Ask Lafeber


February 11, 2020

Why is my cockatiel dancing in his food bowl?

I have 2 male cockatiels, one a little more dominate. I have two seed bowls and 2 water bowls. Sometimes the dominant “K” will go to a bowl and start dancing in it. At first I thought K maybe be trying to set territory so I would dump that bowl into his and refill. But K would also just do it to his own so I was thinking he was just trying to get the husks out but seems to splash a lot of seed out. I give or change food daily and have additional plate at bottom of cage to dump bowls for refreshing. He doesn’t do it there. The seed bowls are about 2″ diameter and the water are about 4″. Thanks.


Hi Norm,

A lot of cockatiels will stomp like this – it may be hormonal, territorial, anger or he just likes doing it. He may like the feel of the seeds when he does this. In the wild they will take dust baths, so he may be doing this as a substitute. Maybe he wants to bathe but doesn’t want to take that plunge into water I wouldn’t be too worried about it as long as he doesn’t have other symptoms along with it, like picking at his feet or itching and scratching at his feathers excessively. Of course since loose seeds are not an ideal diet, this might be a good time to convert them to a nutritionally balanced diet. While many think this means it has to be pellets, our foraging diets are nutritionally balanced the same as a pellet, but they are not ground up and they provide natural foraging exercise. Please read more about bird nutrition at this link.

Bird Food Guide

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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