It is pure joy to see your pet cockatiel frolic around in its cage and chirping. But do you have enough perches in its cage to make the habitat a fun place for your pet?
How many perches should a cockatiel have? Ideally, you should provide about 3-4 perches to take care of various needs of a cockatiel. A cockatiel’s cage should be a place that is not only comfortable for it but also provides some means of entertainment to your feathered pet.
Perches don’t just look good and allow for a place for the tiels to rest on. There are several other purposes of having multiple perches in the cage. And with so many different perches available across pet stores, your pet birdie will be spoilt for choice!
And once you, too, get to know about how useful can these perches be, I bet you won’t be able to stop at just one.
Why are perches important for your pet cockatiel?
Birds are usually in flight or on their feet. In the wild, they have access to branches of different sizes. A bird in captivity, such as a cockatiel that does not fly too much, is almost always on its feet. Hence, whether it is resting, grooming, sleeping or eating, it needs to perch.
And thus, it makes sense to provide it with some variety in perches right in its cage.
Also, it is important to note that a bird’s feet need exercise to keep its bones healthy. Adjusting their feet on perches of different contours and widths can give their joints the much-needed exercise and keep them flexible.
And incorrect perching can be harmful to a cockatiel since it can cause severe foot problems.
Different types of perches
Let us take a look at some of the different types of perches available:
Plain dowel perches
These are the perches that are usually included by default with a cage when you buy one from the pet store. But don’t be fooled into thinking that they will be enough for your pet cockatiel. In fact, they are usually the worst kinds of perches and provide almost no value to your tiel.
While in the wild, birds spend a lot of time climbing over branches and rocks, their nails are kept in check. But with birds in captivity, the nails can quickly grow making it difficult, and even impossible, to make them perch on your hand.
A pedicure perch (also known as a cement perch or a grooming perch) has a rough texture so that the nail length is kept in check due to surface friction. These perches are made from bonded sand or concrete to give.
Your cockatiel might still need nail trimming, but the frequency will reduce if you invest in a pedicure perch. Still, you should be careful when buying sand perches. We show you why here!
The thing about rope perches is that they are very flexible. They also come in different lengths and widths. The rope perches have a wire at their core which can be bent to adjust according to the place in the cage you want to put it.
It can also be comfortably moved around in the cage and its length can be varied according to requirement. We think that rope perches are awesome for birds – and our birbs agree with us! We show you some amazing rope perches here!
Natural wood perches
These perches, as the name suggests, are made from natural wood. They are not just good for perching, your cockatiel can have a good time chewing on them, too.
You can also hang native tree branches as perches in the cage. Most pet stores have natural wooden perches or climbing frames that you can use.
These perches are in the form of a swing. So, the cockatiel can have a good time swinging and playing while it perches.
In this article, we explain why swings are so awesome for Cockatiels! Trust us when we say that there is no bird in the world who doesn’t love swings!
How to choose a perch?
Choosing a perch is not exactly difficult. You just need to remember to go for different types of textures and materials, shapes and sizes, so that your cockatiel has variety. But before you choose the perches, make sure the cage in which you house your pet is large enough.
The ideal size of a cage for one cockatiel is one that is 24 inches in height, length, and width. Once you have a cage at least this big, you can easily accommodate 3-4 perches of different kinds without getting the space inside too crowded.
Apart from the different types of perches, you should also mind the perch width. A perch that is too small in width might do more harm than good.
If the diameter of the perch is too less, when the bird uses its claws to grip the perch, its nails might touch the other part of the foot causing injury. A perch should be between 3.25 to 4 inches at the very least for a cockatiel.
Fixing the perches:
Instead of going for perches that are a permanent fixture, go for ones that can be affixed to the cage using a nut and bolt. This way, you can change perches or move them around as required quite easily.
What to avoid in a perch?
As stated above, you should avoid a perch that is too small in diameter. Also, be wary of colored perches. Cockatiels chew on the perches. Hence, go for non-colored perches only, or go for perches that use approved, non-toxic, bird-friendly colors only.
Similarly, avoid perches that are covered in plastic or sandpaper. The sandpaper might be too abrasive for the cockatiel’s feet and beak. The plastic covering on the perches might peel off as it gets older and the bird might nibble at it leading to more problems.
Avoid overcrowding the cage space with too many perches since it will reduce the space that the bird needs to properly stretch its wings.
Perch height and introducing a new perch
A high perch is viewed as a safe place in the world of birds. Hence, if a new cockatiel is introduced to a variety of perches, chances are it will go for the highest perch by default. In order to encourage using a variety of perches, here’s a good idea.
Have 2-3 perches at mid-level height in the cage and let the cockatiel get used to it. Then, once it has already got accustomed to all the perches, introduce a new perch higher up.
This way, even though it will immediately try out the new perch, it won’t abandon the old perches completely.
Should cockatiels be kept in pairs? Cockatiels aren’t solitary creatures; they need company. Hence, it would be a good idea to keep yours with a companion. The pair can be of different sexes. If you are keeping more than two birds, either sex should be fine.
Do cockatiels know their owner? Cockatiels are friendly birds who can be easily tamed. They come to recognize their owners quickly. If a cockatiel is made to live without a partner, it sees its owner as its mate and would want to always be close to them.
Can female cockatiels lay eggs without male? Yes. Female cockatiels can lay eggs even if they have not mated with a male. However, these eggs do not hatch and do not contain babies. It should be discouraged, though, since it depletes the female of essential nutrients.