Diet for Baby Cockatiels

Diet for Baby Cockatiels thumbnail
Baby cockatiels are fed formula for at least 45 days.

Humans must hand feed baby cockatiels when the parent birds are unable. Baby cockatiels require a consistent, soft food diet for at least the first 45 days of their life. An all-inclusive formula diet offers baby cockatiels essential nutrients to get a healthy start in life without the need of any extra supplements, foods or water.

  1. Diet

    • The North American Cockatiel Society recommends feeding newborn cockatiels hand-feeding formula. Sold in powder form and mixed with water, the formula resembles thin corn meal mush. High quality formula will hold its temperature and will not separate into watery-liquid and extra-thick formula during feeding.


    • For optimum health, choose a hand-feeding formula without chemical-based dyes, artificial sweeteners or fillers. High-quality formulas contain trace minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids. Hand-feeding formulas fortified with lactobacillus and digestive enzymes heighten the baby bird's immunity and improves digestion.


    • Feed baby cockatiels with bent spoons, oral feeding syringes and eye droppers. Choose syringes with rubber-tipped plungers for a smooth, steady flow of formula. Use an eye dropper or syringe with newborn cockatiels, while 2-week-old chicks (and older) can maneuver the end of a small, bent baby spoon. Inhibit bacteria growth on the feeding tools by washing them with warm, soapy water followed by a mild-bleach water solution sanitizer after each feeding.


    • When preparing the formula, use a stove to heat distilled water to 102 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful not to overheat the water or warm the mixed formula in the microwave. This can cause uneven heating, or overheating, leading to crop burns. During feeding sessions, direct syringes and eye droppers to the inside of the chick's left cheek. If the bird is facing you, this will be your right side. This position aims the formula into the chick's crop for storage, rather than down his windpipe causing suffocation, according to The North American Cockatiel Society.


    • Plan on hand feeding the cockatiel every two hours for the first four days of his life. One to two cc's (cubic centimeters) of prepared formula should be fed at each session. Feedings of two to three cc's can be scheduled every three hours when the bird is 5 to 7 days old. When the baby cockatiel is 8 to 14 days old, feed him four to six cc's of formula every four hours from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

      Increase the baby bird's formula to seven to 10 cc's once he reaches 15 to 24 days of age. He should be fed once every five hours between 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The baby cockatiel will require three feedings a day once he reaches 25 to 34 days old. At this age, until he is weaned, offer the bird 11 to 15 cc's of formula at each feeding session. Once the bird reaches 35 days old, he can be fed twice daily, once at 7 a.m. and once at 7 p.m. From 45 days old until he is weaned onto adult cockatiel food, the bird may be fed once daily, at 7:00 p.m.

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  • Photo Credit lutino cockatiel image by Nicky Jacobs from

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