Cockatiel Prices: How Much They Really Cost In 2023
So you’ve done some research and now you’re ready to buy a cockatiel, right?
“But how much do cockatiels cost?”
As a cockatiel carer myself, I can tell you that they can be smart and affectionate companions if looked after properly.
However, like all exotic pets, they’re quite pricey to buy and care for.
This article will show you exactly how much cockatiels cost in 2023.
You’ll discover the cost of the actual bird itself and the long-term care expenses.
People rarely discuss this.
I’ll also be sharing how much I personally spend on caring for Arthur, my cockatiel.
Let’s get started!
- How Much Do Cockatiels Cost? (Average Prices)
- 5 Factors That Affect The Price Of Cockatiels
- Long-Term Costs Of Owning Cockatiels
- Money-Saving Tips For Cockatiel Owners
How Much Do Cockatiels Cost? (Average Prices)
In general, the price of a cockatiel varies between the places that sell them.
If you were to adopt a cockatiel from a rescue centre (which is where I recommend you adopt from), you’d be faced with an adoption fee. That adoption fee can be anywhere from $20, $60, all the way up to $150 depending on where you adopt.
To get an accurate idea of the average cockatiel price, I called my local pet stores.
Here’s what I found:
The average price of a pet store cockatiel that was not handraised = $60
The average price of a hand-raised pet store cockatiel = $165
From my calls, I found that the most expensive cockatiel was selling for $195 while the cheapest was selling for just $45.
Arthur, my cockatiel, was not hand raised and was sold to me by a pet store.
He cost only $25.
But that was in 2020, so prices were a lot lower back then than it is now in 2023.
Cockatiel Prices From Breeders Vs. Pet Stores
Most pet stores buy their cockatiels from breeders.
Either that or they breed them in the store.
Since pet stores want to make a profit by reselling cockatiels that they buy, they’ll often charge a higher price for the birds than what they bought. Since most breeders sell hand-raised cockatiels for $80 – $130, it makes sense for the average price of a hand-raised pet store cockatiel to be $165.
Buying hand-raised cockatiels from a breeder is often cheaper than buying from a pet store.
But if you want a cockatiel raised by its parents, prices are often cheaper at pet stores.
5 Factors That Affect The Price Of Cockatiels
I’ve just hinted at a few things that impact the cost of a cockatiel, but now we’ll be covering 5 major factors that determine their price:
- Age of the cockatiel
- The colour mutation
- Whether or not it was hand-raised
- Where you buy the cockatiel from
- Local demand for the cockatiel
How much your cockatiel will cost depends on these 5 factors, which we’ll discuss now.
1. Age Of The Cockatiel
No matter where you buy your bird, you’ll pay more for a baby one.
Baby cockatiels are often sold for a much higher price compared to adults because babies are easier to train. Breeders and pet stores are aware that it’s much easier to tame, train, and bond with a baby cockatiel compared to an adult.
This is why they put a higher price tag on babies.
If you want to adopt a cockatiel younger than 30 days, expect to pay a higher price.
On average, baby hand-raised cockatiels cost between $150 – $300.
2. The Colour Mutation
Cockatiels come in many different colours and patterns.
While they only appear grey in the wild, there are over 30 different colour mutations in captivity.
Breeders can attempt to produce a specific colour mutation by breeding 2 cockatiels that have the desired colour. While there are plenty of colours, the rarest ones are the whiteface mutation and the all-white “albino” mutation.
These rare coloured cockatiels are priced a lot higher than almost any other colour mutation.
And no, it’s not just $10 or $15 dollars extra.
Breeders will often double the price of a cockatiel that has any of these rare mutations.
If you want a cockatiel with a rare colour combination, expect to pay an extra 100$.
3. Whether Or Not The Cockatiel Was Hand-Raised
As hinted at earlier, hand-raised cockatiels are priced a lot higher than parent-raised cockatiels.
Just so we’re clear, a “parent-raised” bird is one who was fed and cared for by its biological feathered parents. Hand-raised cockatiels are often removed from their parents at a few days old or even before they hatch.
It is then cared for, fed, and reared by human hands.
The reason hand-raised cockatiels cost more is simple:
Hand-raised birds are easier to handle as they have absolutely no fear of humans or their hands.
For this reason, they often make better companions than parent-raised cockatiels.
Cockatiel merchants know this, which is why hand-raised birds cost more than parent-raised birds.
4. Where You Buy The Cockatiel From
How much your cockatiel will cost also depends on where you buy them from.
As mentioned, pet stores, breeders, and rescue centres sell their birds at different prices.
One pet store will also have different prices than another pet store in the same area.
It doesn’t just depend on which store you get your cockatiel from, the prices also vary between different countries. For example, how much a cockatiel costs in Australia will be a bit different to their prices in America.
If you want the lowest price, my suggestion is to check in with various nearby merchants.
5. Local Cockatiel Demand
The final factor that determines the price of a cockatiel is local demand.
To put it simply, if there’s a higher demand for pet cockatiels in your local area, the merchants will up their prices. Using this same concept, if there’s a large supply of cockatiels but there’s low demand, the prices will drop.
That’s the basic law of supply and demand.
However, only those who sell cockatiels will know how high the demand is, not you.
Long-Term Costs Of Owning Cockatiels
Everything we’ve discussed above relates to how much the cockatiel itself costs.
In this section, I’ll be covering what is rarely discussed, which are the long-term costs of caring for cockatiels. In fact, I’d say buying the bird itself is the cheapest part compared to all the things you’ll need to buy for it in the future.
Here are the long-term costs I’ll be covering in this section:
- Buying a high-quality, spacious cage
- Vet bills when they come up
- Toys for your cockatiel to play with
After this, I’ll provide some money-saving tips for bird owners.
Buying a Spacious, Well-Built Cage
Your cockatiel’s cage is the biggest one-time purchase you’ll make for them.
Since a bird’s cage is like its little home inside your much larger home, you need to invest in one that is both spacious and built to last. A good cockatiel cage will cost you anywhere between $150 – $500, even if you get it on a good deal.
Some bird cages even cost more than $1,000, but that’s a bit unnecessary.
If you’re on a tight budget, you could probably get a decent cage for around $100.
Here’s the cage my cockatiel currently resides in:
I bought it from Kogan for about $130.
It’s certainly one of the cheaper cages on the market, but my cockatiel is happy in it.
Vet Bills (When They Come Up)
No matter how well you care for a cockatiel, vet bills are guaranteed to come up.
Even when your cockatiel is in good health, you’ll still need to get them checked by the vet once a year, which costs about $60 – $100, depending on the clinic. However, it’ll likely be more than once a year as cockatiels do things that make us worry for their health.
Last year, I took my cockatiel to the vet twice because he was sleeping weirdly during the day.
There was nothing wrong with him.
If your cockatiel develops a health problem, the vet bills can easily stack up to hundreds of dollars.
This includes check-ups, testing, and treatments.
Food (Pellets, Seeds, Fruits, Vegetables, Treats, etc.)
Buying high-quality food for your cockatiel is an essential cost that will never end.
Here’s a list of foods you’ll buy on a regular basis:
- Seed mix
- Healthy and fresh vegetables
- Treats (sunflower seeds, millet spray, etc.)
A $30 bag of VetaFarm pellets lasts my cockatiel a month and a half, sometimes 2 months.
Personally, I end up spending more money on vegetables than pellets as I put around 8 or 9 different vegetables in his mix. I need to buy fresh veggies every 2 weeks as the vegetables go off, which is when I need to make a new mix.
Buying a batch of 8 or 9 veggies costs around $40 – $50 in Australia.
Doing that twice a month put my monthly cockatiel food cost at around $130 (including pellets).
Toys For Cockatiels To Play With
Buying good toys is another never-ending expense for cockatiel owners.
Not only do cockatiels need regular access to fun and interesting toys, but you’ll also need to buy new toys to keep things enjoyable for them.
Cockatiels, just like toddlers, quickly become bored with overused toys.
To stop them from becoming bored and irritable, they need new things to interact with.
I buy a few toys from Amazon every 2 or 3 weeks.
Depending on the toys I get, this purchase often ends up being between $40 – $70.
Here’s my cockatiel standing with one of his most recent toys:
Money-Saving Tips For Cockatiel Owners (& Future Owners) 💰
Now that we’ve covered most of the costs associated with cockatiels, I now want to provide you with a few money-saving tips. Cockatiel costs can get, well, costly, so I want to give you some tips for saving some money in 2023.
First Tip Is To Buy The Best, Most Well-Built Cage Possible
Wait, hold on a darn minute…
Didn’t I say earlier that the higher the quality cage, the more expensive it is?
Yes, that’s entirely true.
But you need to be thinking about the long-term.
If you buy a cheaper cage for your bird ($100 – $150), you might need to buy more cages in the future as cheap ones can break or become damaged over time. However, if you buy a high-quality but expensive cage ($300 – $500), you’ll never need to buy another cage again.
What’s more expensive:
- Buying multiple $150 cages over the span of years
- Or just buying a single $350 cage once and never again
I think I’ve made the answer pretty clear.
Buy Your Bird’s Food In Bulk (Larger Quantities)
If you buy your cockatiel’s food in larger batches, you’ll save money in the long run.
I used to spend $15 every 2 weeks on a small bag of VetaFarm pellets, which added up to roughly $60 every 2 months. Nowadays, I buy the $30 pellet bag, which is much larger, and now spend only $30 every 2 months on pellets.
I essentially cut my pellet expense in half, though it doesn’t seem like much saved.
Although I spend more on the day, I’m saving money in the long run.
If possible, buy your bird’s food in bulk.
My Final Tip Is To Make Your Own DIY Toys
Making homemade toys for your cockatiel will help you save on the monthly toy expenses.
As I said earlier, I probably spend about $50 – $70 every few weeks on new toys, but you can easily cut that down by simply making your own. Instead of buying a $30 toy, you could buy about $10 worth of bird-safe materials and make multiple toys!
Here’s a recent paper toy I made for my bird:
It literally cost me $0, a bit of paper, and a quick link connector I got from another toy.
He spent quite a bit of time shredding it up.
Whenever possible, make your own bird toys to save some money if you’re on a budget.
“So, how much do cockatiels cost?”
Cockatiels can be priced anywhere between $45 – $195 as of 2023.
My cockatiel only cost $25, but this was back in 2020.
Here are some of the factors that affect the cost of a cockatiel bird:
- The cockatiel’s age
- Their colour mutation
- Whether or not the cockatiel was hand-raised
- Where you buy the cockatiel from
- How high the demand for cockatiels is in your area
However, buying the bird itself is relatively cheap compared to all the costs that come with it, like the cage, cage accessories, food, vet bills, and toys.
Before buying a cockatiel, you should be 100% aware of the long-term costs.
So many people end up rehoming their birds because they can’t afford to care for them.
Not only that, but you should know EXACTLY what you’re getting into with a cockatiel.
As a cockatiel carer, I can say that they’re not the easiest pets to care for.
After all, cockatiels are exotic pets.
To learn exactly what you should know before adopting a cockatiel, read the post linked below.
Hope you found this article informative.
Read next: 20 Things To Know Before Adopting a Bird