I breed eclectus parrots and lemme tell you, birds can be challenging. You have to be so careful because they have extremely sensitive respiratory systems. Everything they breathe in goes directly into their blood stream and can kill them fast. When I got my first bird I had to get rid of everything in the house that had teflon (including pots and pans, curling iron and even clothes iron), no scented candles, no perfumes, absolutely no chemical cleaners and no more home air fresheners. My fiancee did not want to risk killing the bird he just spent over $1000 on so it all had to go. I love my birds dearly so I did not mind having to change a lot in the house and it even taught me a lot about healthier living.
Keep researching bird care, they do make exceptional companions as long as you get the right kind that fits in with your lifestyle. Join a mailing list or forum with other bird owners and you can learn a LOT of great stuff. Cockatiels do make great starter birds but any bird is a huge commitment especially since they live so long. Birds are kind of like bettas, there are so many misconceptions about what is appropriate for their care.
As for feeding, cockatiels can survive on seed but it's not the healthiest diet. Seed supplemented with fresh raw veggies and fruit is best. There are also pellet diets on the market that people feed their birds which are good if fresh foods cannot be offered on a daily basis. You can give them chicken as a treat, I give mine baked chicken wings smothered in fresh jalapenos once a week. I personally would never feed anything to my birds that is not natural (seeds,nuts,veggies,fruit,etc.) but then again I'm also feeding parrots and they are feeding chicks.
Last edited by alleaa; 03-12-2012 at 07:26 PM.