Homemade Cockatiel Food / Homemade Bird Food

There are so many homemade cockatiel food options and treats that you can prepare at home which you can include in your feathered friend’s diet.  You can also save a lot of money in this way, as it is an alternative to buying expensive store-bought food.

Most pet birds require broadly similar diets of seeds or pellets, fruits, and vegetables, with other foods providing extra nourishment.

Cockatiels thrive on about 60 percent pellets and 40 percent breed-specific seed mix.  Vegetables should be added for extra nutrition.  Cockatiels are prone to obesity, so if feeding other types of foods, you will need to keep a careful eye on him and watch for signs of excess weight.  Cockatiels benefit most from dark green or orange vegetables and they aren’t as enthusiastic about fruit as many other caged birds.

When preparing food for your cockatiel, try to use nutritious ingredients, eg. whole grains, fresh vegetables, dried and cooked beans, lean meats, and eggs.

Things like salt and other seasonings should be left out, as can the extra fat.

So if you want to feed your cockatiel something other than birdseed, here are a few things that you can do.

Homemade Cockatiel Food

homemade cockatiel foodIf you buy carrots, try to buy them with the leaves attached, as cockatiels love to nibble on these types of greens and they are very healthy.  Just make sure to wash them off well before handing them over to your little pet.

The easiest snacks to make for cockatiels, and also the healthiest are shredded cooked meat and hardboiled eggs that are mashed with the shell on.  Mashed cooked chicken is also a good choice.

A normal balanced diet for a cockatiel will include cockatiel pellets, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Carbs like cooked potatoes and lightly cooked vegetables are treats that your cockatiel will love.

Cockatiels also love pasta, so as you can see, cockatiels can eat basically the same foods as you do.

Here is a recipe for something your cockatiel will think is desert.

1/2 cup of pellets (fruit flavor)

2 cups of fine yellow cornmeal

1 carrot grated

1 jar of applesauce (the type babies eat)

1 jar pureed sweet potatoes (the type babies eat)

3 – 4 cups boiling water


Boil the water then gradually add the cornmeal.  Stir until it starts to thicken.  Add the jars of baby food, carrot, and the pellets and return to the pot and bring to a boil. If the mixture is too watery just add more cornmeal.

Your cockatiels will enjoy this warm.  You can keep this in the fridge for up to four days or simply freeze the remaining portion.

Cockatiel Mash

Because pellets provide excellent nutrition, it is a good idea to use pellets in the preparation of homemade cockatiel food.  Using pellets you can make your cockatiel a homemade mash mixture, and because it is mixed, your bird won’t be able to pick out what he likes to eat, and thus consume a full range of nutrients.

When preparing a mash mixture for your bird, select from the following ingredient categories, and take note of the provided rations to ensure the balanced nutrition of your mash.  You can combine the ingredients in a food processor, but make sure to mix roughly, as the food must still have a chunky texture.

  • 25 percent cooked mixed beans such as mung, adzuki, or garbanzo beans.
  • 25 percent cooked grains including quinoa and amaranth.
  • 25 percent high-calcium greens such as kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens, or dandelion greens.
  • 15 percent high-vitamin A fruits and vegetables such as cooked sweet potatoes or squash, carrots, papaya, and mangoes.
  • 10 percent miscellaneous additions – any bird-safe vegetable or fruit that catches your eye at the store.

Because making homemade cockatiel food is a slow process, it helps to make and freeze large quantities to maximize your time and effort.

Work out how much your bird will eat each day and freeze in serving-sized quantities. Each day you can just defrost one in advance so it is ready for your cockatiel.

Birdie Bread

Don’t know about you, but my birds love bread, and this is a healthier option for them.

1 tablespoon of peanut butter

3 tablespoons cornmeal

1 small jar of sweet potato baby food

1 box of Corn Muffin Mix

3 eggs

1/2 cup of apple juice

2 eggshells, finely ground to a powder or scrape about a teaspoon of cuttlebone off with a knife.

Prepare muffin mix as directed on the package.

Add the 2 additional eggs and all of the remaining ingredients.

Mix well until peanut butter is dissolved.

Pour into a greased 8×8 inch square pan and bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes.

Cut into 1-inch squares and wrap rows of pieces in plastic wrap.

Put all rows of pieces in one large bag.

Defrost each piece as needed.

Other Ideas for Homemade Cockatiel Foodhomemade cockatiel food

Fill a paper lunch sack with dried fruit, pellets, nuts, and dried pasta, then tie the sack closed and hang it in your bird’s cage. The forager instinct in your bird will enjoy the challenge of getting the food out.

Hang a rice cake on a string in the cage.

Mix sunflower seeds, cut-up fruit, granola, and chopped nuts.  Add enough honey or peanut butter to make the mixture stick together.  Spread the mixture on a clean pine cone, and then roll in millet seeds.  Hang in the cage.

Try mixing 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup mixed walnuts and peanuts, 1/2 dried fruit, and 1 T. dry, hard corn kernels. Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place.

Birdie Treats

Here are some great ideas that your birds are going to love.

Take a celery stick or a carrot and smear it evenly with peanut butter. Now dip it in birdseed.

Another one is to grate some carrots and cut up some grapes and mix them into your bird’s seed for the day. Just a yummy change for them.

Try preparing a small packet of organic plain gelatin as directed on the package. Mix in some millet seeds, peanut butter, honey, bananas, and carrots until desired consistency. The birds can play with this one too.

What Foods You do NOT Include in your Cockatiels Diet

These types of foods should be avoided, as they are not good for your cockatiel, and in some cases can even poison him.










Whole peanuts and nuts as they can harbor bird-poisoning bacteria and fungi

Milk as your bird cannot digest lactose

You can use cottage cheese and yogurt, as all the lactose in these foods gets digested during the culturing process.

When doing any types of meaty treats, feed the same day you prepare, as keeping and reheating can upset your birds tummy.

Hope that this article encourages you to try your hand at homemade bird food.


  1. Thanks for this article, when I saw the word cockatiel I thought it was a misspelt word cocktail!I used to have budgies some time ago and I always tried to give them new foods to try. I love your ideas for enriching cockatiels’ diet and adding a bit of spark to their plate! Can other birds have it too? Pet food you get in store becomes boring after a while, eating it every day must be a torture! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for your interesting tips about Homemade cockatiel foods.

    I haven’t heard before about these cockatiel foods and it’s totally new subject for me. I believe that these homemade cockatiel foods would be very healthy for pets. It just takes some time to put all the ingredients together and make the food. Usually it’s so easy just to buy a package from the food store. But this is a good option!


  3. Excellent tips although I’d steer clear from feeding them any type of meat or dairy as these aren’t in their natural diet (unless you’re feeding them insects of course lol).

    Making your own cockatiel food isn’t just a great money saver, but better for your bird than most store bought products laced with…well – just read the ingredients 🙂

    I make my own parrot, dog and cat food and they become like ravaging (but very obedient) fuzzies – that’s how much they look forward to freshly prepared meals.

  4. Thanks for this information. My friend has just adopted a cocketiel from her aunty who can no longer look after him. I’ll be sure to send her this link as there is heaps of really helpful information and tips. Especially on nutrition. At the moment the main thing she is struggling with is the Baron’s lack of apetite, or should I say fussy eating habits.

    Great thanks for this information

  5. i am grateful to this article and the comments. my two birds do not like their store bought seed mix. nor do they like pellets. the older bird is a bit tubby. perhaps making a more healthy mix will help their health and happiness. hope to find a favourite blend for them. thank you all

  6. Some of these suggestions are good but others are not.

    For one, do not feed your cockatiel meat or dairy. Eggs are debating according to Dr. Jason Cream, an avian diet specialist.

    Two, birds cannot have just about anything we eat. They cannot have salt which is in a lot of our foods. They aren’t supposed to have regular potatoes (cooked sweet potato is okay). They can’t have certain veggies (asparagus and avocado should be avoided always!) and fruit should be only an occasional treat because of the sugar.

    Also, 60% pellets and 40% seed is an awful ratio. Pellets can cause liver issues and seeds can too if fed as the majority of the diet.

    It’s best to have diversity in their diet: veggies in various colors (green, orange, etc.), grains like cooked or sprouted quinoa (which is way healthier than pasta or rice), soaked and sprouted seeds (soaked only for those that can be fed this way like millet), a healthy organic seed mix (not what you find in pet stores), and organic pellets like those from TOPs that are healthy and do NOT have corn, peanuts or soy. You can even find organic freeze dried chop/veggie mixes.

    1. Thank you for your insights Amanda. I find a bit of pasta now and then and obviously more vegies than fruit is great. I think like us moderation with the unhealthier things is better.

  7. I came to this article because pellets aren’t available in my country and the shipping from abroad is three times more than the price of the pellets themselves. (10€ for pellets + 30€ for shipping)

    So I don’t find this super useful, since the recipe included pellets as an ingredient. :p Hopefully there’s a way to make them yourself.

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