Leaving Cockatiels Alone: How Long Is Too Long?

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

If you have a single cockatiel, leaving them alone sometimes is unavoidable.

While it’s easy for others to say “Just get another cockatiel”, we know that things are not that simple. 

The reason this is bad advice is because:  

  1. The 2 cockatiels aren’t guaranteed to get along
  1. You’ll end up having to leave 2 cockatiels alone, which means twice the level of guilt.

So, what can you do when leaving your cockatiel by itself?

The answers are coming up in this article that explains how long cockatiels can be left alone, why they don’t like it, and how to make alone time less stressful for your feathered friend.


Can Cockatiels Be Left Alone? Will They Be Ok?

You can safely leave your cockatiel at home alone as long as it’s not too long.

If your cockatiel has a good cage that they can’t escape from, as well as food and water, they’ll be perfectly fine with a bit of alone time. So, don’t feel guilty for going to work or to the store as your feathered friend will be just fine.

My cockatiel is alone for a little while almost every day:

Can cockatiels be left alone?

Just like everyone else, I have work and errands to run.

Sometimes, my family is out of the house while I’m also out, meaning Arthur needs to be left alone for a little while.

When I get back, I can see that he’s been eating, drinking, and playing, so he was perfectly fine.

For most people, it’s unrealistic to always have someone keeping the cockatiel company.

What happens when you want to go out for a family dinner?

You can’t just cancel it out of fear that your cockatiel is going to be lonely

Don’t feel guilty if you leave your bird alone as they’ll be ok for a little while.

How Long Is Too Long For Cockatiels To Be Left Alone?

That’s the big question here, right?

While cockatiels would prefer to never be alone, I’m going to give a simple answer on the maximum amount of alone time they can have:

No longer than 1 day.

There are multiple reasons why cockatiels shouldn’t be left alone for more than a day, which are:

  • The cockatiel’s general discomfort
  • Cage maintenance tasks that need to be done daily
  • Replacing their drinking water throughout the day
  • Changing their food and feeding them a proper daily diet

If you need to be away from the house for more than a full day, you’ll need to get someone else to do these daily chores.

Or you can take your cockatiel with you if possible.

No matter what, you should try your best to ensure your cockatiel is not left alone for more than a day.

Can i leave my cockatiel alone for 3 days?

Why Cockatiels Don’t Like Being Alone

In the wild, cockatiels would rarely spend any time alone.

They thrive in the safety and social setting of their huge flocks, which often surpass over 100 individuals.

Their flocks provide safety in numbers to the individual, which is essential to their survival.

For this reason, a lone cockatiel feels vulnerable.

It does not have its flock to keep it safe and social, which causes discomfort and sometimes even stress.

This is why your cockatiel may freak out when you leave them.

Luckily, they can learn that being left alone is not the end of the world over time.

How To Make Alone Time Less Stressful For Your Cockatiel

As mentioned, leaving your cockatiel by itself is sometimes unavoidable.

However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to make alone time less stressful and even fun for your bird.

Below are a few ways you can keep your cockatiel happy when left alone:

Provide New, Fresh, & Interesting Toys

A good toy can keep your cockatiel busy for hours, even while they’re alone!

Introducing a fresh toy will spark their curiosity and engage their attention, keeping them mentally stimulated during their alone time.

It helps keep them from becoming bored as they have something new to interact with.

Foraging toys and shredding toys are the best types of parrot toys.

Put a few new ones inside the cage before you go to work in the morning.

How long can cockatiels be left alone

Related: 7 Most Amazing Toys For Cockatiels (2023)

Leave Some Music, Radio, Or Podcast Playing In The Background

Every time I leave my cockatiel alone, I put on the Jordan B. Peterson podcast for him.

The background noise works as auditory stimulation, which keeps him mentally engaged and entertained. With something to listen to, your cockatiel is less likely to feel the isolation that comes with complete silence.

This will help reduce stress and boredom.

The sound of music or a human voice will provide a sense of comfort to your cockatiel, making alone time less stressful.

Piano music or a good podcast is my go-to background noise.

Ensure Your Cockatiel Has Plenty Of Cage Space

If possible, put your cockatiel in a larger space when leaving them alone.

This could be a large cage, indoor aviary, or a fully customised bird-safe room.

With enough space, cockatiels are able to do short flights, which is both physically and mentally stimulating. The ability to engage in natural behaviours (flying, jumping, climbing) helps prevent boredom and stress when they’re home alone.

Cockatiel left alone in aviary
Image source: Unsplash

If you don’t have an aviary-sized space for your cockatiel, at least make sure they’re in a good-sized cage.

They must be able to spread their wings out and move comfortably in their cage.

Read the full guide to an epic cockatiel cage setup

Leave Your Cockatiel Alone Daily (For a Short Time)

Leave your cockatiel alone more often if you can see it being a regular occurrence.

If you give your cockatiel some alone time every day, they’ll become less stressed when you do it for longer periods in the future.

Do it for about 30 to 60 minutes per day to get them used to alone time.

And when you return to them, give them lots of treats, praise, and attention.

You don’t even need to go anywhere, just leave them in their room while you hang out in the living room!

This is a simple way to get your cockatiel comfortable with being alone.


So, can cockatiels be left alone?

Short answer:


However, as covered in this article, it can’t be any longer than a day as they need to be cared for.

When we do leave them alone, we also need to consider their needs, behaviours, and emotional well-being, especially since they’re prone to loneliness. After all, cockatiels are intelligent birds who thrive on companionship and mental stimulation.

We can help make alone time less stressful for our birds by implementing these strategies:

  • Providing new toys before leaving them alone
  • Leaving some music or radio playing
  • Ensuring they have a spacious cage

Leaving a single cockatiel home by itself is often unavoidable.

But if you follow my advice in this article, you can leave them alone guilt-free.

Thank you for reading!

Categories: General Care


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