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How Big Should a Cockatiel Cage Be?

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cockatiel cage size
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Cockatiels are a popular pet among bird owners—and for good reason. They’re known for their unique feathers, affectionate personalities and fairly low-maintenance needs. Plus, choosing the right size of cage for cockatiel health and happiness makes cockatiel ownership that much simpler.

Taking the time to research your cockatiel cage benefits your feathered friend, too. In fact, studies show the more freedom and autonomy your bird has, the happier they’ll be.

That’s why we put together this guide on choosing the perfect cockatiel cage size. Keep reading to learn about cockatiel cage setup, major pitfalls to avoid and our recommendations on the best cage for cockatiels of all personalities.

Choosing the Right Cockatiel Cage Size

Within just a few minutes of searching “How big should a cockatiel cage be?” you’ll find quite a few different-sized cages for cockatiels. If you feel a bit overwhelmed looking at the features and options, you aren’t alone. But don’t stress—we’ve listed our top picks at the end of this guide.

For now, just know you should choose the largest cockatiel cage that’ll comfortably fit in your space. Cockatiels are happiest in cages with lots of room to roam, whether they’re flying, hopping from perch to perch or both.

Keep in mind while cockatiels start small, they usually reach about 12 inches in size as adults. This is why your cage needs to be at least 18 inches deep. The best cage for cockatiel happiness should also be at least 24 inches long and 24 inches tall.

Anything smaller will negatively affect your cockatiel. You could find yourself dealing with a depressed, sluggish cockatiel who isn’t interested in eating if the cage is too small.

cockatiel cage size

But what if space is a limitation? If you just can’t make a cage of these dimensions work in your living space, a cockatiel play stand outside the cage is a good alternative. For safety, you’ll need to be nearby anytime your bird uses it. This makes it a great way to bond with your pet while meeting their needs!

If you aren’t home often enough to rely on a play stand, the last option would be a space-saving cage for cockatiels. You’ll find our top recommendation later on in this guide.

The horizontal segments of the cage are another crucial, but easily overlooked, detail. Per the Center for Animal Rehabilitation and Education, the spaces between the bars should be no larger than 1/2″ to 5/8″.

According to experts at the Center, larger gaps are a no-go because your bird could accidentally injure itself.

The last thing to consider is whether you need a cage big enough for one cockatiel or multiple birds. Here’s an easy rule of thumb for either situation: the cage should be 1.5 times longer than your bird’s wingspan. If you have multiple birds in the cage, add their wingspans together, then multiply by 1.5.

All in all, it’ll be somewhat obvious if you haven’t chosen the right cage size. When your bird feels like they have enough space, you’ll notice these clear benefits:

  • Getting exercise in their cage by playing with toys, swings and perches
  • No more chewing their own skin or plucking their own feathers
  • Lots of tail-wagging, singing and other signs of happiness
  • Plenty of room to stretch their wings

Speaking from our personal experience, there’s no better feeling as a bird owner than these clear indications of cockatiel happiness and relaxation.

Can Two Cockatiels Be in the Same Cage?

Yes, two cockatiels can be in the same cage so long as you take the time to introduce them properly. While cockatiels are social birds, you can’t just add a second bird to your existing setup and call it a day.

Cockatiels of the same sex usually get along unless they’re both dominant alpha males. In general, the best way to avoid territorial squabbles is by putting both birds in their own independent cages. Have a couple of brief initial meetings to see if they get along.

If so, the best thing to do next is put them both in a large, brand-new cage. This is important because both birds will see it as “neutral” ground. If you were to put the second bird inside a cage the first bird has already inhabited for some time, they’ll be less likely to share, according to the expert veterinarians at Lafeber Company.

Can a Cockatiel and a Parakeet Be in the Same Cage?

Yes, a cockatiel and a parakeet can be in the same cage in many scenarios. But as pet experts with decades of combined experience, we want to be clear this isn’t something you can do on a whim.

Asking this question is a lot like asking if a cat and a dog can share a home. While the answer is often yes, there are specific steps you can take to successfully bring your cockatiel and parakeet together.

Some of the key details include keeping them in their own cages near each other for about a month, having a few brief introductions and choosing a cage with plenty of extra space to minimize disputes.

Setting Up a Cockatiel Cage

In addition to size, you also need to consider the ideal cockatiel cage setup. Seemingly small details like this can have a major impact on your bird’s health and mood.

cockatiel cage size

Make sure the food and water dishes are easily accessible. Because predators lurk on the ground in the wild, cockatiels feel uneasy if their dishes are on the cage bottom. It’s best to choose options that attach to the cage bars instead.

You’ll want at least three different types of perches for your bird to stand on at various heights. Otherwise, your bird may suffer from foot pain and even develop blisters or painful sores. This “pedi-perch” is a good choice because it also helps file your feathered friend’s nails.

Cockatiels do like to look at themselves and they’re playful too. So you’ll also want fun options like a mirror and a stimulating toy you can load up with snacks—and be sure your cage is big enough to fit these things around your bird!

If you have multiple cockatiels, cage setup is much the same. Each bird should have their own food and water bowls. Place them so the birds are as far from each other as possible while eating or drinking.

Just like with one cockatiel, you’ll want a variety of toys and perches. But keep in mind each bird has their own territory within the cage. This is why it’s wise to buy each bird their own swings, perches and toys.

Choosing a Sleep Cage

Your cockatiel will sleep 10 to 12 hours each night. And because they tend to be light sleepers, you might want to add a separate sleep cage in a quiet area—away from the main activity in your home.

A sleep cage doesn’t need to be as big as a regular cockatiel cage. Your bird will actually feel more secure in a smaller sleep cage because it feels like a nest. So, your sleep cage just needs to be large enough for your pet to move around a bit. You should also cover it at night to add even more comfort and security.

Maintaining a Cockatiel Cage

You’ll probably be happy to hear cockatiel cage maintenance isn’t a huge ordeal—for the most part, it boils down to common sense. To keep your cockatiel healthy, you need to keep their cage clean. Simple as that!

Do a basic cleaning of the cage’s tray every single day. Most cages have a removable tray bottom, so this will be easier than you might expect. Water and food bowls should also be cleaned, rinsed, dried and refilled daily.

Once per week, give everything a good scrub-down with non-toxic soap and hot water. You’ll need a separate standalone perch for your cockatiel to hang out on during these weekly cleanings. Deep clean the cage itself, tray bottom and any other non-porous items using water and mild, non-toxic soap.

If possible, you should put the empty cage in direct sunlight until it’s dry. Then you can move your cockatiel back into its squeaky-clean enclosure!

Finally, remember cockatiel care requires more than just cage clean-ups. To keep your new pet happy and healthy for years to come, you have to meet their dietary and social needs too.

How Long Should a Cockatiel Be Out of Their Cage?

A cockatiel should be out of their cage for a minimum of two to three hours per day. So long as your bird is supervised, there isn’t really an upper limit.

For example, on any given day when we’re nearby to supervise, we have our cockatiels out of their cages for an average of nine to eleven hours. During this time, we’re doing a mix of chatting, teaching new tricks, feeding, offering toys and supervising their flights.

Speaking from experience, here are a few telltale signs your cockatiel is ready to go back into their cage:

  • Lethargic behavior or dozing off
  • Seemingly stressed, restless or agitated
  • It’s been a few hours since your bird had food or water

Can Cockatiels Be Kept Outside in a Cage?

Cockatiels can be kept outside in a cage with supervision during the day, weather permitting.

According to Dr. Maria Zayas, a veterinarian who specializes in exotic and small animals, “Birds can get natural UV exposure by spending time outside in an escape-proof, outdoor cage when weather permits. Birds should never be left unattended while outside and should not be placed in direct sunlight.”

So, based on our personal experience with cockatiels and advice from the experts, you shouldn’t keep cockatiels outside in a cage 24/7. For your bird’s safety and your own peace of mind, only do this when you can be nearby supervising.

Editor’s Choice Cockatiel Cages

Now you know how to pick the best cage for cockatiel comfort, plus all the important details related to cockatiel cage setup and maintenance. All that’s left is checking out our top choices below and choosing the best one for your space.

Flyline Corner Bird Cage for Cockatiels

cockatiel cage size

If space is a limitation, this corner bird cage might be a perfect fit. Its size and large access door mean you aren’t making any sacrifices in exchange for the saved space. Thoughtful features like the optional open top, slide-out trays and wheels make it easily adaptable in any living space.

Yaheetech 64-in Open Top Metal Cage

cockatiel cage size

With a rolling stand, this bird cage is extremely versatile and easy to move. It also features easy-open doors to access the feeding area, so you don’t have to fully open the cage just to feed your birds. The locking mechanisms are also difficult for escape artist cockatiels to figure out, making it a top-notch cage in terms of bird safety.

Prevue Pet Products Large Bird Cage

cockatiel cage size

slightly smaller cage option, this bird cage works well for single cockatiels. It comes with four sturdy, stainless steel cups that even the feistiest cockatiels struggle to tip over, which means a cleaner cage overall. Best of all, the convenient perch on top makes it easy to spend more time with your cockatiel and let them get all the exercise they need.

HCY Open Top Standing Cage for Medium Small Cockatiel

cockatiel cage size

The HCY Open Top cage is a good size for two adults, a few juveniles or one cockatiel who spends most of the day in their cage. You can’t beat the price and the quality is solid, too. Bird owners with this cage love the perfectly spaced bars and the fairly fast assembly. Its rolling stand even has a small storage shelf for food, treats or anything else you’d like to keep near the cage.

You & Me Standing Cockatiel Cage

cockatiel cage size

With an appealing shape, this cage features great vertical and horizontal space for cockatiels. Also included are a decorative metal wheeling stand, two perches, two feeding dishes and multiple cage doors with high-quality locking mechanisms. Just remember this cage isn’t ideal for travel—its shape makes it a bit awkward to transport.

Takeaways on Choosing the Best Cockatiel Cage Size

All in all, the best cage for cockatiel comfort is one that’s at least 18″ deep, 24″ long and 24″ tall. But since many cockatiels are happier and healthier with a companion, you might consider a slightly bigger cage—around 24″ deep, 24″ wide and 36″ tall.

With a roomy cage and daily cockatiel care, your feathered friend can provide you with companionship for 10–15 years!

With the right solution for your living space and daily cockatiel care, your feathered friend can provide you with companionship for 15–20 years.

While shopping, don’t forget the best cage for cockatiel comfort is one that’s at least 18″ deep, 24″ long and 24″ tall. But if you’re looking at keeping two birds in the same cage, go slightly bigger—around 24″ deep, 24″ wide and 36″ tall.

At the same time, consider how much time your bird will be able to spend outside of their cage with you. A slightly smaller cage may be acceptable if you can commit to multiple hours of free-roam time each day.

Now you’re ready to start researching bird cages for cockatiels. Our cockatiel experts here at Pets & Animals Tips wish you all the best with your new pet!

About the Author

cockatiel cage size

Shelby Dennis

Shelby Dennis is a freelance writer who specializes in lifestyle topics like pets, gardening, and health/beauty. All her life, Shelby has shared a home with at least one pet at any given time. Some of her earliest memories include playing with cats and dogs! She’s also adopted mice, guinea pigs, parakeets, and fish over her adult years. Growin[...] Author Details

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