how to make cockatiel friendly

Cockatiels are widely famous as pet birds. One of the main perks of having a cockatiel is they are extremely friendly and easy to build up a bonding. But taming a cockatiel is not a cup of cake. It varies on what age you are bringing your cockatiel home. Baby cockatiels are usually easier to tame, but adult ones have difficulty being friendly with you. Here I will guide you with my experience about how to make cockatiel friendly. Just follow through and your motive should be achieved.

Nature Of A Cockatiel

To get close to your pet bird, you must first know about its behavior and nature. Cockatiels are very gentle and adorable. They are really social and stay close to you the whole day. At first, they might be uncomfortable showing fondness to you and may nip. To avoid such incidents, you need to make your cockatiel friendly patiently. Cockatiels are also one kind of emotional bird whose happiness will know no bounds whenever they see or play with you. Just make sure to reward your cockatiel for good behavior, which will keep it cheered up.

As you have a pretty good idea about how a cockatiel behaves, I will guide you from here to make your cockatiel friendly step by step.

Get To Know

For a smooth start, you must first get to know your cockatiel. It is wise not to irritate or annoy a cockatiel that you’ve just brought home. Give it some time to settle in and get comfortable around the cage. It might take up to some days for an adult cockatiel though the time requirement is lesser for a baby. Once you feel that your cockatiel is becoming cozy, you should visit it whenever possible.

how to make cockatiel friendly

You need to try to talk to it or even sing next to it. These activities will also gradually make your cockatiel more comfortable day by day. Within this period, it is your duty to observe it passively to get an idea of his behavior. Though most cockatiels possess the same characteristics, some may have a unique attitude that can help you interact with them. Once you are done studying your cockatiels behavior, you can proceed to the next step.


This is the most important part of making the cockatiel friendly, especially for the baby cockatiels. Handfeeding a baby cockatiel is the most vital part of taming and building up a bonding. You should already know that a baby can’t eat by itself and it requires hand-feeding. You will eventually earn its trust when you feed it with proper care and follow a proper routine. This baby will grow seeing you most of the time and the taming process will be super easy.

However, the adult ones are a bit tricky to tame. They won’t generally eat from your hand if they don’t feel safe. So take time and try to earn its trust. Patience will pay here. Daily, try to feed it with a balanced diet. Keep this process going until your cockatiel is comfortable eating from your hand. Again, this process for adult cockatiels may take a bit longer but never be hopeless and soon the magic will occur.


This is the step where you will teach your cockatiel good behaviors by rewarding them. This is basically a step of encouragement. Treats can be of various types. The most common are,

  • Hard-boiled eggs.
  • Shredded meats.
  • Little crumbs of bread.
  • Steamed vegetables.
how to make cockatiel friendly

Treats must be used very little and only for teaching or rewarding purposes. You can make your cockatiel a fan of you by treating it. You can also teach it to whistle. This is really a proven step of taming or befriending a cockatiel. You will eventually learn how to utilize treats but one piece of advice is don’t overfeed your cockatiel with these items, as they are not a part of the balanced diet you’re supposed to feed. Also, overfeeding them will harm their craving for these items and demoralize the whole fact.

Stepping Out Of The Cage

This process needs a lot of caution and techniques. Please proceed to this step only when you believe your pet bird is much more comfortable with you. Before taking it out of its cage, some caution must be taken, which are:

  • Turn off the fans in the room.
  • Move out all the harmful tools (Knives, scissors, broken glass, etc.) to somewhere far from its contact.
  • Move out heated substances if there are any.
  • Make sure there are no blank spaces or holes for the cockatiel to fly away.
  • Do not use light that may distract or confuse the cockatiel.
  • Keep other pet animals (if any) away from it.

After you’re done taking good care of these cautions, it’s time to go back to our last step which was treats. Offer your cockatiel a tasty treat and put your index finger forward so it can step on it. The pet bird may not figure out what to do, so you may have to push its back gently, ensuring you’re not ruining its balance or outraging it. If your cockatiel has come out of the cage successfully and has stepped on your finger, you know what to do, my friend.

how to make cockatiel friendly

Yes, treat him. This will encourage it and slowly but surely, it will do it regularly. Once you’ve made it comfortable outside the cage, you can give it a home tour, garden, or other places. But it is nice not to take it in a completely open space. It can get confused and frightened seeing the open world and other unfamiliar creatures that may cause it to fly away. You should remember that pet cockatiels can’t survive outside your home, so special attention to this fact should be given.

Teaching And Playing

As your cockatiel has learned to step out of the cage and has much trust in you, you should take this bonding to a more friendly level. You can teach many fun things and play with them. All these things again require treats and proper guidelines. I have often seen many people teaching their cockatiels to whistle. This is an interesting lesson and you can do it too.

Play a rhythmic whistle more and more to your pet bird and whenever it successfully copies at least a part, treat it. Repeatedly make the cockatiel listen to this rhythm, making sure you’re not disturbing or annoying them. Soon it should catch up with the tone and sing it by itself. Cockatiels are really intelligent, so you can teach them to do tricks with toys and play with them. All of these will gradually increase your love and respect for you and your cockatiel will become your best friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cockatiels friendly with other birds?

Yes, cockatiels are friendly with other small birds. They are really social and adaptive. You can keep your cockatiel with parakeets such as Budgerigar or Bourke since they pair up well. Also, cockatiels pair up well with parrots.

Do cockatiels need a companion bird?

In the wild, the answer is yes. But as a pet bird, it’s not a must. However, you can provide a companion as these birds are really emotional. Remember to bring the company at an early stage of your cockatiel. It will get jealous once it has grown up. But if they are brought up together, they will really like each other’s company. Rather it will be difficult for you to touch the companion since your cockatiel will become very protective. In short, you can provide a companion to keep your cockatiel cheerful and happy.

Should I cover my cockatiel cage at night?

Well, it’s not really necessary to cover your cockatiel cage at night. But you can cover it if you feel your cockatiel is comfortable with it. Generally, it doesn’t make much of a difference. But during the breeding period, you can cover the cage to give them some privacy which they might like.


Cockatiels are the best companions in my eyes. I had my first cockatiel at the age of 14 and since then, they have been a vital part of my life. I know the journey with a cockatiel is not so exciting nor entertaining at first but come on, they are also living beings like us. We don’t dance at some stranger’s place right after reaching there. It takes time.

The same goes for these pet birds as well. Give it some time and your patience will pay for good, really good. Once you’ve done all the hard work, you will be set to have the best journey where there will be good memories to remember and good times to pass whenever you feel alone. My suggestion is to treat them with love and so will you get in return.

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