In the wild most parrot spend about 40%-70% of their time foraging or simply looking for food. An opportunity most pet parrots do not get. Are you wondering whether your cockatiel can forage and how to encourage it to forage? This article answers that very question.
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Do Cockatiels Forage?
Like most parrots, cockatiels like to forage for their food. In captivity, foraging involves offering cockatiels an opportunity to search for their food rather than just offering it in a bowl. Foraging provides cockatiels with mental stimulations and enrichment lack of which may make them develop behavioral issues and become destructive.
How do Cockatiels Forage?
Different species of parrots forage differently in the wild. The nature of foraging is determined by the source of feeds in the environment.
Cockatiels and budgies are ground foragers, therefore they use their feet and beaks to forage for grains on the ground.
However, you can train your cockatiel to forage at different levels, for instance, you can hang a treat on the cage which prompts the cockatiels to climb the cage to get to the treat.
What do Cockatiels Forage For?
When encouraging your cockatiel to forage you should use feeds that they are used to, given that cockatiels are granivores. Some of the options to use to encourage foraging in cockatiels include seeds, pellets, millets, dried chilies, cinnamon sticks, pumpkin seeds, and nutriberries.
You can also use wet food to spice up the whole process, foraging toys are also a great way to keep the cockatiels entertained.
Importance of foraging for cockatiels
Foraging Provides enrichment to cockatiels
Foraging in captivity involves cockatiels solving puzzles or having to do something in order to get rewarded with food.
As a result, it keeps the cockatiels mentally stimulated. When providing foraging toys to cockatiels make sure you change them after every few days to prevent boredom, boredom results after doing the same thing over and over.
Foraging may help deal with behavioral issues
Boredom can make cockatiels develop behavioral issues such as making unnecessary noises or becoming destructive. Some cockatiels may even result from self-harm such as plucking their own feathers.
Foraging can help you avoid these incidences by giving your cockatiel something to do with their time. There are endless foraging toys available in the market such as AMAZON for cockatiels.
Foraging makes it easy to introduce new foods
There are foraging toys that can make it easier to introduce new feeds to your cockatiels such as veggies. You can use foraging toys that involve solving different puzzles and getting different rewards after every step.
This makes it fun for your bird as in each step you can have a different reward in form of a different nutritious veggie or fruit.
Alternatively, you can hang veggies around the cage, be sure to vary the food items over and over to avoid creating favoritism over a certain food item.
Teaching cockatiels to forage
There are so many tricks or ways you can use to teach your cockatiel how to forage. There are endless options for foraging toys available in the marketplace like Amazon, alternatively, you could make your own foraging toys.
When teaching cockatiels how to forage, start by replicating an environment they are already used to. If your cockatiel is used to feeding on a bowl on the floor you can start by using a bowl with a foraging tray where you will then sprinkle some seeds.
With time you can keep on adding more complex toys depending on the intelligence of your bird. There are several toys on Amazon that you can use or else make your own toys.
Do cockatiels eat in the wild?
In the wild cockatiels will eat a range of feeds depending on the season and availability of a certain food item. But generally, they are granivores. Sometimes, cockatiels become pests and raid farms and destroy the produce, especially where grains are involved.
In the wild, cockatiels will also eat insects, veggies, fruits, and berries depending on the season.
If you are introducing foraging to cockatiels make sure to provide them with some of the feeds they would encounter in the wild.
Are cockatiels ground feeders?
The fact that cockatiels are granivores makes them excellent ground feeders. They will use their beaks and feet to scratch the ground in search of grains or seeds.
In case you have enough space, you can erect an enclosure in your backyard and have the cockatiel forage for food within the enclosure.