Cockatiels are lovely birds that are popular among bird lovers. If you love cockatiels, you may want to breed them. But, before you breed them, make sure you couples have a good habitat with a nesting box and proper food. Once your cockatiels are used to their cage, you can encourage them to breed and watch for eggs. In this article, I will share how to breed cockatiels in the complete guide.
How To Breed Cockatiels (Complete Guide)
Before you start breeding cockatiels, you will need to ensure that the male and female cockatiels are ready for breeding and that the birds will have everything they need to brood their young.
It’s essential for every owner to know how to breed cockatiels. Here is a complete guide on how to breed cockatiels.
1. Make sure that the Cockatiels are unrelated and healthy
If you are able to breed responsibly and feel inclined to do so, it’s vital to select healthy, fully-grown cockatiels that are not related to one another. You may request a pre-breeding health test on breeding pairs performed by an avian vet. He may include both gram stains and blood tests. The test will help determine if the cockatiels come with sub-clinical infections or deficiencies in nutrition.
It’s never a good idea to breed cockatiels that are related to one another. Doing so leads to chick born with congenital disabilities and many other potential health problems. Also, it’s not uncommon for cockatiels born from related parents to have physical abnormalities such as deformed beaks. They may even be born with missing body parts.
Other issues that can arise are deformed or missing wings, toes, or legs, orthopedic health problems that will negatively affect the cockatiel’s ability to fly, climb, perch, or walk, and infertility. Inbreeding can also lead to decreased egg production, infertile eggs, or a lower rate of hatching eggs.
Choose to breed only fully grown and healthy cockatiels that come from different bloodlines.
2. Make sure that your cockatiels are old enough for breeding
You will also have to factor in the age of the cockatiels. Don’t breed cockatiels younger than 18 months old. Even though young birds may be able to perform the mating act, young cockatiel males can be infertile and possibly injure the young female birds through health issues like egg binding. Furthermore, choosing cockatiel parents that are too young takes away nutrients these growing pets need.
However, the chicks born or parents that are not ready to breed are typically weaker than the offspring produced by fully grown cockatiels.
3. Provide adequate light during the day
Cockatiels are known to be busy breeders. They tend to breed even in captivity any time of the year, as long as they’re allowed to do so. Cockatiels will breed any time of year, but they need a decent amount of light to breed. Ensure that your cockatiels have a source of natural or bright artificial light for 10-12 hours per day.
4. Feed your Cockatiels well
Before breeding season, it is essential to ensure that your cockatiels are eating well. Please give them a variety and balanced diet of food meant for cockatiels. Check on your cockatiels often to make sure that. Both cockatiels have equal access to food and water bowls. If one cockatiel is guarding the food and water, you can add extra bowls of food and water.
The proper foods for your cockatiels
- Cockatiel seed mix.
- Sprouted seeds.
- Cuttlebone or mineral blocks for calcium.
- Soft foods such as greens, pasta, cooked rice, cooked beans, and moist wheat breed.
- Supplements – to sprinkle over other foods such as spirulina, echinacea, and proenzyme.
- Fresh and clean water – you need to change it a couple of times per day.
5. Put together the breeding pair into a large cage
Your cockatiels will need plenty of room for breeding and even more space after their young have hatched. As an owner, you need to ensure that the cage that you put your cockatiel pair in is with dimensions 6 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet.
Leave the couple in their cage for a few weeks until you have provided a nest box so they can get to know each other better and synchronize for breeding. Then, move the cage to a quieter part of your home to give the couple the privacy and quiet they will need to breed, brood, and take care of their young.
6. Get a nesting box
Once the couple has spent at least two weeks together and begun to get along well, you will need to provide them with a nesting box.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a nesting box for Cockatiels:
- Material – There is a different types of nesting boxes, including metal, plastic, and wood boxes. Wood is the best choice because cockatiels will chew at the entrance to adjust it to their specifications.
- Box Size – A suitable box for breeding cockatiels is one foot by one-foot box.
- Rear Access Door – Some nesting boxes also have a rear access door, so you can check the babies without disturbing the female.
- Bedding – The cockatiel parents will use bedding to create a comfortable and safe place for them. Low-dust pine shavings or paper materials such as paper or plain white paper towels are the best nesting materials. Never use cedar shavings because the oils from these materials can injure or kill the babies.
7. The male Cockatiel starts the breeding act by preparing the nest
One of the signs that your cockatiel is preparing to mate is when the males start preparing the nest. The male will begin gnawing at the nest opening to enlarge it to the size he wants.
In addition, he will also arrange the bedding materials in the way he prefers. When he makes the box the way he wants it to be, he will allow the female to enter.
8. Observe the signs of mating
When the cockatiels’ time comes to mate, the male cockatiel will start dancing. He will jump around, bob his head, and sing during the dance. You will also notice how the cockatiels groom each other often. When the females feel ready to mate, they will descend. This position allows the male to mate with her. Here you can read more about signs of mating.
Mating can take up to 1 minute, and then the male Cockatiel will fly away. The female Cockatiel lays her eggs two weeks after mating.
9. Allow the parents to brood their eggs
The parents will alternately brood the eggs, but only the female will usually sit on them. Then you will notice that the parents will start to take out some of their feathers to expose the bare skin. This is called a “brood patch” and parents usually do this so that their bare skin can come in contact with the eggs.
Egg hatching takes about three weeks, but the female will lay eggs about a week before she is ready to incubate them. She will lay on eggs once every 48 hours until she lays a clutch of about two to eight eggs.
Male cockatiels provide food for the female as she goes through this process.
10. Leave the nest alone
At the end of the 21-day incubation period, the eggs will hatch. You can gently and quickly peek into the box to ensure there are no dear or injured chicks, but try not to disturb the new family. Parents and babies need to have some time and privacy to bond.
Cockatiels will eat with the help of their parents until they are about 8 to 10 weeks old. But at that point, you will undoubtedly want to separate the male and female chicks from each other to prevent breeding. Siblings can mate if the conditions are right, so it’s best to get rid of them in time to avoid this process.
Discourage Too Frequent Breeding
Cockatiels will continue to breed over and over if you let them, but you really shouldn’t allow a single pair to breed more than four times a year. Here are a few different things that you can do to prevent mating
- Decrease Light – Provide less sunlight than recommended. This will discourage breeding and reduce the chance that your cockatiels will mate again.
- Remove The Nest Box – Once the parents finish using the nesting box, feel free to remove the box from the cage so that the process is not repeated.
- Eliminate Soft Foods – Do not feed your cockatiels with very soft foods, but try to continue to give them foods that are rich in nutrients.