How to Handle a Cockatiel


Becky Hertel, owner of Petland West Wichita, demonstrates the proper way to pick up and handle a cockatiel. Remember that birds will only step up, they will not step down, so remember when you’re picking them up to give them a stepping-up point. Approach them calmy, let them know you’re there. Place your hand chest-high and let them step on your hand.

  • Never come up over the top of their head.
  • If you want your bird to climb up on your arm, lower it so that they can walk up your arm as they would a branch of a tree.
  • When you return your cockatiel to their enclosure, be sure to let them step up to their enclosure perch, they will not step down.

It’s important to know that birds will not step down, they will only step up, so whenever you hand-taming them, be sure to keep your perch above their claws so that they can step up to your perch. The best way to start hand-taming a bird is to use a perch, which can be anything safe and secure that they can step onto.Start at the middle of their chest and lower the perch, and they will step up to the perch. Be sure to give them a treat! When you’re ready to put them back in their enclosure, slowly return the perch to where you picked them up and allow them to step back UP to their enclosure perch.