When you bring your cockatiel home, you may notice that it can become picky about the foods that it is willing to eat. This is because the cockatiel may only eat at certain times and gravitate towards certain foods. This may cause you to wonder, are cockatiels picky eaters?
Are Cockatiels Picky Eaters? Cockatiels are known to be picky eaters, and they will often refuse to eat certain types of foods like fruits or vegetables. They may become bored if they always eat the same food, so variation in their diet is welcome. You can feed them smaller, high-quality, nutritious meals more often throughout the day. Also, try to trick them and mix their favorite food like seeds with pellets, vegetables, and fruits.
Pet cockatiels become picky eaters because they have been socialized to develop strong preferences.
One cockatiel may love strawberries, while another detests them. Likewise, a cockatiel may like eating chopped strawberries but refuse whole strawberries. Even frozen vs. room-temperature berries can be a turn-off.
However, when kept as pets, cockatiels are limited to what you offer and how you offer it.
Rearing can affect how fussy your cockatiel is with its food. For example, if your pet cockatiel has eaten only seeds or millets since it was a chick, the chances are that it has been socialized to be selective and will refuse anything unfamiliar.
Unfortunately, cockatiels can’t thrive off a single food group, so you need to train them to eat a broader range of foods.
But, besides this, cockatiels aren’t picky eaters in the wild. Instead, they have a highly adaptable diet, ranging from fruits to veggies to nuts and grains. So they won’t run out of food sources because of this.
What Can I Feed A Picky Cockatiel?
Cockatiels eat seed and nothing else because that’s all they know. Perhaps you’ve bought an adult cockatiel from a pet store that’s eaten nothing but seeds all its life, so it’ll prefer this food above all else.
Constantly giving the same treats to your cockatiel can make them picky eaters.
Therefore try to mix things up. Cockatiels can quickly get bored with all types of food. Consequently, you need to rotate the food and monitor how your cockatiel reacts with each of them.
Also, try to provide your picky cockatiel different types of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals vital to a cockatiel’s good health.
Most of these dietary requirements can be satisfied by a good seed mixture. However, it would help if you always made fresh food available to your cockatiel.
Always serve raw fruit and vegetables; never cooked or processed. Cockatiels have a natural fondness for fresh food, and you will only have a problem getting them to take it if you have left them for too long on a diet of nothing but seeds.
This often makes them picky eaters, and you may need to remove the seed trays for a few hours until they have nibbled at the fresh stuff.
Also, I recommend offering your picky cockatiel a pellet in a separate food dish from its regular diet and watching to see if it is willing to try it. But, if your cockatiel refuses, try offering the pellets mixed with some seed to get them interested.
If you moisten the pellets with a little water, you can blend the pellets into a mash and mix in the seeds so the cockatiel will eat some of the mash to reach the seeds.
How Do I Get My Picky Cockatiel To Eat Vegetables?
The best way to get a cockatiel to eat vegetables is to introduce them at a young age.
A young cockatiel is still high and has no preconceptions about which foods it likes and dislikes. So, feeding different types of food to a young cockatiel is an excellent way to avoid becoming a picky eater.
On the other hand, older cockatiels are often used to one or two kinds of food. They eventually become too accustomed to their routines to try new foods without much prodding from their owners.
Here are tried and tested methods to get a mature cockatiel to eat vegetables or other types of foods:
1. Trick them into eating
If vegetables are new to your cockatiel, it may consistently turn them down because it doesn’t recognize them as food.
If so, your objective is to deceive them into trying it. Then, once it’s tested the flavor, it’s likely to be curious enough to eat more, eventually warming up to the new meal.
Place some veg in a familiar dish with other regular foods. Your cockatiel will likely eat the entire content of its bowl. Your cockatiel will begin to recognize the veg as food if done consistently.
It would help if you offered your cockatiel vegs that are bright in color. This is because cockatiels are more likely to eat brightly-colored vegs and fruits.
2. Mix the vegetable with treats
Some cockatiels are picky, so they eat around unfamiliar food to sample their old favorites.
You can get around this problem by including rewards in the mix. For example, fill the food dish with vegetables, and hide some treats in the mix.
This makes it harder for cockatiels to pull out the treats without tasting the vegs. But, of course, your cockatiel will also smell the veg as it hunts for the pleasures and may be curious enough to take a bite.
Only use a couple of treats, so your cockatiel is forced to dig through the vegetable. If the treats are too easily accessible, it will merely bypass the vegetable to reach it
3. Feed them in the morning
Cockatiels forage in the morning, so this is the time of the day when they are most likely to accept a vegetable. Your cockatiel will also be hungry, so it will be keener to eat what it finds.
The best approach is to offer your cockatiel some veg early in the morning and offer the regular food a couple of hours later. This prevents your cockatiel from going hungry if it chooses to be overly selective.
4. Use cage clips to hang the vegetable
Cockatiels eat food from trees, bushes, and off the ground in the wild. They are used to foraging in many locations, with various difficulty levels. Your cockatiel may resist veg simply because it’s boring.
Instead of placing the veg in a dish, you can sometimes hang it on the side of the cage using a clip.
The cockatiel can then pull the veg down and grind its beak against the texture as it feeds. Since it’s an interesting new addition to the cage and at an angle that requires some work, the cockatiel is more likely to be curious.
For this method, only use wooden or stainless steel pegs or clips. A zinc-coated clip should never be used, which could lead to zinc poisoning.
5. Eat in front of your cockatiel
Cockatiels are often curious about the food you eat, so use this to your advantage by sampling some of the vegs in front of your cockatiel.
It will see that you find it interesting and may mirror your action.
Picky eating is a learned behavioral trait driven by cockatiel’s environment and how their diet is handled.
Like humans becoming picky can happen at any time in their lives if the cockatiels get whatever they want regarding food and treats.
While this may seem like a clever idea at the time, we want cockatiels to know we love them and want them to be happy.
There are frequently many other ways to show love to the cockatiel l and create happiness that doesn’t revolve around food!