As with all pets, providing your cockatiel with a high-quality and varied diet is one of the most important things you can do to keep it satisfied and healthy. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what cockatiels and other parrots should eat. Do cockatiels eat seeds? Do they only eat dry food? What do cockatiels eat?
What do cockatiels eat? Continue reading to learn more about cockatiel nutrition and what you should be feeding your pet.
What do cockatiels eat in the wild?
Cockatiels, like other birds, require specific types of food in order to thrive. It’s still beneficial to study the diet of a wild cockatiel, even if domestic and wild cockatiels have different nutritional demands. What has evolution brought them in their harsh Australian homeland?
Cockatiels can be found almost everywhere in Australia, with the exception of the coastal areas. These regions are generally dry, but the birds do tend to stay near to water. They are migratory and move about in search of food and water sources if need be.
Cockatiels, like budgies, are ground feeders that live in the same regions. Seeds are their preferred food: they’ve been tailored to shell and consume a seed at breakneck speed. Other foods from the land include fruit, grain, and grass seeds.
The cockatiel’s diet varies greatly depending on the region and what is accessible. Jones (1987) found that the cockatiels he studied had a strong fondness for sorghum, although they ate a total of 29 different kinds of seeds. Young and delicate seeds were chosen first and foremost.
Insects were also found in the stomach contents of some of the cockatiels; these were usually taken during the breeding season. Lizards, frogs, and small birds were also eaten on occasion.
Cockatiels, like other birds that live in hot climates, can survive quite a while without drinking water. When they drink, they’re susceptible, so they take big gulps and quickly return their attention to their surroundings. They also get water from the vegetation they digest.
Did you know? Cockatiels have been shown to have a decent sense of taste, according to research. This helps them determine if something is harmful or not.
Matson, Millam & Klasing, 2004.
What do cockatiels eat in captivity?
Wild vs domestic cockatiels
When designing a feeding strategy for your house cockatiel, keep in mind the wild cockatiels’ feeding habits as previously said. After all, they’ve spent millennia evolving to where they are now in terms of eating habits!
We can’t, therefore, consider wild and domestic cockatiels to be equal. A wild cockatiel is a migratory bird that never stops moving. They’re birds who, in tough situations, have to work hard to find enough food and water. That’s obviously not the case in captivity.
A domestic cockatiel will never require as many calories as a wild one since you try to let it out of its cage and stimulate active behavior and playing. A pet cockatiel will only get overweight on seeds, where wild ones would benefit from them.
There are still a lot of questions about seed-based diets versus commercial pellet foods, despite the fact that this is an issue that has been resolved. In Europe and other regions of the world, seeds continue to be popular, whereas, in the United States, pellets appear to be more popular. It is also more expensive to keep a cockatiel healthy on a pellet diet.
So, what’s the best way to go in the long run? The secret to your cockatiel’s success is always variety.
What can you feed?
The quick answer is that there are a lot of things!
The long answer is that most cockatiel owners like to feed a high-quality pellet food as a foundation. However, simply feeding pellets will not suffice. In fact, feeding any sort of food just once will lead to problems including obesity and/or nutritional shortages, which can substantially reduce cockatiel lifespan.
Instead of relying only on pellets, you should add in a variety of other items to keep things interesting. Consider leafy greens, fruits, seeds, legumes, grains, sprouts, spices, herbs, and nuts (as snacks).
Cockatiels can be picky eaters. They need to know you are the one who provides the food, so it’s important that they be introduced to new foods quickly and often.
Did you know? Cockatiels, unlike other birds such as pigeons, shell seeds before eating them. As a result, you don’t need to offer them any grit. It can actually be harmful.
Although getting your cockatiel accustomed to anything other than seeds might be difficult, providing a diverse diet is critical, so don’t give up. Feeding your ‘tiel lower-calorie, more nutritionally nutritious meals is the greatest method to avoid obesity and ensure that it has a long life.
A cockatiel’s diet plan may be structured as follows:
- 30% high quality pellets
- 30% vegetables
- 15% high quality seeds
- 10% fruits (they’re high in sugars, so don’t overdo them!)
- 15% other foods
If you’d like to learn more about all of the many sorts of meals that you might give your cockatiel, please see our article on parrot food and nutrition.
Tip: Also, remember to keep a cuttlebone or calcium block on hand for your cockatiel.
Can cockatiels eat…?
There are a few things that people frequently inquire about. Let’s look at whether your ‘tiel can eat them or if they’re harmful!
Can cockatiels eat strawberries?
Yes! They’re loaded with sugar, though, so make it a special occasion rather than a regular meal.
Can cockatiels eat bananas?
Banana slices are a fantastic treat, so yes! You can share a slice of banana with your cockatiel if you’re having one.
Can cockatiels eat grapes?
Yes, and many ‘tiels adore them. They’re extremely sugary, though, so don’t give more than a half-grape at a time.
Can cockatiels eat watermelon?
Yes, and this is a big problem. However, it’s again sugar.
Can cockatiels eat apples?
Yes, and they appreciate the crunchy texture. However, keep in mind that the peel and seeds should be removed.
Can cockatiels eat oranges?
Yes, and if you like, you can also eat them. Yes, but be careful when eating citrus fruits. Oranges and clementines are fine in moderate amounts, but lemons and limes are a bit too acidic.
Can cockatiels eat carrots?
Sure, and they’re a very nutritious one.
Can cockatiels eat bread?
You may give your cockatiel a few crumbs, but don’t overdo it. Bread is salty or sweetened in many cases.
Can cockatiels eat peanut butter?
Unsalted natural peanut butter, on the other hand, has more fat. It’s not advised to eat a lot of tiny pieces at once.
Can cockatiels eat cheese?
A small amount of cheese is unlikely to cause any harm, but this isn’t a bird food.