Cockatiels make excellent pets. You can teach them to talk and they'll happily sit on your shoulder when you let them out of the cage. A word of warning: unless you plan to breed your cockatiel, settle for just one bird. Giving your pet a companion will cause the bird to bond with its cage mate instead of with you. It's not easy to tell whether your cockatiel is male or female, given the wide range of colors and plumage. If your bird starts laying eggs, that question is quickly answered. Compared with other domestic birds, cockatiels need quite a bit of room. A cage two feet by two feet should be the minimum size. Cover the bottom with newspaper and change it every week. The paper allows you to check the droppings as an indicator of your bird's health. A healthy cockatiel diet consists of seeds, plus commercial cockatiel pellets and some fresh fruits or vegetables. A small amount of crumbs or other table scraps is acceptable, but no fats. Human junk food is also cockatiel junk food.