Birds FAQ one



What is the best material to use on the bottom of my cages ?
Newspaper, paper towels, butcher paper or cut paper bags makes the best material for cage bottoms. Material like corn cob or wood shavings may harbor harmful fungus, when this material becomes wet from droppings. Using paper allows you to not only see when the cage needs cleaning but also allows you to watch for any changes in your birds droppings. Remember, a change in droppings may indicate your bird is ill.

What do I need to do to show my cockatiel ?
If you are a novice exhibitor your first step is to find a show in your area. Call the listed contact person and get information as to the check-in time (this is the time birds may be entered into the show). Bring you bird in a clean cage, with all his toys removed from the cage to the show hall. Also try to place his perches parallel to each other so the birds can move back and forth easily. When you arrive at the show hall the people there will help you fill out the entry tag and entry sheets. Most clubs charge a small entry fee for each bird entered. The show personnel will take your bird back behind the judging table and place him with other birds that are the same color and sex.

How do I get rid of mites in my aviary ?
Once mites have infested your aviary you must do a complete cleaning. Mites will nest in your wood perches, cuttlebone and nest boxes. You might try a product called "Camicide", they have several product types that will allow you to spray or fog your bird room. Please check with your Avian Veterinary before you spray your birds directly. Follow the directions on the label carefully. If you would like to contact the chemical company directly you may call, Cambell chemical at 314-909-0822.

Can cockatiels live by seed alone?
Cockatiels like any other animal require a balanced, well rounded diet. Seed is not enough for a healthy cockatiel to live on. Try offering fresh vegetables, like kale, spinach or broccoli. (remember to rinse fresh garden vegetable before you offer to your birds). You might also offer foods such as beans, corn, wheat bread and rice. Your bird may not eat these new foods right away, but keep offering these foods, once your tiel tries these new foods he will be much healthier.

My cockatiel is laying eggs, how many eggs will she lay ?
Cockatiels will lay between 3 to 6 eggs normally. Eggs are laid every other day.

My cockatiels have babies in the nest box can we touch the babies?
Yes, be very careful though that parent birds don't bite you when you reach into their nest box. Take great care not to drop the baby as you remove it from the nest. Many beginning breeders will handle the young babies instead of handfeeding. This will help the babies get used to people touching them.

What do we do if a baby in the nest box dies?
Any baby that dies in the nest box should be removed. You might want to have a necropsy done on the dead baby's body to make sure it did not die from a contagious disease that could affect the other babies in the nest box. Check with your Avian Veterinarian for his/her recommendation.

How do I know if the parents are feeding their babies enough ?
The babies crops will appear full. You will notice the parents using the extra food that you are feeding them. Also you will see the babies growing.

How do I stop my cockatiel hen from laying eggs ?
You might try reducing the amount of light to 10-12 hours. Lighting of 13-15 hours will encourage your hen to come into laying condition. Also the addition of vitamin E will increase the chances of your hen laying eggs. While your hen is laying make sure that you offer her some type of calcium supplement, such as a cuttlebone or mineral block. You might try allowing her to sit on her eggs for a week or so, she should grow tired of sitting and then you can throw the infertile eggs away. This may help her cycle off of laying. If your hen continues to lay please consult your Avian Veterinarian.

How do I tell if my Normal cockatiel is a male or a hen ?
It is very easy to tell males from hens in this mutation. By the time your bird is 1 year old it will have completed its molt and have adult feathers. The male will have a bright yellow mask, surrounding its orange check patches. The underside of the tail and wing feathers will be solid black. If you have a hen you will notice the face lacks the bright yellow mask and the underside of the tail and wings will show yellow bars instead of the solid black feathers.

Do cockatiels make good pets ?
Hand fed cockatiels make excellent pets !

What special care is required for pet cockatiels ?
A good size cage should be the first thing you purchase before you bring your new bird home. Most breeders will supply you with an instruction sheet on basic care and hopefully send home a sampling of the foods that the baby is eating, so there is not a drastic diet change. If you give your pet a well balanced diet, fresh water, a few interesting toys and plenty of your attention you should be on the right road to a well cared for cockatiel.

My cat took a swing a my bird, will her feathers grow back ?
Your bird should be seen by an Avian Veterinary immediately ! The biggest risk to birds that are injured by a cat or dog is infection. If your bird was seriously injured by the cat she may need surgery to repair the damage as well as antibiotics.

Help my cockatiel is very over weight, what do I do ?
If you are feeding a seed diet alone, this could be the reason your tiel is overweight. Before you change your birds diet please consult an Avian Veterinarian. There may be other reasons that your bird is overweight.

My bird loves chocolate, is this okay for him to eat ?
NO ! Chocolate can be poisonous to birds. The ACS magazine recently published a list of foods that were unhealthy for tiels, along with chocolate, caffeine is another harmful substance.

My female cockatiel died a few years ago.
Your male will be fine by himself. Most pet owners make this common mistake, feeling that their single bird needs another bird to keep it company. A hand fed bird will be more interested in their human companions if kept in a cage without another cockatiel. When you put two tiels together they usually bond with each other instead of being interested in you. If you add a female tiel into the same cage as your male eventually they will mate. If you male seems bored, I'd suggest adding new toys or even changing the position of the perches.

What do the letters and numbers on the band on my bird's leg mean?

The American Cockatiel Society, as well as other bird related organizations, furnishes close, traceable leg bands to their members. These bands are coded with letters and numbers that help trace the bird back to the breeder. For example, if you look at the band and see ACS this is a traceable band from the American Cockatiel Society. The numbers and letter imprinted on the band will identify the breeder, by the breeders code letters and numbers, the individual birds' number, which tells the breeder what bird is being looked at, and the year the bird was hatched. There are also "private breeders bands" these bands are not traceable and serve as a record keeping helper for the breeder only. Other codes that may be found on leg bands that are traceable would be: SPBE (Society of Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors), AFA (American Federation of Aviculture), NCS (National Cockatiel Society). There are also "local bird club" closed traceable bands. These can be traced by contacting local bird clubs in your area and inquiring if they sell traceable bands and what "code" their club uses.