Should You Buy a Cockatiel From a Pet Store?

There are many options for purchasing a cockatiel like breeders, expositions, and pet stores. If you consider purchasing your bird from a pet store but are unsure if that is the best option, keep reading because we are here to answer the question, should you buy a cockatiel from a pet store?

Cockatiels sold in pet stores are likely parent-raised, making it more challenging to establish a bond with them. Breeders tend to hand-raise cockatiels, which makes them more open to establishing a connection. Shelters, rescues, and bird expos are the best place to purchase a cockatiel. 

When my Dad and I were raising birds we would hand feed them and they would be very used to people making it easier to wing them. He would have them in an incubator to help keep them warm and feed them baby bird formula. They would become attached to us which would make it easier when they were sold to new families to care for.

Bonding with your cockatiel is one of the most critical moments between owners and their birds. Cockatiels mate for life so, it is imperative if you plan on keeping one bird. That cockatiel could get lonely and suffer if they remain solitary without a bond. 

A bird that doesn’t bond with a human is not at fault since it’s likely not instinctual for them to do so, but you should lessen the chance that you purchase a bird that is unable to bond with you; otherwise, you won’t have a pleasant experience with your bird. 

We aren’t saying the bird will act up or bite you, but you will surely be missing out when it comes to that particular connection typically found between bird and owner. 

Signs that a pet store cockatiel is healthy.

A healthy cockatiel will have bright shiny feathers and move around well. They will be alert to their surroundings, have bright eyes, and their nostrils will be free of discharge. Happy sounds like whistling, chirping, chatting, and grinding their beaks are signs of health as well. 

Spotting a sick cockatiel isn’t that difficult. Their feathers will appear dull and might start falling out. They will be lethargic and could have a runny nose, which you can see going down their beak. 

Behavioral changes are also indications that your bird isn’t feeling well. If your bird is sleeping longer than usual, lying or sitting at the bottom of the cage, or not aware of things happening around their enclosure, these are all signs that your bird might be sick. A loss of appetite is another sign of illness. 

It’s important to remember that a cockatiel bought anywhere can be carrying diseases even if it shows no signs of sickness. If you have birds already and want to introduce a new cockatiel into the mix, we suggest you keep the new one separate for a week until you are sure they don’t have a contagious disease. 

How to know if your cockatiel is old enough to be adopted or bought?

You should not bring a cockatiel home from a breeder until they are twelve weeks old, but they can be as young as eight weeks. Adopting an older bird is a good option, but they are harder to train than the youngsters of the species. 

Cockatiels of all ages are fun and entertaining, but if you want to get the most out of your relationship, you’re better off getting a newly hand-fed cockatiel from a breeder at twelve weeks.

As we mentioned, older birds are fun but training them to perform tricks or say your name will be challenging. Those tasks are more manageable with a younger bird. 

You also risk adopting birds that have picked up bad habits when you choose an older bird. Some people teach their birds to cuss words because they think it’s funny and doesn’t realize that they are harming that bird’s chances of readoption if the need arises. 

Some owners don’t train their birds well not to be aggressive. When they are older, this will be much harder for you to break than starting new with a younger cockatiel. We don’t want to discourage people from adopting rescue birds or taking on older cockatiels to care for, but we just want to let you know what to expect. 

Things to watch out for if getting a cockatiel at a pet store.

First, look for signs of illness similar to what we mentioned above. That includes behavioral and physical symptoms of sickness. Check to see if they are eating their food, their feathers look healthy, and make sure their eyes and nose look good. 

While it’s a good idea to check the cockatiel thoroughly, you plan on buying it before you bring it home. We suggest you do your research first. Whether you are buying from a pet store, breeder, rescue, or exposition, people in every walk of life don’t take care of the pets they sell. 

In the internet age, we have endless supplies of information, some of which aren’t useful at all. One of the most practical tools the internet offers us are reviews of everything. Customers review restaurants, grocery stores, mechanics, and everything else, including pet stores. 

Start reading about the place you want to buy from and, if the reviews are not favorable, start finding other businesses in your area or local breeders. Join a group on Facebook dedicated to cockatiels. Facebook groups are fantastic for honest feedback when it comes to anything. Use it to your advantage, so you don’t make a poor decision.  

How to pick a breeder.

Pick a breeder in the same way you would pick a pet store. Do your research on the internet, ask bird-loving friends where they went, visit websites like ours that specialize in cockatiels. Once you choose, visit the breeder and check out the operation. Look for signs of sick or poorly treated birds. 

We hear about puppy mills all the time on the news, but evil people come in all forms, so it’s essential you research breeders and their operation before buying a bird. You don’t want to buy a sick bird that will cause your other birds to get sick or, worse, die. 

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find the best of anything. If you don’t have friends that own cockatiels, ask around. Try those Facebook groups we mentioned earlier. Take your time and don’t rush when it comes to buying a cockatiel. These birds can live well over twenty years, which is a big commitment, so no need to jump in feet first. 

If you come across a breeder that you feel is cruel or inhumane to their birds, we urge you to contact your local ASCPA and report what you saw. People who don’t have respect for animals don’t deserve to have or breed them. 

Adopting a cockatiel.

Choosing to adopt a cockatiel is a big step, and you need to consider things before doing so. First, they live a long time so be prepared to commit. Cockatiels thrive on attention and will suffer if you can’t give them any. Birds are small and get into all kinds of places, so birdproof your home, and expect a bit of poop in your home. 

Rescuing animals is one of the most selfless things a person can do, and it is one of the most rewarding experiences a human can have. We always encourage people who are ready for a pet to consider adoption first. 

How to choose the right cockatiel.

Select a cockatiel that is twelve weeks which has been hand-fed. Check that their feathers are shiny, thick, and smooth. Be sure to check under their vent area. Their eyes should be glossy, and their beak smooth and free of mucus. The cockatiel should be alert and have an ample supply of energy.

Cockatiels are extraordinary pets, and we are always enthusiastic to answer questions from people interested in getting one. The bond you make with your bird will last decades, so you must choose the right one for you. 

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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