Cockatiels Food: A Complete Guide To What They Eat

 If you live in America, you may be very familiar with birds that chirp loudly and reside in many homes, called cockatiels. This is because this type of bird is very popular, in fact, it is one of the top pet bird choices in the country. Cockatiels are cuddly and outgoing, making them good companions. Birds are one of the best animals to have as pets, and cockatiels rank high when it comes to which bird makes the best pet.

Cockatiels Food: A Complete Guide To What They Eat
Cockatiels Food: A Complete Guide To What They Eat

 Cockatiels are well known for their distinctive whistling sounds that can be serenaded to their person, their favorite thing, or even their own reflection. These Australian natives are often well-socialized and like to cuddle up on the shoulders of their favorite person.

 A captive cockatiel can live for over 20 years if properly cared for and given a healthy, balanced diet. Below we will discuss what food cockatiels eat in the wild, what to feed them in captivity, and what nutrients they need in their diet.

What do cockatiels eat in the wild?

 Cockatiels are herbivorous birds whose diet consists mainly of seeds, flowers, fresh and dried nuts, fruits, legumes, freshly harvested pods, berries, and crops.

 In the wild, cockatiels are ground feeders and feed primarily on plants and other vegetation. They are also known to eat farmers' crops and dive on sprouted seeds and legumes. These loud-singing Cockatiels have also adapted to this type of diet in their natural habitat and have evolved to learn how to quickly remove shells from seeds.

 The cockatiel's preference for seeds varies depending on its habitat and what is available. In a 1987 study published by Dr. Jones, for example, it was calculated that cockatiels preferred younger, softer seeds among the 29 different types of seeds present in the experiment. As cockatiels like to feed on anything on the ground, they can also rarely catch terrestrial insects outside of plants and crops, and basically anything that their beak can reach.

What do cockatiels eat as pets?

 A healthy, balanced diet for cockatiels should include grass seeds, pellets made specifically for them, legumes, grains, nuts, grains, and a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

 In order to prolong the life of a cockatiel, they should be fed a diverse diet. Like most species of birds, cockatiels need a balanced combination of minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water.

 Cockatiels are also prone to obesity and other health issues such as iodine deficiency, so they require a balanced and maintained diet.

 Cockatiels can enjoy a variety of foods, but in order to get the nutrients they need to grow, they must be fed pellets and seeds, which should make up at least 60% of their diet.

Are pellets a better food choice for cockatiels?

 Cockatiels eat grass seeds and pellets as their main sources of food. Pellets, however, have a higher nutritional value for cockatiels because they are specifically formulated for the bird species and they contain additional nutritious ingredients.

 Many experts consider pellets a stable part of a cockatiel's diet. However, pellets are not a natural food for birds, so they can be combined with other various foods. Most owners assume that seeds are better for a cockatiel's diet because they are their usual food in their natural habitat.

 The seeds, however, lack vitamins and calcium which are vital for the growth and health of a cockatiel. That's why pellets are formulated - so the nutrients most foods lack can be combined in one pelleted food, along with the right amount of vitamins, calcium, and minerals.

 A study has also suggested that a diet consisting entirely of seeds can cause various health issues such as nerve damage, immune system disorders, sinusitis, and others that could potentially shorten their lifespan. A balance of 75% pellets and 25% seeds in their diet is a good mix, and it will taste even better when added to green vegetables and fresh fruit.

How can I convert my Cockatiel to a pellet diet?

 Converting seed-eating (seed-addicted) Cockatiels to a formulated diet is not always easy. Initially, the pellets are probably not even identified as food. Slowly wean the Cockatiel from seed over a 4-8 week period while having pellets constantly available in a separate dish.

 Some people mix the pellets into a reduced amount of seed to make them easier to accept in the cage, but you should be aware that the Cockatiel will not accidentally eat a pellet. It can take days, weeks, or months to change a Cockatiel's diet.

 NEVER completely remove the seeds without first being sure that the Cockatiel eats the pellets as well as fruits and vegetables. Cockatiels are stubborn but can be trained. It could be difficult for you and your cockatiel during this period.

  • Consult your veterinarian if you have any problems with this transition or with the health of the Cockatiel.
  • Remember that you are training the Cockatiel; don't get carried away.

What fruits and vegetables do cockatiels eat?

 Like kids, pet cockatiels sometimes don't know what's best for them. They can develop a "seed addiction" and refuse to eat anything else, but they require fresh food every day to replicate the naturally varied diet they would consume in the wild unless you are feeding them a pelleted food that incorporates fruits and vegetables. Continue giving this to your birds every day.

 It can take a year or more to get them on a better diet. To replicate the naturally varied diet they typically have in the wild, cockatiels frequently require fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet. Fruits and green vegetables should represent at least 20% of their usual diet.


 Bananas, apples, and grapes are just a few of the year-round store staples that cockatiels eat. Nectarines, peaches, apricots, pears, and strawberries are seasonal fruits that add a welcome diversity. Papayas, mangos, guavas, and kiwi fruit are all excellent examples of tropical fruits that are fantastic options. Melons liked by cockatiels include cantaloupe and watermelon. Cherries may cause their waste to become a dark red color that resembles blood but is harmless. 

 Give fruit in smaller amounts overall than vegetables because it mostly contains sugar and water, even if citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit do include vitamin C. After thoroughly cleaning all fresh fruit, remove the cores, stones, large seeds, and pits. If you don't have any fresh fruit, consider dried fruit like prunes, cranberries, and raisins. Cockatiels can eat the fruits on the list below:

  • Bananas.
  • Apples.
  • Grapes.
  • Peaches.
  • Apricots.
  • Pears.
  • Strawberries.
  • blackberries.
  • Kiwi.
  • Guava.
  • Papaya.
  • Mango.
  • Cherries.
  • Melon.
  • Grenade.
  • nectarines.

 Cockatiels can also be fed dried fruits such as raisins, and dates. Although cockatiels often eat seeds, some fruit seeds can be poisonous and dangerous to them, so seeds from fruits should be removed before feeding.


 Give your cockatiels a variety of greens, including romaine, leaf lettuce, bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, watercress, and mustard greens. The darker color of vegetables means more nourishment they carry, iceberg lettuce is primarily water.

 Vitamin A is present in yellow and orange veggies like winter squash and sweet potatoes, although your bird might prefer them cooked rather than raw. You should grate or cut carrots. Other veggies can provide variation, including string beans, peas, corn on the cob, zucchini, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts. 

 Some experts advise against feeding broccoli, spinach, and parsley to cockatiels because they contain compounds that prevent calcium from absorbing properly. Even spicy food is acceptable because birds cannot sense the heat, but if your birds kiss you, you may. Here is a list of vegetables that cockatiels often add to their diet:

  • Leaf lettuce.
  • Cabbage.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Kale.
  • Cress.
  • Carrots.
  • Sweet potato.
  • Asparagus.
  • Green beans.
  • Corn.
  • Tomatoes.

 All fresh veggies should be well-washed and cut into bite-sized pieces. Completely thaw frozen vegetables. Before serving, let cooked veggies cool. Other than calories, canned vegetables have very little to no nutritional value.

Three harmful foods for cockatiels

Can cockatiels consume Garlic?

 Although owners should never purposefully feed their birds garlic, a small nibble of garlic here and there is generally unlikely to be harmful to their health. Cockatiel owners must make sure that their pets don't have access to any spices because consuming garlic in a highly concentrated form, like garlic powder, can have harmful effects on their health.

Are cockatiels able to consume onions?

 The effects of eating either onion or garlic, which are both members of the allium family, are similar. Owners of birds must prevent their cockatiels from eating onions and garlic since they both have the potential to harm them. Leeks, chives, shallots, spring onions, and more are all members of the allium family.

Are cockatiels able to consume avocados?

 Avocado consumption can cause a variety of health issues in birds. Although a tiny nibble is unlikely to hurt your bird, owners should make every effort to keep avocados out of reach of their pets because taking more than a few bites could endanger them.

When and How Much Cockatiels Should Be Fed?

 Cockatiels are little creatures, therefore they will naturally eat less frequently than your other pets. If you're used to taking care of much larger creatures like dogs or cats, you'll be astonished to learn how little cockatiels consume.

 Fresh food and water must be given to cockatiels at least twice daily, if not more. Additionally, the meal must be sliced into tiny pieces, none larger than a half-inch. This is because your cockatiel will have trouble swallowing anything much bigger.

 You probably already know that seeds and pellets will make up the majority of your cockatiel's food, so if you're leaving for the day, it's okay to just leave seeds and pellets for your cockatiel as they won't rot as soon.

 However, if you wish to feed your cockatiel fresh food, like fruits or vegetables, you should remove any leftover food from the cage after around an hour to stop any food from going bad.

 Make sure that everything you want to feed your cockatiel that needs to be cooked, like meat or eggs, is completely cooked and has cooled before you offer it to your pet bird.

 You probably won't ever notice cockatiels overeating because it happens infrequently. Every day, they usually consume around 15 grams.

 It is also crucial to note that your cockatiel needs fresh water at least twice daily and that all of the supplies you give it must be kept in clean containers. Without water, cockatiels can't survive for long.

 Buy two of each bowl or dish if possible so that you will always have something to put your cockatiel's food in while the other is being washed.

How long can cockatiels live without water?

 Like with food, you should never deprive your cockatiel of water for longer than a few hours. They can only survive for about a day before becoming dehydrated. Always make sure your cockatiel has access to fresh water.

In Conclusion: Why isn't my cockatiel eating?

 Because their cockatiel is plainly not eating, some people are curious about how long they can go without food. There are numerous reasons why this might be the case, however, it is advised that you take your cockatiel to an avian vet rather than attempting to identify the issue on your own.

 Give your new pet a few days to see if it settles into its new surroundings if you just received it. In unfamiliar situations, cockatiels can become anxious and may not consume as much as they ought to.

 Because of its good health, your cockatiel won't starve to death. If you have changed your cockatiel's diet in any way, this is also the case. To find out what recommendations they have for your cockatiel's food, you might want to talk to the individual who gave you the bird or your veterinarian.

 There is a chance that your cockatiel is ill as well, and this is typically obvious through signs other than the bird not eating, such as the bird being quiet or still. Call your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and treatment in this situation.

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