Cockatiel Size: How Big Does a Cockatiel Get?

It’s important to understand how big your pet bird might get so as to make the right provisions for it. Learn all about how big a cockatiel gets in the blog below.

Cockatiels are small parrots belonging to the cockatoo family that is very common as pet birds across the world. 

Though native to Australia, pet cockatiels can be found on every continent, and they can survive in most sub-tropical climates. 

These birds are monogamous and often found living in pairs. They are quite vocal and can mimic a variety of whistle tones. 

To keep a cockatiel healthy, you should consistently monitor their growth, food, water intake, droppings, and social interactions. In this article, we’ll take a look at what healthy growth for a cockatiel looks like. 

How Big Does A Cockatiel Get
Cockatiels can grow bigger than your hand, and their tails and crest make the length even bigger

Cockatiel Size And Growth Chart

Cockatiels wean at around six months of age, which is when their bodies are almost fully grown in size. This is the usual age at which pet stores sell them to new owners.

However, if you end up with a small chick, you will have to hand-feed them and record their weight daily. 

You can track their weight daily for the first two months of their life. Beyond this, daily weighing is unnecessary, but you still need to keep a visual check to ensure your bird is not losing weight. 

Here’s a cockatiel growth chart from Avian Medicine, Principles and Practises

  • New-born baby bird: < 5g
  • 3 to 6 days – 5 to 12 g
  • 2 to 3 weeks – 45 to 70g
  • 3 to 4 weeks – 72 to 108g
  • 4 to 5 weeks – 80 to 150g
  • 5 to 6 weeks – 80 to 90g
  • 6 to 7 weeks – 80 to 95g
  • 12 months or adult cockatiel –  90-110 g

These birds reach sexual maturity beyond 12 months of age. Until this age, you will notice various changes in your cockatiel, from the color of its coat to the length of its crest. 

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide
Baby cockatiel

Once an adult, there will be little changes to their overall size and weight. 

However, in the initial months, cockatiel chicks grow rapidly, and you should continuously monitor their weight to identify stunting or diseases. 

There will also be other minor changes. 

For example, chicks lose around 10% of their body weight during the weaning stage. 

Moreover, different species have different weights. A fully grown adult can weigh anything from 2.6 to 5.3 oz. 

You might sometimes have a cockatiel that turns out small in size despite having a healthy diet. 

As long as your chick is healthy, getting proper care, and showing steady growth, there is nothing to worry about. 

You can also look for these signs in your bird:

  • Overweight – Lethargic and stomach appear bloated, unable to fly around actively, ruffled feathers
  • Underweight – Irregular coat, improper molting, and no sign of visible keel bone (chest bone) 

When Does A Cockatiel Stop Growing?

Males achieve sexual maturity at 13 months, and female cockatiels at 18. This is when cockatiels are fully grown and stop growing. 

While they may look fully grown as early as six months of age, these birds are yet to go through their first molting and develop unique feather patterns. 

They will also develop longer tail feathers and crests. 

A fully-grown bird will be between 9.84 to 13.78 inches long. When opened, their wings will span 11.8 to 13.7 inches. 

How Big Does A Cockatiel Get
Young cockatiel

Factors Affecting The Size Of Cockatiels

The overall size of a cockatiel is mostly dependent on its genes. As such, you cannot actually make a bird larger by feeding them more. 

In fact, overfeeding chicks can actually cause their crops to overfill and choke them. You can notice early signs of stunting if your chick falls below the average ranges mentioned above. 

To ensure proper growth, your cockatiel needs two things: a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins and regular exercise. 

You also need to provide them with toys and puzzles to keep them mentally stimulated and happy. 

Ideal Diet For Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Pellets and seeds should constitute most of your cockatiel’s diet, with fresh fruits and vegetables as an addition. 

Make sure to feed them both types of pellets – those that are vitamin rich as well as those made from compressed oats, cornmeal, and the like.

Seeds like sunflower and millet are high in fat and can cause heart diseases. 

Cockatiels are fond of these and, if fed seeds in large quantities, will refuse to eat healthier options like vegetables and pellets. 

Ideally, pellets and vegetables should form around 75% of their diet, and seeds 25%. 

If your cockatiel refuses to eat vegetables, you can look for vegetable pellets

The total quantity for an adult cockatiel is between 30 to 40 grams daily. Before breeding, you need to increase high-energy food like seeds. 

For ideal health, cockatiels (especially egg-laying females) also need cuttlebone powder and mineral blocks. Some people feed them eggshells as a calcium supplement. 

How Big Does A Cockatiel Get
Fully grown Cockatiel bird

How To Measure Your Cockatiel

There are two ways of measuring your bird. 

Weight

To weigh a bird, you only need a sensitive gram scale. Place some food on the scale and allow your bid to get used to it. Subtract the final weight from the weight of the food on it. 

Girth or Length Measurement

To measure a bird, you need to know the two different spaces considered. Healthy birds are measured by their girth and length.

To measure girth, place a tape running around the fattest part of your bird’s body, excluding the wings. If your bird gets scared by the sharp tape, use a cotton string and later measure that.

To measure length, measure from the base of their neck, along their back to the beginning of their tail. You do not need to measure them from their beak to the tip of the tail.

Nest Size For Your Cockatiel 

Cockatiels should be kept in cages where they can fly and get in some exercise. It is good to have a perch and some toys in their cage for them to get some exercise.

It’s best to keep a pair in a cage at least 20 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 50 inches long. 

Of course, bigger is better, as birds that fly and engage in activities automatically remain healthier than their lethargic, cloistered counterparts. 

In fact, in the wild, cockatiels can travel at speeds of 43 miles in an hour.

For nesting, you can provide them with a box that is at least 9 inches wide, 11 inches wide, and 12 inches long. 

Cockatiels have small bodies but long tails! An opening that is 2 inches across is enough for in and out movement.

Cockatiels can be messy. They produce fine powdery dust on their feathers. It is important to keep their cages clean for good hygiene and to avoid infections.

How Big Does A Cockatiel Get

At what age are cockatiels full-grown?

Cockatiels look fully grown by six months in terms of size. 
That is, a six months cockatiel will hardly grow any taller or longer (though it may change coat colors). 
However, sexual maturity takes more than a year and even longer for females.

How long do indoor cockatiels live?

A domestic and well-cared-for cockatiel can live for 15 to 20 years. The oldest cockatiel ever was 36 years of age
A good, balanced diet and regular exercise are key to a healthy bird. Wild cockatiels have shorter lifespans due to predation and disease.

Do cockatiels like to cuddle?

Cockatiels exhibit social behavior and enjoy staying close to their keepers. However, they have individual personalities. 
As such, some birds may greatly enjoy cuddling and scratches, whereas others do not. Most cockatiels do tolerate human touch well.

Do cockatiels like to cuddle?

Cockatiels are extremely social birds and enjoy staying close to their keepers. However, they have individual personalities. 
As such, some birds may greatly enjoy cuddling and scratches, whereas others do not. Most cockatiels do tolerate human touch well.

How big is a full-grown cockatiel?

A full-grown cockatiel will have a size of 12 to 13 inches. This is measured from the top of their head to the end of their tail, without the crest. 
A long crest may well add another inch on top, and different birds will have different crest and tail lengths.

Wrap Up

Cockatiels can live for a long time and can be a pet that spans generations. It’s best to get one if you are comfortable with the idea of a long-lived companion pet. 

Their size is ideal for beginner owners.  But to keep a cockatiel happy, one needs to spend considerable time with them. 

Their sociable personality makes handling and training a lot easier. If you’re looking for a larger bird, you can consider other parrot species. 

Thank you for reading.

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