One of the most important things that you can do for your cockatiel is making sure that it has a balanced, nutritious, and varied diet.
What are good treats for Cockatiels? The best treats that you can provide for your cockatiel include organic, seedless fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, cockatiel pellets, and even natural baby food containing fruit. Seeds and pellets will take up the bulk of your cockatiel’s diet, but should not be the only food you give them.
Since the food that you will most likely be providing your cockatiel with is what the place you got it from recommended, you will want to make sure that this is not the only part of its diet.
This is because your cockatiel needs all the nutrients and vitamins it can get. Cockatiels would normally be eating a highly nutritious diet if they were living in the wild, so you need to be sure to replicate that as best you can in your own home.
Also, the seeds that cockatiels typically eat are very high in fat content, which is not too good for a cockatiel. So, avoid making this the sole feature of their diet.
Your avian vet is likely to supply you with pellets and seeds, so we will not get into too much detail with that here.
It is important to consult with your avian vet before making any major decisions regarding your cockatiel’s dietary needs, and also to make sure that the food you would like to give it is indeed healthy for cockatiels.
And without further ado, here is a list of the top 15 treats that you can give your pet cockatiel that it is bound to enjoy.
Bananas are great food for your cockatiel, especially because they are soft and will, therefore, be easy to eat. You do not need to cut the banana up into small pieces, nor do you need to remove the peel. Bananas are packed with potassium and are great year-round snacks for your bird.
Apples also make for great year-round snacks. Just be sure to remove the seeds from any apples you give to your cockatiel before it eats. This is because apple seeds contain cyanide, which is a toxic poison that can kill your cockatiel if eaten in large quantities.
Cut up the apples into small pieces so your Cockatiel can take its time eating.
Grapes are also a great option, especially since they are available all year round. It also does not matter what color grapes you get. But again, if you prefer to eat grapes with seeds in them, be sure to remove the seeds before giving any grapes to your cockatiel.
Seeds in fruits are generally not a good snack for your cockatiels and can cause health problems. We explain what you need to keep in mind when feeding your Cockatiel grapes in this article.
When summer hits, peaches are a great refreshing snack for your cockatiel. Make sure to remove the pit inside of the peach before giving it to your pet. Also, be sure to wash peaches and all other fruits thoroughly in order to remove any pesticides sprayed on them.
Pears are wonderful soft fruits for the appropriate season. Remove the seeds from inside the pear and make sure to cut it up into small pieces.
Despite the fact that strawberries have a lot of seeds, they make for a great summertime refresher for your cockatiel. If it has no problem eating the whole strawberry, then leave it, but otherwise, you can cut it up. The seeds on strawberries are generally harmless for cockatiels.
7. Dried fruit
If you do not have any fresh fruit or are worried that it will spoil, dried fruit is a great option for your cockatiel, too. You can feed it dried fruits such as prunes, raisins, and cranberries, as long as the dried fruit does not contain sulfur.
Sulfur can cause ulcers and anemia in cockatiels, so you will want to avoid that.
Kiwis are also a good option as a tropical fruit to introduce some variety into your cockatiel’s diet. This delicious green fruit can be served with or without the peel.
This sweet and tasty fruit will be well-received by your cockatiel. Again, see how your cockatiel reacts when eating it to determine how and if you should cut the pieces. But remember to keep the cockatiel’s portions rather small, since they are small birds.
10. Leafy greens
Cockatiels particularly like leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard. If the green is particularly dark, this will be more nutritious for your cockatiel.
There is nothing wrong with giving it iceberg lettuce, but this mostly contains water, so your cockatiel won’t get too many nutrients out of it. Some experts advise against spinach and parsley, so unless your avian vet says otherwise, try to avoid these as snacks.
We recommend reading this article as well: Can Cockatiels eat cauliflower? It is extremely healthy for them!
11. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another very nutritious snack for your cockatiel. They are packed with vitamin A, which is essential for your pet. However, many advise that you cook sweet potatoes as opposed to giving a raw potato to your cockatiel, simply because that is the taste they prefer.
Beans are a great option for vegetables, too. Make sure that, if you use frozen beans, you completely thaw them before giving any to your cockatiel.
Tomatoes are a nutritious and delicious snack for your cockatiel. Try to cut it up into small pieces so that your cockatiel does not make too much of a mess while eating it.
Zucchini is a great vegetable to include in your cockatiel’s diet, especially since it will add some variety.
If you choose to give your cockatiel carrots, after washing them, make sure that they are chopped up into small pieces or shredded. This will make it easier for your cockatiel to eat.
Other Snack Ideas
The ideas for treats that we mentioned above are some of the most popular and loved among cockatiels and their owners, but it does not at all mean that you should limit your Cockatiel to just those 15.
Here are another 15 snack ideas you can try to introduce to your cockatiel, which all have a great nutritional value and are bound to be beloved treats for your small companion.
- Corn on the cob
- Brussel sprouts
- Cooked meat – Make sure that this is cut up into small parts, and to remove any extra meat that is left in your cockatiel’s cage after approximately 30 minutes. And yes, meat is actually good for parrots. We explain why in this article!
- Mustard greens
- Millet Spray
Further Snack Ideas That Might Have Come To Your Mind
We often get asked “Can my Cockatiel eat XY?” – So below we show you a few of the most popular questions and we give you a detailed answer on that in those articles. Just click on one of the articles below that interests you!
- Can Cockatiels eat blueberries?
- Can Cockatiels eat peanuts?
- Can Cockatiels eat popcorn?
- Can Cockatiels eat oats?
Food You Should Never Give Your Cockatiel
As with all animals, there are natural foods that will be toxic to cockatiels. So, when looking for great treats to give your pet, be sure to never include these, or else it could have dire consequences for your beloved pet.
Also, be sure to keep such foods out of areas that your cockatiel might get into when you let it out of its cage, and tell the other people in your household to never give your pet these foods.
While chocolate is a favorite of many people, it is a treat that you should never give to most pets, especially not your pet cockatiel. This is because chocolate contains caffeine, which can cause your cockatiel to become too active.
If your cockatiel eats too much chocolate, it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart attack, tremors, and seizures, which could all potentially lead to death. So, it is a good idea to stay completely away from this sweet treat.
Since chocolate is not allowed, you may wonder if this means that you can give your cockatiel sugar-free candies. But the answer is no. Studies have found that sugar-free candy may cause liver damage and hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar.
High-fat, high-sodium, high-sugar
While this isn’t necessarily a death sentence, providing a cockatiel with food that is high in fat, sodium, or sugar can cause health problems. These types of foods can also cause your bird’s fluid balance to become disrupted, resulting in dehydration, kidney failure, and eventual death.
As aforementioned, fruits are wonderful treats for your pet cockatiel. But you should make sure to remove the seeds of apples before you give any to your cockatiel. This is because apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, which is a poison toxic to even humans.
Avocados are extremely healthy food for people and are highly recommended by dieticians. But you should never allow your cockatiel to share this food with you. Avocados have persin, which will kill fungus in a plant.
But when consumed by a bird, this will lead to heart damage, weakness, respiratory problems, and potential death.
Since most vegetables are healthy for cockatiels, it is easy to assume that onions and garlic are good for them, too. But this is not the case, and you should never give onions or garlic to your cockatiel.
There are sulfurs in onions, which, upon eating, can cause ulcers and anemia. The allicin chemical in garlic can also cause weakness and anemia in a cockatiel.
As with chocolate, avoid giving your cockatiel anything that contains caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and other beverages. When consumed by a cockatiel, it can cause their heart rate to dramatically increase, resulting in arrhythmia and even a heart attack.
Keep Your Cockatiel Hydrated
Along with making sure that your cockatiel is supplied with a lot of nutritious food, it is also important that you keep your cockatiel hydrated. Providing it with fresh water out of a water bottle is best.
It is recommended that your cockatiel drinks approximately one teaspoon of water per day. If your cockatiel is under stress, it has diarrhea, or there is a change in the temperature of its environment, you may notice that your cockatiel is drinking more than usual.
Pay attention for too much water intake, because this can be a sign of something serious.
If you feel that there is something wrong with your Cockatiel’s water intake, have a look at our articles on that below:
- How long can Cockatiels go without water?
- Why is my Cockatiel drinking so much water?
- Why your Cockatiel is not drinking water
Important Advice to Remember
These are some of our best tips regarding how and what to feed your cockatiel, and any special treats that you feed it.
- Always, always talk to your avian vet. This guide does not serve as a replacement for your cockatiel’s vet’s advice. If you are unsure of whether a certain food is healthy for your cockatiel, your best bet is to give the vet a call. If you notice that your cockatiel is reacting badly to a food that was listed as being good for it, then call the vet. Never compromise your pet’s health.
- You can also give your cockatiel baby food with natural fruits in it. Cockatiels love the taste and the mixture of fruit.
- Try to limit the amount of fruits and vegetables you give to your cockatiel to comprise of only 20-30 percent of the cockatiel’s overall diet.
- The cockatiel’s diet will primarily consist of seeds and pellets; however, try not to make this its only food source. Not only because your cockatiel might become bored of only eating the same seeds every day, but its seeds and pellets are also high in fat, which isn’t the best for a cockatiel.
- You can also feed your cockatiel fresh herbs. Some good options to try to include basil, cilantro, dandelion, ginger root, oregano, rosemary, and dry cinnamon. Avoid nutmeg though, as it is toxic for cockatiels.
- Give your cockatiel less fruits than vegetables. This is because fruits are high in sugar content, which could be bad for your cockatiel if eaten in high quantities.
- Do not give your cockatiel any of these snacks if you notice it becoming moldy or smushy. This is because mold contains toxins that could be poisonous for your cockatiel.
- Only leave foods in the cage for about 30 minutes to an hour after your cockatiel ate in order to prevent any spoilage.
- Avoid giving your cockatiel any canned fruits or vegetables. This is because canned foods have almost no nutritional value. In the instance that you do feed your cockatiel canned food, make sure to wash the food well because it tends to be high in sodium content.
- Wash any fruits or vegetables that you feed your cockatiel very well beforehand. This is because fruits and vegetables are often sprayed with pesticides, which can be harmful to cockatiels.
- If you give your cockatiel fruits or vegetables that contain seeds or pits, make sure to remove them before feeding them to your cockatiel. This is due to the fact that seeds and pits are toxic for cockatiels.
- You can feed your cockatiel fruits such as bananas and melons with the peel on it. The peel has no effect on the cockatiel.
- You can indeed feed your cockatiel proteins such as meat or eggs. However, make sure that the meat and eggs are thoroughly cooked and shredded before feeding it to your cockatiel.
- Remember that cockatiels are fairly small creatures. This means that you do not need to give them a lot of food. Keep portions small to help prevent overeating and problems that result from overeating.
- Keep in mind the “treat” aspect of this. Cockatiels naturally eat seeds most of the time, and they would also be inclined to do so in their natural habitat. So you do not need to feed your cockatiel these special fruits and vegetables as their primary meal or every day, for that matter. Try to incorporate it as a treat regime that you would have for your cat or dog; when your Cockatiel does something good, give it a special treat.
- Do not allow your cockatiel to eat houseplants, because these can be toxic for cockatiels.
- Since cockatiels are social pets, try and make this into a special bonding time for both of you. For example, if you will be eating some apples, take your cockatiel out of its cage to eat an apple with you, too.
Maintenance of Food
Another important aspect of all of this is properly maintaining the cockatiel’s cage with food and making sure that it is as clean as possible.
If you are giving your cockatiel treats in its cage, get a cage skirt to avoid too much of a mess; cockatiels tend to be rather messy eaters.
If the food that you will be giving to your cockatiel is cooked, make sure that it is cooled completely before you feed it to your cockatiel. If it is frozen, thaw it completely.
Cooked food tends to be better for cockatiels, as raw food can contain enzymes that will affect your cockatiel’s ability to digest it.
Remove any food from the cage that your cockatiel hasn’t eaten. This is to prevent the food from spoiling and to make sure that your cockatiel doesn’t get sick from it.
Make sure that you clean the cockatiel’s water and food dish every day. Also, have some newspaper at the bottom of your cockatiel’s cage that you change on a daily basis.
It is important to make sure that your cockatiel’s cage is clean and disinfected so the food it eats does not become contaminated and so that you can prevent your cockatiel from catching a disease or illness.
Seeds and Pellets
Popular food choices among cockatiel owners are seeds and pellets. Cockatiels tend to enjoy these foods since it is what they are naturally inclined to eat in their biological habitats.
However, since seeds and pellets do contain a lot of fat, do not make these the only food source your cockatiel has. Do make sure that your cockatiel’s food dish is full of seeds for most of the day, and clean the food dish daily.
Sunflower seeds are not that great for cockatiels since they contain a lot of fat. Some of the better options for seed and pellet mixtures have a very low content of sunflower seeds, if at all.
You can try to purchase different mixes of seeds and pellets to see which one your Cockatiel likes best. Some people even advise that you get flavored bars for your cockatiel, which contain honey, berries, and other small foods that they would like as a treat.
Try to avoid feeding your cockatiel too many pellets. This is due to the fact that cockatiels easily digest pellets, so their bodies will become used to digesting food quickly.
Then, when you go to feed your cockatiel something other than pellets, its body will try to digest that food just as quickly, which could lead to issues.
If your cockatiel doesn’t like a particular seed or pellet variety that you offer it, there are plenty of options on the market for you to try. You can also ask your avian vet for any advice, especially taking your cockatiel’s health into consideration.
By the way, do you know how long Cockatiels can go without food? Here is your answer!
Making sure that your cockatiel has a well-balanced diet, full of water, fruits, vegetables, and seeds, is one of the best things you can do for it as its owner.
Always consult with a specialist before making changes in your cockatiel’s diet. If you are not quite sure whether a certain food will be good for your cockatiel or not, always ask your avian vet before giving the food to your cockatiel.
And if your cockatiel is sick, be sure to consult with its vet to know what dietary changes to make.
Watch out for any unusual eating or drinking behaviors, and avoid giving your cockatiel anything that might be toxic for it- and especially do not let it get into a cupboard or box that has any toxic foods in it.
Always make sure you do your research thoroughly. This is simply a guide to set all cockatiel owners on the right path. Giving your cockatiel treats will help it to be happy and healthy, and will strengthen your relationship with your cockatiel.
At the end of the day, it is important to always consult with your avian vet and to call the vet if you notice anything strange.