Before buying myself a pet bird, I went all out researching exactly what I would need to do to provide the best household for my new cockatiel. I scrolled through every online cockatiel forum I could find (there’s actually quite a few). I bought books on what to do and what not to do while caring for a cockatiel. I purchased the cage and the toys and the food containers and the water bowls all before I ever got Froley.
Of course, when I finally invited Froley into the house, he was absolutely terrified of me. He was such a baby bird. I bought him from a Petco store, so he wasn’t used to human handling the way a bird from a breeder would have been.
One of the ways I tried to acquaint myself with him was by gathering all the literature I had collected on cockatiel care, plonking myself down next to his big cage, and reading them out loud to him.
Aside from helping me bond with Froley, those books also introduced to me the idea of enlivening Froley’s diet. (I mean, once he was more comfortable with me, that is.)
The diet of a cockatiel should consist mainly of pellets and fresh foods. Seeds, unlike what most people might believe, are not the best things for your cockatiel. They’re high in fat, so unless you want an overweight Froley, only give seeds to your bird sparingly. But the book I was reading, and actually every source I looked this up on, was happy to give fresh options of foods that you could share with your pet cockatiel.
I was so excited, you guys.
In my mind, I had visions of Froley and I nibbling at strawberries together, munching on a salad together, and pecking at a carrot together.
Of course, first I had to get Froley to like me, but after that, I knew in my heart that the sky would be the limit for my and Froley’s culinary exploits.
Froley is such a gosh-darned picky eater. He does not like to try new things. He is such a stick in the mud.
(Yes, mom, I’m aware I’m the same way, but it’s not like Froley is mimicking my personality…right?)
What follows is a list of Froley’s favorite foods…and that’s it:
- Romaine Lettuce: He only likes the dark green part. He’ll avoid the clearer-colored spine of the leaf. He also likes it when I wet the piece I tear off for him. (Though honestly, you should thoroughly wash every vegetable you buy from the grocery store.) He also will only eat it if I’m holding it up for him. I can cheat the system a little bit by taking a magnetic clip from the fridge door and sticking the leaf in it and then placing it on top of his cage.
- Celery Leaves: Let’s get this straight. He likes the leaves of celery. Not the stalk. He won’t touch that shit.
- Broccoli: He likes to eat the buds of broccoli. Broccoli is the one food Froley once regurgitated to share with me. That was an experience.
- Cilantro: I’m actually really happy Froley likes cilantro. It has such a fresh smell, and his breath always smells that way after he eats it.
- Wheat Toast: I noticed he liked this when I made a toasted ham and cheese sandwich one time. Froley flew over to where I was eating, scared the bejesus out of me, and then he started picking at the bread crumbs on my plate. Now, whenever I make a sandwich, he wants to eat it with me.
- Popcorn: Froley goes ga-ga for popcorn. If I make myself some popcorn and he sees me, he’ll start pacing back and forth in his cage and shrieking at me.
Sadly, I have not found any fruits that Froley likes, which is such a shame because I am a total fruit person. I adore fruit. Froley hates it. I’ve tried giving him nearly every fruit under the sun (that’s good for him), but none of them have taken. He’ll just taste it, shake his head, and walk away.
And why doesn’t he like carrots?! It’s like if the vegetable isn’t green, he’s not going to eat it.
But he is adorable, and I love him. Despite his weird food quirks.
(Note: Some foods I don’t like are mustard, fresh onions, bell peppers, fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, papaya, muffins, grapefruits, maraschino cherries, steak, mushrooms, jalapeños, pistachios, spicy sausages, corn bread, cake [with a few exceptions], dried figs, fresh spinach, baked beans, and pickles.)