the best habitat for yours.
Baby Cockatiel Colors
Like other animals, the different colors of baby cockatiels are as a result of color mutations and pigmentation. In parrots, darker colors are a result of melanin. Melanin in cockatiels is expressed as gray. Orange, yellow, and red shades are a result of carotenoids. Here are some common color variations that you can find among baby cockatiels.
- Normal baby cockatiels. They have a gray body with white on the wings and hints of orange on the cheeks. They also have a yellow barring on the tail which disappears in males as they get older.
- Pearl baby cockatiels. Their bodies are covered with spots that resemble pearls. By their first molt, males will have lost most of these pearls and by the time they’re fully grown, they look like normal cockatiels. Females retain them all through their lives.
Costs of Owning a Baby Cockatiel
You should note that keeping a baby cockatiel will cost you more than it would cost you to take care of an adult. This is because babies are more prone to getting sick and they need more care and attention.
The buying price of a baby cockatiel is lower than that of an adult. To buy a baby cockatiel, you will have to part with an amount between $100 and $150 depending on the bird’s color and mutation.
Cockatiels are active birds so you will need a large enough cage for them to play in. It will cost you around $70 to get a cage that will make a good home for your baby. You will also need to furnish the cage.
To ensure your baby cockatiel stays healthy, you will have to buy seeds, pellets, fruits, vegetables, and supplements. This will cost you anything between $15 and $35 monthly for one bird.
You will also have to consider trips to the vet since baby cockatiels are more likely to fall sick than adults. Taking your bird to the vet without running any tests can be $50.
How Long Does It Take for a Baby Cockatiel to Grow?
When a cockatiel is hatched, it has no feathers and it is unable to stand on its own but they can a week after hatching. The feathers also start to come in during the first week. By the second week, they have become a bit bigger, their claws start to grow, and more feathers come in.
By the time they are a month old, their feathers will start to take up the gray, yellow, and white hues and the beak is firm and long. They will also start to flap their wings as they get ready to fly. At this point, they still depend on their parents for food.
When the cockatiel is around 6 weeks old, it will try to fly. This is a good sign that they are almost independent and the feathers are growing in nicely. You will also notice the bird trying to feed itself during this period.
Most baby cockatoos are fully weaned about 12 weeks after hatching but this varies from bird to bird. Once this happens, the bird is ready to be adopted or moved to a separate cage.
Can Baby Cockatiels Live Together?
Cockatiels are social birds and they enjoy having their owner or another bird as a companion. This being said, a baby cockatiel can live well with another. If you are planning on keeping more than one bird, introducing them to each other while they’re young is the best step since it is easier for them to adjust.
Before putting multiple birds together, ensure they are all disease-free. Ensure the new bird has been checked by a vet and consider keeping it in quarantine for 30 days before putting it with the others. Also, do not put them in one cage immediately and separate your cockatiels as soon as you notice that they are not getting along.
Before making this decision, you should know that keeping more than one cockatiel will mean that they have a stronger bond with each other than with you.
What Kind of Temperament Do Baby Cockatiels Have?
Baby cockatiels have a likable personality. If they are given proper care, cockatiels will form close bonds with their humans. However, they do not enjoy frequent handling like other birds in the parrot family.
They also live well with other birds that are the same size as them such as budgies. This same spirit is extended when it comes to new locations and environments since they adjust easily.
Although it will need some playtime out of the cage, their exercise requirement is not as high as that of an adult cockatiel or a large bird.
What Do Baby Cockatiels Eat?
Once the baby cockatiel is fully weaned, you can start to feed it seeds, fruits and vegetables, and treats. Cockatiels mostly eat seeds but you should be careful to ensure the diet is balanced since they can decide to eat nothing but seeds. You can get a commercial seed mix from a pet store near you.
Millet sprays and sunflower seeds are cockatiels’ favorite seed but they don’t offer all the nutrients. for this reason, bird owners are advised to move to a pelleted diet.
Pellets are developed to check all the boxes when it comes to the proper nutrition of your baby cockatiel. They come in many forms and are designed for cockatiels of different ages and requirements. If your cockatiel was not hand raised, it might be difficult to transition to a pelleted diet. You can gradually shift from seeds to pellets in 4 to 8 weeks.
Fruits and vegetables should also be included in a baby cockatiel’s diet. Ensure they are properly washed and cut into bite-sized pieces for your bird. Avoid feeding pale vegetables to the bird since they have high water content and low nutrient content. Instead, put greens like kale and romaine.
Never give avocado, chocolate, and alcohol to your cockatiel because they can and will kill your cockatiel. You should also stay away from caffeine, eggplant, cabbage, raw potatoes, and rhubarb.
How Often to Feed Baby Cockatiels
The frequency of feeding your baby cockatiel will depend on its age and its nutritional requirements.
When you bring your baby cockatiel home for the first time, it might feel stressed and it will take some time for them to get used to the new surroundings. This can cause the bird to stop feeding.
Generally, baby cockatiels that have already been weaned can be fed once or twice a day depending on the bird. Pay attention to the amount of food left by the bird after feeding time and adjust the measurements accordingly. Also, always clean out any remaining food to prevent messes.
How to Take Care of Baby Cockatiels
Baby cockatiels require more care since they are still learning how to be independent. They are also more vulnerable to disease so you will need to be more careful when handling them.
Ensure you keep the baby’s cage in a quiet environment and find a cover for the cage. This will prevent the bird from getting night frights. This happens when the bird feels distressed at night.
Cage and Size Setup
The smallest cage size that a baby cockatiel can stay in is 18 by 18 inches. If this size is too large, consider getting a smaller bird. Keeping a bird in a small cage makes it uncomfortable and likely to be more aggressive. This is called cage rage. If possible, get a cage that has horizontal bars so that the cockatiel can climb and exercise on them. The bars should be at most 3/4 inches apart to prevent your baby bird’s head from getting stuck between them.
Like I had said earlier, baby cockatiels do not require a lot of handling so they are comfortable staying in the cage for a long period. To ensure the cockatiel is okay in the cage, you will need to add things to the cage.
You should put in some toys so that the bird has something to keep it stimulated. Put in toys made of different textures like plastic, wood, and leather. You can also put in a couple of squeaky toys. If your bird is left to be lonely and unoccupied, it will develop aggression that can escalate to psychological problems like feather picking.
Cockatiels love to snuggle in their sleep so setting up a birdie tent will benefit your bird. The cage also needs perches of various diameters for the bird to rest on. Position the perches on different heights and close enough for the bird to move from one to another.
Can You Teach a Baby Cockatiel Tricks?
Cockatiels are intelligent birds and although they can learn new tricks throughout their lives, they learn best when they are young.
Do not start training your cockatiel immediately you bring it home. Give it some time to get used to the surroundings and form a bond with you then you can begin. Also, ensure your bird is well-fed and healthy before training.
All birds are different and you should always be patient while training the bird since any wrong movements can scare your bird off and you will lose all the progress you’ve made.