5 Simple Ways To Improve A Healthy Cockatiel Diet

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

healthy cockatiel diet

How good do you think your cockatiel’s diet is?

The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect cockatiel diet.

Even if you believe to be providing the best diet for your cockatiel, there are probably some small improvements you could make.

In this article, you’re going to learn 5 ways you can quickly improve your cockatiel’s diet.

By implementing these 5 simple methods, you’ll help to ensure that your cockatiel remains healthy, happy, and nourished.

Disclosure: The information in this article is to the best of my knowledge after extensive research. I am not an avian vet nor an avian nutritionist and the information in this article should not be taken as medical advice.

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1) Reduce Your Cockatiels Intake Of Fatty Foods/Treats

Foods such as millet spray, sunflower seeds, and honey sticks are high in fat and should only be fed in small amounts.

There are many owners who accidentally allow their birds to fill up on these fatty treats.

I know that I was once a little guilty of this with my cockatiel.

This was because I would reward him too heavily during training sessions and he wouldn’t be willing to eat any healthy foods.

It’s such an easy mistake but it can lead to some nasty consequences, such as obesity.

how to feed a healthy diet to cockatiels
(Image Credit: Pexels)

Cockatiels are meant to fill their crops up with nutritious pellets and vegetables instead of high-calorie treats.

Of course, the mentioned treats still have a part within your cockatiel’s diet, just not a large part.

2) Ensure Your Cockatiel Is On a Pelleted Diet

The foundation of a healthy and nutritious cockatiel diet is pellets.

High-quality pellets are nutritionally balanced, which is why all experts and avian vets suggest using them as the diet base.

Here are some reputable brands that formulate high-quality pellets for cockatiels:

  • Harrison’s
  • Roudybush
  • Vetafarm

Or you can view the: Top 7 Healthiest Pellet Brands For Cockatiels

All of these brands have lots of high-quality ingredients that make up the pellets.

You should definitely convert to pellets if you have your cockatiel on an all-seed diet.

Click here to learn how to switch your cockatiel from seeds to a pelleted diet.

A seed-only diet will lead to your cockatiel getting fatty liver disease among other possible health problems.

Unlike pellets, commercial seed mixes are NOT nutritionally complete.

You will have greatly improved your cockatiel’s diet by making pellets their primary food.

3) Serve More Vegetables More Often

Feeding pellets to your cockatiel is important, but supplementing that pellet-based diet with nutrient-rich vegetables is just as important.

A lot of essential vitamins and minerals are found in vegetables.

Without eating a variety of healthy veggies, your cockatiel is prone to nutrient deficiencies.

Diet plan for cockatiel
(My cockatiel enjoying some beans)

Although cockatiels need vegetables in their diet, they always seem to think that veggies are poison and avoid them like the plague.

If you have one of these birds, I highly suggest you read: 17 ways to encourage birds to try new foods

I understand how frustrating this problem can be when you’re trying to improve your cockatiel’s diet.

That’s why I wrote the linked article above, to give you a few ideas on how to get your cockatiel to eat new healthy foods.

One simple way to get your cockatiel to eat more vegetables is to change the way it’s prepared.

Some birds like it raw while others may like it steamed or slightly boiled, each bird has their own preference.

Experiment to find out what YOUR cockatiel enjoys!

You should definitely try serving at least 2 different vegetables a day, even if you don’t think they’ll eat it.

4) Add More Vegetable Variety To Chop Mixes

One of the best ways to improve your cockatiel’s diet is by serving bird chop mixes, which is just a mixture of finely chopped veggies.

You can serve a HUGE variety of vegetables in bird chop.

The more vegetables you use in the mix, the healthier it will be for your bird.

(My most recent batch of vegetables for a chop mix)

One of the main advantages of bird chop is that your cockatiel will be getting as much nutrition as possible with each small bite.

You can also hide healthy vegetables that your bird may not favour within the chop mix.

Bird chop is not limited to just vegetables, you can add small amounts of cooked pasta, egg, and even rice for some extra variety and nutrition.

Here’s a good variety of ingredients for a healthy cockatiel mix:

  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Cooked egg
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Peas

There are barely any limits to how much you can add to a bird chop mix.

Eating a wide variety of vegetables every day will greatly improve the number of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals absorbed by your cockatiel.

This will ultimately improve their health and well-being.

5) Introduce Your Cockatiel To Healthy Treats

Remember when I said feeding your cockatiel too many fatty treats can lead to health problems?

Well, you can combat this issue by feeding healthier treats!

The problem with feeding too many sunflower seeds and millet is that both treats are high in fat, which is unhealthy in large amounts. However, there isn’t a limit on feeding your cockatiel healthy treats because they offer nutritional value.

By using healthier treats for training, you will have enhanced your cockatiel’s overall diet.

How to keep a cockatiel healthy
(Image Credit: Pixabay)

So what are some healthy treats you can feed your cockatiel?

Here’s a list of just a few bird snacks that offer some nutritional value:

  • Spinach (my cockatiel loves this)
  • Apple
  • Pellets (some birds enjoy working for their regular food)
  • Fruit juice (can be delivered through a syringe)
  • Dried apricot and other fruit
  • Leafy greens

To discover what your cockatiel is willing to work for, you must do a bit of experimenting.

Related: How To Discover Your Parrot’s Favourite Treats For Training

Once you find out what healthy treats are favoured by your cockatiel, you can start switching between them and other treats.

As mentioned, so many health problems in cockatiels link back to feeding too many fatty treats.

You won’t need to worry about this as much if you start feeding healthier treats.

Brief Summary Of a Healthy Cockatiel Diet

We just went over 5 simple ways to improve your cockatiel’s diet, but now I want to briefly discuss the diet plan you should be aiming to meet.

The diet plan I’m about to show you is what my avian vet has suggested to me.

Firstly, there are 5 main types of foods that are essential to a cockatiel diet:

  • Pellets (40%)
  • Budgie seed mix (30%)
  • Vegetables (20%)
  • Fruits (5%)
  • And finally, treats (5%)

The percentages are how much of each food type you should be feeding your cockatiel.

For example, pellets should make up 40% of your cockatiel’s overall diet.

The reason why seeds make up 30% of the diet is that wild cockatiels are natural seed eaters, making up a large portion of their diet.

The diet of a wild cockatiel consists mainly of grass seeds, vegetation, fruits, and edible plants.

This cockatiel diet plan is supported by this print-off I received from my avian vet upon my bird’s first check-up:

healthy cockatiel diet

I’ve also taken the initiative to turn this diet plan into an easier-to-digest diet chart:

cockatiel diet chart

Feel free to screenshot this, share it, or print it off if you like.

If you stick to this diet chart and make the suggested improvements, your cockatiel will happily live a long and healthy life.

Foods Your Cockatiel Must Avoid Eating

When trying to provide new foods to your cockatiel, it’s very easy to think that something very toxic is safe for them to eat.

Here are some toxic foods that people often think are safe for cockatiels:

  • Avocado
  • Rhubarb
  • Apple and pear seeds
  • The pits from cherries, apricots, nectarines, plums, and peaches
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms

You should always be 100% certain that any new foods you plan to feed are safe.

Want to know what you can feed to your cockatiel?

Read: Cockatiel Food List – The Ultimate Feeding Guide For Cockatiel Owners



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