Do cockatiels know when to stop eating

Eating is a necessity in life. If anything wants to survive, anything living that is, then it needs to be sustained with nourishment. This goes for you, your plants, and your pets. Yet, there are certain animals that don’t know when to stop eating, which can lead to a myriad of issues. As the loving owner of a cockatiel, you are wondering if they know when to stop eating on their own. Well, we have an answer for you. 

Do cockatiels know when to stop eating? Yes. As the owner of a cockatiel, I can say that our cockatiel is great at knowing when to stop eating. He is healthy and never overindulges, but we don’t put a lot of food in his bowl each day. We stick with the recommended amount and he is able to graze throughout the day. He never eats all of his food at once and lets it last him throughout the day. 

Does this mean all cockatiels know when to stop eating?

Not necessarily. We come from the school of thought that each cockatiel is an individual and not all of them act the same in identical situations. If you find your cockatiel does not know when to stop eating the first thing you want to do is make sure you put only enough seed or pelts in their bowl for one meal at a time. This should not exceed 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons a day. 

The next thing you want to do is contact your avian vet. If you don’t have a doctor who specializes in birds then you should start looking for one. While general veterinarians are great, avian vets train to treat birds specifically and will have a better idea of why your bird doesn’t stop eating. 

Will a cockatiel starve its-self?

Some cockatiels have starved themselves but not because they were ill. The starvation stemmed from them not being able to recognize the food in their bowls as food or they aren’t keen on a new food you may be trying. Even if your bird nibbles at the new pellets in their bowl that doesn’t mean they are eating them. You must be sure they are swallowing the food as well. 

If they aren’t taking to a new food you may want to go back to the old food so they eat. If they stop eating for more than a night they could die. There have been cases of birds starving themselves to death instead of eating a portion of new food. 

How often should you change its food?

Ideally, you will want to change your cockatiel’s food every day, especially if you are feeding them natural foods like fruit. Bruised fruits, like strawberries, can carry bacteria harmful to a cockatiel so it’s important to remove food from their cage before it rots. Seeds and pellets don’t rot but you should still be changing them every day. 

How much food should you put in their cage?

The total amount of food you should be giving your cockatiel daily should not exceed 2 tablespoons. Ideally, they should be eating 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons each day. What that should consist of is up for debate. 

Some people choose to feed their cockatiels all seed, which is not a great idea because, in the wild, birds eat more than seed and you may be limiting the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy. 

Pellets are a great option when it comes to food because designers make them full of the recommended daily dosage of healthy nutrients that your cockatiel needs. Still, some people are not a fan of pellets and choose to give their cockatiels a more natural diet. This can be done but it’s important to remember that when it comes to fruits and vegetables you only want them to make up 20% of their daily intake. The rest should be supplemented with seed or pellets. 

We’ve put together a quick bullet list of human foods that are good for your cockatiel and those that you should avoid. 


  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Beet greens
  • Bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots (grated or chopped)
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Kale
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Peas and pods
  • Romaine
  • Sprouts (fresh)
  • Sweet peppers, red or green
  • Sweet potato, must be cooked
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress
  • Wax beans (green and yellow)
  • Zucchini


  • Apples
  • Apricots 
  • Bananas
  • Berries (Not if they are bruised)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries (will possibly turn stool red so be aware of that side effect)
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes (Not if they are bruised)
  • Guavas
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pumpkin
  • Watermelon

Safe Herbs

  • Basil
  • Cayenne (see above paragraph before giving to your bird)
  • Chamomile
  • Chicory
  • Cilantro (Coriander and Chinese Parsley fall under this category)
  • Dandelion
  • Dill
  • Ginger Root
  • Lemon Balm
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Other Safe Foods

  • Cooked barely
  • Cooked brown rice
  • Cooked cereals
  • Cooked dried beans
  • Cooked lima beans
  • Cooked oatmeal
  • Cooked pasta
  • Cottage cheese
  • Dried fruit
  • Dry, unsalted nuts
  • Freshly cooked chicken or turkey
  • Freshly cooked eggs, hard-boiled, scrambled
  • Freshly cooked fish
  • Freshly cooked lean meats
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Yogurt

Good Treats

  • Animal Crackers
  • Cheerios
  • Grape Nuts
  • Rice Krispies
  • Shredded Wheat
  • Unsalted crackers
  • Unsalted popcorn
  • Unsalted pretzels

Foods To Avoid

  • Anything moldy (blue cheese, etc)
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Avocado
  • Bean plant
  • Brazil nuts
  • Broccoli 
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs, uncooked
  • Eggplant
  • Fat
  • Fish, uncooked
  • Fresh peanuts
  • Fruit pits or seeds
  • Garlic
  • Meat, uncooked
  • Nutmeg
  • Nuts in shells
  • Onion
  • Rhubarb 
  • Salt
  • Shellfish 
  • Spinach
  • Tomato

How much water should they drink?

Your cockatiel should drink as much water as they want. Typically a cockatiel will consume about one teaspoon of water every day. When it comes to water, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Change their water twice a day. You can do it when you wake up and before you go to bed.

Make sure they always have access to as much freshwater as you can give them. Never, and we mean NEVER, leave your pets without drinking water. Water is necessary for all living things to survive. 

If you plan a trip and there isn’t anyone to pop in and change out their water, you might want to put two or three water bowls in their cage, so they have an ample supply. 

How often should you feed a cockatiel?

You should provide your bird every day. You can do this by putting the food in their bowl in the morning and leaving it for the day. Then you can change it out in the morning. Do not leave rotting fruit or veggies in your bird’s cage; otherwise, you may be putting them at risk. 

If you are leaving for a day or two, don’t put fresh people’s food in their cage either. Stick with pellets and seeds because they won’t spoil and put your pet at risk. 

How often should you give your cockatiel treats?

You should give your bird treats in moderation because it’s the best way to explain how often you should give your bird treats. They have smaller stomachs than us, so you don’t want to feed them for fun or training to get out of hand. A good rule of thumb is if you are using treats to train your bird, only let that go on for fifteen minutes at the most. Then give them time to digest. 

When it comes to treats, you especially want to avoid any human food that is salted. One grain of salt is much more significant to their little mouth than ours, and it can cause some internal severe digestive issues—no salt for the birdy. 

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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