Cockatiels are one of the most adorned bird pets in the world. Although they are relatively small compared to other cockatoos, they have big personalities and are highly energetic. They also come in different color patterns and varieties.
If you are interested in owning a cockatiel, this is the perfect guide for you. I will discuss the prices and expenses of owning a cockatiel, as well as money-saving tips to help you trim down the cost of taking care of one. Let’s start!
How Much Does a Cockatiel Bird Cost? Price Info for Different Cockatiel Species
The average price of a cockatiel falls between $80 and $250. This price range is heavily dependent on the cockatiel’s type, age, and health condition as well as the breeder’s reputation and location.
If you want to learn about the specific prices for each cockatiel type, below is a detailed description and estimated cost:
Lutino Cockatiel ($150 – $250)
Lutino cockatiels are like miniature versions of white cockatoos. Most of their body has white pigmentations.
Their wings, chests, and tails are accentuated by a pale yellow coloring. Their head and crest boast a primrose color with orange patches on their cheeks. Typically, Lutino cockatiels are priced from $150 to $250.
Gray (Grey) Cockatiel ($60 – $80)
This cockatiel is also known as the wild type and normal. It is the most common among all of the other cockatiel varieties one can own. A normal grey cockatiel is mostly gray.
They just have white outlines in their wings and tails while their cheeks have orange patches. You can expect to spend around $60 to $80 in buying a gray cockatiel.
Pied Cockatiel ($110 – $170)
The Pied cockatiels, also known as Harlequins, are the mutated variety of the grey cockatiel. They feature random white patches and markings against a gray base. The white coloration varies in size and shape.
What’s cooler about them is that no Pied cockatiel looks the same since their color pattern is random. They also have a yellow crest and orange cheek patches. This makes them cost around $110 to $170.
Cinnamon Cockatiel ($130 – $160)
Instead of a gray body, a Cinnamon cockatiel has brown pigmentations which can also be in the shades of tan and cinnamon. A male cockatiel with this coloration will have a bright yellow face with orange cheek patches.
Meanwhile, Cinnamon female cockatiels will have paler yellow faces and cheek coloration. They are priced between $130 and $160.
White Cockatiel ($200 – $300)
White cockatiels are quite more expensive compared to their siblings because of their rarity.
Also known as white face cockatiels, these astonishing mini parrots have a white or light-grayish face due to mutation. They do not also have orange patches on their cheeks.
Although white cockatiels are considered rare, there are already established breeders across the country dedicated to producing this cockatiel variety.
If you want to own one of these rare birds, you should prepare to pay around $200 to $300.
Pearl Cockatiel ($150 – $200)
Pearl cockatiels have small spots of yellow or white pigmentation laced or edged on the feathers of the cockatiel’s nape, back, and wings. These beautiful speckles of colors resemble pearls, hence the name.
They also have yellow faces and orange cheeks. You can buy a quality pearl cockatiel for around $150 to $200.
Aren’t convinced yet that these birds are worth your money? Well, then, watch them sing and whistle serenades:
Factors Affecting the Cockatiel Price
There are also other factors that influence the prices of cockatiels aside from variety. These factors include age, health condition, and breeder’s reputation and location.
Here’s a detailed discussion on each factor that affects the cockatiel cost:
- Age: Young cockatiels are more expensive than seniors. Typically, these cute birds can already be rehomed after they are weaned at the age of eight to 12 weeks.
- Health Condition: Cockatiels that are sound and healthy are way more expensive than the ones with disabilities or illnesses. Breeders with complete health documents for their cockatiels will also charge higher prices.
- Breeder’s Reputation: Buying from a well-known professional cockatiel breeder might prove more expensive than buying from a pet store but it is all worth it. You have the assurance that the cockatiel you will buy is healthy and raised in a loving and safe environment.
- Breeder’s Location: You might need to pay shipping fees if you are buying overseas. Hence, a bird shipped will cost higher. The type of pet carrier you will choose for your pet’s shipping will also be added to the cockatiel’s price.
The cockatiel bird’s cost will vary from breeder to breeder depending on the factors they consider in pricing.
In connection, I listed some money-saving tips in the latter part of this guide that you can follow in purchasing and owning a cockatiel.
How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Cockatiel From a Rescue?
A lot of cockatiels end up in shelters and rescues for various reasons. However, regardless of why they end up in these facilities, no one can argue that they can still make great pets.
On average, the adoption fee for rescued cockatiels ranges between $50 and $100. This fee covers all of the expenses the rescue shouldered in taking care of the rehabilitated cockatiels.
Through the adoption fee, rescue organizations are able to provide the veterinary care and basic needs of the rescued birds to prepare them for adoption.
Initial Costs of Cockatiel Ownership
Aside from the cost of the cockatiel itself, you should also consider the initial expenses of owning one. The initial expenses include the starter supplies for the housing and maintenance of your pet birds.
Here are the items included in the initial expense of owning a cockatiel:
- Caging/Housing: The cockatiel’s cage is one of the first items you need to purchase even before buying a cockatiel. The cockatiel cages will serve as safe spaces for your pet where it can safely play and rest. The standard cage size for cockatiels is 24 inches long by 18 inches wide by 24 inches tall. Cages of this size have average costs ranging from $100 to $150.
- Perches: Cockatiel birds love to use perches for standing, climbing, playing, entertainment, and for cleaning their beaks. Perches come in a variety of sizes, shapes, materials, and designs. They typically cost around $10 to $20.
- Food and Treats: Your cockatiel’s diet should consist of a variety of food such as seeds, pellets, fresh fruits, and fresh veggies. A flexible diet is important for your pet bird to stay healthy. You can buy a month’s supply of these food items for around $20 to $40 (good for one cockatiel).
- Toys: To keep your pet cockatiel entertained and occupied especially when you are not at home, you should buy swings and foraging toys suited for birds. Just make sure that the toy materials are safe for your pet. These kinds of toys cost around $10 to $20 in a pet store.
- Food and Water Dish: Using food and water dishes will make feeding your cockatiel less messy. Make sure that the bowls can contain water and food that would last for at least a day. You can acquire these items from your local pet stores for $10 to $15.
- Cleaning Essentials: Cockatiels need not only a healthy diet but also a healthy environment. You should use cage cleaners that are safe for birds. On Amazon, you will easily find an environmentally friendly cleaner that costs $10 to $20.
The table below summarizes the type of the initial expense mentioned above and its price range:
|Type of Expense||Average Cost|
|Cage||$100 – $150|
|Perches||$10 – $20|
|Food and Treats||$20 – $40|
|Toys||$10 – $20|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10 – $15|
|Cleaning Essentials||$10 – $20|
|Total Initial Cost||$160 – $265|
So, that’s it! These are the starter supplies you need to acquire even before you welcome your new cockatiel to its new environment.
These one-time costs are hefty but you can find ways on how to reduce the cost. Read on as I will also share money-saving tips on the latter part of this guide!
Annual and Monthly Expenses of Owning a Cockatiel
After securing the initial cost of owning a cockatiel, you also need to consider the ongoing expenses for its maintenance and supplies.
These expenses will include the annual costs of food, maintenance fee for the cage, perches, and toys, as well as the regular vet checkups.
Here is a breakdown of the annual and monthly expenses in owning a cockatiel:
|Type of Expense||Yearly Estimated Cost|
|Food and Treats||$240 – $480|
|Toys||$20 – $40|
|Perches||$20 – $40|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10 – $20|
|Cleaning Supplies||$30 – $60|
|Routine Veterinary Care||$30 – $100|
|Miscellaneous Fee||$20 – $30|
|Yearly Total||$370 – $770|
|Average Monthly Cost||$31 – $64|
Cockatiels are just small birds; hence, their food intake is only minimal. They will thrive on different foods such as bird seeds, bird pellets, as well as small cuts of fresh vegetables.
A month’s supply of this flexible diet will cost around $20 to $40 a month — setting you back $240 to $480 annually for the food costs.
To keep your pet bird safe, you need to change broken toys and ripped perches. Fragmented pieces of wood or any synthetic material might cause injury to your pet bird.
The good thing is that you will most likely need to change the toys and perches only twice a year. Food and water bowls need only to be changed when they are in poor condition.
Aside from replacement bowls, you won’t need to buy a new cage unless you will need a larger cage for another cockatiel or the caging is damaged.
If the damage can still be fixed, just opt for maintenance service so you can reuse the same cage.
Since cage cleaning is done once a week, your cleaning supplies will need to be replenished at least three times a year.
This includes the non-toxic disinfectant soap and brush. This supply costs around $30 to $60 per annum.
Lastly, annual checkups for your pet cockatiel should be done regularly to ensure it stays as a healthy bird. This includes physical examination and assessment for complications.
The annual medical expenses including vet visits cost around $30 to $100. However, this could still go higher depending on the needed treatment and severity of the illness.
Lifetime Expenses of Owning a Cockatiel
A well-maintained and cared-for cockatiel bird can live for as long as 15 to 25 years in captivity. That’s 20 years on average!
You might be wondering now how much would it cost you to own a cocktail for its lifetime. Let me present to you the estimated lifetime expenses.
Since the yearly cost of maintaining a cockatiel bird ranges from $370 to $770, the cost of taking care of a cockatiel for 20 years would be $7,400 to $15,400.
Adding the initial expense ($213) as well as the cost of the cockatiel itself ($165), the total lifetime expense of owning a cockatiel is $7,778 to $15,778.
These estimated expenses, however, do not take into account the other potential expenses that you might encounter as your cockatiel bird grows.
Nonetheless, you should expect to spend an amount anywhere between $7,000 and $15,000 for your cockatiel pet.
Other Potential Expenses
Aside from the mentioned supplies and items, here are the other expenses which you should anticipate upon owning a cockatiel bird:
- Bird Pet Sitters: In cases where you will need to leave the town for a while and no one will be left to take care of your pet, you might need the help of a bird sitter. The service offered by bird sitters includes feeding, cleaning, and playing which costs $10 to $20. Some pet sitters even offer boarding houses for pets.
- Surgery/Treatments: You never know when accidents will happen. Surgery or treatment will set you back around $100 to $1,000 depending on the severity. Bird injuries could include broken wings, legs, and fractured bones.
- Bird Travel Cage: If you want to take your bird on vacation, you will need a bird travel cage. This portable cage has safety features for your cockatiels. In pet stores, this item costs $30 to $60 depending on their designs and size.
- Pet Insurance: We all want the best for our cockatiels. Hence, we always prepare for unexpected things such as accidents. Bird pet insurance will cover the treatment fee of your cockatiel if ever it suffered an injury. Plans for bird insurance range between $5 and $8 a month.
These are just some of the potential expenses which you also need to consider in owning a cockatiel bird.
While a pet sitter and travel cage seem to be optional, I advise that you should prepare for emergencies and get your bird pet insurance.
Common Health Issues of Cockatiels and Their Cost of Treatment
Just like with any other pets, cockatiels also have common health issues. These health problems may include infections, behavioral problems, and abnormal growth of feathers. The good thing is that these health problems can be treated and prevented.
Here are some of the common cockatiel health issues and their cost of treatment:
- Avian Chlamydiosis: This disease is caused by a bacteria called Chlamydophila psittaci. Birds infected by this bacteria may show signs such as diarrhea, weakness, coughing, loss of appetite that could lead to death if left untreated. Luckily, this disease could be treated with antibiotics that cost $3 per unit. However, you can only acquire this medication with the prescription of an avian vet. Expect to spend at least $100 for the treatment including the vet’s fee.
- Protozoal Infection: This bacterial infection interferes with the natural intestinal environment of the cockatiel and blocks the absorption of nutrients and vitamins. The treatment cost for this bacterial infection ranges between $20 and $100 depending on the severity of the condition.
- Fatty Liver Disease: This common cockatiel health problem occurs when there is a large deposit of fat in the liver. Birds with a seed-only diet are more susceptible to this condition. Avian vets may give supplements and medications to boost the immune system of your cockatiel to treat this. The cost of treatment for this disease could be around $100, and its main focus is on diet.
- Feather Plucking: Feather plucking is a behavioral disorder characterized by the picking, mutilation, and chewing of the bird’s feather. It is a complex disease that is said to be caused by various factors including environmental, physiological, and social aspects. Preventive measures such as bird collars are proven effective in stopping the destructive behavior temporarily. They cost $10 on average.
Prevention is always better than cure. Most of the listed common illnesses root in improper maintenance and feeding. Hence, you should always be mindful of the food your cockatiel eats as well as its social needs.
Places to Find Cockatiels for Sale or Adoption
Looking for a reputable cockatiel breeder in your area is very easy. You will find dedicated breeders in almost every state in the country.
Here are some of the best cockatiel breeders you can reach out to :
- Sugarcreek Bird Farm – Located in Ohio, this aviary has a dedicated outdoor facility where their birds freely roam and fly. They have different types of cockatiels you can choose from. They also breed other birds from the cockatoo family such as rose-breasted cockatoos and black palm cockatoo.
- Laura’s Little Parrots – This breeder has been breeding a variety of bird pets for almost 20 years. One of the bird species they produce is the cockatiel. They are successful in producing different varieties of cockatiels including rare ones such as the white cockatiels. Their cockatiel prices range from $275 to $400 which include a health guarantee.
- Exotic Pet Birds Inc. – Exotic Pet Birds Inc. breeds different varieties of cockatiels and other parrots. Their service also includes training, grooming, and feeding. They also know how to take care of hand-fed birds.
Adopting a cockatiel is also a great option! Here are the rescues where you can find a cockatiel for adoption:
- Zaksee Parrot Sanctuary – This avian rescue center in Tampa, Florida rescues different parrot species including cockatiels. They are a non-profit organization that functions through volunteer efforts.
- Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue – The tagline of this rescue is “don’t breed, don’t buy. Adopt a rescued bird.” The volunteers in this organization are dedicated to promoting the well-being of the rescued pets. You’ll find different varieties of cockatiels here.
- Northeast Avian Rescue – The cockatiels rescued by this organization are either surrendered or neglected. Nevertheless, they assure that all of the birds they clear for adoption can still make perfect house companions.
Annually, almost half a million birds end up in local bird clubs or sanctuaries. If you adopt a bird from a local bird club or local rescue, you will not only save a soul but also free up space for other birds in need.
Money-Saving Tips for Cockatiel Owners
Tending to the needs of your cockatiel might prove expensive. But don’t worry, though!
I prepared some money-saving tips you can follow as a cockatiel owner, and they are the following:
- Adopt instead of buying. Adoption fees are more inexpensive than the cost of cockatiels from private breeders. The adoption cost for cockatiels is only $50 to $100. Meanwhile, the average cost of cockatiels from breeders ranges from $80 to $250.
- Create DIY perches and toys. You will find a lot of tutorials about DIY perches and toys for your bird online. The materials used are usually available at home. By doing this, you will definitely save money for other expenses.
- Invest in pet insurance. Pet bird insurance will surely be useful especially during an emergency. If ever your pet suffers an injury (hope not!), you won’t have to worry much about the vet bills if your pet is insured.
- Look for promos. Breeders often offer promos when you buy a cockatiel. Some might offer discounts if you buy a pair while some give freebies when you buy cockatiel bird supplies. Your local pet store might also have a promo for food supplies and other items. This will keep you save a few dollars in your pocket.
Lastly, be creative and resourceful to save money. Do the things that you can do like cleaning the cage or fixing the perches instead of hiring someone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Cheapest Cockatiel?
The cheapest cockatiels are the gray or wild type varieties. They are very inexpensive because they are the most common and abundant among the cockatiel types.
How Much Does a Cockatiel Cost at Petsmart?
Cockatiels sold at Petsmart usually cost around $100 to $150. The pricing is influenced by the variety of the cockatiel as well as its location.
How to Get a Cockatiel for Free?
Although there are rescue centers that offer free adoptable cockatiels, their number can only be counted by fingers.
Most of the animal shelters in the United States will ask for an adoption fee as a form of donation to the organization.
It’s worth noting that the adoption fee given to rescue organizations serves as their bloodline to keep their noble service of saving animals.
Without donations or adoption fees, animal rescues and shelters won’t have funds to spend for the basic needs of the rehabilitated cockatiels and other birds.
What Is the Best Age to Get a Cockatiel?
The best time to get a cockatiel is when it is already weaned. Breeders suggest that you should buy a cockatiel that is already 12 weeks to one year old.
Final Thoughts: Are Cockatiels Worth Their Price?
Compared to other pets, cockatiels are inexpensive in terms of their cost and maintenance needs. They only need a few things to make them happy: a clean cage, healthy food, and lots of love from their owners.
If you are a new pet owner, cockatiels are definitely the perfect pets for you and your family members.
They are easy to take care of, and they don’t require many things. With their funny and loving personality, I am confident to say that every penny spent on them is worth it.