Ask Lafeber


July 19, 2018

should I get my cockatiel a friend?

I got a pearl cockatiel from a neglectful situation 3 months ago. she is 12 years old and has never had another cockatiel in the house as her. I know I should keep at least 2 cockatiels together, but is it too late to try to find her a friend? she seems interested in my parrot and even climbs up to his tree while he’s on it sometimes, so I would think she would be fine, but I’ve never left her alone with him because he doesn’t like other birds and has tried to bite her before. what should I do?


Hi Catie,

Cockatiels do not necessarily need to live in pairs. If your new bird is tame and likes to be handled, then you are her companion. At her age, it would not be a good idea to get a male, because you don’t want to encourage her to breed. And she might not accept a female. So make sure you give her attention, good nutritious foods and plenty of toys to keep her busy.

I would not let her interact with your parrot. You did not mention his species, but most other parrots, even smaller ones, have much stronger beaks than cockatiels and could easily hurt her. It is best to let them have separate play times on the tree. He also might attack her being territorial so again, it is best to keep them separate. A parrot can move surprisingly fast and you might not be able to intervene in time if he decided to attack her. Sometimes even what seems like gentle beak play can turn deadly very quickly.

It’s good you have given her a new home and it sounds like you are taking great care of her.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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