Gail H. wrote:
I have a very healthy 2-1/2 yr. old Cockatiel and he is still a baby to me.
I am wondering what weight is a healthy weight for him.
He has been molting since about 8 wks ago and of course the molt is getting less now.
I have been weighing him in the mornings and in the evenings after eating his warmed-up chop of beans and rice at 4 pm at night. (I do make sure he is covered up for at least 12 hrs. at night BTW)
His size is about 12″-13″.
It is hard to measure him.
Lately, since he started molting he is weighing more than he has in the past.
In the mornings he is around 94.5 grams before eating breakfast, and at night after his warm veggies, barley, rice, beans, nuts, fruits, and much more, etc by Volkman Featherglow 15 min. Soak and Serve.
His weight has been as much as 100 grams.
Editor’s note: Weighing a bird twice daily is counterproductive. Undigested food can remain in a bird’s crop for as long as 6 hours. To complicate matters they poop roughly every 15 minutes. It’s best to weigh a bird twice monthly or even monthly. Once you have a baseline weight, a significant weight change (pulse or minus 10% or more) is the easiest method to determine if the bird is possibly ill. Endnote
He gets Zupreem Fruit Pellets as a staple in his cage always.
This was recommended by the place where he was weaned.
I just want to know what a safe weight would be for him as I don’t want him to be too heavy or too light.
I just had a friend who lost a beautiful little Cockatiel at age 8 yrs. who I truly believe was overweight at 125 grams.
I believe he had a heart attack. Don’t know for sure though.
I hope this is not too long for an explanation for you but I thought you should have all the facts. Please reply to this email as I would appreciate your advice.
(BTW I have been on your site for a number of years now and enjoy the articles and videos etc. that you and Mitch post.)
Thank you, Gail
Healthy adult cockatiels usually weigh 78 to 125 grams. This is a wide range, but cockatiel weights do vary widely depending on age and variety. A normal grey and black adult tiel can weigh at the high end, whereas an all-white mutation adult will weigh less.
Health also makes a big difference. We had a beautiful white ‘tiel that weighed more than expected only to find out that she had fluid retention most likely due to cancer.
We had to have it drained once to twice a week or she would have suffocated due to the pressure.
We only realized she was sick when I saw her holding her wings out as she wandered looking for dropped seeds under her cage.
Once we went to the Vet we found out she was sick.
She was heavier with the fluid and lighter when drained, over time she lost more weight due to her illness even though she was a good eater up until the very end.
That you are weighing your bird twice a day and he is heavier after munching all day is not unusual. You can go to once-a-day weighings and get more reliable results.
How are his droppings? You should have plain paper at the bottom of the cage so you can check them out daily. Watch for watery dropping or overly dark and oily ones.
Cockatiels are capable of living up to about 25 years old. But sadly, due to no new blood (no new bird imports from Australia), most of the cockatiels in the USA are inbred which only serves to shorten their overall lifespans to perhaps 12-15 years old.
Lack of exercise can contribute to early demise as well. If kept in a small cage (that does not allow flight) or the bird is clipped, it will not be able to work its wings enough to help with overall muscular development and heart health.
Overall, the bird’s diet sounds yummy. If you have further concerns, taking your bird to your local avian Vet for blood work can tell you a lot more.
Thank you for writing.
Thank you Catherine for replying.
I made sure I had another normal grey Cockatiel as I know they are the original ‘Tiels and are the most healthy. He has a good appetite and I encourage him to fly a little daily for his exercise.
I was concerned because my FB friend “Tidbit’s Place” lost Tidbit recently and he was only 8 yrs. old.
He was the only Cockatiel I ever saw that had rhythm and could dance and he would go around in circles in time to the music.
His mom used to feed him people food sometimes and Tidbit was at 125 grams most all the time.
I assume that was after eating.
I was afraid it may have been hard on his heart even though he was only 8 yrs old.
She mentioned he would sometimes have seizures and get scared.
I know she mentioned at one of his last seizures recently last Jan. he almost died and was quite wobbly.
She held him all night long and kept him warm, and he went into a deep sleep.
She really loved this bird. (I believe it was because they purchased a German Shepard dog as a puppy about 2 yrs. ago and I think he could have been scared of that large dog now.
He did try and dive bomb the dog one night, Tidbit was very intelligent.
His death just recently was a shock as he was taken to the Avian vet recently for blood tests, and the vet said he had an infection in his blood but they gave him medicine to get rid of it which they did, but he was never the same and stopped whistling and dancing altogether.
He was a gorgeous-looking bird with shiny bright feathers etc.
So I just want to be careful and do my best for my little baby of 2 yrs.
I will never feed him any people food except fresh veggies if he will eat them.
(I will have to will him on as I am older but I cannot live without a bird in my life.)
I am including a photo of Tidbit who just passed in his dancing mode for you to view. If you have time please check out his FB page Tidbit’s Place.
He was the reason I decided to purchase another Cockatiel as I did lose my little Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo after 41 yrs. being together since she was 6mts. old. Thank you once again for your reply, Catherine. Gail
We are sorry for your friend’s loss. These little creatures really do bring so much into our lives, when they go, they are missed so much. We still miss our little Popcorn.
She was a rescue, so there was no telling what her diet was previously, nor how old she was. But she was very loved.
If you talk to your Vet most likely they will say that any ‘tiel over 100 gm is overweight, but that is open to debate of course. Diet and exercise is so very important.
Our normal ‘tiel Barney spends much of his day sitting on top of his cage, but of course, when we are ready to put him inside his cage for the night or for his safety because we have to go out, he will do 10 to 20 laps the length of the entire house before he tuckers out and lets us pick him up and secure him in his cage.
He also enjoys a fresh dish daily of a slice of apple and some chopped veggies mixed with vitamins.
He does get a dish of a good seed mix and before bed gets a 1″ chunk of spray millet, while the other two birds (African Ringneck, Keto, and Chili the Quaker) get a bit of Lafebers Avi-Cake.
That makes bedtime more enjoyable for all.
FYI, back in 1952, we welcomed my little Joey normal grey Cockatiel into our family.
For years he ate sunflower seeds and parakeet seeds until he was about 12 yrs. old than the vet gave him sprinkle vitamins on his seeds.
Can you imagine he lived to be 27 yrs with me and traveled to Europe with me in 1965?
I never gave him people food and millet once in a while.
He traveled with me all over the U.S. back then.
He was never sick in his life.
Just adding more info. about these remarkable little birds.
I miss my ‘Too terribly but this little baby “growing fast” is my joy in life!!
I will encourage him to fly more as you suggested as well.
Thank you for your advice.
I have been following Windy City for years and enjoy all of your bird information…And BTW I do remember Popcorn….Take care. Gail