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- Kaytee Pets / Business Insider
- Cockatiels require a healthy diet for long-term wellness, but it is your choice whether to feed a nutritionally balanced pellet or seed mix.
- Whichever you choose, make sure it meets your bird’s nutritional requirements and is made with wholesome, natural ingredients.
- Nutritionally complete and scientifically proven to increase foraging behavior, Lafeber’s Classic Nutri-Berries are our top pick for the best cockatiel food overall.
Easily one of the most popular companion birds, the cockatiel is an outgoing, comical breed known for the yellow crest on top of its head through which it displays emotion. Cockatiels are the smallest member of the cockatoo family but still fairly large compared to other pet birds. These birds stand up to 12 inches tall and can live for 15 years or more with proper care.
Proper cockatiel care involves providing your bird with a roomy cage, a healthy diet, and plenty of daily interaction. Wild cockatiels forage on the ground for food and eat a variety of seeds, fruits, and vegetables, and you should mimic that mix with the food you provide for them.
Many bird enthusiasts advocate for the feeding of commercial pellets that are nutritionally balanced but somewhat less appealing to birds than seed. The problem with seed mixes is that many birds pick out only the seeds they like, leading to an unbalanced diet.
As a cockatiel owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your bird’s nutritional needs are met. If you choose to feed your cockatiel a seed mix, you may have to supplement his diet to ensure balanced nutrition. If you choose a pelleted diet, you might have to work with your bird to transition him off of seed.
No matter what type of diet you choose, we’ve assembled a list of our top picks for some of the best cockatiel food to help you make your choice.
Here is the best cockatiel food you can buy in 2019:
- Best cockatiel food overall: Lafeber’s Classic Nutri-Berries for Cockatiels
- Best affordable cockatiel food: Kaytee Exact Optimal Nutrition Diet for Cockatiels
- Best seed mix cockatiel food: Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food
- Best cockatiel pellets: Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Fine Pellets
- Best foraging food for cockatiels: Lafeber’s Avi-Cakes Original Flavor for Cockatiels
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best cockatiel food overall
Why you’ll love them: Lafeber’s Classic Nutri-Berries for Cockatiels are nutritionally complete and scientifically proven to increase foraging behavior in your beloved bird.
The best cockatiel food will be one that provides for your cockatiel’s nutritional requirements while also appealing to his tastes and foraging behavior. It should be made with wholesome natural ingredients and formulated for balanced nutrition as well. Our top pick for the best cockatiel food overall is Lafeber’s Classic Nutri-Berries for Cockatiels.
These Lafeber’s Classic Nutri-Berries are a blend of premium quality ingredients that deliver balanced nutrition similar to pellets but twice the foraging. They come in a unique round shape to enable beak play and exercise, helping to prevent bird boredom which can lead to feather picking and other destructive behaviors.
These Nutri-Berries are made with human-grade, non-GMO ingredients free from artificial additives but loaded with antioxidants and omega fatty acids. They also come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
A detailed review from Windy City Parrot praises Lafeber’s Nutri-Berries as a premium source of nutrition in a form irresistible to birds, especially foraging birds like cockatiels. In fact, the site mentions a scientific study conducted at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in which birds fed Nutri-Berries were found to spend twice as much time foraging as birds fed commercial pellets.
These Lafeber’s Classic Nutri-Berries for Cockatiels have a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with roughly 500 reviews. Bird owners love the foraging-inspiring design and balanced nutrition, though there are comments about some shipments arriving with clumps stuck together and concerns about the product spoiling quickly if exposed to moisture.
Pros: Nutritional balance of pellets with twice the foraging, human-grade non-GMO ingredients, rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids, no artificial additives, nutritionally complete
Cons: May spoil quickly if exposed to moisture, Nutri-Berries may stick together in large clumps, can make a mess when broken up, significantly more expensive than seed mixes
The best affordable food for cockatiels
Why you’ll love it: Affordably priced and formulated to deliver balanced nutrition with every bite, Kaytee Exact Optimal Nutrition Diet is a great affordable food for cockatiels.
Cockatiels may not be the biggest pet birds you’ll come across, but they eat significantly more than smaller breeds like budgies and finches. A responsible bird owner will feed their cockatiel a balanced diet which, in most cases, means a seed mix or pellet supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables. If you’re concerned about feeding your cockatiel a high-quality product without going over budget, try Kaytee Exact Optimal Nutrition Diet for Cockatiels.
Kaytee Exact Optimal Nutrition Diet for Cockatiels is our top pick for the best affordable food for cockatiels. Priced under $15, these pellets offer a nutritionally complete daily diet designed to meet the nutritional requirements of cockatiels.
Every nugget is made with healthy natural ingredients and beneficial supplements to ensure 100% consumable nutrition. With no seed hulls to worry about, you’ll have less mess and the shape and texture of the nuggets is designed to provide enrichment and mental stimulation.
One buyer review compared Kaytee Exact Optimal Nutrition Diet for Cockatiels to a similar product, Zupreem Natural Medium Bird Food, commenting that her cockatiels preferred the Kaytee recipe. Dr. Fox Magazine includes several other Kaytee recipes in its picks for the best cockatiel foods, though we chose this for its price and nutritional balance.
This food has a 4.1-star rating on Amazon with more than 150 reviews. Bird owners love the price and how easy it is to feed, though there are some comments about birds refusing the food and some concerns about the pellets being too large.
Pros: Priced under $15, each bite is nutritionally complete, supplemented with nutrients and probiotics, designed to provide enrichment, no seed hulls means less mess
Cons: Some birds have trouble transitioning onto a pelleted diet, new formulation may have pellets too large for some birds
The best seed mix for cockatiels
Why you’ll love it: Loaded with a variety of premium-quality seeds, dried fruits, and nutritional supplements, Higgins’ Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food is sure to be a hit with your cockatiel.
Higgins’ Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food features a blend of premium-quality ingredients including dried fruits, seeds, and nuts to give your cockatiel a healthy diet balanced through variety.
This seed mix is enriched with essential vitamins and minerals, plus supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion. It is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and feather but free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Breedsy calls it the best cockatiel seed mix due to the variety of flavors and textures it has to offer. The reviewer also commented on the high omega-3 content that supports your cockatiel’s skin and feathers. Squeaks and Nibbles also includes this product in its list of favorite cockatiel seed mixes, noting the use of supplemental probiotics for digestive support.
The Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon with more than 60 reviews. Bird owners love the variety of seeds and other ingredients, though there are comments about the price being too high for the type of product.
Pros: Premier blend of natural ingredients, variety of flavors and textures, enriched with essential nutrients, balanced omega fatty acid content, supplemented with probiotics
Cons: Seeds may spoil if they get wet, some birds will pick out certain types of seeds, price is higher than for similar products
The best pellets for cockatiels
Why you’ll love them: Nutritionally balanced with every bite, Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Fine Pellets are made with premium-quality, certified organic ingredients and sealed for freshness and flavor.
Bird owners will always argue for and against pelleted diets. The primary benefit of a pelleted diet is the assurance that each bite is nutritionally complete. With seed mixes, many birds pick out the seeds they like and fail to consume the ideal balance of nutrients.
Switching your bird to a pelleted diet can be a challenge, but the nutritional benefits are worth it. Our top pick for the best pellets for cockatiels is Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Fine Pellets.
Harrison’s Bird Foods has a reputation for producing high-quality products made with organic natural ingredients and these Adult Lifetime Fine Pellets are no exception. Formulated and sized for small-to-medium birds like your cockatiel, these pellets are made with premium, certified organic ingredients and sealed for freshness. They are free from chemicals, preservatives, and artificial additives but loaded with healthy and balanced nutrition.
Dr. Fox Magazine recommends these pellets, commenting on the quality ingredients and USDA NOP organic seal that keeps them safe and fresh. Cockatiel Review also includes this product in its top picks, noting that each bite contains only high-quality, balanced nutrition with no chemicals or sweeteners.
These Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Fine Pellets have a 4.7-star rating on Amazon with more than 200 reviews. Bird owners love the nutritional quality and ease of feeding, though some had trouble getting their cockatiels to eat the food (particularly when switching from seed).
Pros: Nutritionally complete in every bite, premium-quality organic certified ingredients, sealed for freshness, no preservatives or artificial additives, formulated for small-to-medium birds
Cons: May be difficult to transition bird onto a pelleted diet, doesn’t encourage foraging as well as seed mixes, pellets may be too small for some birds
The best foraging cockatiel food
Why you’ll love them: Lafeber’s Avi-Cakes are a 50/50 blend of premium seeds and nutritionally balanced pellets, that will meet your cockatiel’s nutritional requirements while also meeting his needs for foraging and exercise.
Many birds spend a significant portion of their day on the ground foraging for food. Just because your cockatiel lives in a cage doesn’t mean that his natural behavior will just disappear – foraging is still an important aspect of feeding your cockatiel, and it provides him with exercise and enrichment at the same time. Our top pick for the best foraging cockatiel food is Lafeber’s Avi-Cakes Original Flavor for Cockatiels.
Lafeber’s Avi-Cakes are a 50/50 blend of premium seeds and nutritionally balanced pellets, held together with a molasses binder. These cakes feature a unique square shape to enable beak play and encourage foraging exercise for your cockatiel while also providing for his nutritional needs.
Made with human-grade, non-GMO ingredients, these Avi-Cakes are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives but loaded with antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Plus, they come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Cockatiel Review likes the varied combination of seeds and pellets. The site also notes that the pieces can make a mess when broken into pieces. A detailed review of Lafeber’s Avi-Cakes and NutriBerries from Windy City Parrots hails this product as the perfect middle ground between a seed mix and pelleted diet.
These Lafeber’s Avi-Cakes have a 4.5-star review on Amazon with more than 200 buyer reviews and carry an Amazon’s Choice award as well. Bird owners love the quality ingredients, but there are comments that some shipments arrived stale and some birds simply don’t like the taste.
Pros: Nutritionally complete, unique square shape ideal for foraging, encourages exercise and enrichment, helps prevent boredom, rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids
Cons: Some birds just don’t like the taste, may make a mess when broken up, some shipments arrived stale