What’s the best cockatiel food?
This is a question that you must know the answer to if you are thinking of getting one of these gorgeous birds!
In this article, we’ll look at what foods cockatiels can eat. What’s the best cockatiel food?
But first of all, what’s a cockatiel and where do they come from?
What’s a cockatiel?
Cockatiels are a very popular species of domestic bird, being extremely social and intelligent birds.
The cockatiel is a small member of the cockatoo family and originates from Australia.
Wild cockatiels are primarily grey in color, but domestic birds can be pied (yellow or multicolored), or white too.
Feeding your cockatiel for health
To keep your cockatiel in good health, it’s essential that you feed her correctly.
Cockatiels can be vulnerable to obesity and iodine deficiency. Egg binding and feather picking can also affect cockatiels if they are not fed correctly.
All birds need a proper balance of fats, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, and water in their diet to keep them healthy – just like other animals and people too.
Different species of birds, including cockatiels, often require different foods that mirror what they would eat naturally in the wild.
So what’s the best cockatiel food?
What do wild cockatiels eat?
In their natural environment, cockatiels eat a variety of grass seeds, berries, vegetation, and fruit.
In some areas of their native land, cockatiels can be a menace to farmers, raiding crops in huge flocks!
What foods can cockatiels eat?
Cockatiels should get most of their nutrition from food pellets, with some seed added in and fresh fruits and vegetables for a balanced diet.
Feeding a diet like this can ensure you’re giving your pet the best cockatiel food!
Cockatiel food pellets
Cockatiel food pellets have been developed to meet all your pet’s nutritional needs. You can buy different formulations for different life stages and to manage certain diseases.
Pellets make the best cockatiel food and should definitely be on your cockatiel food list. You should ensure that pellets make up 75-80% of your pet’s diet.
There are lots of good-quality brands of pellet foods on the market in many different flavors, shapes, and colors.
Here are some cockatiel pelleted foods that we think tick all the right boxes.
ZuPreem 230353 Natural Medium Bird Food
This food for cockatiels and other medium sized birds contains the perfect balance of nutritional requirements that you cockatiel needs to stay happy and healthy.
The pellets are specially sized to be suitable for medium-size birds, including cockatiels.
ZuPreem Avian Maintenance Fruit Blend Premium Bird Diet
Try this pelleted diet for best health. It contains fresh ground fruit, together with 21 minerals and vitamins to provide your cockatiel with the perfect balanced diet. No additional supplementation is required with this cockatiel food.
Pure Fun Bird Food
Pure Fun Bird Food comes as a pellet-form food that’s intended to be fed as a treat. The pellets contain fruit, nuts, and veg. Note that this pellet food should not make up more than 30% of your cockatiel’s weekly diet.
ZuPreem Veggie Blend Flavor Bird Food
ZuPreem Veggie Blend Flavor Bird Food contains natural carrot flavoring to offer a healthy and nutritional pellet for everyday feeding.
Tropical Carnival F. M. Brown’s Bird Food for Cockatiels
We especially love this great complete diet for cockatiels! This pelleted food is specially formulated to suit the dietary needs of cockatiels and other small parrot species.
Prebiotics and probiotics have been added to the food to stimulate good digestion, enabling your pet to extract the best from the nutrient-rich ingredients.
This blend is formulated to be 100% edible so there’s no waste. Real fruit has been added to the mix to create a tempting food to encourage even the fussiest and selective of feeders to tuck in!
Hari Tropimix Enrichment Food
Hari Tropimix Enrichment Food is designed to provide your cockatiel with all the essential amino acids and vitamins that she needs for vivid colors and luxuriant feather growth.
Your bird’s immune system is boosted through the stimulation of the vascular systems.
The food contains legumes, nuts, fruits, grains, and is 100% edible so there’s no waste.
Wild cockatiels eat a wide variety of seeds, depending on what plants come into season.
Cockatiels can be fussy feeders, picking and choosing the seed types they most enjoy and neglecting other, less appealing varieties.
This can cause a problem for birds that are fed an exclusively seed-based diet.
Commercially available seed mixtures usually contain between four and 10 different kinds of nuts and seeds.
However, some of these foods are very high in carbohydrates and fats and they are not a well-balanced diet for your bird.
Cockatiels tend to selectively eat only their preferred one or two types of seed. Sunflower seed and millet is often chosen preferentially, which could lead to your cockatiel eating too much fat, as well as suffering from deficiencies in vitamin A and calcium.
Be aware that foods that are marketed as “molting food,” “song food,” or “conditioning food” are just different combinations of different seeds.
Healthy molts, strong conditioning, and vibrant song is all achieved through feeding your cockatiel a well-balanced diet!
By all means, offer your cockatiel a small amount of seed for variety.
Millet sprays are often a popular choice, although you may need to remove the spray for a while each day or offer it only occasionally to stop your pet from gorging on the tasty seeds.
So, the bottom line here is that seeds should form part of your cockatiel’s diet, but certainly not the whole thing.
Best cockatiel seed mixes
Here are some bird seed mixes that you could offer to your cockatiel as a treat alongside pellets and fresh fruits, veg, and greens.
Higgins Sunburst Cockatiel Food
This gourmet bird seed-based diet is a great blend of seeds, including rape, hemp, sesame, poppy, and canary seed.
There are also pellets included to balance the mixture. Pieces of dried coconut, strawberry, papaya and pineapple pieces, spinach, carrots, and pea flakes complete the formula.
Digestive probiotics are added for a healthy digestion along with DHA and omega fatty acids. The food contains no added preservatives or artificial colors.
Volkman Avian Science Super Parrot Bird Food Seed Mix
Volkman Avian Science Super Parrot Bird Food Seed Mix is a blend of shelled peanuts, pumpkin seed, coconut, papaya, banana, sunflower and safflower.
The carefully blended ingredients supply your cockatiel with a range of vitamins and minerals in a clean, dust-free formula.
Volkman Avian Science Super Cockatiel No Sunflower Bird Food
This formulation, which your bird will love, contains grains, healthy seeds, veggies, and fruits.
The blend contains no high-fat content sunflower seeds, making it ideal for overweight cockatiels.
Fruits and veggies
Your cockatiel’s daily diet should include approximately 25% greens, veggies, and fruits.
Avoid feeding pale colored vegetables, as these tend to have a very high water composition and very little nutritional value.
Always wash fruit and veg thoroughly to ensure it contains no toxic chemicals. Cut the fruit and veg into manageable pieces to suit the size of the bird.
Cockatiel safe foods
The following are all good fruits and veggies that you could feed to your cockatiel:
- Cherries (not the stone)
- Bok choy
- Red and green peppers
- Sweet potato
Do NOT feed avocado to your cockatiel, which is reportedly potentially toxic.
Be sure to make fresh, clean water available to your cockatiel at all times. If your tap water is very hard or chemical-heavy, you may prefer to give your pet bottled or filtered water instead.
Make sure that you wash out all food and water containers daily with mild dish soap and clean, warm water.
And always remove unwanted food from your cockatiel’s cage. Soiled, stale food won’t be eaten and could encourage bacterial growth, which could be harmful to your pet.
Can cockatiels eat people food?
In general, any food that is wholesome and nutritious and that’s enjoyed by you and your family, is okay for your cockatiel to have too.
However, common sense should be applied here. Don’t overdo dairy foods, and don’t feed your bird chocolate, caffeine-containing products, or alcohol.
It’s really better for your cockatiel to feed her only specially prepared cockatiel pellets, carefully selected seed mix, and fresh fruit and veg as treats.
Cockatiel bird food – extra vitamins and minerals
If your bird is eating up to 80% of her diet in pelleted form, she probably won’t need supplements, as vitamins and minerals will be included in the pellet formula.
Note that if your bird is breeding and laying eggs, a calcium supplement may be required. Ask a specialist avian vet for more advice on this.
Birds that are weak or suffering from illness may need supplementation to their diet while they are recovering to full strength and health.
Again, your specialist vet will provide you will full guidance on this aspect of your cockatiel’s care.
Does your cockatiel need grit or gravel?
It is not considered necessary to provide grit for your cockatiel to help her digest her food. In fact, some birds encounter problems if they eat too much grit or gravel.
Best food for cockatiels
The key to providing a good diet for your cockatiel is to offer her a high-quality pelleted food, together with some seeds as treats, and a good variety of fresh fruits, veggies, and greens.
Always make sure that you provide a supply of clean, fresh water for your pet.
Best cockatiel food – A summary
Do you have a cockatiel?
If you do, we’d love to know what you think is the best bird food for cockatiels, based on your own experiences.
Why not tell us all about your cockatiel in the comments section below? What do you think is the best cockatiel food? We’d love to hear your story!
References and Further Reading
- International Cockatiel Society
- National Cockatiel Society
- Axelson, R. Cockatiels – Feeding. VCA Hospitals.
- Gorman, M. (2010). The Cockatiel Handbook. Barron’s Educational Series: New York.