I’m afraid this is where I get all serious, but it is in the interest of both the birds and their potential new owners, so please take the time to consider these stipulations before seriously thinking about whether a cockatiel is right for you and your family, or indeed whether you are right for him!
Taking on a bird is a huge commitment. These little guys could be with you for anywhere between 15 and 20 years if given a happy, healthy home. The birds do not get to choose who they go home with, so it is only fair that they are offered some protection from bad choices and situations that they have no control over. In aid of this I have a few personal rules that I will stick to when dealing with my birds and anyone considering having one.
Firstly, I expect you to have done your research into the basic care, keeping and lifestyle of a cockatiel. There is a wealth of information out there online and many forums and websites set up to offer advice, information and support (cockatielcottage.com, justcockatiels.com, and talkcockatiels.com have been particularly useful sites and forums when I have needed any advice with my own birds, with many newbies and experts available doing their best to help people when it comes to keeping cockatiels) Of course I will do my best to help answer any questions or queries that you might have about these guys, but DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Its better for everyone.
For you both to be happy, your lifestyle needs to be suitable for a cockatiel. For instance if you spend lots of time out of the house, as long as you can offer them quality time in the morning and evenings, I would suggest that maybe you consider taking two birds to keep each other company while you are out. This is in no way an attempt to upset anyone, but a single cockatiel living in a home that is empty for all but an hour in the morning and evening will not be a happy bird and will soon start to display unwanted behaviours. Screeching for attention, plucking and aggression are some of the ways this can manifest, and then you are left with an unhappy bird, and unhappy people. This usually ends up in the bird getting sold on as a “problem” bird, and can end up with him being passed on from family to family, never finding his happy place in life. I put a lot of time and care into my babies and want my birds (and my people) to be happy and go to homes where hopefully they will spend the rest of their lives with a family who loves them.
It is against the law for me to send a bird home with you before it is fully weaned, even if this means you have to wait a bit longer than first expected. Moving home is a big change for little guys. Some take it right in their stride as though they were there all along, and others take a little time to settle in and become comfortable with their new home. This is not the time for a bird who is not fully self sustained to undergo a potentially stressful situation, and it would not be fair to make them do so. These guys are all different and do things at their own pace. I will not force wean a bird so that it can be taken home sooner than it is ready for. So if I am asked to sell a bird on early so that the new owners can finish hand rearing it, I’m afraid my answer will always be no.
Cockatiels all have their own individual personalities. Some are cheeky, some are cuddly, some are brilliant at learning tricks, some can whistle really well, and most are a combination of all of these and more with their own quirks and characteristics. It is really easy to see a beautiful bird, fall in love instantly and have your heart set on that particular one. However I highly recommend that before you pick a bird based on his or her looks, that you come and meet them in person. That way you get a better idea of whether that cockatiel’s personality suits your family. A more outgoing bird will do better in a family with noisy children, than one who may be naturally more shy.
Obviously some situations occur that are out of our control, but please, don’t consider taking a cockatiel home with you (wether they’re from me or anybody else) unless you are willing to do your utmost best to make sure you are giving your new family member a forever family home.
Okay so lecture over with, but it is all really important stuff to make sure everyone goes home happy. Thank you for taking the time to read through this, it really will make a big difference to both you and your new feathery friend.