Cockatiel Costs And Where To Buy? Short & Long-Term Costs Explained

Looking to get a cockatiel for your home but worried about the costs? In this article, we will detail cockatiel costs and where to buy them for you to make a smart choice.

Cockatiels are delightful pet birds. These small parrots are generally easy to care for as compared to some of the larger ones from their family. 

But if you are new to raising birds, you should be aware of the costs of not just owning but keeping a bird that is likely going to be a companion to you for the next 15-20 years.

These costs can include regular food, veterinary costs, grooming, and housing. Of course, perhaps the highest cost of owning a cockatiel is the initial purchase price. 

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    Cockatiel Costs And Where To Buy

    These birds can range in price from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars, depending on the specific breed and where you purchase it from.

    In this article, we will help you understand everything you need to know about how much you might have to provide in order to bring a cockatiel into your life.

    How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Cockatiel?

    A cockatiel costs less than some of the larger members of the parrot family, such as conures and macaws. But they’re still pretty pricey! 

    Let’s understand the cost of getting the bird, medical costs, everyday expenses, and overall lifetime costs.

    Average Costs Of Common Cockatiel Mutations

    Cockatiels are hugely popular and are the top pet birds in the US

    The average cost of purchase can be as little as $25 or as high as $250, depending on the breed, color pattern, and age. Different pet stores also showcase different rates. 

    As you might guess, the more exotic the color mutation of the bird, the higher is the price. 

    Gray cockatiels (the most common ones) are the cheapest ones. Cinnamon and pied cockatiels come next in the pecking order. 

    Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?
    Albino cockatiels can be quite expensive

    At the higher end, we have Lutino cockatiels and, finally, Pearlies. Albino or white cockatiel prices are upwards of $450. 

    The average cost, if you buy them from a standalone breeder, stands around $60. However, if you buy from larger chains like Petco, it may go up to $129.99. 

    For online purchases, you can add another $25 for shipping feeds (within the US). Here’s a summary of average costs by mutation: 

    Cockatiel TypeCost
    Typical Grey Cockatiel$60 to $80
    Cinnamon Cockatiel$75 to $95
    Lutino Cockatiels$200 to $600
    Silver Cockatiel$250 to $300.
    Pearl Cockatiel$300 to $400
    Albino Cockatiels$450 to $600

    Can You Get A Cockatiel For Free?

    Yes, you can get a cockatiel for free if you know someone looking to rehome theirs. 

    Another cheap alternative is to adopt one for a minimal fee from a rescue home – it might cost you about $75 for an individual and $125 for a pair. 

    You will find many non-profit animal welfare organizations that allow people a chance to adopt a pet cockatiel. 

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      These cockatiels are usually rescues who are escapees from previous abusive owners. 

      Rescue centers train, tame, and offer these birds up to new owners for them to get a chance to a new life. The fee may vary depending on the center. 

      You can look at rescue centers online or attend parrot expos. There are two types of adoptions:

      1. Offered by zoos and national parks. You can “adopt” a bird and pay for its expenses while it remains at the rescue center. Anyone can sign up for these and adopt a bird. 
      2. Adopt a bird. This will require you to apply through a website or form, where the center will check your background and confirm your candidature. This is to ensure that the bird does not get rehomed again. 

      Cockatiel Costs And Where To Buy
      You can opt for a rehomed cockatiel or one that is up for adoption if you are willing to take on the additional responsibility

      How Much Is A Baby Cockatiel? 

      Cockatiel breeders and pet stores will usually sell birds around eight weeks of age. By eight weeks, cockatiels are fully weaned and can eat solid food independently. 

      The typical price for such hand-fed baby birds is around $100 to $300. Baby cockatiels that still need hand-feeding are usually not sold. 

      Some places might also not sell single cockatiels since they are social birds and need company. Otherwise, they end up depressed very quickly. These places will offer a minimum of two birds.

      How Much Does It Cost To Keep A Cockatiel? 

      Before purchasing a new cockatiel, it is important to consider the costs and responsibilities of pet ownership carefully.

      Ensure that you are prepared to provide the attention that the bird needs and support the various expenses, such as

      Initial Expenses


      The minimum cage size for a single cockatiel is 24 x 24 x 24 inches. This will allow the bird to explore and remain active. Such a cage can cost $70 and upwards. 

      Cockatiels are very prone to escaping their cages, so make sure you buy a sturdy one made only out of metal. Wooden cages will not work with these birds.

      Things to look out for in cockatiel cages:

      • The spacing between the bars should not be more than 5/8th of an inch apart.
      • Opt for cages with thick wires, as thin wires can hurt your bird.
      • Metal cages should be coated with non-toxic paint, as cockatiels tend to bite and chew things.

      Cockatiel Costs And Where To Buy
      Cockatiel cage should be atleast 24 x 24 x 24 inches

      Backup Cage

      A backup cage is the same as a normal cage but is meant to be used in emergencies. 

      As such, it can be slightly smaller than the main cage since it is only meant for temporary usage. You can buy slightly cheaper cages as backups (around $50)


      Cockatiels are active birds and enjoy having various levels of perches. 

      Moreover, to encourage their feet to grow strong, you should buy them good quality perches with lots of contours. 

      This is important because baby cockatiels get such perches in the wild in the form of tree branches to strengthen their grip

      Gripping contoured perches can help them develop their leg muscles. Perches can cost from $13 to $25 on Amazon or similar sites.

      Cockatiel Costs And Where To Buy
      Cockatiel love perches

      Training Costs

      To have a well-socialized bird, you must train them well. Training equipment is a one-time investment. To train your bird, you will need the following:

      • A training stand (T-shaped) for tables – $8
      • A training stand (T-shaped) for floors – $9
      • Shower perch – $9
      • Play basket – $9.50
      CategoryMinimum cost
      Cage$ 70
      Back up cage$ 50
      Perches$ 13
      Training equipment$ 37
      TOTAL$ 170

      Medical Costs

      Just like us, our birds also need routine visits to the vet to ensure their good health. A simple visit that does not include any tests can cost upwards of $50

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        One visit every year should be good enough. Emergency visits for deworming, X-rays, or suggested tests will cost extra. 


        Pet insurance is a great way to cover any sudden costs. This can include sudden medical conditions, your bird being stolen, or death. 

        Depending on the company, you can opt for various insurance levels, starting from about $20 per month. 

        Everyday Expenses On Cockatiels


        Cockatiels need constant mental stimulation. They tend to get bored of the same thing, which is why you need to keep up a rotation of bird toys. 

        You can get interactive toys, bells, foraging toys, and balls

        Mental stimulation is as important for these birds as daily food – especially if your bird is alone for long periods. A budget of around $50 per month for toys would be ideal. 

        Cockatiel Costs And Where To Buy
        Cockatiels need a lot of mental stimulation


        A healthy bird eats around 30 to 40 grams of food daily. This includes seeds, fresh fruit, and pellets; the cost of food per bird is usually around $15 to $35. 

        Food & Water Bowls

        Fresh food and water bowls are an initial investment. However, cockatiels tend to chew through things, so you might need to replace their food and water dishes annually. This can cost around $10 to 25. 

        Cleaning Costs

        To keep your bird’s environment clean and hygienic, you must clean its cage regularly. The sanitizers we use are extremely strong for birds. 

        Invest in bird cage cleaners and antibacterial sprays. These can cost around  $10 to $20, which you can purchase once in around three months.

        CategoryAverage cost (Yearly)
        Food$15 x 12 
        Insurance$20 x 12
        Vet$50 x 1
        Cleaning supplies$10 x 4
        Toys$50 x 1
        Food and water bowls$10 x 1
        TOTAL$ 570 per year

        Lifetime Expenses Of Owning A Cockatiel

        Cockatiels have a lifespan of around 15 to 20 years. So, for a bird that lives till the age of 15, the cost of upkeep would be:

        • Fixed Costs: $170
        • Yearly upkeep: $ 570 x 15 = $ 8,550
        • Other Incidental Expenses = $1,000

        All-in-all, one can expect to spend about $10,000 over the entire lifetime of the bird.

        This does not include the actual cost of buying your cockatiels and any emergencies that arise due to old age or medical issues. 

        You can add an additional $300 to include the cost of buying one. Of course, this number can also be higher if you opt for a larger cage or get a flying cage for them. 

        You might think that the lifetime cost is coming out too high, but trust us, $10,000 is nothing compared to the love, affection, and companionship that your bird will give you.

        Cockatiel Costs And Where To Buy
        You should also get your tiels some climbing toys

        Why Are Cockatiels So Expensive?

        They are not. Consider the alternatives.

        While on the whole, $10,000 may seem like a large sum – it’s quite small compared to the cost of owning a large dog at $15,480

        Cats and dogs are among the most common pets. In comparison, owning a cockatiel is less expensive. 

        The first major difference is in the cost of ownership itself. Buying a dog can cost you anywhere between $300 to $3,000! Cockatiels can be bought for as little as $50.

        However, they have longer lifespans which increases their overall costs a bit. For example, a large dog might live for only ten years on average.

        Overall, cockatiels give you longer companionship at much lower costs. They are almost equally intelligent, adept at tricks and having fun, and close to their owners.

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          Where Can I Buy A Cockatiel Near Me?

          Verified Breeders

          There are two ways to get cockatiels:

          • Look for a breeder in and around your locality. It’s best to get birds front trusted, verified breeders. This will ensure you get tagged, hand-reared, and well-socialized bids. You can check out available, verified breeders here
          • Find a nearby organization that allows you to adopt rescues. Make sure the adoption center is a legitimate, non-profit organization. 

          Cockatiel Costs And Where To Buy
          It’s best to choose a verified breeder who will provide all information that you need to take care of the cockatiel

          How Much Does A Cockatiel Cost At Petco?

          As we discussed, the cost of an individual bird may vary based on many factors. But as a rule of thumb, the average sits at around $129.99 at Petco. 

          As of now, they do not sell these birds online. They are available for purchase in-house. 

          How Much Does A Cockatiel Cost At Petsmart?

          Cockatiels are not regularly listed on Petsmart. You can visit their stores to see the availability of cockatiels. 

          You can find conures, parakeets, and other birds on their website. Cockatiel food, toys, and perches are available. 

          Frequently Asked Questions 

          Is It Better To Have 1 Or 2 Cockatiels?

          It’s best to have cockatiels in pairs. Since they are social and monogamous birds, it’s best to get male and female cockatiels as a pair. 
          While you can have a single cockatiel, you will need to give them a lot of time and attention throughout the day. 

          Is Owning A Cockatiel Hard?

          Cockatiels are easy to own and train. They are considered great beginner pets for people to start out with. 
          Their easygoing personality makes them friends quickly with humans. Moreover, there’s no need to fear being nipped at since cockatiels do not easily bite their keepers.

          Should A Cockatiel Be Covered At Night?

          Adult cockatiels do not need to be covered at night. Having no light can cause a bird to get night terrors where it thrashes wildly due to fear of the unknown. 
          It’s best to keep them in a place with some illumination or give them a night light.

          What Is The Lifespan Of A Cockatiel As A Pet?

          The average lifespan of a domestic cockatiel is between 15 to 20 years. As such, a cockatiel is as much of a long-term commitment as a cat or a dog. 
          A healthy and well-kept cockatiel can also grow as old as 30 years!

          Wrap Up

          Overall, the cost of upkeep is a small price to pay to have a long-term companion.

          These prices we discussed can vary greatly depending on the type of grooming, diet, and care you give your bird.

          Thank you for reading.

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