Cockatiel Health

So, youíve brought a beautiful cockatiel into your family, and youíre wondering how to keep your new friend healthy. The truth is that itís pretty easy to keep your cockatiel in good health Ė some good habits in your daily care, and some quick action if they get sick, is all you need.

Of course, some birds are just unlucky, and get sick even if theyíre well cared for. But with a little knowledge, and some good care, chances are that your cockatiel will live a long and healthy life.

What is Good Care?

Good care means looking after your cockatielís mind, body, and environment. If any of these areas are lacking, your cockatiel is at risk of illness.

You can look after your cockatielís mental well being by being a good companion, spending regular time with them, and helping them to stay entertained. Cockatiels are very social creatures, and if they donít get regular, positive, social interactions they soon get depressed Ė which weakens the immune system and leads to sickness.

The same goes for boredom, you wouldnít fare too well if you just had to sit around all day with nothing to do. Cockatiels might not be as intellectually demanding as people, but constant boredom will make them just as depressed. Some good toys, along with social play time, will help keep them happy and mentally sharp.

Looking after the body means pretty much the same thing for cockatiels that it does for people, healthy diet and regular exercise. Your cockatiel should be getting a good mix of fresh fruit and veggies, along with their seed/pellets. And regular opportunities to fly around, and climb around, are essential to keep their body in good condition Ė it should come as no surprise that being a perch potato is unhealthy.

Lastly, looking after their environment is about good hygiene Ė that means regular cleaning. If you let germs grow and spread in their home, itís no surprise a cockatiel gets sick. Simply remember to clean the food and water dishes daily, and scrub the cage out once a week, and your cockatielís health will be all the better for it.

How Do You Know If Your Cockatiel Is Healthy?

Between your daily care and play with your cockatiel, just train yourself to pay attention to a few important things, and youíll soon spot when something unusual is going on with your cockatielís health. Get used to looking at their droppings, body language, feathers, eyes etc. Ė give your bird a one minute inspection each day Ė and then youíll know whatís normal for your bird, and spot changes right away.

Hereís a quick check list for you:

  • Weight: Is your cockatiel eating and drinking as much as usual. Birds donít store extra fat Ė unless they have a bad diet Ė so any weight loss can be serious, and thatís before you find out whatís causing the weight loss.
  • Breathing: Is your cockatiel breathing normally? The breathing should look easy and comfortable, and straining for breath is obviously a bad sign. You might even see your birdís tail feathers bobbing up and down as it strains for breath.
  • Over Sleeping and Resting: Cockatiels donít sleep all day unless theyíre sick Ė think about it, you donít want to be stuck in bed all day if youíre raring to go, and feeling great, do you? The same goes for sitting around all day, if your cockatiel is just sat there looking depressed, something is wrong.
  • Fluffed up feathers: Are your cockatielís feathers fluffed up all the time, like itís trying to keep warm? Itís just like you curling up under a duvet when youíre feeling under the weather.
  • Gunky Eyes or Nostrils: The eyes and nostrils should always be clean and clear. If your cockatiel has discharge coming from either, thatís not good.
  • Quiet: Has your little guy stopped talking and singing to you? When such a sociable animal canít be bothered to interact with its family, you know somethingís wrong.
  • Runny/Bloody Poop or Dirty Bottom: A stomach upset isnít hard to spot. If your birdís droppings are runny, or their vent is smeared with poop, youíve got a problem. If your cockatielís droppings are discolored black or red, it means thereís blood in there Ė this could be anything from internal injury to tumors.
  • Strange Lumps: Speaking of tumors, strange lumps on your birdís body are a great cause for concern, and need immediate attention.
  • Disorientation: Your cockatiel appears drunk, confused, or unbalanced.
  • Bleeding: Shocking news, bleeding is bad. If your cockatiel has picked up a cut or scrape, it needs cleaning up. But if your cockatiel has managed to injure a blood feather, they could bleed to death without immediate treatment.
  • Lame Wing and Legs: Iíve left the most obvious one until last. If your cockatiel has a leg or wing hanging down uselessly, theyíve managed to injure themselves.

What if You Suspect Your Cockatiel is Sick?

If you think your cockatiel might be sick, the best thing to do is take them to an avian veterinarian. Itís a good idea to find out where a local one is before you need them. If you want some more information on cockatiel illness and diseases, just follow that link.


Keeping your cockatiel in good health is simply a matter of common sense. A healthy lifestyle, good hygiene, and quick medical care when sick, are all that you can do Ė and all thatís needed. Good luck in giving your cockatiel a long, healthy, and happy life.

Further Reading

  • Cockatiel Feathers
    Satisfy your curiosity about cockatiel feathers, and discover all about this essential part of your favorite pet.
  • Cockatiel Molting Information
    Molting is the process where cockatiels replace their old feathers with new ones. Find out what you need to know about this process, and how to help your little friend through it.