How Much Attention Does a Cockatiel Need Daily? (Surprising!)

Cockatiels are pet birds that are known to be cuddly, outgoing, and amusing. They are famous for being a companion bird. Just like any other pets, they need attention too. 

These cockatiels require more attention compared to other families of birds. They are social animals that seek a lot of social interaction every day. It is recommended to spend 10-15 minutes twice a day of undivided attention to your pet, 20-30 minutes a day of shared attention with them, and a minimum of 2 hours a day of indirect attention. 

In order for them to stay healthy, friendly, and happy, this cockatiel will crave for human’s affection and care. Spending time with them can also foster the development of their personality.

Aside from them being beautiful creatures, they can be a bit challenging and demanding too.

They can scream excessively and loudly to get your attention. These cockatiels can’t survive alone without a mate or your presence. Since they live on a flock, part of their survival instincts is for companionship and socialization

Here are some reasons why your cockatiels need a lot of attention and some tips on what to do if your pet is alone or if you don’t have time for them anymore. Also, facts about the best amount of time they stay out of the cage and ways to exercise them.

Do Cockatiels Need A Lot Of Attention?

Yes, they need much attention from their mate or their owner.

When you plan to have this kind of pet, make sure to give them more of your time every day. As social animals, they need to socialize as much as they can. You have to interact with them daily because if they lack attention from you, they will tend to be moody or aggressive.

The fact that they are social, you can opt to consider getting your cockatiels a partner or their mate if you can’t be around most of the time.

In addition to that, these birds also love to play. You can have the toys made of hard-plastic elements such as beads to entertain themselves inside their cages.

You can spend an hour holding or playing with your cockatiel in a day. That’s just an hour for play, other things like your cockatiels’ maintenance, grooming, and hygiene ask another portion of your time.

Since these birds want to interact with you daily, there are activities you and your pet may enjoy doing together.

You can have a conversation with them. With this, cockatiel can develop its capability to talk. This pet may imitate your sound or words.

You may also want to spend time teaching your bird to step unto your fingers or go dancing with them. Your bird can spread their beautiful and colourful wings.

You can condition this natural behaviour by uttering phrases like “let’s dance” and repeat it every time they spread their wings. It will condition their minds to do it every time you say those words.

RelatedHow to get a cockatiel to like you?

How Long Should A Cockatiel Be Out Of Its Cage?

As your bird’s owner, make sure to have them spend time outside their cages and allow them to settle on your shoulder, go for a walk, and the like.

There is no specific amount of time that is best for your cockatiel to be out of their cage. Instead, as owners, what you need to focus on is the quality of the time they spent outside.

As much as possible try to provide them enough time out of the cage and make it more interactive, exercising and stimulating for them. You can take your cockatiels out of the cage daily for an exercise routine.

You can provide them with a fair amount of predictable routine when it comes to their schedule in or going out of the cage. And at the same time, break it once in a while. It helps these birds to prepare for some changes that may happen in the future.

How To Exercise With Your Cockatiel?

In the wild, cockatiels can fly a hundred miles a day. But for domesticated ones, they are limited to acquire enough physical exercise to keep them fit.

Hence, there are ways to maintain the physical conditions of your cockatiels.

1. Use Physically Challenging Toys

For your bird’s toys, you can use some ladders or ropes. It will initiate movements and may keep their primary muscle group functioning.

You can also opt to put your fingers near to its chest. It will also encourage them to climb up. Climbing exercise is good for their legs, neck, and wings.

You may also want to buy them some foot toys that are also an excellent exercise for them when they are out of the cage. Make sure that in choosing your toys; pick the ones that they would not get bored quickly.

2. Play With Your Bird

If your bird has its toys, you can use it to play simple and fun games with them. You may try playing a game of fetch using their ball to encourage them to move.

Another is using toy strings which will enable them to pull it around or catch it. These birds love chasing games. It is one way to obtain your feathered pet’s heart pumping.

Part of your play can include letting them out of their cage. With this, they get the opportunity to walk around, stretch their wings and legs just like in the wild.

3. Teach Your Bird Fun Tricks

To keep your cockatiel active, it is a great way to train them with some fun tricks.

It will keep them physically moving and at the same time will rub out boredom. You may start teaching your pet simple and easy tricks such as – sitting on your shoulder, wave, and play dead, etc.

It’s also a good avenue of bonding with them since they love getting attention from you.

RelatedHow to make your new cockatiel feel at home?

Can A Cockatiel Be Alone?

Cockatiels are known to be so adoring and affectionate towards their owner. They love human contact so much that they will ask for a scratch on their head or hop into a human’s shoulder when they get used to it.

Unlike other species of bird, yes, cockatiels can be alone. However, once they are living independently, they will require their owner a lot of attention daily. 

These birds tend to perceive their owners as their mates, which is why they want regular contact with you.

Sometimes, if the owner is not around, they will scream. It is more of a call for attention rather than bad behaviour. Thus, if you’re a busy type of person, you may consider having another one as your pet’s companion.

But take note that these birds do not mix with other types. Some birds may easily bully cockatiels. Ensure that they will be both taken care of once you are housed together with a different species.

Even if they can live alone, leaving them for an extended time can be dangerous for them and at the same time, a lonely situation for your feathered pet.

Why Does My Cockatiel Always Want To Be With Me?

When cockatiels are alone in their cage, they will rely heavily on you as their owner.

This bird species socializes a lot and functions best in a flock; it justifies its act of always wanting to interact with their owner or stick around with them.

As their caretaker, they wanted you to work for their affection. Once you have shown it to them, they will love you back unconditionally.

Since they love you, they will always want to be around with you. These cockatiels will do things for you, such as singing while putting on their hood and lifting their wings.

This kind of affection they have for you continues to the point where they seek proximity to their human counterparts. And that is you, their owner.

In order for them to be truly happy, they will always need others. They will start calling out for you, that is why it is best to place them near you or where you can respond to them immediately.

cockatiel and attention

Cockatiel Screaming When I Leave A Room – What To Do?

Screaming can sign a behaviour problem or manipulative action, especially if they excessively scream for your attention. It can be annoying at times.

It will need a lot of patience to stop its screaming. So long as the behaviour is not reinforced, it will eventually vanish.

There are ways you can practice to stop your cockatiel from screaming whenever you leave a room. Here are some of it.

1. Stop Reinforcing The Behavior

This means that you do not reward their screams. The moment you rush into your bird every time it screams, you are only inculcating in their minds that screaming gets the result that it wants.

Also, you can walk out of the room and don’t come back until they stop screaming. You can give your attention back once your bird is quiet.

However, do not yell or punish them because it will only damage their trust towards you.

2. Change Your Usual Reaction Towards Them

If you are used to showing a high energy level, and your voice sounds excited when you approach them, try different things this time.

When your feathered pet keeps on screaming, then approach them by lowering your voice or keeping low energy. It will signal them that you act differently than before the moment they kept screaming.

3. Keep Them Busy

Avoid your pet getting bored. Keep them a supply of colourful, exciting and movable toys in the cage. Rotate them every week to keep them busy.

These are just some simple tips in dealing with your bird once it screamed. But there’s a lot of exceptions to consider. Sometimes, their scream should not be ignored because it can be a sign of grave danger.

How old is my cockatiel? Learn more here.

What To Do If You Don’t Have Time For Your Cockatiel?

There will be days where you cannot attend the needs of your feathered pet, especially the attention that they crave a lot from you. Here are some tips on the possible things that you can do if you are leaving them just for a short period of time or if you’re going to leave them for good.

In The Short Term

1. Ask For Assistance From Your Neighbour Or Family Member

You can tap your family members to look after your cockatiel. Since they have been into your house, they are familiar already with your pet’s routines and needs.

You may also ask for help from one of your closest neighborhoods to look after your pet just for a day or two.

2. Call A Pet Sitting Service

You can contact an agent or person who can take charge of visiting your pet in a scheduled manner. Their service also depends on how long you will be away from home.

Another solution for you is to have a professional pet caregiver. They can offer 24/7 pet support services. They can provide services such as – meal preparation, transportation services, companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, etc.

3. Avail Traditional Pet Boarding

One common way is to leave your pet in places such as licensed pet shops. There, they can socialize with other animals. And also you are sure that they will be secured even if left alone because of the presence of license caretakers.

In The Long Run

1. Consider Putting Up Your Pet For Adoption

There are circumstances which can be out of your control, such as relocating your house that restricts pets inside or leaving a place for good. And part of it is leaving your pet behind.

The best option that you can do for your loving feathered pet is to put them for adoption. You may ask your close friends or family members if they have interest in rehoming your pet.

Just make sure to exhaust all your means and ensure that your feathered pet is in safe hands.

2. Look For Rescue Organization

You can get your cocktail rehomed in animal-specific groups that rescue pets or help find a foster home for your pet.

Do cockatiels get lonely? Learn more here.


Owning a pet, whether big or small, requires different levels of attention. They all need your tender love and care for them to grow happy and healthy.

Cockatiels are one of those pets that stick around with their owners like glue. These birds don’t fit with human caretakers who have a hectic schedule and can’t have enough time to pet them.

Their needs can be as demanding as other pets. They will require you a lot of interaction and maintenance.

However, these pets can give you back genuine love that you provided to them. They are sweet and intelligent at the same time. Thus, they can be the best-feathered pets you can ever have in your house.


Image credits – Canva

[1] Cockatiel – Lafeber

[2] Do Cockatiels Play? – Pets The Nest

[3] Cockatiels – The Pet Place

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