How to Catch and Handle Your Cockatiel

catching and handling your cockatielIf you want to catch a cockatiel in a cage, the easiest way to do this is to place one hand on the back of the bird, using the thumb and little finger to restrain the wings. Hold the cockatiel’s head gently between the first and second fingers and be careful not to squeeze too hard or you could squeeze the windpipe and suffocate the cockatiel.

Once the cockatiel is restrained in this way, it will usually stop struggling, but beware it could still bite your fingers, so you may want to wear a pair of gloves for protection.

If you want to catch a cockatiel in an aviary, it will be more difficult, as cockatiels are fast movers and very agile in flight. Some prefer to use a net to catch individual birds, but make sure it is well padded around the rim, or you could stun or kill the cockatiel. Proper catching nets are available from pet shops or specialist pet suppliers.

If you want to catch a cockatiel in an aviary, first take down all the perches, so that they do not obstruct your movement. The birds will then fly onto the mesh, and hold on with their claws and it will be easier to catch them in this way. The nets are usually deep, so you can restrain the bird by holding the material just below the rim for a few seconds. By resting the rim on the floor of the aviary, you will then have both hands free to transfer the cockatiel into a cage or box. First restrain its head as described earlier then use your free hands to unhook the claws from the net.

When a cockatiel is caught, it will always clench its feet onto any available surface to get a grip, so be gentle when unclenching them.

It is a good idea for any bird owner to invest in a wooden traveling box. You can either purchase this from your pet store, or build one for yourself. A traveling box is normally shallow, which prevents the cockatiel from flying upwards and injuring himself. Some people use cardboard boxes for transporting cockatiels, but beware as these are not escape proof. If they don’t manage to escape out of the flaps, they have also been known to chew their way out, if left long enough. The bottom of the box could also collapse under the weight of the bird.

If traveling in a car with your cockatiel, make sure never to leave him in a hot car or a boot, as this could prove fatal. Cockatiels are very sensitive to carbon monoxide fumes, so the boot is not the place for him. If you are going to be traveling for a long time, make sure to provide your cockatiel with food and water for the journey.


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