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Picking Out Your Cockatiel

April 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 159

About picking out your new cockatiel

How to determine how old your cockatiel is.

The optimum age to get your cockatiel is about ten to twelve weeks old. A bird of this age will adjust to people and be easiest to tame if treated correctly.

How do you know if your cockatiel is young?

Most obvious, the cheek spot is pale and not yet the bright orange that is so noticeable on adult cockatiels. Next, look at the piece of flesh above the beak where the nostrils are, the cere. This should still be pink. The tail, which is shorter than an adult cockatiel, should have thin, white to yellow out edges. Also, you might notice that your young cockatiel might be a bit awkward as young birds tend to be.

How do you know if your cockatiel is healthy?

All the feathers are smooth and have a lustrous sheen. There shouldn't be any discharge from the eyes or nostrils. There are four toes, two middle toes facing forward and two outer toes facing backward. None should be missing. The feathers around the anus should not be smeared with feces. Ideally, he will be preening himself or socializing with the other birds in the cage. The bird that catches your attention may be sitting in the corner with his head buried in his back feathers. He may be sick but he just may be sleeping. Try getting his attention and see if he perks up and engages or acts lethargic. Look for the telltale signs that were just mentioned above.

Is your bird a male or female?

At a young age it is very difficult determine and sometimes even experts make mistakes. If you are getting one bird, the sex doesn't really matter. Males and females really aren't different in their temperament. If you are getting two birds, again, it doesn't matter unless you are thinking about mating them. Two males, two females or a male and female all do well together. It seems that when there are two same sex birds, one will assume the role of the missing sex. Three birds is not a good situation and one bird might get treated like the proverbial third wheel and get picked on. It is also probable that a male and female will mate. If this isn't your intention, then get two birds of the same sex. Females will still lay eggs but they will be unfertilized.

The plumage of young cockatiels is still pale, males don't develop their full color until after their first molt at about nine months old. This is when you can see clear evidence of the bird's sex. The male cheek patch is a bright orange than the female. The female cheek patch has some grayish brown dusting in it. There is some yellow and white in the outer rims of the tail feathers of the female bird that are nonexistent in males. Most conspicuous however, is the under feathers of the female bird's tail which has a yellow and black cross band.

Cockatiels come in many colors but the original, natural cockatiel is gray with a bluish or brownish tinge. The tail ranges from silver gray to blackish gray. The outer wing feathers, (shoulder area) are white. The face is yellow with an orange cheek patch below their eyes. The crest feathers which are on top of the cockatiel's head, start from the yellow forehead,. The shorter crest feathers are yellow and the longer ones are gray with flecks of yellow.

Through selective breeding there are many different types and colors of cockatiels. They are all beautiful but it is thought that these birds are more susceptible to disease and don't live as long as the natural gray species.

Picking out the right bird for you is a personal experience. We all make our choices for different reasons. I picked out one of my birds because she spit seed at me while I was observing another cage. I knew she was the one for me. Although she was a bit older, she was sweet, tame and lived many years to entertain me.

Source: EzineArticles
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