what to feed a cockatiel

Cockatiel is the smallest member of the cockatoo family. Even being the smallest, most pet owners love and adore this species due to its colorful appearance and gentle behavior. Most pet owners are excited to get a pet bird at the beginning. But soon after getting a bird, they find it difficult to take care of them as they know nothing about how to take care of their pet birds. Being a pet owner myself, I know the struggle. The first thing to focus on after getting a cockatiel is its diet. Food is a basic need for all species regardless and is an essential part of taking care of your pet.

Here in this article, I will try to discuss and explain more about what to feed a cockatiel and what not to feed, as it is the most crucial thing to focus on and should not be neglected.

Being a pet owner, the question that popped up in my head the most was, what can I feed a cockatiel? The usual diet for birds is seeds, insects, etc. But it is not that simple when it comes to cockatiels. You cannot just serve your cockatiel anything. Cockatiels should have a controlled, nutritious diet that helps them maintain a healthy life.

So, what do you feed a cockatiel? The main diet of your cockatiel should consist of 75% pellets and 25% seeds. This is the regular diet that your cockatiel should ingest. Other than this, you should feed dark green and leafy veggies every other day. For protein, feed your cockatiel boiled egg and raw liver. Also, feed your cockatiel some fresh fruits sometimes, such as banana, kiwi, melon or papaya. Remember that the main diet must have 75% pellets and 25% seeds. Veggies should be served regularly as well. But boiled eggs, raw liver or fruits should be given as snacks. These should not be given as a regular diet every day. 

What To Feed A Cockatiel Bird 

Most pet bird owners have little knowledge of the diet of their pet birds. Hence, the nutrition of the pet birds is often neglected. Pet birds are not being fed a proper diet and as a result, various health problems develop, such as obesity, malnutrition and other deficiencies. You might be feeding your bird regularly, assuming the diet is balanced but not knowing whether the diet is fulfilling the daily needs of your bird or not. So I am here to help you out with the diet management of your pet cockatiel.

Pellets And Seeds Mix

 The main diet that you should serve your bird regularly is a mix of pellets and seeds. There should be 75% pellets and 25% seeds mixed in the diet. This diet helps to maintain the health of your bird. Although the pellet and seed mix that is available in the market consists of 4 or 5 types of seeds, cockatiels tend to eat only one or two types of seeds that are their favorite. Try to find out which seed your cockatiel likes and try to serve that. It will inspire your bird to eat more and eat healthily.

what do you feed a cockatiel


The next thing on the diet that should be regularly given is vegetables. Dark green and leafy green vegetables are essential for your bird’s immunity and these are also a great source of vitamins and minerals. You can serve beans, carrots, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, corn, cucumber, etc., to your cockatiel. These vegetables are great mineral and vitamin sources. The vegetables should consist of 20% of the main diet and be served regularly to ensure a proper supply of vitamins and minerals.


Cockatiels also love to eat fruits. Fruits are full of nutrition and vitamins. Fruits can be served fresh and cut up in a bowl or you can provide dry fruits as well to avoid making a mess. You can give bananas, papayas, kiwi, blueberries, melons, mango, apples, etc. fruits. Fruits should not be given regularly. Once or twice a week is preferable.

Fruits contain sugar which, when ingested a lot, may cause obesity and other health problems in your bird. Fruits can be served as 5% of the total diet percentage. Remember to avoid giving fruit seeds to your bird. Some fruit seeds are highly toxic to your bird and unlike the seeds, cockatiels eat, some fruit seeds may even kill your bird if ingested. For example, apple seeds. Apple seeds contain potassium cyanide which is potentially a toxin and can kill your bird if ingested. 


Cockatiel, just like other parrots, requires protein in their diet. Although they require protein, too much of it can backfire and cause health problems and obesity. For protein, you can provide boiled eggs, raw liver and nuts. You have to pre-crack nuts before serving them to your cockatiel. These are great sources of protein. But keep in mind that you can only serve once in a while, probably one or two times a week. These can be served as treats and bring diversity to your pet bird’s diet.


Cockatiels, like any other bird and species, requires water to live. Water is an essential thing in order to survive. Wild cockatiels can drink from rivers or ponds and water puddles, but you will have to serve clean water to your pet cockatiel. Use a separate bowl to serve water in the cage. Remember to change the water every day.

These are what you should include in your pet cockatiel’s diet to ensure a proper disease and free healthy life. Food is a must for any animal to survive and birds are no different. But remember to provide healthy and nutritious foods. The diet mentioned above is the perfect diet for your pet cockatiel. Keep in mind that the left over from the served food should be removed from the cage as soon as possible.

Here is a list of what your pet bird can eat and what can be included in your cockatiel’s diet: 

  • Pellet And Seed mix
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables 
  • Fruits
  • Boiled Egg 
  • Raw liver
  • Water 

Also, there are some foods that should strongly be prohibited. These foods can be highly toxic to your bird and create various health problems. Here is a list of what your bird should not eat : 

  • Avocado
  • Chocolates
  • Caffeine 
  • Foods containing high fat
  • Foods containing high salt
  • Fruit seeds

Here is everything you should know about your cockatiel’s diet. This is the information about what to feed a cockatiel. Hopefully, this information will come in handy. Do not forget to provide fresh food to your cockatiel and take proper care of them. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What do cockatiels eat? 

Wild cockatiels eat seeds and insects. Pet cockatiels, on the other hand, should be given a proper and balanced meal to meet the required nutrition. Pet cockatiels should be given a meal of 75% pellet and 25% seed mix. Their diet should also consist of vegetables, fruits and protein so that they get all the required vitamins and minerals too. Cockatiels are highly vulnerable to obesity. So, the wrong choice of foods may cause various health issues and malnutrition. Contact a vet or expert pet owner to make a proper diet chart for your pet cockatiel.

What human foods can cockatiels eat? 

Cockatiels can eat most human foods, as a matter of fact. But some human foods must be avoided, like caffeine, chocolate, avocado, fruit seeds and any sort of food that contains high fat and salt. These foods are highly toxic to cockatiels and can cause death. Cockatiels can eat almost any kind of vegetable that humans eat, such as cabbages, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, corn, cucumber, kale, spinach, sprouts, tomatoes and beans.

Cockatiels can eat all these vegetables raw but they prefer the potatoes and pumpkins cooked. Remember to avoid all kinds of spices, as well. Cockatiels can also eat fruits and they absolutely love them. Bananas, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, mangoes, apples etc. are loved by cockatiels. Cockatiels eat boiled eggs too as a source of protein.

How many times do you feed a cockatiel? 

Cockatiels should be fed twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. Their daily food should be a pellet and seed mix. 1.5 or 2 spoons full of this mix should be given to a cockatiel twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening to meet the required nutrition. Water should also be given in a separate bowl. Remember to change the water and the food that has been left out on a daily basis. If not removed, these can spread germs and infections and cause health problems. Hygiene should always be maintained.

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