What should I feed my cockatiel and avoid obesity?

What should I feed my cockatiel and avoid obesity?

What can cockatiels eat? This is a common question that we are asked, followed by how can I replicate what they eat in the wild?

The truth is that cockatiels have a varied diet in the wild and this varies by regions and countries. cockatiels tend to eat what they can find in abundance at the time of year. Cockatiels like many other parrots should never be forced to eat anything that it does not find tasteful. What you are looking for is a well-balanced nutritional plan and once you have found something that works, stick to it. That way your cockatiel will live a healthy and long life.

So, let’s look at a few examples!


Many experts would suggest that pellets are part of a cockatiels stable diet. It’s not natural for birds to eat pellets, but it is easier to give your bird a good diet based around pellets. There are many custom designed pellets, but it must not be the only food on its menu.


Seeds from different types of grains, hemp, sunflowers, and other plants can be a good basis for the diet of your cockatiel. When feeding it seeds, always make sure they are clean and free of dangerous fungus or any other substances. You can rinse them in warm soapy water and let them completely dry before serving. Also make sure the bowl is cleaned regularly. Always supply your cockatiel with new portion of seeds; cockatiels are very thorough in extracting seeds from their husks, so their bowl could be full of inedible husks and no food at all. Do not include fruit seeds in your bird’s diet. Many fruit seeds are toxic.


Cockatiels enjoy eating almost all types of fruits, some examples are apple, mango, papaya, banana, blueberries, grapes, nectarine, orange, apricot, and cantaloupe. They should be served in small portions, chopped or shredded. Offer your cockatiel a small piece of it to see if it likes it or not. Don’t be afraid to vary this as you learn what your cockatiel likes.

Care should be taken to ensure that there are no fruit seeds contained within any fruits you feed your cockatiel. Fruits seeds contain cyanide, a toxic element that could be very dangerous to cockatiels. Always wash fruits thoroughly, to make sure it is free of pesticides and chemicals. Given the size of your cockatiel, a small amount of cyanide can be fatal.


Vegetables are very good for cockatiels. There are carrots, broccoli, beet greens, dried tomatoes, corn, endive, kale, spinach, sprouts, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mustard greens, turnip greens and chards. While most vegetables are better if given raw, cockatiels prefer pumpkin, sweet potatoes and yams cooked.

Always avoid spices, of course. Wash all vegetables to make sure they are free of all chemicals and pesticides.

Protein food

Cockatiels can safely eat small amounts of meat. Choose only good quality chicken and beef meat or some fish. Cockatiels also benefit from boiled eggs, scrambled eggs and some dairy products, such as yogurt and fresh cheese, like cottage.

Toxic viands

You must avoid feeding your cockatiel viands. These exists in spicy and salty food, like garlic, onion, salt, caffeine, sugar and sugary food, fatty snacks and treats. Avoid avocados, rhubarb, chocolate and human food in general.


Fresh water is essential. You should change the water every day and make sure that it is always clean. Change it if you see that it is dirty. Cockatiels love to throw food around and it may land in the water. Be prepared to change it regularly as dirty water can contain dangerous bacteria.


Wild cockatiels fly many miles each day. This will burn a lot of calories. So always be careful not to over feed your cockatiel, it is one of the most common health problems among cockatiels in captivity and one of the main reasons they may live a shorter life than they should.
It is worth mentioning that you should consider insuring your cockatiel just in case you have any health issues. This will give you the piece of mind that you can help if there are any problems.

Other common questions:

  • Can cockatiels eat raisins?
    • Yes, most cockatiels love raisins and will happily eat them.
  • Can cockatiels eat cherries?
    • It is safe to feed your birds cherries, but you should always remove the seeds first. Cherry seeds contain cyanide and are very dangerous.
  • Can cockatiels eat grapes?
    • Yes, as previously mentioned. You can feed your bird grapes. It is a part of a varied diet. Grapes contain a lot of sugar and you should, therefore, limit the number of grapes you give your bird and of course seedless.
  • Can cockatiels eat oranges?
    • Yes, cockatiels can eat orange’s, but you should remove the seeds and clean the fruit.
  • Can cockatiels eat bananas?
    • Yes. Bananas are safe for cockatiels. They are soft and easy to eat.
  • Can cockatiels eat peanuts?
    • Yes, your cockatiel can eat peanuts, but the peanuts need to be human grade and free from mould. Old peanuts can be covered in mould that is dangerous for cockatiels. Peanuts are however very high in fat, so not too many and only use unsalted.
  • Can cockatiels eat carrots?
    • Carrots are a very good food and I recommend that you regularly give them carrots.
  • Can cockatiels eat blueberries?
    • Yes. Blueberries are a good healthy choice for your birds. However, many cockatiels will not like them and will refuse to eat them. Try including blueberries in the diet and see if they eat them.
  • Can cockatiels eat Avocado?
    • No, you should never feed you cockatiel avocado.
  • Can cockatiels eat apples?
    • Yes. Most cockatiels will eat apples. It is a good healthy choice for them. Make sure to remove the seed from the apples. The seeds can be dangerous for your birds.
  • Can cockatiels eat mango?
    • Yes. Your bird can eat mango as a part of a varied diet.
  • Can cockatiels eat chicken?
    • Yes, chicken is a good source of protein for cockatiels. It is not dangerous for your bird to eat chicken provided the chicken is fit for consumption. It is important to not give your cockatiels chicken too often.

Please do not use this information solely when considering feeding your cockatiel any type of food. Do you own research, contact you cockatiel owner friends and seek professional advice if unsure.

British Pet Insurance Services offers a range of exotic pet cover levels, insuring; lizards, snakes, tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and small mammals. With up to £5,000 vet fees and a range of optional extras, select the level of cover to suit your needs.

Get a quote today