Posted by Beth Anne Quinlan, PhD Avian Sciences on 3/28/2020 to Companion Birds
When we first got Spike, the only thing I really knew about cockatiels was that these Australian natives are the smallest member of the cockatoo family. I have learned a lot in a few short weeks!
The breeder recommended a seed mix with a safflower, not sunflower base. This is due to the high fat-content in sunflower seeds; high-fat diets are linked to fatty liver syndrome, a fatal condition in birds. Seeds lack vitamins A and D, so I am trying to switch Spike gradually from a seed diet to a pellet diet. Spike also gets fresh fruits and veggies (he does not like kale--yet, but loves broccoli and bananas), whole wheat pasta, and spray millet for dessert.
I have heard cockatiels whistle at various shows, but I did not realize how quickly they learn! Spike's new home is near a window where he has had the opportunity to learn the songs of the wild birds. Within a week, I heard the most beautiful serenade coming from that direction. When I approached the play stand, I discovered that Spike was facing the window and singing his heart out! Spike is also learning to whistle human songs. Our cockatiel concerts begin about a half hour before dawn and continue until just past dark when we put Spike to bed.
Spike has a huge collection of toys, but really only plays with his swing. I'm going to keep changing them around and, perhaps when Spike gets older, he'll find a toy he wants to play with for more than a few seconds.
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