Cockatiels belong to a unique group of birds for many reasons. They come in different colors and can mimic words. When I went to see a good friend recently, I noticed that his cockatiel didn’t have a traditional nest made of round baskets of twigs. He told me that cockatiels do not use traditional beds but have unique beds for cockatiels. After much research, read what I found.
Do Cockatiels Need A Nest In Their Cage? Yes, domestic cockatiels use a particular type of nest called the cockatiel bed. In contrast, wild cockatiels that live in warm regions make holes in trees, branches, or on the ground and use them as nests. They use these structures to lay eggs as well as to sleep. In addition, domestic cockatiels use a specific breeding nest called a nesting box.
Keep reading to find out more information about the cockatiel nest box and nesting materials.
Do Cockatiels Need Nesting Material?
Captive cockatiels don’t have the same resources as wild cockatiels.
Cockatiels don’t need nesting material, but it keeps the eggs warm, stops the eggs from rolling around, soaks up moisture, and masks the smell of droppings.
These advantages indicate that nesting material provides the best possibility for hatchlings’ health and survival.
Why Do Cockatiels Need Nesting Materials?
Cockatiels don’t technically require nesting materials. In truth, cockatiels will feel comfortable having little material in their nesting boxes. Unlike most other birds, they don’t usually line their nests in the wild.
However, you should still put something inside because there are numerous benefits.
Cockatiels use nesting materials to:
- Insulate the nest
- Absorb moisture
- Keep the eggs from moving around
The female cockatiels will incubate the egg for approximately 18 days before it hatches. She may not feel like leaving her nest often during this time so she will defecate inside. After that, it takes about 30 to 40 days for the chicks to leave the nest.
Because the female cockatiel and chicks stay inside the nest for so long, having nesting material will absorb the waste. This not only makes the nest more comfortable for the birds but also enhances its aesthetic appeal.
Having material will make cleaning the nest easier, resulting in fewer illnesses for your cockatiels.
What Do Cockatiels Use For Nesting Material?
Cockatiels pick out a hole in a tree to use as a nest. They occasionally line their nest with insulation materials like leaves and twigs but usually leave it bare. Cockatiels prefer choosing a simple spot over building a complicated nest with numerous materials.
This is because cockatiels rarely have to worry about predator attacks. Other bird species that do not live in flocks or must hide their eggs in vulnerable areas take the time to construct elaborate nests out of a variety of materials.
However, wild cockatiels live in large flocks, stay up in the trees, and the pairs are usually monogamous. They help each other with wild child-rearing and even help other pairs with their chicks.
When the eggs are in the nest, the male will stand guard if the female cockatiel needs to leave for a while. The male cockatiel might forage for food and return it to the female.
Since cockatiels rarely have to worry about leaving their eggs unprotected, captive cockatiels will accept virtually anything you use for nesting materials. This ranges from shredded paper to coarse sawdust.
The species consists of minimalist nesters, thus there’s no need to worry about using too many materials. As long as you choose something safe for your cockatiel, you will be helping it out immensely.
What To Put In A Cockatiel Nesting Box
The essential components of a nesting box are:
- Nesting material
- A concave circle
- Mineral blocks
Your cockatiel will spend a long time in the nest box and may neglect to care for herself properly. You are responsible for ensuring she has all she needs for the subsequent activity:
- Egg laying process
- Caring for her chicks
You should only place one kind of material in a cockatiel’s nesting box, be it dry grass or small twigs. This is because cockatiels are minimalist nesters.
You can choose from the following:
- Dead leaves
- Shredded paper
- Wood shavings
- Coarse sawdust
- Dry grass
Because less is more when it comes to cockatiel nesting materials, don’t think it too strange if your cockatiel takes out some of the materials you put in.
Give your cockatiel the material, but let it design the interior however it wants to. After all, your cockatiel will spend over a month inside the nesting box.
Ensure that your cockatiel doesn’t remove all of the nesting material. It may be her nature to remove everything, however, the material is important due to the distinction between a nesting box and a tree hole.
A square, wooden nesting box is too flat, so there is always a risk of the eggs rolling around inside as the female cockatiel moves about.
It is also crucial that the chicks have something to grip onto as they grow. Standing on a flat surface can hinder bone growth.
Most nesting boxes have a small circle with a depression in the middle at the bottom. This is made so that the hatchlings don’t have to spend the first few weeks of their lives standing on a flat, slippery surface.
If they do, they will develop a condition called “splayed legs.” When a chick has this condition, its legs point outward instead of under the body.
A concave circle gives the cockatiels something to grip as they move about in the nesting box. It’s also a backup in case the female cockatiel takes the nesting materials out of the box.
If the nesting box lacks a concave circle, you can make or purchase one separately.
Mineral blocks or cuttlebone
It takes a lot of calcium for a female cockatiel to make eggs, so she will need to consume far more calcium in her diet than usual if she is to avoid egg binding.
Egg binding is when a female cockatiel has trouble passing an egg through the reproductive tract. It’s a life-threatening condition that you must avoid at all costs. Even after laying the eggs, your cockatiel will still need extra calcium in her diet for a few weeks.
The nesting box can hold small pieces of cuttlebone and mineral blocks.
What Are The Best Nesting Materials For Cockatiels?
The best nesting material for a cockatiel is untreated wood shavings. Look at this one on Amazon.
Many other materials can be used safely. But wood shavings are the easiest to use (and the least likely to cause problems).
Make sure you use the right kind, since many dangerous kinds of wood, like redwood and pine, have a strong smell. However, aspen pine is considered safe for cockatiels. If you want to get aspen pine nesting liners for your cockatiels check this one on Amazon.
Untreated wood shavings vs. Shredded paper
The most easily accessible material is shredded paper. But even though the shredded paper is a good material, it soaks up too much.
If you used this material, you would have to clean the nesting box more often, which might not be good if you work long hours.
The ammonia in wet, shredded paper in the nesting box is bad for your cockatiel. Cockatiels have uric acid in their waste, and the ammonia in the air can make it hard to breathe.
If you don’t mind cleaning the nesting box more often, the kind of paper you use matters. Make certain that no glossy magazine paper or colored ink is used.
You can also use newspaper or butcher’s paper instead of wood shavings.
Untreated wood shavings vs. Coarse sawdust
Coarse sawdust is commonly used to line the bottom of cockatiel cages. However, don’t use it for your cockatiel’s nesting box because cockatiels are prone to nasal problems.
The dust particles that arise when sawdust is spread can cause nasal congestion issues, which is more likely to happen with a cockatiel that stays inside a nesting box all day.
Untreated wood shavings vs. Dead leaves, grass, and twigs
It might be harder to find dead leaves, dry grass, and twigs than wood shavings. If you pick them yourself, you must ensure that there aren’t any bacteria that could harm your cockatiel or the chicks.
Since you will need to replace the nesting material often, it is very inconvenient to find and look at each leaf and twig.
They are less warm than wood shavings, and the material insulates the nesting box. A material that can retain heat is more important than replicating wild cockatiel nests.
Wood shavings vs. Wood pellets
Wood pellets soak up water and keep heat in. You can find them in most pet stores or buy them online in bulk. You can check this one on Amazon.
They are similar to wood shavings, so you might think they make good nesting material. The problem with wood pellets is that many are treated with chemicals.
For wood pellets to keep their shape, they need to be held together with artificial binding material. You should avoid using them as nesting material, especially given how sensitive cockatiels are to chemical fumes.
Will Cockatiels Breed Without a Nesting Box?
Cockatiels can breed without a nesting box if they encounter some nesting material. Anything that has to do with breeding will make some instincts come out.
You must focus on preventing breeding behavior, especially if you have a female cockatiel. Female cockatiels can lay empty eggs, which puts them at risk of egg binding.
Be careful about what you use to line the cage and where you put it. A big mistake first-time owners make is placing lining material on top of the cage’s grate.
If cockatiels can get to any kind of bedding, they will think of it as nesting material, which will make them want to breed. This is why it is important only to place newspapers or butcher’s paper under the grate.
Cockatiels don’t need nesting materials, but including some has many advantages. That’s why you should give your cockatiel something that is absorbent, warm, and doesn’t have any chemicals in it.