What Does Cockatiels Eat?

Cockatiels like to eat a wide variety of items. Even though they cannot consume big amounts but the amount that they eat can be colorful and variant.

Cockatiels require food not only for survival but for healthy living as well. As a pet owner, you must make sure that your bird remains fit in its health. This will help it to flourish and live a longer life.

This article is all about the different varieties of food that a Cockatiel likes to eat. Various options of food have been given and the benefits of each one have been elaborated. After reading this article you will be able to understand exactly what you are Cockatiel needs and desires.

Cockatiel Eating Millet

What Does Cockatiels Eat? (Cockatiel Diet)

The ideal diet for Cockatiels or any other Bird would be the one in which it gets a complete nutritional course. All the nutrients should go into the Cockatiels body in equal portions. These birds really enjoy eating seeds, fruits, berries, and vegetables. These items contain different minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that help the bird to become stronger and healthier. The bird cannot consume a lot of food so it’s important. These portions can be thoughtfully prepared so that the nutrient content can be adjusted.

Mentioned below is a detailed explanation of all the foods that your Cockatiel would enjoy eating. Each item has been described with its own specific nutrient content mentioned.

The most common food types for Cockatiel are,

  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Vegetables

Each of these foods has nutrient contents in them. They will be explained extensively one by one.

1. Seeds

Cockatiel Eating Seeds

Seeds are Cockatiel’s favorite food. Wild Cockatiels have a lot of different options to eat because the wildlife offers a number of different types of seeds.

However, the only option for pet cockatiels is marketplace seeds. These seeds are usually of 5 to 10 different types. It is not a very huge variety as such. These nuts and seeds still serve a good purpose for the pet. Your Cockatiel is likely to choose millets and sunflower seeds out of all the other types that you lay down in front of it.

These seeds are healthy foods and contain a good carbohydrate and fat content but if they are the only source of food for you, but it might cause some serious health issues.

Types of Seeds

There are many different types of seeds that the bird can eat. A few of them being nuts, oats, millets, sunflower seeds, etc. These are all rich in carbohydrates and fatty contents. For a healthy Cockatiel, it is important to have a meal based on nutritious items.

2. Pellets

Cockatiel Eating Pellets

Pellets are chemically formulated foods that have all the nutritional needs that your Cockatiel requires. It is formulated in such a way that it needs the complete nutritional necessities of the world. A pellet diet can prove to be extremely helpful for your Cockatiel’s health. Pallets shall compose 80% of the bird’s diet.

Shifting the cockatiel to pallet diet

It can be a hard job to convert your seed-eating Cockatiel to a pallet diet. Pallets are chemically created. This bird feeder is a complete nutritional package. However, training your bird to start eating pallets is a tough one.

You can place the pallets in a separate container in your bird’s cage. Do not mix the palate with seeds. The Cockatiel will level shoes the pallet overfeed. Initially, it will not even perceive the pallet as food. Over a gradual and time taking process, the Cockatiel will finally start adapting itself to the eating palate. You can only remove the seeds from the Cockatiels diet completely once you are sure that it is eating the pallets.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Cockatiel Eating Vegetables

The remaining 20% off the diet should be fresh fruits and vegetables. The type of fruit that a Cockatiel prefers depends on its individual taste and likeness. You can present the bird with different fruits and vegetables cut in small manageable sizes.

You should notice carefully that which of the food items does the bird particularly likes. If it develops an obsession with a specific fruit or vegetable, you can temporarily cut it down from the bird’s meal. This will encourage the eating of other items as well. Fruits and vegetables are a crucial and essential part of the Cockatiels diet.

Sometimes the bird can become fearful because of the size or color of the fruits and vegetables offer to it. However, it will slowly get used to you the presence of these weird foods on its plate. Out of curiosity, it will start nibbling on the item. In this way, the Cockatiel will start incorporating it into its daily meal.

Cockatiels Favorite Fruits and Veggies

Here are a few items that your Cockatiel might particularly enjoy as meals.

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Cob
  • Dark green lettuce
  • Peas

4. Grains

Cockatiels utilize a number of grains in their food. 20 types of grains are rich in carbohydrates sources. Some of the grains that cockatiel really enjoys include:

  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Rice
  • Wheat Bread
  • Baked Corn
  • Spinach Pasta

5. Legumes

Legumes are the best sources of proteins. In order to meet your Cockatiels protein environment, it shall be fed a healthy amount of legumes. Some important suggestions for legume sources are given below,

  • Black Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Red Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils
  • Dried Split Peas

Other than legumes some rich protein sources can be Alfalfa, Chicken Turkey and Fish.

What Not to Feed the Cockatiels?

  1. Avocado
  2. Alcohol
  3. Chocolate
  4. Eggplant
  5. Cabbage
  6. Caffeine (Coffee and Tea)
  7. Raw Potato
  8. Rhubard
  9. Cream

How to Feed a Cockatiel?

In order to feed your Cockatiel, you should make sure that the bird is comfortable in its environment. You can prepare separate plates of foods consisting of grains, pallets, seeds, and put them within the Cockatiels cage.

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the Cockatiels do not fear going near the plates. If the Cockatiel is uncomfortable while eating from the dishes you can place some food on your hand and encourage the bird to eat. Make sure that you are giving it one type of item at a time. In this way, your Cockatiel can eat properly.

Cockatiel Eating

Make sure that the item that you are feeding your Cockatiel is bird-type food. The Cockatiel does not have teeth to chew. It has a beak through which it can only nibble at the food and then swallow it. Therefore, the food must be small in size and easy to eat for the bird.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that your bird will have a different mood for eating at different times of the day. Sometimes it will want to nibble at a fruit or vegetable. Other times the Cockatiel would want to peck at seeds or grains. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you are providing your Cockatiel not only adequate amounts of food but also an adequate variety of food as well.

What Do Cockatiel Drink?

Cockatiel Drinking Water

Just like food is an essential requirement for the Cockatiel drink is too. The only thing that Cockatiel drinks are fresh and clean drinking water. The water is a detoxification agent, it goes into your bird’s body and allows the organ systems to run and function well.

You must restrain from giving your bird anything other than fresh and clean water. No fizzy drinks carbonated soda juices or milkshakes are allowed for the Cockatiel.

What Amount or Quantity to be Fed to a Cockatiel?

An ideal, healthy and balanced amount of quantity shall be fed to the bird. A normal and healthy Cockatiel shall be given 1.5 to 2 spoons of grains per bird, per day. In case there are more than one birds you must take care that each one is getting a proper amount. For this purpose, you can place different food containers for different birds. This will make sure that each bird is eating well according to its pecking order.

You must be careful regarding that at that it is dangerous to starve or overfeed your bird.

If you do not provide a normal amount of food to your Cockatiel, it will get weaker gradually full stop after a while its immunity will start getting affected. Diseases will start attacking. Due to the bird’s beaks and immunity, it will not have resistance towards infections and sicknesses. This could result in a gradual decline in health ultimately causing death.

Similarly, if the bird is overfed its health might be affected in negative overfeeding can cause sickness. It can result in obesity. The bird’s immunity will gradually decline, and a simple sickness can become a cause of death.

Health Problems for Cockatiel due to Improper Diet

Due to improper diet, a lot of health problems might arise. If proper care is not taken and nutritional content is avoided the bird will definitely face health issues. The Cockatiel can become malnutrition. It will show symptoms of bad health.

1. Loss of Enthusiasm and Inactivity

The bird will gradually become inactive and responsive. Due to both overfitting and underfitting, it will lose its enthusiasm for physical activity. It will not be as joyful and cheerful as it once used to be. It will start spending more time just sitting. These are all initial signs of sick health.

2. Medical Problems

Bed diet can cause a number of diseases. Some diseases would be obesity, iodine deficiency, diarrhea. Other medical conditions of the unhealthy cockatiel could be feather picking and egg binding. These diseases harmfully affect the cheerful and jolly personality of the bird. They will become sick, sad and can even die.

Check out this article if you are wondering Can Parakeets Eat Cockatiel Food?


Conclusively, your Cockatiel should receive its balanced nutritional diet in order to live a healthy life, if careful intake is not assured the bird will simply get on the deteriorating and of its health. It will lose its immunity and resistance to disease in no time at all. All these factories might lead to the early death of the bird, and you might be left mourning over your loss as a pet owner. Therefore, start making your pet’s diet and health a number one priority.


1. What’s the best food to give to your Cockatiel?

The best food to give your Cockatiels is pallets because it is very nutritious and chemically formulated consisting of all the basic nutrients.

2. what’s poisonous for Cockatiels?

The most poisonous food for a Cockatiel is avocados which should be strictly avoided if you want your bird to have a happy and healthy life.

3. How many times do Cockatiels excrete?

Healthy Cockatiel excretes throughout the day at different times and at irregular intervals.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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