Do Cockatiels Need a Bed? Or Are Bird Beds Just a Fad?

If you are trying to raise a cockatiel on a budget, you want to avoid unnecessary expenses. For example, do cockatiels need a bed, or is it just a fad? Let’s find out.

When you get a pet cockatiel, it’s only normal that you’d want to keep it as comfortable as possible.

If you have been trying to figure out if you should add a bed to its cage, you aren’t alone.

Bird owners often wonder if a bed would help their feathered friend sleep better.

Well, in my view, a cockatiel is naturally accustomed to sleeping on perches. But you can still give it a bed if you want to.

It’s not as important as it is made out to be in some forums. Let me explain a bit more in detail.

Do Cockatiels Need a Bed

Where Do Cockatiels Sleep?

Generally, the best way to make your cockatiel’s lifestyle as healthy and comfortable as possible is to help it adhere to its natural habits.

The same applies to sleeping too, which is why it’s important to find out where cockatiels usually sleep.

In The Wild

Wild cockatiels sleep on tree branches. They find trees with lots of branches and then pick out one that looks nice and sturdy. Then, they perch on it.

However, they often move to leafier and enclosed parts of trees to protect themselves during bad weather conditions.

Cockatiels sleep together in groups or pairs in the wild to conserve heat during the winters, something quite common in most birds.

Do Cockatiels Need a Bed
Find a good perch and then roost for the night – that’s the mantra for most birds. If they can find a partner to snuggle up with, all the better

As a Pet

The perches in bird cages substitute tree branches, serving the same function. From what I have seen, pet cockatiels usually just fall asleep on a perch.

However, some prefer to sleep by perching themselves on the cage’s bars by their feet and beak.

The sleeping position may vary from one cockatiel to another, but it’s quite common for them to sleep with their head behind under a wing.

Adult cockatiels stand on one leg while sleeping and can sometimes leave one eye open.

A baby cockatiel, however, might put both its legs down when it sleeps.

Cockatiels would happily sleep on a bed if you provide one, but it’s not usually necessary.

Do Cockatiels Need a Bed?

As I explained earlier, pet cockatiels sleep on cage perches just the way they sleep on tree branches in the wild.

There’s no need to give your cockatiel a bed – it can sleep just fine even without one.

However, it might still be a good idea for your cockatiel to have a bed, as it would help improve the bird’s quality of sleep.

If your house is cold, sleeping on the perch might be a bit uncomfortable for your cockatiel sometimes.

A bed will give it a place to snuggle and stay warm.

If you really want to give your bird a bed, don’t spend your money on store-bought ones. Just build your birds one with your own hands.

Here’s a video that shows how easy it is:

Of course, if you don’t have the time, you can also find readymade beds for cockatiels at pet stores, but those are usually quite expensive.

How Long Do Cockatiels Sleep?

Like most bird species, adult cockatiels need at least 10 to 12 hours of sleep in addition to the occasional naps they take throughout the day.

Depending on its age, a cockatiel might even sleep for even longer.

It’s crucial for pet birds to get enough sleep, even if they don’t spend as much energy as wild ones.

Do Cockatiels Need a Bed
Beds are cozy but perches are the natural way to go for cockatiels when sleeping.

Should You Cover Their Cage At Night?

Although this isn’t mandatory, I would recommend you to keep your cockatiel’s age covered at night.

In my experience, it helps them sleep better because it reduces the noise levels and keeps out light.

In short, your pet would enjoy a more peaceful and uninterrupted sleep.

Moreover, if you face a tough time calming your cockatiel during bedtime, covering the cage can be of help.

Again, cockatiels are notorious for their night frights, and a covered cage helps, here as well. Besides, it also helps greatly with sleep training.

One thing is important – make sure to use a breathable material to cover the cage.

How Can You Avoid Night Frights In Your Cockatiel?

Owing to their survival instincts, cockatiels are light sleepers.

When startled in their sleep, they start flapping their wings hard to make as much noise as possible.

These are what bird owners call ‘night frights’

This habit is extremely common among pet cockatiels as well. Even if there’s no real threat, night frights are dangerous for caged birds.

Hitting the cage bars, perches, or toys with those wildly flapping wings can badly injure your pet. Here are some tips on how you can avoid night frights for your cockatiel.

  • Cover the cage as mentioned earlier
  • Try to keep the cage in a room that no one usually enters at night
  • Leave the room completely dark – even a night light can scare the bird.
  • Don’t make any loud noises at night, and shut the doors to avoid disturbing your pet.

Do Cockatiels Need a Bed
I will say it again – they don’t need a bed to sleep in!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a cockatiel need in its cage?

Keeping a food bowl and water dishes in a cockatiel’s cage is essential.
However, apart from wood and water, a cockatiel also requires entertainment. Make sure to put some toys in the cage for your pet to play with.
Add perches, some bells and ropes, climbing material like ladders, and of course, a slide-out tray at the bottom to clean out the stool and bird feathers, etc.

Do cockatiels need nesting material?

If you have a female cockatiel, you may need to provide it with nesting materials during the nesting season.
Note that this also applies to single birds, as they can lay eggs even without mating. They naturally start trying to build a nest to lay the eggs in, if you don’t provide one.
However, since there is no material available in the cage, they might end up hurting themselves trying to escape it.

Where should a cockatiel sleep?

A healthy cockatiel would usually sleep on a perch, or in some cases, along the cage bars.
However, you may also provide it with a cockatiel bed to sleep on. If it’s cold, a cozy bed will help your pet sleep well.

What time do you put your cockatiel to bed?

Remember, your cockatiel needs to sleep for 10 to 12 hours. They wake up at sunrise, following the cycle of nature.
If the sun rises at 5:30 am at your place, you should put the cockatiel to sleep no later than 7:30 pm.

Wrap up

It’s not uncommon for pet owners to provide their feathered friends with beds to keep them comfy, and it’s perfectly fine.

While it’s not mandatory, you may do the same if you think that will help your cockatiel sleep better.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you found the article worthwhile.

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.
Team Beauty of Birds is separate from the “Parrot Parent University” parrot training course and its instructors.

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