Care and feeding
You will need to clean the cage at least once a week, so choose a cage that can be cleaned easily. Newspaper is the best floor covering for a cage, and you can take off the top sheets to clear the droppings. Feeding and water dishes should be kept away from places where droppings fall.
Try and fit at least two perches in the cage, one different in thickness from the other, to exercise the cockatiel's feet. If the perches are natural, so much the better.
As far as food goes, vitamin- and mineral-containing pellets are probably your best option, and you can also treat your bird to fresh chopped fruits, vegetables and other greens. While chips and coke might be the 'best thing ever' (OK, that's a joke) for most kids, avoid feeding your bird foods high in salt, sugar or grease.
For your bird's health and safety, keep it away from:
- Electric cords, motors and moving parts of machines
- Plants that are poisonous to birds, such as poinsettia, the Boston fern etc. (look in the book for more of such plants)
- Avocado pits and peel
- Household cleaners, perfumes and insecticides
The book you buy will also teach you how to trim your bird's wings, but if you're uncomfortable doing so, take it to a vet or back to your pet store. A bird with unclipped wings is going to do what all birds do - fly away!
Get used to your cockatiel waking up about 6:30 in the morning and going to bed at about 7 or 8 in the evening. Be nice - put a 'do not disturb' sign on the cage door!
Birds, like you and me, can fall ill, and watch out for ruffled feathers, a runny nose and unusually watery stools. If your book doesn't tell you what to do, take it to a vet who will definitely know how to treat your fine feathered friend.
Next: A name for your cockatiel
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