How to Successfully Raise and Hand-raise Cockatiels: A Step-by-Step Guide

One of the reasons why cockatiels are so popular is because of their friendly and affectionate nature. They thrive on social interaction and are known for forming strong bonds with their owners. Cockatiels are also highly intelligent and can be trained to do a variety of tricks, including whistling and talking. Additionally, they are relatively easy to care for and require only basic supplies to keep them happy and healthy.

Getting Started

Choosing the Right Cockatiel

When choosing a cockatiel, it’s important to look for a bird that is healthy and active. Look for a bird with bright, alert eyes, clean feathers, and a well-groomed appearance. Avoid birds that appear sluggish or have any signs of illness, such as discharge from the eyes or nostrils. It’s also a good idea to choose a bird that is hand-raised, as these birds are generally more tame and easier to train.

Preparing the Bird’s Living Space

Cockatiels require a spacious cage that is equipped with perches, food and water dishes, and plenty of toys for enrichment. The cage should be placed in a well-lit area of your home, away from drafts and direct sunlight. Be sure to clean the cage regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and other harmful substances.

Essential Bird Supplies

In addition to a cage, you’ll need a few key supplies to keep your cockatiel healthy and happy. These include a high-quality bird food, fresh water, bird-safe toys for enrichment, and a variety of perches of different sizes and textures. You’ll also need a bird bath for your cockatiel to bathe in, as well as a small tray or dish for offering fresh fruits and vegetables.

Hand-raising Techniques

The Benefits of Hand-raising Cockatiels

Hand-raising cockatiels involves feeding them by hand from a young age, which helps to socialize the bird and make it more tame. Hand-raised birds are generally more affectionate and easier to train, as they are used to human interaction from an early age.

Hand-feeding Equipment and Techniques

To hand-feed a cockatiel, you’ll need a specialized hand-feeding formula and a syringe or spoon for feeding. The formula should be heated to the appropriate temperature and fed to the bird in small amounts, several times a day. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure that the bird is getting the right amount of nutrition.

Creating a Hand-raising Schedule

Hand-raising a cockatiel requires a significant amount of time and dedication, as the bird will need to be fed every few hours around the clock. It’s important to create a feeding schedule and stick to it, even if it means setting an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night. Over time, you can gradually reduce the frequency of feedings as the bird grows and matures.

Basic Training

Establishing a Routine

Cockatiels thrive on routine, so it’s important to establish a daily schedule for feeding, playtime, and training. This will help your bird feel more secure and comfortable in its environment.

Teaching Your Cockatiel to Step Up

One of the first training exercises you’ll want to teach your cockatiel is how to step up onto your hand or a perch. This involves offering your hand or perch and encouraging the bird to climb onto it using a gentle voice and positive reinforcement.

Teaching Your Cockatiel to Whistle and Talk

Cockatiels are natural mimics and can be taught to whistle and talk with patience and practice. Start by teaching your bird simple whistles or phrases, and gradually build up to more complex ones over time.

Advanced Training

Teaching Your Cockatiel Tricks

Cockatiels are incredibly intelligent and can be trained to do a variety of tricks, including fetching, turning in circles, and even playing dead. Use positive reinforcement and repetition to help your bird learn these fun and entertaining behaviors.

Teaching Your Cockatiel to Potty Train

One of the most challenging aspects of owning a bird is dealing with their droppings. However, with a little patience and training, you can teach your cockatiel to potty train. This involves rewarding the bird for going to the bathroom in a designated area, such as a small tray or dish.

Teaching Your Cockatiel to Fly to You

Another advanced training technique is teaching your cockatiel to fly to you on command. This involves using positive reinforcement and gradually increasing the distance between you and the bird until it can fly to you from across the room.

Health and Wellness

Common Health Issues in Cockatiels

Like all pets, cockatiels are prone to certain health issues, including respiratory infections, feather picking, and egg binding. It’s important to monitor your bird’s health closely and seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of illness.

Caring for Your Cockatiel’s Feathers and Beak

To keep your cockatiel’s feathers and beak healthy, it’s important to provide them with regular grooming and maintenance. This includes trimming the bird’s wings and nails, as well as offering opportunities for bathing and preening.

Caring for Your Cockatiel’s Mental Health

Cockatiels are highly social birds and thrive on interaction with their owners. It’s important to provide your bird with plenty of opportunities for play and socialization, as well as a comfortable and stimulating environment to live in.


Cockatiels are wonderful pets that bring joy and companionship to their owners. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can raise a happy and healthy cockatiel that is well-trained and socialized. Remember to be patient and consistent in your training efforts, and always prioritize your bird’s health and well-being above all else. With a little love and care, your cockatiel will become a beloved member of your family for years to come.

ThePetFaq Team