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The best bird food for most cockatiels is the RoudyBush Daily Maintenance Bird Food, which is a nutritionally complete and solid base for your bird's diet. For a certified organic alternative, check out Harrison's Bird Foods, which is available in a High Potency introductory formula and an Adult Lifetime maintenance blend.
Similar to your own diet, a cockatiel thrives most when fed a variety of nutritious foods, including whole beans, vegetables, fruits, and grains. While many people assume seeds are an appropriate dietary staple for birds, their high fat makes them inappropriate for anything other than occasional snacks.
While researching the best cockatiel foods, we looked for high quality ingredients, appropriately sized pellets, and a nutritional balance formulated specifically for cockatiel health.
Here are the best cockatiel foods.
Best Overall: RoudyBush Daily Maintenance Bird Food Crumbles
RoudyBush Daily Maintenance Bird Food was designed as an all-in-one diet by an avian nutritionist after 16 years of research as a member of the Department of Avian Sciences at the University of California, Davis (in 1991 he even authored a paper specifically about cockatiel nutrition). Formulated with 11% protein, 6% fat, 3.5% fiber, and 12% moisture, ingredients in RoudyBush Daily Maintenance Bird Food include ground corn, ground wheat, soy meal, and soy oil.
Birds can be picky eaters, and will sometimes make seemingly arbitrary choices, such as eating only one color out of a multi-colored selection of pellets. While cockatiels enjoy variety, and several of our picks come in multiple colors, the consistency of the Daily Maintenance formula means the RoudyBush crumbles can serve as a reliable staple food, which can be supplemented with other snacks. However, it is nutritionally complete enough that no additional foods are necessary to your bird's diet.
RoudyBush also makes it as simple as possible to switch from a different bird food to its formula, with instructions on the back for introducing your bird to the food, including our favorite tip: "Act as if you are eating the RoudyBush." Even more in-depth instructions are available online.
RoudyBush Daily Maintenance Bird Food is available in other sizes and textures as well, with crumbles and minis most appropriate to the size of an adult cockatiel. The crumbles are available in half pound, 22 ounce, 44 ounce, 10 pound, and 25 pound bags.
Best Organic: Harrison's Bird Foods High Potency Fine
This bird food is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and also non-GMO verified. Organic ingredients include millet, barley, corn, toasted soybeans, peanut kernels, sunflower kernels, peas, lentils, oat groats, brown rice, chia, and alfalfa. Harrison's Bird Foods Fine and Super Fine size pellets are appropriate for cockatiels.
Harrison's Bird Foods High Potency formula is their most versatile, appropriate for birds that are weaning, molting, or breeding. However, unlike our top pick, which is meant to complete your bird's primary diet, Harrison's is designed to be supplemented with 25% vegetables and fruits, plus 5% snacking seeds for Omega 3 fatty acids.
Harrison's Bird Foods High Potency Fine is available in 1-pound, 5-pound, and 25-pound bags. Or you can buy it by the case. While Harrison's Birds Foods recommends High Potency Fine or High Potency Super Fine for 8 months after switching from previous bird foods, after that you may consider switching your cockatiel to their daily maintenance formula, Adult Lifetime Fine.
Best Fruit Pellets: ZuPreem FruitBlend with Natural Fruit Flavors Medium Bird Food
Zupreem's Fruitblend pellets combine the typical pellet blend of ground corn, wheat, and soybean meal with a profusion of real fruit flavors, including oranges, apples, grapes, and bananas in the ingredients list. This makes them an excellent complement to other pellets, or as a primary food source—Zupreem recommends a diet of 60% Fruitblend pellets, balanced with other vegetables, fruits, and the occasional snacking seed.
The Fruitblend pellet's blend of colors make them more fun than other, blander pellets for your cockatiel, who will likely learn to hunt and pick for their favorite flavors.
FruitBlend with Natural Fruit Flavors Medium Bird Food is available in 14-ounce, 2-pound, 17.5-pound, and even 35-pound bags.
Best for Babies: Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding Formula Baby Bird Food
Just like human babies, cockatiel babies need a special formula as they double and triple their body weight in the early weeks. This nutritionally balanced, high-fat formula helps support their development of healthy bones and beaks, plus has added omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy brain, heart, and eyes. This formula is also infused with prebiotics to help your baby bird digest its food until it develops its own digestive enzymes. Simply mix with water until it turns into a paste and feed it to your feathered friend with a syringe or a spoon. Ensure the water is at the correct temperature recommended on the packaging; cold formula can lead to crop infections.
Note that the formula stays fresh for up to 45 days after opening; any not used by that point should be discarded.
Best Natural: Bird Street Bistro Sample Pack Bird Food
Try this sampler pack from Bird Street Bistro to discover your cockatiel’s favorite flavor—they can choose from CinnaSpice, Viva La Veggie, Southern Feast, Tropical, and Cajun Bean. Made in the USA, each flavor pack included organic whole grains plus fruits and veggies, all topped off with a blend of healthy spices and free of added sugars, salt, colors, and preservatives. To prepare, just mix the food with water and heat it before you serve to your bird. After meal time, throw out any leftovers and be sure to offer your bird plenty of fresh water to drink.
Best Treats: Vitakraft Fruit Cocktail Parrot & Cockatiel Treat
Whether you’re trying to reward your cockatiel or just in the mood to spoil it, treats can come in handy. This treat mix from Vitakraft is made with 11 easy-to-pronounce ingredients, including dehydrated bananas, pineapples, papayas, coconut, carrots, red peppers, and whole peanuts, with zero added sugars. It also contains essential trace elements, vitamins, and minerals so you can feel extra good about giving it to your bird. As with all treats, it’s important to keep portion sizes in mind as you don’t want to overtreat your pet and risk ruining its appetite or having it gain weight from too many treats.
Best Bars: Lafeber's Fruit Delight Avi-Cakes for Parakeets, Cockatiels, Lovebirds & Conures
These bars are soft and chewy which makes them beloved by birds and their owners alike. Each square is made up of a 50-50 blend of nutritionally balanced pellets and fruits and grains held together with sweet, sticky, nutritious molasses. They also offer omega-3s and omega-6s for skin and plumage health. If you find your bird has trouble eating them whole, try crumbling one up and putting it in their bowls. These bars can be used as a treat or served as a full meal alongside some good-for-birds human foods. Just remember: no avocados or other foods that can be poisonous to birds.