Ask Lafeber


January 23, 2019

Does my cockatiel need a friend/mate?

I’ve had my female cockatiel for 3 or 4 years now. I used to give her lots and lots of attention. We just recently had a baby and she hasn’t gotten as much attention as she once did. She will get the attention once again when the baby grows and eventually he will be the one giving her attention. Until then should I think about getting her a mate. She’s been alone all these years already my concern is she won’t welcome another bird. Is a male vs female better or does it not matter. Or should we wait it out since she will get the attention as the baby gets older and I have more time. She has a very large cage and I make sure she always has plenty of things to keep her busy. I know she is happy, but I still feel bad that I can’t give her the all the attention like I used to.


Hi Melissa,

Our lives change and this can mean less time for a pet than before. It sounds like your bird is adjusting. It’s not always about how much time you spend with her as long as you spend a few minutes of one on one time daily. If you want her to remain a pet, I would not recommend a cage mate. Another bird in another cage can offer some companionship. But once you cage birds together, they either bond as mates if opposite sex, or they bond closely even if the same sex. In the wild, cockatiels live in flocks, but only have one mate, and the mate is the only bird they have close contact with. If your bird has another bird as a companion, she is likely to revert to being wild and not letting anyone handle her. As long as she has a large cage, toys and isn’t isolated in a room away from people, she should be fine with less handling. She can still see and hear the family and be part of it, even in her cage. Of course try to get her out at least once a day, even if it is just a few minutes.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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