There are numerous publications out there describing the best caging for cockatiels. This is the story of how I followed the advice set forth in three separate books and almost lost one of my best birds in the process.
After a move and aviary expansion my husband and I found we required more caging. Before setting out on the project we read up on the subject, consulted various breeders and determined which would be best for us.
Everyone I spoke to assured me that inch x inch mesh was more than suitable. I thought about it and voiced my concern that the birds could get their heads stuck. I was ridiculed and assured cockatiel heads were not that big ! So out we went and purchased a roll of inch x inch wire. I borrowed a set of J-Clippers and made a lovely, roomy home for my feathered friends. It worked very well with a large access door, slots for feeding dishes and landing ledges. I was very proud of my creation.
But as I looked at my show birds I thought again of the heads. The notion that they could get their heads stuck was still there. Then Ariel and Lago showed me how wrong I was. They made a game of poking their heads in and out of the wire. "See, Mom! Nothin' too worry about !" Then again, Lago and Ariel are not my bigger birds. Things went well for the longest time. Then I came home from an unusually long day at work to the sound of Texas meowing. Allow me to briefly explain Texas’ meows. When he was a chick the neighbors were feeding a batch of orphan kittens and they meowed all day and night. Texas quickly picked up their cries and learned how easily he could get our attention with his cute kitten cries. I dashed into the aviary and saw Texas with his head through the bars and hanging by the neck. Without touching the bird I grabbed a pair of wire snips and cut the cage. All the while Ariel and Lago poking their heads out to either keep Texas company or see what I was up to. Other than a hurt ego, Texas was lucky. He did get quite a fright. I have no idea how long he was pinned. Since that incident I have heard numerous horror stories all relating to inch x inch wire. Unfortunately I have not heard of any birds as lucky as Texas. Needless to say that cage was replaced ‘PDQ’ with a cage with inch x half inch mesh.
The moral of this story - throw out that inch x inch mesh. It is fine for larger birds like Amazons or Macaws but is a death trap to cockatiels.