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10 Best Cockatiel Foods – 2024 Reviews & Top Picks

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

cockatiel eating from a person's hand

Adequate nutrition is critical for avian health, no matter what pet bird species you have. Feeding your cockatiel an all-seed diet won’t meet its nutritional needs for many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A. Wild birds will consume a wide variety of foods. For example, the budgerigar eats over 40 different plant species.1 That can be hard to replicate in a commercial diet that may contain only a handful of various types.

The other problem you’ve likely encountered is that cockatiels pick favorites. They may relish the fatty sunflower seeds and toss everything else outside of their food bowls—and cages. Ideally, your pet should get up to 80% of its diet from a commercial pellet formulated to meet its nutritional needs.2 Our guide includes everything you need to know about cockatiel nutrition and detailed reviews of some of our favorite products.

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A Quick Look At Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
ZuPreem FruitBlend Daily Medium Bird Food ZuPreem FruitBlend Daily Medium Bird Food
  • Palatable
  • Easily digestible
  • Four available sizes
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Kaytee Supreme Cockatiel Food Kaytee Supreme Cockatiel Food
  • Affordably priced
  • Mix of seeds and grains
  • Fortified with extra nutrients
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Bird Street Bistro AppleBerry Feast on the Fly Bird Food Bird Street Bistro AppleBerry Feast on the Fly Bird Food
  • USA-made
  • Low fat content
  • Consumer-friendly packaging
  • Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food
  • Varied blend
  • Highly palatable
  • Supplementation with vitamin D
  • Roudybush Daily Maintenance Crumble Bird Food Roudybush Daily Maintenance Crumble Bird Food
  • No waste
  • Apple flavoring
  • The 10 Best Cockatiel Foods

    1. ZuPreem FruitBlend Daily Medium Bird Food – Best Overall

    ZuPreem FruitBlend Daily Medium Bird Food

    Check Price on Chewy
    Food Form: Pellets
    Protein content: 14.0% min
    Fat percentage: 4.0% min
    Vitamin D: 500 IU/kg min

    ZuPreem FruitBlend Daily Medium Bird Food is a bird’s dream come true. It is nutritionally complete in a formula that makes it highly palatable to even the finickiest of birds, with fruit taking center stage. The protein and fat contents are ideal for maintaining your pet’s good health without the risk of obesity. It makes our list as the best overall cockatiel food.

    It comes in four sizes, although there’s a huge gap between the 2-pound and the 17.5-pound bags. The food is fortified with the manufacturer providing detailed nutrition information, which we appreciated. It’s easily digestible with no issues metabolizing it.

    Pros
    • Nutritionally sound
    • Palatable
    • Easily digestible
    • Four available sizes
    Cons
    • No in-between size

    2. Kaytee Supreme Cockatiel Food – Best Value

    Kaytee Supreme Cockatiel Food

    Food Form: Seed and grain blend
    Protein content: 13.5% min
    Fat percentage: 9.0% min
    Vitamin D: n/a

    Kaytee Supreme Cockatiel Food is a value-priced product that doesn’t skimp on its nutritional value. Seeds and grains provide a high protein content. Ingredient supplements balance the nutrition it provides. The protein and fat contents are within the recommended percentages. These features combine to make this product the best cockatiel food for the money.

    The food includes extra vitamin A to meet your pet’s needs for at least 40 IU per day. It strikes a good balance without pushing the bar into either extreme. The blend includes a unique mix of small and large seeds to give your cockatiel plenty of choices.

    Pros
    • Affordably priced
    • Fortified with extra nutrients
    • Mix of seeds and grains
    Cons
    • Lack of size choices
    • Incomplete nutritional information

    3. Bird Street Bistro AppleBerry Feast on the Fly Bird Food – Premium Choice

    Bird Street Bistro AppleBerry Feast on the Fly Bird Food

    Food Form: Seed blend
    Protein content: 11.4% min
    Fat percentage: 4.4% min
    Vitamin D: n/a

    Bird Street Bistro AppleBerry Feast on the Fly Bird Food provides a tasty blend of grains, nuts, and fruits. The mix is sure to provide interest for your cockatiel with varied textures. It’s also appropriate for other parrots. It is low in fat, which isn’t surprising given its fruit content. It ups the moisture content for a bird that usually gets much from its food instead of water.

    The product is more expensive than other comparable diets. It includes strong-smelling spices, like anise and cinnamon. Some cockatiels might be reluctant to try it if they are sensitive to novel scents. However, we liked the packaging to ensure it stays fresh.

    Pros
    • Consumer-friendly packaging
    • USA-made
    • Low fat content
    Cons
    • Required preparation
    • Pricey

    4. Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food

    Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food

    Food Form: Seed and grain blend
    Protein content: 13.5% min
    Fat percentage: 15.0% min
    Vitamin D: n/a

    The name of the Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Cockatiel Food tells you what to expect from this product. It includes a varied blend of foods with the aim of replicating the wild bird’s diet. It contains some unique ingredients, such as cantaloupe seeds and coconut. The food will surely interest your pet with different things to taste and eat. There’s no doubt your cockatiel will like it.

    Two things get in the way of naming this product our favorite. First, it only comes in two sizes (3 and 25 pounds) with nothing in between. Second, it has a high fat content, undoubtedly from ingredients like raisins, coconut, and cashews.

    Pros
    • Varied blend
    • Highly palatable
    • Supplementation with vitamin D
    Cons
    • No middle size
    • High fat percentage

    5. Roudybush Daily Maintenance Crumble Bird Food

    Roudybush Daily Maintenance Crumble Bird Food

    Food Form: Crumble
    Protein content: 11.0% min
    Fat percentage: 6.0% min
    Vitamin D: n/a

    Roudybush Daily Maintenance Crumble Bird Food is the only example of this Food Form in our list. It’s a homogenous mix that fulfills your pet’s nutritional needs, sticking within the recommended guidelines. It will ensure your cockatiel gets what it needs without excess calories. Unfortunately, it seems boring without any fruits or vegetables being a part of the mix. However, apple flavoring makes it more palatable.

    It’s a complete food, which means less waste. While cockatiels enjoy blends, inevitably, they contain something they don’t, which they pitch onto the floor. The best use of this product is for morning feeding. You can give your bird the fun stuff like real fruits and vegetables as treats later in the day.

    Pros
    • No waste
    • Apple flavoring
    Cons
    • Lack of fruit and vegetable ingredients

    6. Brown’s Encore Premium Cockatiel Food

    Brown's Encore Premium Cockatiel Food

    Food Form: Seed and grain blend
    Protein content: 13.0% min
    Fat percentage: 7.0% min
    Vitamin D: n/a

    Brown’s Encore Premium Cockatiel Food is visually appealing to any bird with its blend of seeds and textures. The nutritional content is also within the recommended guidelines, including the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. You needn’t supplement your pet’s diet when giving it this product. It’s also formulated to minimize waste, which all bird owners will appreciate.

    The mix is interesting, even to us as pet owners. We can only imagine how our cockatiels view the array of colors and textures. Pricing of this product is volatile, but we can strike it up to supply chain issues even if we’re not pleased with the costs.

    Pros
    • Texturally pleasing
    • Highly nutritious
    • Optimal calcium to phosphorus ratio
    Cons
    • Expensive

    7. ZuPreem VeggieBlend Daily Medium Bird Food

    ZuPreem VeggieBlend Daily Medium Bird Food

    Food Form: Pellets
    Protein content: 14.0% min
    Fat percentage: 4.0% min
    Vitamin D: 500 IU/kg min

    We must give props to the manufacturer of ZuPreem VeggieBlend Daily Medium Bird Food. They go all out to make feeding time interesting for our pets. This one is no exception. A veggie-based diet provides an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. This one delivers. It succeeds with different colors and textures to make feeding time fun and engaging for cockatiels.

    This food uses ingredients we don’t often see in pet foods, such as celery and green beans. It is low in fat and high in protein. That makes it a nutritious blend. It also meets the requirements for some, like vitamin D.

    Pros
    • Varied blend of colors and textures
    • Highly nutritious
    • USA-made
    Cons
    • Sugar content

    8. Lafeber Sunny Orchard Nutri-Berries Bird Food

    Lafeber Sunny Orchard Nutri-Berries Bird Food

    Food Form: Seed blend
    Protein content: 10.0% min
    Fat percentage: 6.0% min
    Vitamin D: n/a

    Lafeber Sunny Orchard Nutri-Berries Bird Food is jam-packed with grains, fruits, and grains. We thought it would make a tasty granola recipe. It has a decent protein content supplemented with excellent sources of carbohydrates and other nutrients. It doesn’t have a lot of fat, which we’d expect with this blend. You can offer this product as a daily diet.

    You can give your cockatiel this food as its staple diet, although it’s a bit spendy when used this way. Nevertheless, it ticks off the boxes for all the nutrients your bird needs.

    Pros
    • Tasty blend
    • Excellent protein content
    • Low fat
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Only one size

    9. Kaytee NutriSoft Parakeet & Cockatiel Bird Food

    Kaytee NutriSoft Parakeet & Cockatiel Bird Food

    Food Form: Blend
    Protein content: 10.0% min
    Fat percentage: 7.0% min
    Vitamin D: n/a

    Kaytee NutriSoft Parakeet & Cockatiel Bird Food gets high marks for its texture. Your pet will love eating this diet with its varied textures. The manufacturer targets picky eaters that may enjoy its unique blend. Its chewiness will certainly make mealtime more interesting and tastier. It includes various fruits and vegetables to make it more palatable.

    The nutritional profile is in line with the recommended avian diet. It also includes several flavoring agents, such as orange oil and honey. We can easily see it being a go-to product for your cockatiel.

    Pros
    • Highly palatable
    • Interesting textures
    • Optimal nutritional profile
    • USA-made
    Cons
    • Expensive

    10. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Gourmet Cockatiel Food

    Brown's Tropical Carnival Gourmet Cockatiel Food

    Food Form: Seed and grain blend
    Protein content: 12.5% min
    Fat percentage: 7.0% min
    Vitamin D: n/a

    The name of the Brown’s Tropical Carnival Gourmet Cockatiel Food says it all. It contains several fun ingredients, including coconut, pineapple, and papaya. It also struck us as an excellent use of byproducts with melon seeds and pasta products. The blend has so many tasty and nutritional ingredients that make it an excellent choice. However, that also has a downside.

    It’s essential to store this product properly to avoid spoilage. However, we can’t ding this food for something every pet owner should do regularly. This food is pricey, but it’s not surprising, given its ingredients. Unfortunately, it only comes in one size. Although it’s not expensive to try, it is pricey as a regular diet.

    Pros
    • Interesting textures and sizes
    • Highly palatable
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Only one size
    • Proper storage essential

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Food For Your Cockatiel

    Bringing a wild animal into captivity always presents issues. The stress of going to a new home is difficult enough. A nutritious diet offers excellent dietary support. Even moves from cage to cage can affect a bird. Replicating what a cockatiel eats in its habitat is challenging since it is nomadic and follows food sources. That’s where pellet diets shine. Manufacturers can formulate products to meet a bird’s needs.

    Changing your cockatiel’s diet to this form can be problematic. The unfamiliar shape may confuse your pet at first. Your first thought might be to mix some pellets with your bird’s seed diet as you would for a cat or dog. However, the new stuff will most likely end up on the floor when your cockatiels cherry-pick through the mixture. You should offer the new food first thing in the morning when your pet is hungry and not as picky.

    Researchers studied how sensitive cockatiels are to various flavors. They found that the birds could distinguish them and showed definite preferences. That’s significant when choosing a food for your pet. We suggest buying the smallest size of a new product to see if your bird likes it.

    Other things to consider include:
    • Food form
    • Protein content
    • Fat percentage
    • Vitamin D

    Food Form

    You’ll find many food forms in products formulated for cockatiels. We’ve discussed pellets as the preferred main dietary source. Other options are seed-grain blends, dehydrated fruits, dried veggies, and mixes of several types. You’ll see complete diets and treats. Seeds, nuts, and grains benefit cockatiels because they challenge the birds to hull them. However, they are nutritionally incomplete.

    All-seed diets lack sufficient quantities of several nutrients, including vitamin A and calcium. The ratio of this mineral to phosphorus is also questionable. That explains why you’ll usually see a litany of added nutrients in commercial diets to make up for these deficiencies. Wild cockatiels feed on a variety of foodstuffs, including grasses, non-grass plants, and grains. They’ll also eat fruits and insects. Therefore, a dietary mixture is essential.

    Protein Content

    Protein serves the same function in birds as it does in other animals. It’s vital for bone and connective tissue formation. It also plays a role in egg formation during reproduction. Scientists have determined that adult birds need between 10–14% protein. The requirements increase for growing animals to 15–20%.

    Higher levels aren’t necessarily better. Research has shown that cockatiels can tolerate high amounts without developing kidney disease. However, it can adversely affect liver function. Therefore, we recommend sticking with products that fall in line with the dietary guidelines for birds. That will ensure your pet has adequate amounts of this vital macronutrient without causing negative effects.

    albino cockatiel eating vegetables
    Photo Credit: Ladanifer, Shutterstock

    Fat Percentage

    It may be hard to fathom, but birds, including cockatiels, can become obese, bringing all the adverse health consequences with it. A healthy weight for this species is between 2.8–4.4 ounces, with an average of 3.2 ounces. The estimated healthy caloric intake for cockatiels is 26–31 kcal per day. You probably won’t see this information on a food label. However, you will see a guaranteed analysis that has its fat percentage.

    Birds should get between 5–12% fat in their diet. That can meet their needs for energy and the necessary elements for cells. Seeds and nuts are rich in fats. You’ll likely see a higher percentage in mixtures that contain high amounts of these foods. This macronutrient is essential since it provides a means for these animals to store fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A.

    However, fat is the proverbial double-edged sword. While it’s necessary, it also makes food more likely to go rancid if it isn’t stored properly. We recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions for keeping these diets fresh. We also suggest only buying what you need to feed your pet to avoid issues.

    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D is another vital nutrient. Like humans, cockatiels can fulfill their nutritional needs with sunlight exposure. While that isn’t a problem for wild birds, it’s problematic for captive species that spend their days indoors. The pet’s diet becomes a critical factor in these conditions. The recommended daily intake is 500 IU/kg. Fortunately, you’ll likely see this information on food labels to help you make an informed choice.

    Albino Cockatiel
    Photo Credit: Ladanifer, Shutterstock

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    Conclusion

    After completing our reviews, the choice was apparent. ZuPreem FruitBlend Daily Medium Bird Food is a well-balanced diet that supports health and an ideal weight. Kaytee Supreme Cockatiel Food is an affordable option that doesn’t skimp on nutrition. Your pet will get the protein it needs with this product. All of our choices provide excellent ways to support your cockatiel’s health.


    Featured Photo Credit: Nipa Noymol, Shutterstock

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