What all do you need to put in your cockatiel cage? From cage size to material and toys to perches to food bowls, I will cover everything you need to know.
You might see many people create large aviaries for your cockatiels. And even let them out for free! Domesticated and trained cockatiels are great companions that won’t hurt a fly.
But despite all the freedom, your bird needs a small, safe space to retire to when the play is over.
A home that is meant only for them, or otherwise known as a “cage” that keeps you safe from their shenanigans
If you’re a new cockatiel owner, here’s how you can go about finding the best cage suitable for your bird and setting it up.
How Big Should a Cockatiel Cage Be?
The size of cockatiel cages depends on how many birds you house within it and the type of cage it is.
For a single bird, you should have a cage that is 24 inches high and wide while also 24 inches long.
Even the smallest cage should be at least 1.5 to 2 times the total wingspan of the bird. cockatiels can have 12-inch wingspans. Hence the size I mentioned is minimum.
Having a large cage will allow them to remain active throughout the day. Of course, flight cages should be much larger, and temporary or travel cages can be smaller.
Cage Size for 2 Cockatiels
For two cockatiels, you need a cage at least 24 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 36 inches tall.
Cockatiels are monogamous and life-long companion pet birds that enjoy being social. Since their human friends aren’t always there, getting a pair is always the best idea.
The birds can bond with each other, and if you plan to breed them, it might be possible to mate a male and female as well.
Flight Cages for Cockatiels: What Size Should You Get?
Flight cages or aviaries give birds more space to fly from perch to perch. They are usually designed to house a group of birds.
An ideal aviary for a colony should be 4 feet (48 inches) wide, 12 feet (144 inches) long, and 8 feet ( 96 inches) high.
A flight cage that is kept inside the house should be 27 inches wide and 24 inches long at a minimum.
Travel Cages: What Size?
If you travel a lot but don’t want to leave your pet cockatiel behind or have no one to look after them while you are gone, you can get smaller travel cages.
A travel cage for a cockatiel can be a square box that’s 12 inches wide and high. Keep in mind that travel cages are meant to be used only for short durations of time.
You cannot replace a normal cage with a travel cage permanently. Alternatively, you can get your bird a harness and keep them open while you travel.
However, this is only possible if your bird is exceptionally well trained and you can make the proper arrangements like taking care of its poop.
Cockatiel Cage Size For a Breeding Pair
If you have a breeding pair or want to initiate your birds into the breeding process, it’s best to keep them in a breeding cage.
This is usually of size 20 x 20 x 50 inches. Cockatiels need more horizontal space to fly than tall areas to jump to.
Breeding cages, even if larger, should not have too many pairs to prevent territorial issues.
Nesting Box Size
Within a breeding cage, ensure nesting boxes where the female can lay eggs. The nesting box should be at least 11 inches long, 10 inches deep, and 9 inches high.
There should be an opening that’s at least 2 inches wide to allow the birds to move in and out easily, but it should be smaller than a regular cage.
Cockatiel Cage Bar Spacing
The ideal bar spacing is up to ½ inches. Do not buy cages with very little bar spacing, as this can prevent your bird from enjoying the outside view.
But also make sure that the bars are not too far apart. Cockatiels are notorious for trying to fly away from cages.
If the bars are too far apart, your bird might get its head stuck between them as it tries to push its way out from the cage.
Other Important Considerations For Buying a Cage
Apart from size, here are a few important considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a cage for a cockatiel:
The material of the cage should be animal-friendly, durable, and have facilities for easy cleaning.
Powder-coated metal cages are a good choice, as they are sturdy and resistant to rust. Moreover, the paint will not peel off.
Choose cages with thick cage bars to prevent them from cutting your bird.
Avoid cages made out of plastic or wood, as they may not be as durable, and cockatiels tend to chew through things. They may also contain harmful chemicals.
Slide-Out Tray For Cleaning
Some designs have a sliding-out tray at the bottom. With this feature, you can add a new lining daily and regularly clean their litter.
Since you can take the tray out, cleaning the litter will not bother your birds. It helps to keep the cage neat and clean and always habitable.
Food Bowls Near The Bottom
It’s best to have food bowls at the bottom or firmly attached to the cage walls.
Cockatiels may often stand on the bowl itself to feed. Having them below also encourages movement for the bird.
Look for cages that come with a variety of accessories. These will keep your cockatiel mentally stimulated. You can look for things like:
- Detachable food and water bowls
- Perches with terrain to train your bird’s feet muscles
- Ladders and swings for your bird
- Chewing or foraging toys
- Connecting perches
Though cockatiels love toys, when introducing them to the cage, try to keep it as bare as possible.
This will allow them to get more used to a new environment. Once the bird is comfortable, you can start introducing the accessories.
Cockatiels are from the parrot species and are among the smartest birds in the world. Make sure you get cages with either sturdy or smart locks.
Many birds can learn how to open the locks by observing their owner, and as I said before, cockatiels are infamous for trying to escape from cages.
Cockatiels can sometimes suffer from night terrors and thrash inside a cage.
Make sure you choose a sturdy, stable cage with no chance of tipping over. For larger sizes, you can opt for a rolling bird cage.
Cockatiel Cage Setup
Once your bird has become accustomed to its new home, you can introduce various accessories and toys.
An ideal cage will contain toys, multiple perches, food dishes (wet and dry), a water dish, and some chewing material.
Here are a few recommendations for each category of birdcage accessories:
Cockatiels need many types of perches with different diameters to keep their feet healthy. Offer at least one natural wood perch and one or two concrete perches for your bird to stand on.
You can also buy special multi-grip perches online that are highly contoured to train the feet of domestic birds for climbing.
Avoid perches made of plastic or metal, as these can be slippery and may cause foot problems.
Cockatiels love to climb and explore, so consider adding ropes, ladders, or climbing toys to the cage.
You can find these items online; however, remember to choose healthy and organic options.
Buy ladders made of jute, wood, cardboard, and bamboo.
Avoid plastic toys for your birds because they might be toxic, and cockatiels love to chew.
Food and Water Bowls
Choose bowls that are easy to clean and refill, such as stainless steel or ceramic.
Place the feeding bowls on one side of the cage and the water bowl on the other to encourage your bird to move around.
Stainless steel bowls must be attached to the cage floor or wall as they may trip if the bird tries to sit on them.
Toys are essential to keep your bird happy and mentally healthy. Offer a variety of toys to keep your cockatiel entertained, such as bells, mirrors, chew toys, and puzzle toys.
Cockatiels enjoy things that move and make noise. Interactive toys are the best. Rotate the toys regularly to keep your bird from getting bored.
Foraging toys contain treats or seeds that your bird has to work out how to reach.
These food items are crumpled with other organic items such as thin wool strings, cotton, cardboard, bamboo strands, and more.
These can help stimulate your bird’s natural foraging behavior and keep them entertained.
You will also end up with a lot of mess, and your feathery friend will find quite some nesting material!
Cockatiel Cage Placement
To set up your bird’s cage in your home, you can consider things like:
- Choose a location in your home that is well-ventilated, away from drafts and direct sunlight, and has natural light.
- The cage should be placed at a height that allows your cockatiel to be at eye level when you are standing or sitting. This will allow for better socialization. Birds at a lower height may perceive you as a looming threat.
- Avoid placing the cage in an area with a lot of movement, traffic, and activity. This can be stressful for your bird, especially if it’s a new one.
- Make sure the cage is easy for you to reach and clean. You would need to clean the cage every day, and it’s best to do this with as little disruption to your bird’s routine as possible.
- Keep your bird’s needs in mind when placing the cage. For example, if your bird is prone to feather plucking, you may want to place the cage in a location where it can’t see its reflection in a mirror or window. Dark corners can also encourage feather plucking.
Putting It Together
Every bird cage is unique, and what you put in it will depend on your birds and their temperament.
Still, a general approach that new owners can take is:
Inside the Cage
- Firstly, get a cage of the correct size. I have already shared the best sizes. But remember – bigger bird cages with extra space are always better. Always invest in good quality cages – they pay off in the long run and are better for your birds.
- Next, you can add the perches. Natural and textured perches are the best. Try to create a trail of perches that your birds can follow from one part of the cage to another.
- Add some ropes, ladders, or climbing toys to the cage.
- Add in the food and water bowls. Remember to take out the food bowl at night to prevent bacterial growth and pests. Create a space in your home to store your cockatiel’s food supplies.
- Slowly introduce toys that your bird likes and keep rotating them.
Outside the Cage
- Add a lining to the bottom of the cage. You should replace this every day. Spray the bars at the bottom with an antibacterial spray to discourage growth. Do not introduce nesting boxes unless you want to encourage your birds to breed.
- Place the cage at a height in a well-ventilated and lit safe space. Avoid high-traffic zones and areas with fumes.
- Be open to changes! If your bird does not like something, or if you see them ignoring a toy or perch, keep trying out different areas and placements.
Cockatiel Cage Price
The cage price will depend on the size and material that it is made of, and how many of the accessories that we mentioned are pre-built into the cage.
But on average, a metallic bird cage with no frills and the right size necessary for a cockatiel will cost you around $75- $100.
If you are looking for something on the pricier side with lots of bells and whistles, it might even go as high as $300-$500
Is It a Good Idea To Make A DIY Cage?
Making a DIY cage means you will need to have some amount of expertise in the field.
While it is not a bad idea, you will have to make sure your work is up to the necessary safety and quality standards. You can take help from DIY videos such as this:
Good finishing is necessary, or your bird may scratch itself. Before diving into it, ensure you know the standards, sizes, and materials needed for your bird.
While it does require some commitment, DIY cages give you great flexibility in terms of design choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of cage is best for a cockatiel?
A metal cage that is powder coated with non-toxic material is the best. It should not be smaller than 24 x 24 x 24 inches (for a single bird) and 24 x 24 x 36 inches (for two birds).
Cockatiels tend to chew on things, and anything else – like wood or plastic may age badly. Moreover, thick metal cages are long-lasting and sturdy.
What is the best material for lining a bird cage?
You can line it with any material that is easily available and disposable. Some common items include old newspapers, soft napkins, economic liners, or paper towels.
You should change the lining every day, or sooner to prevent bacterial growth and stench.
Do cockatiels prefer tall or wide cages?
Since cockatiels fly from side to side, wider cages are preferable. To encourage up and down movement, you can add perches.
Cockatiels have climbing feet, like all parrot species, and are more likely to climb to taller places, given the opportunity.
Do cockatiels need nesting material?
Cockatiels only need nesting material if they are a breeding pair. Breeding pairs will need soft material down to line their nest.
However, cockatiels do not make complex, well-structured nests and minimum material is enough.
Your bird’s cage will be its home. Hence, make sure to clean it every day. Do not use strong chemicals. Instead, opt for antibacterial bird sprays that are not toxic for them.
Domestic birds often retire to their cages at night, as they perceive it to be a safe space.
Thank you for reading!