A lot of what you need to know about home tweet home.
| The most basic rule regarding
bird cages is that bigger is better. Get the largest cage you can afford
(or if you build it, that you can handle). Keep in mind, though, that
it should be at the very least large enough for your 'tiel to spread its
wings and turn around in. The bars should be no further than 3/4" apart,
and stay away from dome top cages; your 'tiel might get her foot stuck
in the bars at the top, which converge. It's good if the cage has horizontal
bars for your bird to climb around on, at least one side.
An important aspect of a cage is convenience for you; it should be easy to clean, as that's something that should be done at least once a week. For a floor covering, newspaper is fine; it's easy to regularly clean -- just take the top sheet off.
Because your 'tiel will be spending a ton of time standing on them, make sure her perches are comfortable. Specifically, provide different diameters of perches to exercise your 'tiel's feet. Natural tree branches work well if you're sure they are non-toxic. Also, avoid sandpaper perch covers. Imagine standing on those all day. Sounds fun. There are cement-like perches available if you're concerned about a talonous cockatiel; these won't injure your bird's feet, but should keep their claws dull. When positioning your new perches, make sure they aren't over food or water dishes. Trust us, that isn't a good idea. Yuck.
So, where to put the cage? The prime real estate is in the middle of the action of your household; 'tiels are colony birds, and in the wild they "flock together." However, avoid dangerous areas such as kitchens. The den or living room is great. Another issue to contend with is temperature; the cage shouldn't be in direct sunlight unless there is always shade for your bird to escape to.
To allow your cockatiel more free time outside of its cage, consider a playpen so that she can play without being on your shoulder. Of course, you should never leave the bird unattended, but you don't need to continuously stare at it while it's playing.