How To Comfort A Dying Cockatiel?

Cockatiels are domesticated across the world because of their charm, appearance, and joyous nature. They make a special place in our hearts as they offer us love and harmony. But, like every other creature, cockatiels’ lives come to an end.

A while back, I decided to add a few cockatiels to my family. I thoroughly loved every bit of it, but seeing them getting weaker during their last days was quite difficult. Nonetheless, I knew they needed me, and thus I provided them as much comfort as possible.

Ways on how to comfort a dying cockatiel: 

1. Isolate Them From Other Birds

Isolating your cockatiel from other birds will not only help the bird to rest in peace and avoid stress but will also prevent other birds from catching the disease that your cockatiel is suffering from.

A dying cockatiel would appreciate solitude, especially if your bird didn’t like to be around the other birds. Cockatiels will be more relaxed, comfortable, and happier if you keep them in a separate locale during their final stage. This is because the birds become less friendly when they are unhealthy. 

2. Keep Them In A Calm State

Keeping cockatiels in a calm and quiet environment provides comfort to them. Playing soft or soothing music when they are asleep will keep them relaxed. Any loud noise or screaming will give them stress and cause discomfort. 

You can speak to them in a low voice gently as if you are talking to them for the last time and bidding them goodbye. Dying cockatiel may vomit during their last days because of digestive upsets. You can keep the bird in a calm state and comfort by maintaining a clean cage. 

3. Keep Your Cockatiel Warm

A dying cockatiel may find it difficult to regulate its body temperature, therefore adjusting its room temperature between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit will keep them in a comfortable state. You can use incubators, heating lights, or simply cover their cage to reach the optimal temperature.

Make sure that the bird does not get too hot as this can lead to heat strokes. Such conditions can be dangerous because the birds then burn their energy for cooling down. You may install a thermometer on their cage to keep an eye on the temperature.

4. Hold Them in a Soft and Cozy Blanket

You may take the cockatiel out of their cage and hold them close to you in a soft blanket to provide them comfort. This will be helpful as the dying bird may find it difficult to perch on our fingers and maintain balance when you plan to hold your bird.

The blanket will offer them a familiar sensation and a gentle hug from you will make them feel secure. It can also work as an additional way to provide warmth to the bird. 

5. Give Them Food and Water

A dying cockatiel may not want to eat anything on its own. If your bird does the same, you should feed the bird yourself. Keeping them fed helps to prolong their life because if a sick bird does not eat anything after 48 hours, it can die.

Make sure that your bird is hydrated because it may become fatal if it does not have water for more than 24 hours. Providing them water with the help of a syringe or small spoon will be easier.

6. Decrease Their Anxiety and Stress

Try to avoid all such things that may cause stress to cockatiels. Sometimes cockatiels become stressed if kids play near their cage. In such a situation, you can remove the cage from the area used by kids. 

There are various other things that may trigger stress in dying cockatiels. Some of such provocations are:

  • Unexpected loud noise
  • Bright colors
  • Presence of other pets, especially cats
  • Keeping them alone for too long
  • Being ignored

Observe the following signs to know if your cockatiels are stressed.

  • Fluffed feathers
  • Heavily breathing
  • Not feeding
  • Feather picking

7. Keep Low Lighting

Keeping the lights dim will help you to keep your cockatiels calm. Too bright lights or daylight may stress them out as the birds relate the light with the start of their daily activities. By dim lighting or covering their cage with a blanket, we can make them assume that it is evening. 

This will allow the birds to feel calm, relax, sleep more, and move less. A lamp or a dimmer switch can be used for this purpose. Avoid overhead lights as they can make the cockatiels agitated. 

How do you know when a cockatiel is about to die?

There are several common signs that indicate that a cockatiel is about to die. The symptoms may include discharge of liquids from eyes and nose and change in their behavior, the appearance of feathers, and appetite. 

Cockatiels are good at hiding their disease and symptoms. Thus, it’s important to keep a close eye on them to know their actual condition. If you see any of the following symptoms, visit a vet immediately to prevent a mishap.

The symptoms to look for are:

  • Wings are puffed for an extended period 
  • Discharge from nostrils, ears, and eyes
  • Poor appearance of feathers and skin
  • Loss of thirst and appetite
  • Shaking and shivering
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Becoming less active

Why are my cockatiels dying? | What can kill a cockatiel?

Cockatiels may die because of several reasons. Some of the causes may lead to sudden deaths such as poisoning and accidents, whereas others may act slowly such as infections. 

Causes of Cockatiels death are:

  • Poisoning 

Intake of poisonous substances such as lead, mercury, rust, non-stick coating, acetone, aspirin, bleach, cosmetics, deodorants, and many others may lead to their death. The air pollutants poisonous to them are paint fumes, nicotine, carbon monoxide, etc.  

  • Trauma

Massive trauma can be caused due to powerful collisions and injuries. The birds easily get frightened which leads them to be traumatized. Cockatiels are the most prone to night fright as they get too panicked when they hear even a little disturbance at night.

  • Diseases

Certain diseases such as Egg yolk peritonitis, French molt, PDD, and Pulmonary sarcocystosis may lead to cockatiels’ death if not cured immediately. Some of them may cause death in a very short period and spread to other birds. 

  • Parasites and harmful microbes

Mites, ticks, viruses, and other parasites may spread infections and other harms to cockatiels. These infections make the birds so weak that they do not recover easily and eventually die. Molds and fungi may contaminate their food if not stored properly, causing infections.

What is the lifespan of cockatiels? Do cockatiels live 25 years?

The lifespan of cockatiels is between 15 to 25 years if they are domesticated with proper maintenance of their diet, sleep, regular check-ups, and exercise. The oldest cockatiel was said to have lived for 29 years. 

In the wild, the lifespan of the birds is between 10 to 14 years as the birds encounter more dangers and harsh circumstances.

Some chicks do not even survive for a year and die without making it to adulthood. 

How do I know if my cockatiel is in pain?

By observing the bird properly and taking note of any alterations in their behavior, activity, physical well-being, or character, you can know if your cockatiel is in pain. 

The common signs are:

1. Lethargy and Apathy

Cockatiels are quite active, social, and curious birds and therefore, if you notice lethargy, fatigue, or apathy then you must take it seriously. Your bird can be sick or in pain if there are changes in its regular activity levels. 

Your cockatiel is lethargic if it is:

  • Lying on the bottom or base of the cage,
  • Ignoring you and the movements around them,
  • Unable to fly,
  • Sitting with their wings fluffed up.

2. Avoiding the usage of certain body parts

If your bird is favoring some body parts, then it can be a hint that something is causing pain in those body parts. They may spend maximum time on one foot or move awkwardly if they feel discomfort.

3. Loss of appetite

Cockatiels are pickier with their food and have their specific preferences in meals, but if they aren’t eating at all then, something is bothering them. Try offering their favorite food to confirm your doubt. 

4. Irritability

The mood of tame cockatiels can change at times and it is perfectly normal. However, if your bird shows aggression, irritability, or any other behavior changes then this is a sign of something wrong.  

5. Squinting

Cockatiels are prone to accidents a lot and therefore, the chances of them getting hurt are always high. If you see your cockatiels squinting, it is a sign of them being in pain.

Can a cockatiel die from loneliness?

Cockatiels can die from the ill effects of loneliness such as loss of appetite and depression. The birds need companions. They cannot sustain themselves happily and therefore, they are always kept in groups. 

The birds feel too lonely when their mate dies. They become depressed and avoid eating. This may lead them to extreme weight loss, weakness, and ultimately death.

You can prevent cockatiels from getting lonely through the following ways:

  • Use a spacious cage to ensure their happiness
  • Add a new range of toys inside their cage
  • Provide well-balanced meals to them
  • Offering them occasional treats
  • Spend more time with them

Do cockatiels die easily? 

Cockatiels die easily because they are most prone to acute fatal illnesses and accidents. The birds are good at hiding their illness which makes it difficult for owners to suspect the disease and provide proper medical help. It becomes too late when the help reaches them.

What are the signs of old age in cockatiel?

There are many changes in the behavior and appearance of cockatiels when the birds hit old age. One can detect their age with the help of deep observation.

The signs of old age in cockatiels are:

1. Depigmentation of feathers

The brightness of their plumage disappears with time because the birds lose their ability to synthesize the pigment called psittacofulvine which is necessary for coloring their feathers.

2. The legs become dark and scaly

Cockatiels have pink legs with almost no scales when they are born. But with time, the color becomes darker and the legs get scalier. At old age, cockatiels’ legs become almost black and are completely scaly. 

3. Neglect grooming

When cockatiels become old, they bring down their physical activity due to arthritis. The movements may burn up their energy. Therefore, the older birds often neglect cleaning and preening tasks.

4. Lesser movements

Cockatiels are always active and constantly making movements. But with time, they become less mobile and reduce their physical activities.

5. Look thinner

As the cockatiel gets older, they become more prone to liver diseases due to hypervitaminosis. Such conditions will force them to bring change in their diets. As a consequence, the cockatiel looks thinner than their adult self. 

What to feed a dying cockatiel? | Nutritional care

You can feed seeds, pellets, millets, fruits, or any other easily digestible food to a dying cockatiel. You may even offer them human foods which are easy to digest such as applesauce, mashed bananas, rice cereal, or even baby food.

If your bird does not eat the human food you fed, you can grind the pellets and mix them with some juice to try to make them eat.  

A dying cockatiel may not be eating anything itself, but providing the birds with nutrition is necessary to give them more energy, especially during their tough times.


A cockatiel needs your support and cares the most during their last days. It is the time when we must provide them extreme comfort to ensure that we reciprocate the same amount of love they give us. Observe the birds properly to suspect the signs if they are about to die. 

If you notice any signs of pain in cockatiels, take them directly to an avian veterinarian so they get the required medical help and become healthy again.

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