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What Food Can Cockatiels Eat?

A cockatiel, like any other living thing, is mostly the sum total of its diet. These beloved birds have a potential lifetime of 15 years, but only if given the proper care. Providing a healthy food for your cockatiel is crucial to ensuring its survival and flourishing.

Many sorts of seeds, nuts, grasses, and fruits make up the bulk of a wild cockatiel's diet. A diversified food is essential for the health of your cockatiel as a pet.

"What Food Can Cockatiels Eat?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) will go through the safe and unhealthy meals for cockatiels to eat.

The need of a balanced diet for cockatiels will be discussed, as will strategies for getting your bird to eat better if that's not what it's used to doing.

Why It Matters What Cockatiels Eat

Like their bigger cockatoo relatives, cockatiels often get overweight. Obesity is harmful to cockatiels just as it is to us. Cockatiels who are too heavy often experience respiratory difficulties, diabetes, and liver disorders. Maintaining a healthy weight for your cockatiel may be achieved through proper feeding.

Cockatiels can suffer from conditions like iodine deficiency if they don’t obtain the right amount of vitamins and minerals from their food. Egg binding and feather plucking are only two of the many complications.

Cockatiel Food: The Basics

Around 75% of a cockatiel’s diet should consist of designed pellet food, while the remaining 25% should come from seeds. Although though seeds are a cockatiel’s favorite food, a pet cockatiel can’t survive on them alone. Cockatiels don’t thrive on seed mixes because of their high fat content and lack of complete nutrition.

Cockatiels need a balanced diet that includes not just pellets and seeds, but also fresh produce and lean meats. Because of this, you may need to experiment with several various foods and numerous repetitions before you find the one that your cockatiel enjoys. Cockatiels may enjoy a wide variety of human meals, including the majority of the healthy, unprocessed options.

1. Fruits

Fresh fruit should be provided daily for cockatiels. Little quantities of a variety of fruits should be offered until you discover your cockatiel’s preferences.

Your cockatiel may turn its nose up at a specific fruit one day, only to become obsessed with it the next. Cockatiels may safely consume the flesh of most fruits, but not the seeds.

Some fruit options are:

Before giving your cockatiel any fruit, wash it thoroughly to remove any pesticides or other toxins. Cut up fruit should be served on a separate dish from the pellets or seeds.

Dried foods like raisins and apricots are suitable alternatives to fresh fruit for cockatiels.

2. Vegetables

Cockatiels need a varied diet of fruits and vegetables daily. Provide a modest bit and try, try again to figure out what veggies your cockatiel would eat. The healthiest food you can give your cockatiel is a variety of dark, leafy greens.

Some vegetables options are:

  • Bok choy
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Sweet potato (cooked)
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Zucchini

Cockatiels will consume veggies in any form, including raw, cooked, or thawed. Before feeding, thoroughly clean and chop any fresh veggies. Avoid salt and spices when preparing veggies for your cockatiel.

3. Grains

Many grains are okay for cockatiels to consume, but they should only be given to the birds in little amounts. Cockatiels may consume a wide variety of grains and meals that include grains, including the following:

Some grains options are:

  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Hot oats
  • Brown rice noodles

4. Proteins

As cockatiels are molting, they benefit greatly from several low-fat protein sources. Cockatiels can get their protein from the following sources:

Some proteins options are:

  • Cooked chicken or turkey
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Beans, dry and cooked
  • Cottage cheese

Protein sources such as meat, fish, and eggs should only be provided when they are newly prepared, and any leftovers should be disposed of as soon as possible to prevent the formation of harmful germs.

Foods To Avoid Giving Cockatiels

Cockatiels, in addition to their pellets and seeds, may eat a broad variety of human foods that are both healthful and safe for them. Certain foods, however, are not good for cockatiels and should be avoided at all costs.

Cockatiels should not be fed any human meals that are processed, heavy in fat and salt, or oily. White bread, spaghetti, and snack foods like potato chips and pretzels are examples.

Cockatiels should stay away from chocolate, coffee, and alcohol.

Cockatiels should not consume a variety of produce due to potential poisoning. The following are some examples:

  • Avocado
  • Rhubarb
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raw Potato
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant

If you let your cockatiel play outside under your supervision, make sure you know which plants and trees it may safely consume. The same holds true for any indoor plants you could have.

Don’t hesitate to call your vet if you suspect your cockatiel has ingested anything it shouldn’t have.

My Cockatiel Only Eats Seeds…Help!

Cockatiels, as we’ve established, are quite fond of seeds and would probably choose them above other foods if given the chance. The comparison here is to a person who subsists only on sweets. That tastes great, but it’s not good for you in the long run.

If your cockatiel was introduced to pellets at an early age, it will likely continue to do so regardless of what else you feed it. It’s conceivable that an adult cockatiel you adopt won’t eat anything except seeds, despite your best efforts to provide it a balanced diet. Where do we go from here?

In the long term, your cockatiel’s health will benefit from switching from a seed-only diet to the recommended pellet food. This process has to be spread out over 4-8 weeks. Reduce the cockatiel’s daily seed intake by one. Provide a steady supply of pellets and other nutritious meals in separate plates.

Cockatiels should switch to other, more favored diets when they become less able to acquire seeds. To make sure the change to a new diet goes as smoothly as possible, consult your veterinarian.


In the conclusion of “What Food Can Cockatiels Eat?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), cockatiels, like other birds in the wild, need and thrive on a varied diet. We covered the fact that many human foods that are good for you are also OK for your cockatiel to eat.

Talk to your vet if you are unsure whether or not a given meal is appropriate for your cockatiel. In addition, veterinarians are your greatest bet for understanding the specific dietary requirements of your cockatiel.

While you should avoid giving your cockatiel any spicy foods, remember that a varied diet will help them stay healthy and happy for many years.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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