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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All About Cockatiels By: Gem Confer

Cockatiels are beautiful birds. Mr. Iannone, our science teacher, let me take Crystal and SongeBob home over spring break. Here is some information that I found out. At night cockatiels need a good 12 hours of sleep each night, so it is important to their health, and to your sanity, that they get quality sleep. When breeding cockaitels, their eggs are laid 7-10 days after the mating is successful. When cockatiel eggs are about to hatch the mom moves the eggs around a lot.The mom also seperates them so when they hatch the don't crack the other eggs. They do this because it helps the organs develop properly and so the chick does not stick to the membrane of the egg. The best bedding is newspaper. Newspaper is the best because it's cheap, readily available, easy to change and safe.

Part 2
The average lifespan of a cockatiel is 12 to 15 years. It is not unusual for a cockatiel to live to 20 years of age and the occasional cockatiel makes it to 30! To insure your cockatiel has a long and happy life provide a clean cage, daily exercise, a healthy diet including fresh fruit and vegetables offered daily, and plenty of activity and companionship. It’s hard to tell if your cockatiel is a male or female as a baby. It is difficult to decipher their gender until they have been through their first molt at around six to nine months of age. Only then will the adult coloring show. Normal gray cockatiels are easily gendered once the adult plumage is through. You will notice that the coloring is more defined with the male having a bright yellow face, where as the female has a gray face with traces of pale yellow. The male's body is a dark gray but the female's appears duller with almost a brown tint to the gray.

Part 3
Until their first molt both genders have barring patterns on the underside of their tail feathers. After the molt the male's tail feathers will be a solid gray color with no barring, but the female's will remain patterned. In the meantime, use the general guide below to assist with the sexing of other varieties, males have a great vocal ability and whistle a lot. Females generally are fairly quiet. Males whistle and call, where as females tend to screech. Females are often more likely to hiss and bite. Where applicable, males have slightly darker or brighter colorings on the face and orange cheek patches any hint of barring, markings or spots on the underside of the tail feathers or wings when they are spread indicates a female (you may need to hold your cockatiel up to a bright light in order to see any markings) males tend to strut around - they lift their wings slightly, stick their chest out and parade and strut, normally calling at the same time. Place a mirror in front of your cockatiel. How does it react? Normally a male will be fascinated and the mirror should hold his attention for quite some time while he performs in front of it. A female tends to lose interest fairly quickly.

Part 4
Cockatiel diet is extremely important and is the key to having a healthy cockatiel, along with exercise. Give your bird a good-quality cockatiel seed mix (not parrot mix). These are readily available at pet suppliers and supermarkets. Be aware though that most ready-mixed cockatiel seed contains far too many sunflower seeds and these are extremely fattening. Do not buy the seed in bulk - you are best to purchase small fresh amounts. Alternatively, you can offer your cockatiel a pelleted diet. Your cockatiel's diet must be supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. Small amounts of 'people' food are fine for cockatiels occasionally. They can have a nibble on crackers, cereal such as cornflakes, hard-boiled egg and whole meal bread. Also try rice, pasta, potato, pumpkin, sweet potato. These must be offered cooked, not raw. Cockatiels enjoy spray millet and seed treats such as honey bells or sticks. However, these are fattening and should be offered occasionally as treats only. Pet cockatiels can become overweight very easily so I recommend offering spray millet once a week if your cockatiel is fairly active, or if not, only once a fortnight. Seed treats are best given at two monthly intervals. Fresh drinking water is required daily. Also make available cuttlebone, and calcium, iodine and mineral blocks. Vitamin supplements in the drinking water once a week or fortnight are a good idea, although do not leave these in the water for long as bugs can grow very quickly. Some people prefer to sprinkle powdered vitamins onto the seed or moist food, like apple pieces or spinach. Either way, be sure to follow the product's directions with regard to dosage amount and frequency.

Part 5
A cockatiel diet must be supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. An all seed diet often results in an unhealthy or overweight cockatiel. FRUIT: apple, grape, guava, kiwi fruit, mango, melon, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pomegranate, plum, strawberry, tangerine, water-melon. VEGETABLES: bok choy, broccoli, carrot (chopped or grated), celery, chard, lettuce (but small amounts of lettuce and not too often as not a lot of goodness), peas, silverbeet, spinach, sweetcorn, watercress, zucchini. Favorites with cockatiels tend to be apple, egg, pasta, peas, rice, silverbeet, spinach, sweetcorn. Note that the fruit and vegetables should be provided: thoroughly washed, in small pieces, at room temperature, unpeeled, free of cores, stones, pits or pips, raw (some cockatiels prefer certain vegetables cooked like peas and sweetcorn - use your judgment here), fresh (obviously this will be the most nutritious for your cockatiel but you can use frozen or canned) Be aware that your cockatiel's droppings may be runnier than usual with an intake of fruit and vegetables. Some cockatiels will not take to fruit and vegetables straight away. Persevere as it can take up to a year before your cockatiel will eat them. Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of your cockatiel's diet so offer them washed and fresh each day. Never give your cockatiel alcohol, avocado or chocolate - these can kill your cockatiel. Also avoid asparagus, aubergine or eggplant, cabbage, caffeine (tea and coffee), junk food, milk and cream, raw potato, and rhubarb (including the leaves). Many plants and food items are unsafe, if you have any doubt, don’t offer it to your cockatiel.

Part 6
Buy the biggest cage suitable for a cockatiel that you can afford. Obviously the bigger the cockatiel cage the better, but within reason depending on your budget and the size of your home. Your cockatiel needs room in its cage to stretch its wings and flap them. Also, do not forget the length of your cockatiel's tail. When considering cage size remember to take into account the cage fillers like perches, seed and water dishes, one or two toys. To enable your cockatiel to climb around its cage, ensure the cage has horizontal bars as well as vertical. A plastic removable tray at the bottom of the cage makes cleaning easier. Regardless of your cockatiel cage size please remember that in order to remain healthy and happy your cockatiel will require time out of its cage. It needs to exercise , so let your cockatiel out at least once a day, whether it is for a fly around (if its wings are not clipped), a walk around, a sit on your shoulder or simply to sit out on top of its cage. The minimum time out should be one hour per day, but ideally your cockatiel should be able to come and go as it pleases, within reason, and depending on your home environment. Do not keep your cockatiel locked up in its cage day in and day out. It must be allowed out each day. Cockatiels become sexually mature between 6 and 9 months of age. You should not breed cockatiels until the male and female are at least 12 months old, with a preferable cockatiel breeding age of 18 months.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good just taking care of the birds gem and nice writing!!!