Tips to Keep Your Cockatiel Happy and Safe

This article contains information on healthy plants, plants to avoid, poisonous plants and parts, safe foliage, recommended branch material, and contaminants that are toxic to birds. Salt is toxic to birds and should not be offered except where it is found naturally in seed or pellet diets. DO NOT add salt licks, spools or blocks to your birds' cage!
 

  • Provide birds with a lot of attention daily.

  • Check aviary birds at least twice a day, for signs of illness or injury.

  • Fresh, high quality formulated diet, with daily supplementation of fresh, clean vegetables.

  • Don't feed grit.

  • Give fresh, clean water daily. This includes cleaning water and food dishes daily.

  • Give your cockatiel a bath or shower at least three times a week in the morning. This will allow time for him/her to be completely dry before bed time.

  • Avoid spraying insecticides in your house! If you must spray use a pyrethrum based product and remove your bird from the room being sprayed.

  • Offer different size perches, made from clean pesticide-free tree branches. (Maple, apple, ash, or dowel rods of different shapes)

  • Use as large of a cage as possible. Try to stay away from round or oval shape cages. Position perches so droppings can't fall into seed or water dishes. Make sure your cage wire has no spaces in corners or at the top or bottom. (Solid cage construction is very important).
     

FOR THE SAKE OF SAFETY, PREVENT ACCESS TO:
 

  • Ceiling fans

  • Hot foods, oil or water

  • Teflon coated cooking utensils including toxic fumes from other sources

  • Tobacco and/or cigarette smoke

  • Toxic houseplants

  •  Chocolate, Avocado, Salt, Alcohol or Caffeine

  • Lead or Zinc

  • Cedar, Redwood and pressure treated wood (including shavings)

  • Leg chains

  • Sandpaper-covered perches
     

HEALTHY PLANTS:
 

  • Vitamin A - Carrots with tops, turnip greens, kale, spinach, watercress, collards, mustard greens, dandelion, swiss chard, chicory

  • Vitamin C - Turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, collards, watercress, spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, beet tops, kohlrabi

  • Vitamin K - Alfalfa, Cabbage, Kale, Spinach

  • Vitamin E - Kale, Spinach, Watercress

  • Potassium - Collards, Dandelion, Spinach, Swiss Chard Iron Beet Tops, Kale, Swiss Chard

  • Calcium - Collards, Kale, Mustard greens, Peas, Turnip Greens
     

PLANTS TO AVOID:

Arum lily, Autumn crocus or meadow saffron, Australian flame tree, Avocado, Azalea, Baneberry, Beans: (castor, horse, fava broad, glory, scarlet runner, mescal, rosary peas) Bird of Paradise, Bishop's Weed, Black laurel, Black locust, Bleeding heart or Dutchmen's Breaches, Bloodroot, Bluebonnet, Blue-green Algae, Boxwood, Bracken fern, Buckthorn, Bulb flowers; (amaryllis, daffodil, narcissus, hyacinth, iris) Burdock, Buttercup, Cacao, Camel Bush, Caladium, Calla Lily, Cardinal Flower, Chalice (trumpet vine), Cherry Tree, Chinaberry Tree, Christmas Candle, Clematis (Virginia bower), Cocklebur, Coffee (senna), Coffee Bean (rattlebush, rattlebox, coffeeweed), Coral Plant, Coriander, Corncockle, Coyotillo, Cowslip, Cutleaf:(philodendron, daphne, death camus, devil's Ivy, dieffenbachia (dumb Cane), elderberry, elephant ear (taro) ), Ergot,Eucalyptus (particularly dried, dyed or treated for floral arrangements), Euonymus (spindle tree), False Hellebore, Glame tree, Felt Plant (maternity plant, air plant, panda plant), Firethorn, Four O' Clock, Foxglove, Glottidium, Golden Chain, Grass:( Johnson, sorghum, Sudan, broomcorn) Ground cherry, Heaths: (kalmia, leucotho, peires, rhododendron, mountain laurel, black laurel, andromeda, azaleas) Heliotrope, Hemlock (all forms), Henbane, Holly, Honeysuckle, Horse Chestnut (buckeye), Horsetail, Hydrangea, Ivy: (english, and other varieties) Jack-in-the-pulpit , Jasmine (jessamine), Jimsonweed , (thornapple), Kentucky Coffee Tree, Lantana, Larkspur, Lily of the valley, Lily Arum, Locoweed (milk vetch), Locusts: (black and honey) Lords and ladies (cuckoopint), Lupine, Malanga, Marijuana (hemp), Mayapple (mandrake), Mexican Breadfruit, Mexican Poppy, Milkweed (cotton bush), Mistletoe, Mock Orange, Monkshood, Moonseed, Morning Glory, Mountain Laurel, Mushrooms (amanita), Nettles, Nightshades; (deadly, black, garden, woody, bittersweet, eggplant, Jerusalem cherry, Oak Oleander) Parsley* (from the Hemlock Family), Periwinkle, Philodendrons, Swiss cheese, Pigweed, Poinciana, Poinsettia, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak:( western & eastern) Pokeweed, Potato Shoots, Privet, Pyracantha, Ranunculus (buttercup), Rattlebox (crotalaria), Red Maple, Rhubarb Leaves, Rhododendrons: (azaleas, laurels), Sandbox Tree, Skunk Cabbage, Sorrel (dock), Snowdrop, Spurges: (pencil tree, snow-on-the-mountain, candelabra tree, crown of thorns) Sweet pea, Tansy Ragwort, Tobacco, Vetch: (hairy and common) Virginia creeper, Wattle, White cedar (china berry), Wisteria,Yews, Yellow Jasmine
 

PLANTS TO AVOID AND THE POISONOUS PART(S):

(Common Name and Poisonous Part)

Monkhood.. All parts, roots, seeds Bonaberry.. Sap Horse Chestnut.. Leaves and fruit Tree of Heaven.. Leaves and flowers Fly agario mushroom.. All parts Amanita mushroom.. All parts Baladonna lily.. Bulbs Pasque flower ..Young plants and flowers Milkweeds.. Leaves, berries Devils walking stick.. Leaves and berries Jack in the pulpit.. Leaves Boxwood.. Leaves Caladium.. All parts American bittersweet ..Leaves and fruit Buttonbush ..Leaves Night blooming jasmine ..Leafy shoots Water Hemlock.. Roots Autumn crocus or saffron .. Leaves and bulbs Elephant ear ..All parts Poison Hemlock ..All parts Lily of the valley ..Leaves and flowers Crinum lily.. Bulbs Lady slipper orchid ..Hairy stems and leaves Daphra ..Bark, leaves, fruit Angel’s trumpet ..All parts Larkspur/Delphiniium ..Young plants, seeds Bleeding heart ..Leaves, tubers Dieffenbachia/dumb cane ..Stems, leaves Foxglove.. Leaves European burning bush ..Leaves, fruit White snakeroot.. Leaves, stems Snow on the mountain ..Milky sap Poinsettia ..Milky sap Crown of Thorns.. Milky sap, roots Rubber plant ..Milky sap English Ivy ..Whole plant Christmas rose ..Rootstock, leaves Hyacinth ..Bulb Hydrangea..Leaves Spider lily ..Bulb St. Johnswort ..All parts English holly ..Berries Impatiens ..Young stems, leaves Garden Iris.. Rhizomes Coral plant ..Fruit Walnut Green.. Hull, juices Mountain laurel ..Leaves Lantana.. Foliage Sweet pea ..All parts Privet.. Leaves, berries Flax ..Leaves, berries Lupines.. Leaves, pods, seed Narcissus, Daffodil.. Bulbs Ground ivy ..Leaves, stems Orleander ..All parts Tobacco ...Foliage Opium poppy seed ..Pods Philodendron.. Stems, leaves Mistletoe. .Berries Pokeweed.. All parts Primrose.. Leaves, stems Cherries, peaches, plums.. Seeds, leaves Buttercup.. Leaves Buckthorn.. Sap and fruit Rhododendron.. All parts Poison Ivy.. All parts Castor beans.. Seeds Rhubarb ..Leaves Black locust ..Shoots, bark, seeds Sour dock.. Leaves German Ivy.. Leaves, stems European bittersweet ..Leaves, berries Elderberry ..Roots Bitter nightshade ..All parts Garden huckleberry ..Leaves Jerusalem Cherry ..Berries, fruits Common tansy ..Leaves Yew ..Foliage, bark, seeds Culvers root ..Roots Wisteria ..Pods
 

SAFE FOLIAGE:

Acacia, African violet , Aloe , Baby's tears , Bamboo , Begonia , Bougainvillea , Chickweed , Christmas cactus , Cissus (kangaroo vine) , Coleus, Corn plant , Crabapple , Dandelion , Dogwood , Donkey Tail , Dracaena Varieties, Ferns: ( asparagus, bird's nest) Boston (and related maidenhair) Figs:( Creeping, rubber, laurel, fiddle leaf, weeping) Gardenia, Jade Plant, Magnolia, Marigolds, Monkey Plant, Mother in-law's tongue, Nasturtium, Norfolk Island Pine, Shefflera (umbrella).

The above plants are not poisonous if accidentally eaten, but should not be consider part of a healthy diet.
 

RECOMMENDED BRANCHES:

Tree Branches make the best perches. Trees of the following species can supply safe branches, foliage and bark to be used as perches or chew toys for birds. These materials are not safe if toxic chemicals or insecticides have been sprayed on them. Before installing them in any cage, scrub all branches with a nontoxic disinfectant (such as diluted chlorine bleach or Nolvasan) then rinse and dry well.
 

  • Apple

  • Ash

  • Almond

  • Apricot

  • Peach

  • Maple

  • Elm
     

CONTAMINANTS TOXIC TO BIRDS:

This list can not name every toxic substance. If you are unsure about possible toxicity of any item, read the label.

Fumes from Teflon, Silver stone etc. types of cookware are dangerous at any level of heat - they do not have to be over heated . This would also include heat lamps with a Teflon coating. Alcoholic beverages, Ammonia, Antifreeze, Ant syrup or paste, Arsenic, Asbestos, Automotive products, Bathroom bowl cleaner, Bleach, Boric acid, Camphophenique, Carbon monoxide, Charcoal lighter fluid, Cigarette smoke, Chlordane , Chlorine, Copper and brass cleaners, Corn and wart remover, Deodorants, Detergents, Diazanon (DDT), Disinfectants, Drain cleaners, Epoxy glue kit, Flea bombs, Flea collars , Floor polish, Formaldehyde, Furniture polish, Garden sprays, Gasoline, Gun cleaners, Hair dyes, Hair spray, Herbicides, Indelible felt-tip markers, Insecticides, Iodine, Kerosene, Lead based house paint, Lighter fluid, Lye, Matches, Model cement, Mothballs, Muriatic acid, Mushrooms, Nail polish, Nail polish remover, Nitrogen dioxide, Oven cleaner, Overheated nonstick cookware fumes, Paint remover, Paint thinner, Perfume, Permanent wave solutions, Pesticides, Photographic solutions, Pine oil, Prescription and nonprescription medicines, Rodenticides, Rubbing alcohol, Shaving lotion, Shellac, Shoe polish, Silver polish, Snail bait, Spot removers, Spray starch Strychnine, Sulfuric acid, Suntan lotions, Super Glue, surgical acrylics, Toilet bowl cleaners, Turpentine, wax, Weed killers, Window wash solvent, Wood preservatives.
 

Sources: Dr. David Kersting DVM, Bird Owner's Home Health & Care by G. Gallerstein DVM, Bird Diseases by L. Arnall & I.F. Keymer