First time bird owners often ask us for cage recommendations. This is usually the first shock new bird owners receive!!
While the minimum requirements for a cockatiel are 18"x18"x18", would you be happy living in the bare minimum space? For example,
a closet? If you're intending to buy the bare minimum sized cage because of room in your home, rethink getting a cockatiel. If you are considering
the bare minimum because of the cost, then look below to our recommended cages, because you might be pleasantly surprised!!
Birds need enough room so that they can stretch their wings to their full span and not be touching any side of the cage.
And you can imagine, that means you need a fairly large cage. And the more birds you have, the bigger the cage. Most bird cages
sold in pet stores are not large enough for the bird they claim can live in them. It's sad, but true. I have never seen
a cockatiel starter kit that included a cage large enough for a single cockatiel. And the pet stores seem to only stock large cages for
We highly recommend YML cages. These cages are inexpensive, easy to fold and put away, and are quite large.
The one pictured on the right is 30"x18"x18", that is, 30" long, 18" deep, 18" tall. You could in theory put three cockatiels in it, but
we keep no more than two in each one of this size. It's also a good sized house for the single cockatiel. They come with two wooden
dowel perches, which we replace with custom cut manzanita, and two food bowls. The bar spacing is 1/2", so other birds, like parrotlets,
parakeets, canaries, finches, etc. are also well accomodated in this cage. It's also nice that is wider than tall, because as mentioned
elsewhere, birds do not fly straight up and down! Generally, this particular cage can cost you anywhere from $30-40.
This is our favorite cage, one we keep our babies
in until they go home. This birdie mansion measures 30" long, 18" deep, by 36" tall!! It can fit in six cockatiels, but again, is
a wonderful home for the single bird too! I have actually seen a single parrotlet kept in this cage. The cheapest I have ever seen
this cage is $50. But my first cockatiel cage was a Prevue two tone, which cost me $85 and wasn't half the size of this cage.
Definitely get out there and shop around before buying your cage. It doesn't have to be teeny tiny, and it
doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Just because pet stores carry such a poor selection of cages doesn't mean you have to settle
for something you don't particularly like, just because it's big enough or cheap enough. Go to a bird fair, where there are usually plenty
of cage vendors with both used and new cages. You'll usually find the best deals there, and a far better assortment of different
bird cages than any old pet store (unless you're lucky enough to live near an actual bird supply store).
Guillotine door warning. Of course, there is a downside. Many bird cages have what we call guillotine doors,
meaning that they slide up and down. People using guillotine doors need to exercise extra caution with these cages. If the door is
precariously balanced up, so the bird may freely enter and exit, there is a danger that the door could just come crashing down. You
may want to invest in a few metal clips (stainless steel) or even some pear links to "lock" the door up while birdie is at play.
Some birds can actually lift the doors for their food, and may escape, so you may wish to lock those down as well. The guillotine
doors do make it easier to get birds in and out, and food/water in and out, but a little care must be used to ensure that an accident
does not occur.
There are other cages out there that are great, but cost a little more. Midwest flight cages are nice cages
for cockatiels. Just be sure the bar spacing is no greater than 3/4". It can always be a smaller spacing, but you don't want it to be
any larger, or your bird could get its head stuck, thrash around, and break its neck. Avoid any cage that has a circular top, one where
the wires become closer and closer spaced where they meet. The bird could get its feet caught, thrash around, and break something.