Cockatiel leg banding

Why should I band my cockatiel babies?

Banding means that an identification ring is attached to cockatiel’s leg. The ring contains often some information about the backgrounds of the cockatiel. Typical markings are for example a serial number, year of birth, breeder or society number and country code. There are two kinds of leg rings: open and closed. An open ring can be attached any time but it can also be removed, and therefore from a legal view it can’t be recognized as an official identification mark. Open rings are more often used as guarantee rings and aren’t often that useful. The other minus side of the open ring is that if it’s attached when the bird is grown up the bird may not get used to it. A closed ring is attached when the cockatiel is only a small chick and after a few days, the ring won’t come off anymore without special cutters. Chicks will usually immediately get used to their leg band. Because it can’t be removed without seeing some trouble it can be seen as a way of legal identification marking. The benefits of banding are the following:

– Identification marked cockatiel can often be registered.
– If the bird escapes and gets found, the owner or breeder can be tracked down if the cockatiel is registered.
– If the bird escapes and the founder don’t want to give it back to the owner, with the leg ring and some origin certificate the owner can prove that the bird belongs to him/her.
– Home switcher bird’s history and backgrounds may be trackable.
– You can make sure that you recognize different individuals, even if you had 30 grey males in the same aviary.
– You can prevent inbreeding-for-nothing.


There is a slight risk that the bird gets stuck from the leg band. If the leg gets harmed and swollen, the ring may obstruct the blood circulation and even cause gangrene to the leg. So, if your cockatiel harms its leg you must monitor it for a while. Luckily the rings usually have some spare space.

But, cockatiels escape and switch homes much more often than get stuck from their leg ring. Thus, you shouldn’t be too afraid of the risks. The benefits are much greater. If you still are afraid of banding you can also consider a microchip that can be also put to an adult cockatiel. Then again, also microchipping has a small risk due to the small size of the cockatiel. It’s also very expensive and the chip can be also read with a special equipment. Authorities rarely even realize to check if a runaway cockatiel would have a chip.

Banding cockatiels – How is it done?

A closed ring is attached when the cockatiel is about 8 to 10 days old. A ring put too early will drop off, a ring put too late will not fit anymore. If you are late from the banding date, you will no longer be able to band the baby. Sometimes it can be a matter just one day.bandin

Prepare a peaceful place where to do the banding. I tend to place a warm, dry towel on a low table and to the banding on that. I like to sit at the table to have the best position, being relaxed. After that I do the following:

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1. Fold the three outermost toes into a small cluster.

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2. Slip the toes through the ring.

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3. After getting the three toes through the ring, the innermost toe bending backward must be slipped through.

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4. Position the ring to leave the widest gab next to the fourth toe. This way it is much easier to use your fingers to slip the toe through. You can also raise the toe with the help of a toothpick or a match.

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5. When you have slipped the ring through all of the toes pull it a bit behind them (but don’t slip it over that big joint). And now, you are ready!