An extremely popular pet, the cockatiel is loved for its comical appearance, its loveable personality and how it emotes through the help of its crest. Despite being the smallest member of the cockatoo family, a cockatiel is still larger than most pet birds. An adult can be as tall as 12 inches, and a healthy cockatiel can live for 15 years.
As a pet owner, you have to make sure that the diet you provide to your beloved pet, even a cockatiel, is nutritious and meets its dietary needs. When it comes to birds, not everyone is aware of this factor, particularly first-time owners. There’s often a misconception that any kind of birdseed will be fine for your cockatiel. But that’s not the case. You must be wondering what is the best cockatiel food?
In the wild, cockatiels are foragers, hunting for their food on the ground. While they don’t eat meat, they are known to eat fruits, seeds, and vegetables. It is a good idea to try and make sure that the diet your cockatiel has mimics what it would be able to eat in the wild.
Making Your Own Bird Seed Mix
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For new owners, it can be a good idea to make their own birdseed mix. This can be a temporary solution until they figure out which brand of bird food their cockatiel likes. If you’re making your own bird food for your cockatiel, and want the best food for a cockatiel, the following is what you should pay attention to:
Keep Fresh Fruits as a Treat
The best diet for cockatiels is one that includes fruits, vegetables, and seeds. However, it is a good idea to keep fruits and vegetables as a treat. At most, they should be offered a cup of chopped fruits at least once or twice a week.
You can offer them fruits more frequently, but cockatiels tend to be messy eaters. Good fruit options for your cockatiel include bananas, apples, or melon. Make sure to thoroughly clean the fruit before giving them to your bird. Moreover, do not let the fruit sit in the dish for more than 2 to 3 hours.
After this, the fruit will start to decompose and may also attract insects like ants or other bugs into the cockatiel’s cage. Once you see that your cockatiel is done with eating and does not want more, remove the fruit and wash the bowl.
Feed Fresh Vegetables Once Every Two Days
Cockatiels also love to eat vegetables, and these can be given to them more frequently than fruits. It is recommended that you give your cockatiels some vegetables at least once every two days. At the most, you should feed them vegetables three times a week.
However, you will have to pick and choose carefully. It is a good idea to give them different vegetables and see which ones your cockatiel likes. Each bird has its own preference, and they will let you know when they don’t like something.
The safest option here to give them dark, leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, or cabbage. You can also give them root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or even celery. Make sure to boil them slightly and cut them into cubes for your cockatiel to eat.
Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables
An excellent alternative to fresh fruits and vegetables are dehydrated ones. These don’t spoil quickly, have nutritional value, and also encourage the cockatiel to indulge in instinctive foraging if you mix it with the bird seeds.
Additionally, it is also a matter of preference. Some cockatiels may prefer dehydrated fruits and vegetables more than the fresh ones. You can also feed these on a daily basis to your cockatiels. At most, these dehydrated vegetables and fruits should make up 25% of your bird’s diet.
Seeds You Should Include
Seeds make up a majority of the cockatiel’s diet, which is why this should be the staple ingredient that you base the diet around. However, you don’t just offer one type of seed to your bird. Cockatiels actually eat a variety of seeds.
If you’re making a diet mix of seeds for them, then you should focus on including the following kinds:
- Birdseed– These are also known as grass seeds and make a majority of the cockatiel’s diet. 25% of your pet’s diet should include this, and it should be a staple in their diet. Do not switch it out for other ingredients.
- Cracked Corn – Big grains like cracked corn can be added to the diet for variety, but they should not be a staple of their diet. Only 10% of your pet’s daily diet should have cracked corn in it.
- Sunflower Seeds –This is another seed that should not be a staple. It adds variety and is also good for the bills. It also encourages the cockatiel to show instinctive feeding behaviors, such as grabbing the seed and cracking it open. It should be 5% of your pet’s diet.
Now all you have to do is mix everything together and add it to your cockatiel’s feeding bowl. Additionally, you can also look for these ingredients when you are buying a brand of bird food for your cockatiel.
Buy a Brand Mix
Many people prefer to buy a brand mix of bird food because they not only contain the above-mentioned ingredients but also come with vitamins, nutrients, and more that help to keep your cockatiel in good health.
The following are some of our top recommendations for cockatiel food mixes that you can buy online:
LAFEBER’S Classic Nutri-Berries Pet Bird Food
These nutri-berry pellets are made explicitly for cockatiels and are GMO-free, with no artificial colorants or chemicals. They are the best pellets for cockatiels and are designed to encourage foraging, beak exercises, and prevent boredom in birds, which could lead to featherpicking.
ZuPreem FruitBlend Flavor Pellets
These highly nutritious pellets are made with real grains and are available in bright colors and shapes. The fruit flavor encourages eating, and they contain 21 essential vitamins and nutrients that help to keep your cockatiel healthy and in good shape.