Can Cockatiels Wear A Harness?

Have you ever wondered if cockatiels can wear a harness? Many bird owners use harnesses as a safe way to take their birds outside for activity and fresh air. However, if you are considering using a cockatiel harness, there are certain things to think about before investing in one.

Yes, cockatiels can wear a harness, and if used properly, it can provide your bird with a natural flying experience. Harnesses are a safe and effective way to keep your cockatiel safe while letting it enjoy outdoor activities.

Remember that training your cockatiel to accept a harness can be time-consuming and frustrating, but well worth the effort in the end.

A harness is a piece of equipment that goes around your bird’s body and connects to a leash. This lets you take your bird outsideOpens in a new tab. without worrying about it flying away.

But, not all harnesses are created equal, and knowledge of the many harness options is essential for picking the best one for your cockatiel.

In this article, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know about cockatiel harnesses, and how to train it to wear one.

Do Cockatiels Like To Wear A Harness?

Whether or not a cockatiel likes to wear a harness depends on its personality and character. Some adapt quickly, while others require additional time, training, and patience to adjust.

The best way to get your cockatiel to wear a harness is to introduce it at a young age. If cockatiels are introduced to and trained with the harness from a young age, they will probably not be afraid of it.

Unfortunately, the harness can cause terror and stress in cockatiels who haven’t been properly introduced to it.

The only way to get your cockatiel used to its harness is through training. This works best for young birds that will spend their entire lives in your care.

Older cockatiels may be harder to train to wear a harness, but it is still possible that the training will go well.

If you make the cockatiel wear the harness against its will, it will likely develop negative feelings toward it.

Is It Safe For Cockatiels To Wear A Harness?

Cockatiels can use a harness safely as long as it fits right and they are closely watched while using it.

Cockatiels can safely go on outdoor adventures without worrying about them getting lost or escaping by using a harness.

Certain birds may become anxious or uncomfortable when wearing a harness, so keep that in mind.

Therefore, it is essential to properly train your cockatiel to wear a harness and accept it before taking them outside.

Your cockatiel’s physical and mental well-being may depend on the harness, therefore, you must pick the right one and use it correctly.

Prioritize the well-being of your pet bird above anything else.

Pros And Cons Of Using A Harness For Cockatiels

Using a harness for cockatiels can have both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons to consider before deciding whether to use a harness for your cockatiel:


  • Outdoor adventures: A harness can allow your cockatiel to safely explore the outdoors with you, which can be an enjoyable and educational experience for both of you
  • Bonding: Wearing a harness can help your cockatiel feel more comfortable with you and can strengthen your bond.
  • Exercise: A harness can allow your cockatiel to engage in physical activity outside of its cage or play area.
  • Safety: A harness can prevent your cockatiel from escaping or getting lost while outside.


  • Stress: Some cockatiels may find wearing a harness stressful or unpleasant.
  • Risk of injury: Harnesses can cause injuries to your cockatiel’s wings, legs, and neck if they are not used properly.
  • Training: Teaching the cockatiels to wear a harness can be a time-consuming process that requires patience and consistency.
  • Weather: Using a harness in extreme temperatures or inclement weather may not be safe or comfortable for your cockatiel.

Overall, using a harness for your cockatiel can be a great way to provide outdoor enrichment and strengthen your bond, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and ensure you use the harness safely and responsibly.

How To Put A Harness On A Cockatiel

Getting cockatiels to wear a harness may appear challenging at first, but with time and practice, you’ll find that it’s rather simple. Instructions for properly harnessing a cockatiel are provided below.

1. Choose the right size harness for your cockatiel

Choose a harness that comes with a leash and that is not too tight or loose. The harness should fit snugly on your cockatiel. A too-tight harness might restrict your bird’s movement and cause discomfort or damage, while a too-loose harness can allow your bird to escape. Always measure your cockatiel’s chest circumference before choosing one.

In addition, it’s important to check the fit of the harness frequently as your bird grows and gains or loses weight. It may be necessary to tweak or replace a harness that fitted your bird well when you originally acquired it.

2. Introduce the harness to your cockatiel gradually

Getting your cockatiel used to the harness slowly is an important step to make sure it feels safe and comfortable while wearing it. Place the harness close to the cockatiel’s cage so it can become familiar with it.

Place treats near the harness or dangle it between your fingers to encourage them to inspect it.

Once your cockatiel has become comfortable with the harness being near it, begin to gently drape it over its back while it is in its cage. Give a treatOpens in a new tab. to help your bird accept the harness.

Gradually increase the amount of time your cockatiel spends in its cage wearing the harness and monitoring it to prevent any tangles or fear.

Once your cockatiel is comfortable wearing the harness in its cage, begin to introduce them to wearing the harness outside of its cage. Start with short times and slowly lengthen them as your cockatiel gets used to them.

Remember to always supervise your cockatiel while it is wearing the harness.

3. Hold your cockatiel securely but gently

To keep your cockatiel safe and comfortable while putting on the harness, you must hold it firmly but gently. Start by approaching your bird quietly and holding it softly close to your body. Use one hand to support their legs and feet and the other to hold their chest.

After that, place the harness over the cockatiel’s head, ensuring that the straps rest on its back. Adjust the harness so that it fits comfortably but snugly. It’s essential to avoid overtightening the bird’s harness, as doing so might cause discomfort or even injury.

Note that it’s essential to never force your cockatiel to wear the harness if it is uncomfortable or unwilling to do so. Take a break and try again later if your cockatiel displays any signs of stress or fright, such as flapping its wingsOpens in a new tab. and making loud noises.

4. Put your cockatiel’s wings through the harness straps

Once the harness is over the cockatiel’s head and back, carefully slide its wings through the harness straps, one wing at a time. You may experience some nipping from your cockatiel while doing that.

5. Fasten the harness buckles and adjust the fit as necessary

Once your cockatiel’s wings are through the harness straps, secure the harness buckles and make any required adjustments to the fit. The harness should fit snugly without being uncomfortable or too tight for your cockatiel.

Also, ensure that the harness is not rubbing against the skin or feathers of your cockatiel and that it is not restricting its movement or breathing.

Check the harness often to ensure it still fits well and isn’t hurting or making your cockatiel uncomfortable.

6. Offer your cockatiel treats and praise for wearing the harness

Always offer your cockatiel treats and praise as positive reinforcement for wearing the harness, and begin with the short training session. When your cockatiel becomes more accustomed to the harness, increase the amount of time it wears it gradually.

During these training sessions, you should keep an eye on your cockatiel and make any changes that are needed to ensure it is safe and comfortable.

With time and patience, your cockatiel will learn to like wearing the harness and going on outdoor adventures with you.

How To Take Your Cockatiel Out In A Harness

A secure approach to enjoying outdoor activities with your cockatiel is to take it out on a harness. Here is a complete guide on how to take your cockatiel out in a harness:

take your cockatiel out in a harness

1. Choose a safe location

The first step in taking your harnessed cockatiel outside is deciding where to go. It’s always a great idea to pick a spot that is safe from potential dangers such as passing cars, dogs, and cats. Also, stay away from crowded areas such as streets and parks.

Instead, pick a calm location, like a peaceful garden. While carrying your cockatiel outside with a harness, you should think about the weather. Never take your cockatiel outside when the weather is too hotOpens in a new tab. or too cold.

2. Use a leash

Taking your cockatiel for a walk while harnessed requires the use of a leash. To prevent your cockatiel from escaping, you can attach a leash to the harness.

Keep a moderate leash on your cockatiel if this is its first time going for a walk. In this way, you will have more control over it and also be able to keep your cockatiel safer.

Your cockatiel will be free to move and explore more if the leash is long enough, but it shouldn’t be so long that it becomes a hazard.

You must always keep a close eye on your cockatiel when you take it outside on a leash. Put down your phone, stop sending texts, and pay attention.

For better results, you may want to attach the harness to your body. For instance, you can attach the harness to a belt loop or your wrist via a connector. This will ensure that the cockatiel cannot escape, even if you become momentarily distracted.

3. Get a carrier or cage

If you are planning to take your cockatiel out in a harness, you should also bring a carrier or compact travel cage. Your cockatiel, despite your best efforts, may feel exhausted or anxious while it exploring in the wild on a harness.

A bird’s carrier or travel cage should provide a secure and pleasant environment for your pet while you’re out and about.

Choose a cage or carrier no smaller than 12×12 inches for your cockatiel (30×30 cm).

Make sure your cockatiel has plenty of room to fly around and explore its surroundings.

Keep your cockatiel out of direct sunlight whenever possible while it is in its cage. The shade of a tree is ideal in this case.

Also, always double-check that the latch on the cage or carrier is locked securely. You can prevent your cockatiel from escaping by using a small lock to connect the door to the cage wires.

4. Get the necessary supplies for your cockatiel

Take your cockatiel out for a walk in a harness only if you are well prepared. This implies that you should take things like foodOpens in a new tab., treats, toys, and water.

A first aid kit should also be included in case of any injuries or mishaps. Also, don’t forget to get your cell phone and the numbers of someone you may call in case of an emergency.

However, when taking your cockatiel outside, you should always keep a close eye on it and be prepared to take immediate action if necessary.

What Are The Different Types Of Cockatiel Harnesses?

The market is stocked with a wide variety of cockatiel harnesses, each with its own set of characteristics and advantages. Here are some of the most common types:

Vest harness

A vest harness is a popular type of harness for cockatiels, especially for those who are just starting to wear a harness. It is made of soft, lightweight material that fits securely around the bird’s body.

The vest harness is convenient for quick outings and workouts because it is simple to put on and take off.

Your cockatiel will feel more at ease and be less likely to become stressed thanks to the design of this type of harness, which allows for greater movement flexibility.

Also, the vest harness is less likely than other forms of harnesses to cause feather damage or injury. However, to ensure your cockatiel’s safety and comfort, it’s important to choose a vest harness that fits properly.

If you are considering getting a vest harness for your cockatiel, check this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

Some vest harnesses also come with a leash or tether.

Figure-eight harness

The figure-eight harness is a popular type of harness for cockatiels because it is relatively easy to put on and adjust. It is made of two loops of rope that cross over each other to form a figure-eight configuration. One rope loop goes over the bird’s chest, while the other loop goes around its wings.

This type of harness supports the bird’s body and wings, while still allowing them to move around comfortably.

This harness has an advantage over others because it is less prone to become twisted or tangled.

Some figure-eight harnesses come with adjustable straps, which allow you to customize the fit to your bird’s body shape. While others are available in a range of sizes, you should choose the type that is best suited for your cockatiel like this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

Aviator harness

The aviator harness is a type of harness that bird owners love because it’s very secure and keeps your cockatiel from escaping. It’s also made of a lightweight and breathable material, so it’s comfortable for your bird to wear.

With the aviator harness, your bird can move freely and naturally, while staying safe and secure. The harness is adjustable, so it can fit different sizes of birds. Check this aviator harness for your cockatiel on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

What makes the aviator harness unique is the elastic leash. This leash is designed to keep your bird safe without pulling or jerking on its neck. The leash is also long enough to let your bird fly a short distance while still being under control.

Using this type of harness requires some patience and training, but many cockatiel owners find it to be a reliable and effective way to take their bird outside.

H-style harness

The H-style harness is another popular type of harness for cockatiels. This harness is designed with a strap that goes around the bird’s neck and two straps that go under the wings, forming an “H” shape.

The H-style harness offers a secure fit and prevents the bird from slipping out of the harness. It also allows for a good range of motion and mobility.

However, it may take some time for the cockatiel to adjust to wearing the harness. Also, the placement of the straps under the wings can cause discomfort if not adjusted properly.

Overall, the H-style harness is a good option for cockatiels who are comfortable wearing a harness and for owners who want a secure harness for their birds.

Jackett harness

The jacket harness is a type of harness that covers the bird’s body like a jacket. It has a zipper or snap fasteners on the back to secure the harness. This type of harness is not suitable for birds that are not comfortable with something around their neck, as the jacket harness does not have a neck loop.

The jacket harness also provides more coverage and warmth, making it a good choice for cooler weather.

However, it may not be the best option for cockatiels who are easily stressed by being confined, as the jacket can feel more restrictive than other harness types.

Overall, the jacket harness can be a comfortable and practical option for cockatiels who prefer a full-body harness.

You may also be interested in: 6 Best Harnesses For Cockatiels in 2023Opens in a new tab.


Cockatiels can wear a harness, and it can be a great way to get your cockatiel outside in a safer way. While harnesses can provide a safe and secure way for cockatiels to enjoy the outdoors, it is important to note that not all cockatiels will tolerate them.

Some birds may show signs of stress or fear when wearing a harness, which can lead to health problems or even an injury. Therefore, it is best to monitor your bird while it is adjusting to the harness.

However, with proper care, training, and attention, your bird will accept the harness and you both will safely enjoy the outdoors.

Also, it is always important to use the correct size and type of harness for your cockatiel. A poorly fitting harness can cause discomfort or even harm to your cockatiel.

Cockatiel Enthusiast

My name is Bojan. I have been around Cockatiels for the past 7 years. I love writing about Cockatiels and helping people understand how these beautiful birds live, what they like, and how to provide them the best possible care.

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