Is it ok to leave your cockatiel behind if you go on trips often? Can cockatiels live alone, or is it better to get them a companion? I cover answers to such questions in this article.
Cockatiels are intelligent birds and hence, need social interaction and mental stimulation to remain healthy.
A solitary bird that does not receive these can grow depressed, even if they get enough fresh food and water.
To keep your bird healthy and discourage bad behavior like feather plucking or self-mutilation, you should have regular play sessions and not leave them alone for too long.
It might also be useful to get them a companion.
In this article, I will share some views on whether this last point is a good idea, and if so, what kind of companion is suited for these birds.
Can Cockatiels Be Left Alone?
In the wild, cockatiels are social birds that live in large flocks. They can’t survive for long without their flocks.
That is why you cannot (and should not) leave a cockatiel alone.
But given certain circumstances, you can keep individual cockatiels as pets, provided their social needs are met in other ways.
Do Cockatiels Get Lonely?
Cockatiels are social creatures and will not be happy if left alone. However, you can offer them company in many ways.
Lots of people own single cockatiels that are very closely bonded to their owner.
As long as the bird gets enough time and interaction, it will grow up healthy. It is important to include them in various activities and keep them mentally stimulated.
If you get a rescue bird, you might end up with one that does not get along with other cockatiels due to past experiences.
Such birds usually thrive better alongside humans as their primary social point.
However, this depends on your cockatiel’s social quotient. Many cockatiels prefer to socialize with other cockatiels instead of human owners.
Such birds can get lonely without a cockatiel companion.
If you do not have another cockatiel, you can try introducing your bird to other similar species of birds, such as budgerigars or parakeets.
Do not leave different species alone together, as one may attack the other. Instead, allow them some amount of monitored playtime together every day.
How Long Can You Leave a Cockatiel Alone?
A cockatiel can be left alone for a few hours at a time or for as long as they regularly go without human intervention.
If they consistently miss seeing their owner in the designated time zones, they may start stressing.
If you do have to leave them, make sure you provide them with fresh food, water, and a safe environment.
Do not alter anything in their environment as they adjust to your absence.
It’s also best to provide them with toys and other forms of enrichment to keep them mentally and physically stimulated while you are away.
Ideally, it is best not to leave them alone for more than 8 hours daily, as they are social animals and need interaction and companionship.
Can You Leave a Cockatiel Alone for the Weekend?
If your bird lives in a large aviary with at least 4 to 5 other birds, it is totally fine to leave your cockatiel alone for the weekend.
But, single birds without a bird companion will get quite lonely and refuse to eat or eat minimal food.
Even if you have upto two birds, they can get quite lonely if left alone. Not being able to see their keeper at the designated times of the day can affect their routine.
A lot of this also depends on how familiar they are with your presence and how deep your bond is.
For owners that regularly interact with their cockatiels, any sudden changes in routine or environment can result in a lot of stress.
This can manifest as your bird self-harming, refusing to eat, or simply remaining inactive and stressed.
Does Cockatiel Need To Be in Pairs?
It’s always best to keep cockatiels in pairs. Though many people buy individual birds, one after the other, as it is easier to train them, cockatiels are social and talkative by nature.
However, this is subjective. Sometimes, rescued cockatiels may prefer to remain alone with their human keepers.
They are territorial and do not get along with other birds.
Older rescues are also best kept alone. Adding a companion might encourage them to breed, which should be discouraged at this age.
Do Cockatiels Do Better in Pairs?
It’s always best to keep them in pairs for the sake of companionship and mental stimulation, but this is not necessary.
However, a lot depends on your bird’s preferences.
If your bird is used to living in a flock or having a companion, the loss or absence of these can make them depressed.
Can Two Male Cockatiels Live Together?
Keeping two cockatiels of the same gender is always a good idea, as it reduces fights due to hormonal aggression.
Two male cockatiels can live peacefully, but it is important to note that they may exhibit territorial behavior and may need to establish a hierarchy.
If your birds are older, introduce them during playtime on neutral territory to prevent territorial dominance.
Try to keep an eye on their interactions and separate them if there is any sign of aggression.
Can You Put A Male And Female Cockatiel Together?
While this is common practice, I would advise against it unless you find a happy, bonded pair.
For a male and female cockatiel that is not bonded, you might see the male becoming aggressive and bullying the female.
Bonded pairs, on the other hand, remain monogamous for life and are a great pair of pets to have.
With keeping a male and female cockatiel, you always run the risk of the two not getting along.
To smoothen the transition, you can try introducing them during playtime and eventually moving them in a cage together.
What Birds Can Be Kept With Cockatiels?
There are many instances of cockatiels getting along well with parakeets, budgies, macaws, and even cats!
But let’s take a look at the rule instead of the exception:
Can Parakeets And Cockatiels Live Together?
Parakeets and Cockatiels can sometimes live together if they are properly introduced and get along well.
But it is important to keep in mind that they are different species and have different needs.
Parakeets are smaller and more active, while cockatiels are larger and more laid-back. They will require space to fly and play.
On the other hand, cockatiels may be content with a larger cage but will require more mental stimulation in the form of toys.
Can Cockatiels Live With Budgies?
There are considerable size and behavioral differences between cockatiels and budgies. Larger birds will often bully smaller birds and show territorial behavior,
It’s best not to keep a cockatiel and a budgie together. However, you can allow the two to engage in common playtime while keeping a close eye.
There are exceptions where birds introduced at a younger age do live in the same cage.
Do Conures Get Along With Cockatiels?
Conures and cockatiels can get along but should never be housed together. Conures are much larger, more active, and more vocal.
Housing two species of varying sizes may result in fights that your cockatiel may not survive. It’s best to simply allow some common playtime together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Cockatiels Need a Friend?
Yes, cockatiels do need a friend. The friend can be in the form of another cockatiel, a similar feathered friend like a parakeet, or simply, you!
Cockatiels are curious and social; they like being involved in their keeper’s daily activities and chores.
How long can a cockatiel be alone?
You should not leave a cockatiel or a pair alone for more than 6 to 8 hours.
However, if you have a large aviary with many birds, you can stretch this time to a couple of days.
Adding a new substitute to check on them can also stress them out.
Can I leave my cockatiel alone for two days?
If your bird is used to seeing or interacting with you multiple times a day, you should not leave them alone for more than a couple of these interactions.
Especially for single or smaller groups of two, leaving them alone for even two days can stress them.
Can a cockatiel die from loneliness?
A cockatiel may not directly die from loneliness, but it can die from its cascading effects of it.
Single birds that don’t get much social exposure can become stressed, depressed, and start self-mutilating.
This can result in more serious and fatal problems down the line.
While we can make generalizations based on the species, the type of bird you have will depend on its own personality.
Most pet birds like having a bird companion. But many prefer their owner only!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you find your cockatiel a great companion!