Why Does My Cockatiel Eat Newspaper? (You Must Know)

Newspaper is a popular material used as a bedding material in a cockatiel’s cage, it’s inexpensive and readily available in large quantities. However, if you do this, you might notice your cockatiel shredding and eating the paper and wonder, can cockatiels eat newspaper?

Cockatiels can get sick if they eat newspaper in excess. Also, eating papers doesn’t provide them with any nutrition. They can have a hard time digesting it. However, a small piece of paper once in a while is not a problem.

Although a lot of paper is bad for your cockatiels but that doesn’t mean you must keep it away altogether. Cockatiels find joy in such activity that consumes time, and tearing paper offers them the chance.

Below, we’re discussing all the reasons that cockatiels may be munching on paper, whether or not that’s safe, and how you can stop it from happening. Let’s get started!

Why Does My Cockatiel Keep Eating Newspaper?

If you notice your cockatiel playing with paper, chances are you have nothing to worry about as long as they chew on a few bits here and there while playing.

However, if your cockatiel is treating paper like a meal and is eating it regularly, the following reasons are worth looking into

  • Hunger: Cockatiels might sometimes end up paper as it could be because they’re so hungry that they’ll munch on just about anything within their reach that they can bite through.
  • Boredom: Cockatiels requires stimulation, especially if they live alone. Otherwise, they’ll probably become very restless and seek entertainment in chewing things.
  • Lack Of Fiber: If your cockatiel isn’t receiving enough fiber content from the food you provide, this will lead them to look for fiber in alternative sources such as paper.
  • Nesting Behavior: Due to the nesting behavior of cockatiels, they tend to tear up the newspaper. During this process, they might ending a few pieces of paper.

Will My Cockatiel Get Sick From Eating Newspaper?

Eating papers will hurt your cockatiels if they eat too much.

Paper (or paper products) should never be a meal alternative, just something for them to have fun with and nibble on from time to time.

Most cockatiels can safely digest small amounts of paper. Overeating papers can cause the following issues with your little birds:


There are a number of things that can cause constipation in cockatiels, and eating too much paper. Huge amounts of paper isn’t easily digestible, and it can cause blockages in the intestines. 

When cockatiels are constipated, they usually stop eating and can’t poop.

Unable to dispose of waste (poop) or eat, they experience pain all over their body.

If you think your cockatiel’s stomach is upset, take them to the vet for an exam. In the meantime, try to avoid giving them any paper to eat.


After having constipation, a cockatiel’s feeding pattern is undoubtedly affected.

Your birds won’t be able to feed on pellets, seeds, fruits, or vegetables because of being full.

And if your birds are not eating fresh, raw food that’s good for them, then your cockatiels are missing out on important nutrients that they need to stay healthy and to live long lives.

Intestinal Blockage

Why Is My Cockatiel Tearing Up Newspaper?

Cockatiels tend to tear up newspaper due to their nesting habits.

Cockatiels explore with their beaks, as their beaks constantly grow they need to keep them worn down.

Tearing up newspaper is easy for them to do, makes a sound, and in the wild would use this to line their nests.

For domesticated cockatiels this can also be a stimulant for them as something to do as a bordome breaker.

Is Newspaper Ink Toxic To Cockatiels?

As newspapers are a common way to know about the information around the world, the press companies these days are bound to use non-toxic inks.

As in older times, petroleum was used for the base, and now they use soy and water.

You should test these newspapers before giving them to your cockatiels.

You can check by rubbing your hands on a newspaper, if the ink gets blurred, stains your hands or not comes off your hands when you try to wash it. Then it is for sure a petroleum-based newspaper, which should not be given to your birds.

Inks that are petroleum-based never dries up completely. It contains the same kind of oil that a mechanic of a car uses.

Therefore, it is recommended not to use these kinds of ink based newspaper for your cockatiel’s cage.

How Do I Prevent My Cockatiel From Eating Newspaper?

There’s a few different things that you can try to keep your birds from eating too much paper.

Remember it’s okay for cockatiels to shred or nibble on paper, but eating tons of it isn’t good for their health.

Let’s take a look at a few tips:

Use Alternative Bedding Material For Your Cockatiel’s Cage

One of the most popular materials to use as bedding material is paper, mainly because it’s affordable and easy to come across in practically any household.

Newspapers are especially common among cockatiel owners.

However, if your pet seems to excessively munch on paper, try using alternative bedding materials such as staw, and wood pellets.

If you’re going to use any of these options, make sure you allow for plenty of ventilation.

Although they’re popular, these materials don’t naturally provide lots of ventilation, so it’s up to you to see that the cage of your cockatiel has efficient airflow to avoid breathing difficulties.

Offer Them With Adequate Food

As we have talked about it earlier, hunger can be the culprit behind your cockatiel’s habit of eating paper.

By ensuring that the core feeding needs of your cockatiel are fulfilled, you’re automatically reducing the chances of them snacking on paper.

Do this by providing your bird with aqedate amount of fruits and veggies. This won’t just leave them full, but also give high fiber content.

Add Another Cockatiel To The Cage

Cockatiels are social birds. This means that when they are alone for too long, they get bored.

Boredom can lead to them chewing on papers (and eating too much paper), which isn’t good for them.

But, you can get them a friend to beat boredom. Most cockatiel would love a cage mate to talk to and play with.

By being routinely engaged, your little birds are less likely to be focused on chowing down on paper.

Provide Enough Stimulation

Physical and mental stimulation is essential to keep your cockatiels happy and healthy. Studies even suggest that stimulation improves cockatiels’ welfare and quality of life.

It is essential for you to understand that toys play a crucial role in this enrichment.

In the wild, cockatiels indulge in foraging for food and exploring their environment. Toys do the same for them.

Besides keeping your cockatiels active and engaged, toys keep your bird entertained. A cockatiel without proper enrichment can become bored, destructive, and depressed and might start to chew on paper.

Final Thoughts

While newspaper is a cost-effective bedding material for a cockatiel, you must consider whether convenience is worth the potential health detriments to your bird.

There are safer materials to use for your cockatiel’s bedding, straw or wooden chips, for example. However, if you absolutely must use newspaper, make sure that your paper’s ink is non-toxic.

Also, make sure that your cockatiel is eating a high fiber diet, has lots of food and toys in their cage, and gets lots of social interaction from you or another cockatiels of the cage.

If you’re going to have newspaper as a bedding material in your cockatiel’s cage, these measures will aid in keeping your bird’s interest away from eating the newspaper.


Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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