How Much Does It Cost to Own a Cockatiel?

Owning a pet cockatiel is one of the greatest pleasures you will ever have. We’ve owned a rescue for a while and he brightens up all our mornings. Since bird ownership is not as common as dogs and cats you may be wondering exactly how much it costs to own one of these Australian beauties. 

How Much does a cockatiel cost? One-time fees can run you anywhere from $650 to $670 and you are looking at an annual cost that ranges from $75 to $520. We realize these numbers vary greatly.

You’ll find out why as you continue to read. 

When it comes to owning a cockatiel I can honestly say, in the long run, it doesn’t cost as much as you think. You may have to spend some time finding a vet that handles birds but when it comes to costs you will be pleasantly surprised. 

Vet Visit Costs

Regular yearly checkups are a must for us and the rest of the family so your new cockatiel should be no different. Birds have the same chances of having a medical issue as any human, cat, or dog. In fact, they are susceptible to some of the same issues like a failure of the kidney, arthritis, and hardening of the arteries. 

These are just a few examples of health issues that can be completely prevented with regular checkups at the vet. You will want to go with an avian veterinarian since they are the most qualified physicians to handle your sweet little cockatiel. Pets can also have emergency situations, which can cost quite a bit but that’s not a recurring cost. 

The one-time cost for a vet can run you anywhere from $25 to $300 depending on where you live and what vet you go to. But this is the area that will cost the most money. The medical upkeep for our cockatiel isn’t much when compared to yearly shots that are typically required with a dog. 

Cost For Food

There are as many types, brands, and styles of birdseed on the market today and it’s difficult to pinpoint how much feeding the newest member of your family will cost. A good place to start is to learn what the best types of food are for your cockatiel and go from there. 

When living in the wild cockatiels tend to enjoy grass seeds, fruits, berries, and other vegetation. But if you are keeping a bird in a cage for the most part it will not be getting the same kind of exercise as its free counterparts. 

Our cockatiel had two broken wings when we adopted him, which makes him especially susceptible to obesity because he can’t fly. Other issues related to their diet that can arise are iodine deficiencies, feather picking, and egg binding. It’s important that they have a mixed diet that is also healthy. 

We buy a 5lb bag of mixed seed, organic, and it will last us at least nine months. It typically costs anywhere from $45-$48 per bag, which breaks it down to less than $6 per month. When you factor in a few treats here and there, your cost of feeding a cockatiel should be only $10 a month. 

Cost For Accessories

If I had to live in a cage I would want some fun things to play with. For cockatiels, that can be any number of things. Of course, you don’t want to put anything in their cage that might bring them harm so it’s good to stick to the basics. In this section, we’ll explain what accessories are best for cockatiels while we cover the cost of each. 


Our little guy likes to sit on his perch for hours cleaning his feathers and being puffy. We have three perches set up for our bird and they are positioned in a way to give him a different view while allowing him alternate routes to reach his water and food bowls. You should have at least three to four perches for your feathered friend to move around and rest. 

There are perches that are large and others that are small and attach to the side of the cage. What type of habitat you build for your bird, or birds, is up to you. There are simple rope perches for $5 and larger constructions that can run into the hundreds. 

Cuttle or Mineral Bones

Cuttle or mineral bones is the oval white thing attached to the side of a bird’s cage. Those are there for your bird to groom its beak. This habit, and accessory, are essential to the health of your bird. Not only do you not want them to have an overgrown beak it provides calcium and other minerals they don’t get from their food. Without one they could suffer from malnutrition. 

You can pick up a package of two for less than $4 online. And they don’t need to be replaced unless they get too small or break. 


There are tons of toys available to your bird. Shredding toys, wooden, swings, mirrors, and rings are all examples of what is available to your and your new pet. They can run as low as a few dollars to twenty dollars. These won’t cost too much but some will need to be replaced as time goes by. 

Bowls and Cups

We can’t forget food and water. These also can come in single or multiple packages and have a small range when it comes to price. But you shouldn’t have to spend more than $20 for two, which is all you need for one bird. 


Birds like to move around in other ways besides flying. Ladders provide your pet with a way of working out their legs as well as an alternate route of moving around their cage. Ladders are not expensive and can cost anywhere from $2 to $15. 


You can’t forget the liner for the cage. This can be ordered pre-cut or in rolls. This is an item that will need to be replaced periodically but a package of 150 can cost around $40 to $50. The cost of that will vary depending on how often you change the paper, which also depends on how many birds you have. If you changed the liner every week that still over two years of liners in one package. 

The Cage

This is an important purchase because you will have to put a lot of thought into it. Where will you keep this cage? How much room do you have? The nice thing is it is a one-time purchase for the life of your bird so, if you can splurge for something larger to give your friend some room this would be the time to be generous. 

I’ve seen cages from $30 to about $70. There are huge outdoor birdhouses that cost hundreds but, the average new bird owner wants an indoor cage with one or two birds.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is a personal choice. Some avian vets might not accept insurance and you have to be sure of what it covers as far as your pet is concerned. Insurance for your cockatiel can start at around $5 and increase with the more coverage you get. Besides health care, insurance can be purchased to protect your bird from theft, death, and liability if they injure someone. 

What Will It Cost In The End?

ItemOne-Time Cost
Cage$30 – $70
Accessories (except cage liners)$35 – $600
Total One-Time Cost$65 – $670
The Cage
Recurring ItemCostCost Per Year
Medical$25 – $300$25 – $300
Food$15 – $50$30 – $100
Cage Liners$40 – $50$15 – $20
Insurance$5 – $100$5 – $100
Total$85 – $500$75 – $520 


Now that you know the overall cost to own a cockatiel I would like to say they are worth every penny. You will be paid back greatly with singing, chats, and love. 

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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