Habitat Sweet Habitat: Cockatiels

Setting up a cage for your new cockatiel? Here’s what you need to know.

Choosing a Habitat

  • Cockatiels are social and can live in pairs, but if they are alone they will need a lot of attention from their owners.
  • Your cockatiel needs a large home with horizontal wire spacing no larger than ¾” apart. They are active and like to climb and fly in their cage. It should be large enough for a food dish, water dish, bird bath, multiple perches, toys and a cuttlebone. Get the largest cage possible.
  • Place the cage in a warm, bright part of the house, close to where the action is but away from all drafts and direct sunlight, and off the floor.
  • Avoid setting up the cage in or near the kitchen at all costs. Birds are extremely sensitive to fumes and those from self-cleaning ovens and Teflon-coated cookware.
  • Cover the cage at night to prevent drafts.

Play & Hide

  • Provide at least 2-3 toys to keep your cockatiel busy. Foraging toys encourage their natural behavior and will reduce boredom and feather picking.
  • Make sure that you locate the toys out of the bird’s natural flight path to prevent flight obstructions.
  • A minimum of two perches of different widths are great for exercising your cockatiels’ feet and should be placed at varying heights throughout the cage, away from food dishes.
  • Favourite toys include bells, rope toys, and hanging wood or acrylic toys.
  • Hay balls or hide-a-ways filled with timothy hay will encourage foraging.
  • A cockatiel’s beak will never stop growing, so make sure to provide a cuttlebone or a calcium block to keep its beak trim.
  • Provide a warm birdbath a minimum of three to four times a week.


  • Your cockatiel’s cage should be lined with corncob bedding, recycled paper or a cage liner.
  • A thorough cleaning of your pet’s cage is required once weekly. Remove and wash the cage tray and perches, and wash the area around the cage. Make sure all toys are clean and damage-free, without loose or broken parts that could hurt your pet.

Shopping List
❏ Cage
❏ Water dish
❏ Food dish
❏ Bird bath
❏ Multiple perches of different widths
❏ Swing
❏ Toys
❏ Cuttlebone
❏ Treats
❏ Mineral block
❏ Bedding

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