Introducing treats into your cockatiel’s diet can be beneficial for a number of reasons. First of all, offering your bird treats is a great way to positively reinforce certain behaviors such as getting him to come to you when you want to take him out of his cage. It’s also a great way to bond with your cockatiel. When you hand-feed treats to your cockatiel, you are showing him that you love and care about him. For your cockatiel’s part, he will learn to trust you more as a result of these interactions. One of the most valuable things about supplementing your cockatiel’s diet with treats is the fact that they often contain important vitamins and minerals that may be otherwise lacking in your bird’s diet. In this article, we will discuss some delicious and nutritious cockatiel treats that you can buy or make at home.
8 Treats Your Cockatiel Will Love
Treats You Can Buy Online
1. Kaytee Fiesta Garden Veggie Cockatiel Bird Treats
Are you looking for a nutritious treat that you can mix in with your cockatiel’s food or sprinkle onto other healthy treats such as steamed vegetables? This Kaytee Fiesta Garden Veggie Cockatiel Bird Seed could be a great option. You may already be familiar with Kaytee, a popular pet food brand that sells several different bird food options. This particular treat is formulated specifically for cockatiels, so you know that your bird will be getting the fullest nutritional benefit when he eats this birdseed.
2. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Honey Cockatiel Treat Sticks
As a bird owner, you probably know that birds love to chew. That’s why a treat that takes time to eat, such as the Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Honey Cockatiel Treat Stick, is a great option. Not only does it discourage your pet from chewing on things he isn’t supposed to, such as his cage, but it also helps relieve boredom by providing him with mental stimulation. These honey treat sticks are formulated specifically for cockatiels and contain many different vitamins and minerals that are essential to your bird’s diet.
3. Living World Spray Millet
Millet is one of the best treats you can give your bird. Not only do cockatiels love the way millet tastes, perhaps because it reminds them of seeds, but it is actually much lower in fat than seeds, making it a much healthier option. Millet is also great for your bird’s digestion, and like the treat sticks, giving him a whole millet spray will help prevent boredom because it requires chewing. While this treat is not fortified with as many vitamins and minerals as the previous two options listed here, millet is a naturally great source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. As an added bonus, there are no preservatives or artificial flavors added to this treat, so you can really feel good about offering it to your cockatiel.
4. Kimoe 100% Natural Non-GMO Dried Mealworms
While they may sound gross to you, these dried mealworms are a treat your cockatiel will love. The good news is that these mealworms are dried, so if you don’t like things that crawl, you don’t have to worry about these guys moving about. If you have never given your cockatiel invertebrates such as mealworms, you should start slowly to see how your bird will respond to them. You can either offer a small amount of mealworms by themselves or mix them right into your cockatiel’s food. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, mealworms are also a great source of many different minerals and vitamins, including potassium, iron, and zinc.
Treats You Can Try Making at Home
Do you want to give your bird something simple and homemade? We’ve got a list for that, too! Here are some ideas for do-it-yourself treats that your cockatiel will love.
1. Shredded Meat
High-protein treats are some of the best you can offer your bird. You may not think of them as meat-eaters because they probably mostly eat formulated pellets, nuts, and seeds in your home, but in the wild, they do eat insects. It is perfectly fine, and even healthy for your cockatiel to eat a small amount of shredded meat such as chicken or beef. The next time you’re cooking up some meat for your family, try saving some for your cockatiel. Just be sure to set it aside before you add any spices or sauces, as these may not be so good for your bird. You should also make sure the pieces you offer are small enough for your bird to easily eat.
2. Hard-boiled eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are another great high-protein snack that is very easy to prepare. If you’ve never made a hard-boiled egg, all you have to do is cover your eggs with water in a saucepan over a burner on medium heat. Once the water begins to boil, set a timer for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes are up, you can take the saucepan off the burner, drain the boiling water, and rinse the eggs with cold water to stop them from cooking further. Just like that, you have a hard-boiled egg! Once the eggs have a chance to cool, you can smash one and offer it to your pet, shell and all. Do you think it’s weird for a bird to eat eggshells? Don’t worry! The shell is an excellent source of calcium, and birds in the wild often eat shells.
3. Bread for Birds
Like many humans, birds love bread. However, it’s not always the most nutritious snack. Luckily, your bird won’t mind if you add some ingredients that humans wouldn’t want to eat. You can begin with a muffin mix or your favorite simple bread recipe. From there, you can add in mashed, cooked vegetables, blackstrap molasses, which is a great source of both calcium and iron, eggs (with or without the shell), or fruits (dried or fresh). Not only will your bird love the result, but it will be an extremely nutritious treat. However, if you add fruit to the recipe, you should make sure to avoid high-sugar canned fruit or other ingredients that contain high-fructose corn syrup. It’s as bad for birds as it is for people!
4. Casseroles, Pasta, and Other Human Foods
Do you like comfort food? So does your cockatiel! Birds love pasta, which also happens to be a very easy snack to prepare. Your cockatiel can even have a taste of some of your regular family dinners such as casseroles or stews, so long as you make sure to give him a sample that is free of lots of oils, butter, and seasoning.
What Foods Should I Avoid Giving My Cockatiel?
In addition to the tasty treats listed above, there are several common foods you just might have lying around the house that can be great treats for cockatiels. Some examples are fruits such as bananas, apples, kiwis, and mangoes; vegetables such as sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and carrots; and cereals and grains such as oats, millet, and even Cheerios.
However, there are some foods you should absolutely avoid giving to your cockatiel. Some foods on the list probably aren’t too surprising: chocolate, sugar-free candies, caffeine, and highly processed foods are absolute no-goes for your bird. Other foods to avoid are avocados, garlic, onions, and apple seeds.
There are many different bird treats available for purchase. When deciding what treats you should get for your cockatiel, make sure to focus on foods that contain whole ingredients, few added preservatives, and nutrients that will enrich your cockatiel’s diet. Of course, not everything you feed your bird will come with a nutrition label; some of the best and healthiest treats you can offer your cockatiel can come from your own kitchen. Remember to keep treats occasional so that your bird will still get a nutritionally complete diet from his regular bird food and avoid weight gain.
Featured Image Credit: Ines Porada, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.