Are Cockatiels Easily Trained?




Are Cockatiels Easily Trained?

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Can cockatiel be tamed easily? Considering how adorable parrots are, it is no longer surprising that pet lovers want to have one at home. But how hard is it to tame a cockatiel?

Cockatiels are easy to tame. They are friendly and sociable, so it will take no time before they trust their human companion. But it would be best if you were patient when taming your cockatiel as it may not cooperate promptly. 

Can Cockatiel Be Tamed Easily?

A cockatiel is one of the friendliest parrots that one can get. They are gentle and affectionate, making them a great addition to any home. For this reason, cockatiels are a great parrot choice for beginners. 

However, a newly brought home cockatiel can be aggressive since it is not familiar to you yet. That said, you need to tame your cockatiel once it gets acquainted with its new environment. But can cockatiel be tamed easily?

Is It Hard To Tame A Cockatiel?

Cockatiels are sociable. They are relatively small, but these birds pack prominent personalities and unique attributes that make them excellent pets. Since cockatiels are friendly, you will be able to tame them easily. Still, it is essential to note that you need to be patient as your pet will not get what you are teaching within just a day. 

Additionally, you cannot tame a cockatiel if it is relatively new in its environment. The reason is that it is still familiarizing itself with its surrounding, so it might see you as a threat if you suddenly come near it. As a result, it may bite you in an attempt to save itself. 

But once you earn the trust of your pet, you can tame your cockatiel easily if you are willing to spend time, effort, and patience. This bird’s unique personality and friendliness make it easy to tame. However, you need an appropriate taming method to get a successful outcome. 

You also need to understand your pet’s background for you to tame it easily. For instance, young cockatiels, particularly at eight to 12 weeks old, are easier to tame than adult ones. If you adopt a cockatiel that has not been socialized, taming it may take more time. 

Moreover, you can tame a cockatiel easily with short sessions in a quiet environment. If you have two cockatiels, it is best to tame them separately as they may distract each other. (source)

How To Tame A Cockatiel

The best time to tame a cockatiel is eight to 12 weeks old. An older cockatiel may be more challenging to tame, thus resulting in a longer taming time. While you can tame your cockatiel easily, it is essential to be patient when doing so. 

A feeling of frustration is understandable, but you have to make sure that you do not make your cockatiel feel your frustration. The reason is that parrots are generally sensitive, so your cockatiel can get stressed once it feels that you are not happy with what it did.

Moreover, stressed cockatiels may pluck their feathers, making taming them difficult.

That said, here are five practical steps for taming your cockatiel.

1. Let Your Cockatiel Familiarize Itself With Its Environment

A newly re-homed cockatiel may feel threatened or frightened when you come near it. You can get used to your presence by talking to it at a distance. But you need to make sure that you are talking in a soft voice for your pet to be at ease. 

Once you notice that your cockatiel is starting to trust you, you can start taming it. 

2. Use Your Palm To Offer Treats

Once your cockatiel knows that you are its human companion, try placing your hand in its cage. Do not move your hand even if your cockatiel moves away from it. Instead, talk to it softly until it feels comfortable, and then place your hand near it again. 

If the cockatiel gets near your hand, give it a treat on your palm to praise its good job. Giving treats will encourage your pet to form a bond with you. However, do not move once it pecks at your palm to get that treat, as you might scare it. You can tame a cockatiel easily, but you need to assure it that you mean no harm. 

3. Offer Your Fingers As A Perch

Place your empty hand inside the cage with your two fingers extended. Allow your cockatiel to settle on the closeness of your hand. When it does, put your fingers next to its feet and perch. Do not make any sudden movement to avoid scaring your cockatiel. 

Once you notice that your pet feels comfortable, try moving your finger next to its feet and then to its stomach. If your cockatiel trusts you enough, it will hop onto your finger and perch on it.  Repeat this step multiple times until your cockatiel knows what to do whenever you bring your finger next to its stomach. 

4. Move Your Hand While Your Cockatiel Is Perching On It

You can tame a cockatiel easily if it is comfortable with your presence. So, once you feel that your bird is at ease whenever it perches on your fingers, try moving your hand around the cage. Your pet may jump off of your finger at first, but you both will be able to work it out with patience. 

5. Bring Your Cockatiel Out Of Its Cage

If your cockatiel no longer feels frightened when you move your hand, try bringing it out of the cage while it is sitting on your finger. Note that this step can be challenging as your cockatiel may feel scared to enter a new environment. When such happens, offer a separate perch outside the cage. 

Cockatiels tend to come out of their cage when it sees a new perch, so that a separate perch can be helpful. (source)

Will A Tamed Cockatiel Fly Away?

Will A Tamed Cockatiel Fly Away?
Two yellow cockatiels parrots (Nymphicus hollandicus) sitting on a branch in the garden.

When you bring your cockatiel out of its cage, you might worry about it flying away. Such is understandable since a cockatiel who grew up in captivity will not survive in the wild. But will a tamed cockatiel fly away?

A cockatiel can be tamed easily, so if you have one, make sure to tame it while it is young to ensure that it will not escape. Tamed cockatiels will not be able to find food in the wild since they have never learned the skills needed for survival in the wild. 

For this reason, they are likely to find food and water in places where it knows food is present, such as their cage.

So, a tamed cockatiel may fly away, but they will not go very far and will always come back to you. If your pet flew away and did not come back after a while, you can set its cage outside, and it will likely fly back in. Cockatiels also fly back to their human companions if they are within the birds’ sight. 

However, cockatiels are not aware of what their house looks like from the sky. For this reason, they may find it challenging to find their home unless their cage has been set outside since the beginning.

Why Can Some Tamed Birds Not Fly?

You may notice that some cockatiels in captivity do not fly. The reason is that their flight feathers are clipped, so they can only glide. These flight feathers make birds strong fliers, so your cockatiel will not gain much altitude without them. 

However, flight feathers grow back, so you need to clip them regularly. (source)

Is A Cockatiel A Good First Bird?

Cockatiels are sociable and generally quiet, so you will not have to put up with their screaming when you first bring one home. These birds are also gentle, making them excellent pets for children. 

According to veterinarians Lauri Hess, DVM, and Rick Axelson, DVM, “cockatiels make an excellent first-bird for a family.” These birds are low-maintenance and sociable, so even children can interact with them. 

But unlike other parrots, cockatiels are more of whistlers than talkers. They also produce good sounds through whistling, perfect if your neighbor is sensitive to noise. 

Regardless of how domesticated your pet is, you need to ensure that you are spending time with it. Cockatiels love playing and doing different activities. So, if you are busy, you can give your pet small toys that it can play with, and it will entertain itself. 

Additionally, cockatiels are fond of chewing on things. If not regulated, chewing can be destructive, especially if you give them time outside their cage. To prevent such unwanted behavior, you can provide your cockatiel with small untreated branches or cardboards that it can chew on. (source)

But while cockatiels are a good pet for beginners, there are things that you need to take note of before getting one. 

Owning A Cockatiel: The Pros And Cons

A great source of entertainmentOwning a cockatiel is a significant responsibility.
Cockatiels are relatively small, so they will not consume too much space in your home. Need regular activities, which can be challenging to fulfill if you are busy with other things
Cockatiel feathers are beautiful. Usually shakes off their feathers when they preen, which can be harmful if someone from your family has allergies.
These birds can form strong bonds with their human companionCockatiels seek attention when you are not interacting with them. (source)

What Is The Best Age To Get A Cockatiel?

Cockatiels can live for 10 to 14 years, while some can even reach 20 years. For this reason, you need to understand that getting one means a long-term commitment. If you decide to own a cockatiel, you need to prepare its

  • appropriately sized cage
  • perch 
  • high-quality food
  • clean water 
  • treats like millet spray
  • cuttlebone

This way, your cockatiel will feel comfortable once you put it in its new home. 

Moreover, the best age to get a cockatiel is eight to 12 weeks old. You can tame a cockatiel easily at this age, so it will be easy to handle. 

Additionally, most cockatiels that you can buy from breeders are used to being handled by people. For this reason, they like to be held by their human companion, which means you no longer have to tame them.

Young cockatiels are also better in terms of forming bonds. They learn quickly, so they will easily recognize you as their new carer. Even better, young cockatiels do not have unwanted behaviors yet, so they are less likely to pluck their feathers or bite you. (source)

How Much Time Does It Take To Tame A Cockatiel?

Because you can tame a cockatiel easily, it can only take days or weeks to tame your pet. However, some cockatiels do not trust their carers easily. In such cases, taming them may take months, so you need to be patient with them. 

It would be best if you were calm when you approached your cockatiel. This way, you will be able to communicate that you mean no harm, allowing you to earn its trust gradually. 

It is also essential that you do not overdo taming your cockatiel. 10 to 15 minutes of the session once or twice a day is enough. Anything more than this can make your cockatiel stressed and anxious, leading to unwanted behaviors. (source)

What Age Do Cockatiels Learn To Talk?

Cockatiels can talk, just like most parrot species. However, these birds’ vocabulary is not as extensive as other parrots, like an African Grey. But while they are good talkers, cockatiels are known for whistling beautifully. 

Moreover, an intelligent cockatiel can learn to talk when about eight to 10 months old. You can try training your cockatiel to talk. But if it cannot mimic your words, do not push any further to avoid stressing it out. Instead, focus on training your pet in its areas of strength, such as performing tricks. (source)

Wrapping Things Up

A cockatiel can be tamed easily, especially if you persevere in bonding with it. This species is one of the friendliest and most sociable parrots, so taming it can only take days to weeks. But adult cockatiels may take months before you can successfully tame them. 

You can start taming a cockatiel as soon as it gets familiar with its environment. 

But while it is easy to tame a cockatiel, owning one is a long-time commitment. For this reason, you need to prepare yourself to spend years with your pet. 

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  1. William Thomas Greene, Notes On Cage Birds: Or, Practical Hints On The Management Of British And Foreign Cage Birds, Hybrids, And Canaries, By Various Hands, ed. by W.T. Greene. Wentworth Press, 2006.
  2. C. P. Arthur, Budgerigars, and Cockatiels – How to Keep, Feed and Breed Them. Read Books Ltd, 2011.
  3. Nikki Moustaki, Parrots For Dummies. USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2021.
  4. Laurie Hess, DVM; Rick Axelson, DVM, General Information. Cockatiels – General Information.
  5. Gina Spadafori, Brian L. Speer, Birds For Dummies. USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
  6. David Alderton, Cockatiels: Care and Breeding. Lulu Press, Inc, 2013.

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