There are several ways you can get a cockatiel, including classified newspaper ads, bird shows, and pet stores. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each in detail.
Private parties who want to sell pet birds usually place classified ads. If the advertiser offers young birds, it is likely to be a private breeder who wants to place a few birds in good homes. Some breeders may also offer older birds for sale from time to time. These are most likely breeder birds who are too old to produce chicks but who are still good candidates for pet homes.
If you buy your bird from a private breeder, you will probably be shown only the birds the breeder has for sale. Do not be offended if you can’t see all the birds; some are more sensitive than others about the presence of strangers during breeding season, and the sensitive ones may destroy eggs or kill chicks when they’re upset. Cockatiels are less prone to this sensitivity than larger parrots, but a breeder may keep all of their nesting pairs in the same area. If, however, a breeder is willing to show you around their facility, consider it a special treat.
Shows offer bird breeders and buyers an opportunity to get together to share a love for birds. Bird shows can give you the chance to see many different types of birds (usually far more than many pet shops keep at a time) all in one place, which can help you narrow your choices if you’re undecided about which species to keep. At a bird show, you can see which birds win consistently, then talk to the breeder of these birds after the show to see if they are expecting any chicks.
Pet stores can be a good place to buy a cockatiel, but you must you do some checking first. You’ll need to start by visiting the store to make sure it’s clean and well kept. Walk around a bit. Are the floors clean? Do the cages look and smell as if they’re cleaned regularly? Do the animals in the cages appear alert, well fed, and healthy? Do the cages appear crowded or do the animals inside have some room to move around?
After you’ve determined that the store is clean and the employees are pleasant, find out what the staff does to keep their birds healthy. Do they ask you to wash your hands with a mild disinfectant before or between handling their
birds? If they do, don’t balk at the request. This is for the health of the birds and it indicates that the store is concerned about keeping its livestock healthy. Buying a healthy bird is much easier and more enjoyable than purchasing a pet with health problems, so look for a caring store and follow the rules. If something about the store, staff, or birds doesn’t feel quite right, take your business elsewhere. If the store and its birds meet with your approval, then it’s time to get down to the all-important task of selecting your cockatiel.