I guess this really depends on your choice of cockatiel, but I would say that if you want to have a pet that is tame and not afraid of you the owner then you should buy a hand raised cockatiel. Saying that, you can still tame a parent raised cockatiel and enjoy many years of close interaction with them.
Hand Raised Cockatiels
Hand raised cockatiels will cost more than parent raised ones. Hand raised as the name implies have had hours of time invested in them from birth to the day you get to buy them. Feeding every two hours from a couple of days old. The interaction with humans is second nature to these cockatiels and they will be very tame. Once you purchase your chosen pet cockatiel you must continue to engage with the cockatiel to keep up the bond between human and pet. Read this post on how to care for you cockatiels. Also please remember that if you have more than one cockatiel, they will interact with each other and you may no longer be the centre of attention. These are ideal for children as they will be able to handle them gently without the fear that they will be scared and possibly bite.
Parent Raised Cockatiels
Parent raised cockatiels can also become very tame and very loving pets. You will need to invest more time into taming parent raised cockatiels to get them to a level where they interact with you closely. This is not a difficult process, just one that requires time and dedication.
If you are looking to breed cockatiels then parent raised cockatiels lend themselves to being great parents and will generally feed and look after their babies from birth to they leave home. Hand raised cockatiels will also breed, but may not have the best understanding when it comes to raising the young. Having said that, it is never a given that the parents will tend to the baby cockatiels so if you intend going down the breeding cockatiels path then be prepared for the task ahead and make sure you know how to look after cockatiels and what you are in for when the eggs hatch.
How To Choose
Once you have decided which way you intend to go then seek out the perfect specimen. There are a few pointers to look for when buying a cockatiel from a pet shop.
Take your time and observe them. Narrow the search to a few that are very active. If you are near to the cage and some sit in the corner and do not move, avoid these. You are looking for an active bird. You don’t necessarily want the one that is bullying the others either as it may not settle with any future cockatiels. Avoid the one that is sat huddled in the corner as well.
If you are in a pet shop that the owner has time to help you choose and possibly take some of the birds are out of the cage, especially the young tame ones that have the wings trimmed, allow the cockatiels to interact with you. The one that takes an interest in you is a good sign and maybe that is the one for you.
You can read more in this post about buying a pet cockatiel. But have a general look at the bird, make sure that the feathers are clean and not eaten up. If you can see the droppings from that cockatiel make sure that they are normal looking droppings. Check that they look alert and have no food residue on them and that the nostrils are clear.
If you feel comfortable with a particular cockatiel then let your heart tell you so…