Breeding occurs when cockatiels reach sexual maturity. However, pet cockatiels shouldn’t have more than two broods per year. Continuous egg-laying can lead to malnutrition, tiredness, and calcium insufficiency, among other health issues. So you should take steps to stop cockatiels mating. But, how to prevent cockatiels from mating?
How To Prevent Cockatiels From Mating
To prevent cockatiels from mating, remove any dark, secluded areas used for nesting. Next, avoid sexually stimulating activities, like hand-feeding or petting around the back and tail. Next, limit daylight to 10 hours and avoid high-calorie foods. Finally, separate a hormonal cockatiel from other birds until it calms down.
Learn to identify the signs of cockatiel mating behavior early so that you can take action. The less hormonal your cockatiel gets, the less likely it is to mate. If your cockatiel doesn’t stop mating or egg-laying, a hormone injection can halt a cockatiel’s mating instincts for several months.
How To Prevent Cockatiels From Mating- Step By Step
If male and female cockatiels are housed together, they will be highly likely to breed.
Certain factors can reduce this from happening. For example, the cockatiels may not like each other and refuse to pair. However, the chances of two cockatiels breeding can never be entirely removed.
Cockatiels form strong bonds with their companions. Therefore, finding a suitable mate is high if you keep several cockatiels of different sexes or have two opposite-sex cockatiels.
Mating will occur if your male and female opt to pair-bond. That is, if the breeding conditions are favorable. Cockatiels don’t mate year-round because they need the right:
- Light exposure
- Level of privacy
By creating undesirable conditions for breeding, you are tricking the cockatiels into believing that it is a bad time to breed.
However, you can discourage cockatiels from mating if you remove the following factors:
1. Reduce daylight hours
Wild cockatiels know that spring has arrived based on the sun. So when the days get longer and sunlight exposure becomes ample, cockatiels automatically release hormones for breeding. After all, food is most plentiful during the warm months of the year, and the conditions are suitable for hatching chicks.
Create a balance between day and night hours to lower the odds of breeding. Ideally, your cockatiels should have 10 hours of daylight and 14 hours of darkness every night. That way, your cockatiels won’t feel comfortable laying eggs since the conditions will be unfavorable.
If it is summer or spring where you live, limit the amount of sunlight your cockatiel gets. After a few hours, you could be moving it away from the window. Of course, cockatiels should never be kept in absolute darkness, but shaving a couple of hours off the day can fool your cockatiel into thinking breeding season never came.
If it is winter and your cockatiel is still in the mood for reproduction, it may be fooled by the artificial lighting in your home. This can give the impression of endless summer, confusing your cockatiel’s hormones.
However, you can prevent this by limiting how much artificial light your cockatiel gets. Put it to bed at a set time, turn off the lights, and cover its cage.
2. Remove hiding places
Most cockatiels prefer to build nests and lay eggs in dark, enclosed corners. To stop your cockatiels from developing mating behaviors, keep them away from hidden, secluded areas. For example, remove foliage within the cage so that cockatiels don’t have little coves to hide.
3. Avoid stimulating activities
Cockatiels may become sexually aroused when touched on specific body parts, triggering breeding behavior if the cockatiel is sexually mature.
The most sensitive body parts to avoid touching include:
- Along the spine
- Around the base of the tail
- Back of the neck
Also, cockatiels regurgitate to feed each other during mating season. To avoid riling your cockatiel up, don’t hand-feed it to avoid confusing this activity as a courting gesture.
4. Separate females from males
Cockatiels have an increased urge to mate when they are close to other birds. Once your cockatiel develops mating behaviors, you should separate it from other playmates. Once its urges pass, you can reintroduce them.
5. Cage rearrangement
Cockatiels prefer raising their offspring in a safe and secure environment. To discourage a cockatiel from breeding, you should:
- Bring in unfamiliar toys
- Change feeding bowls
- Change the cage lining
- Introduce new perches
Cockatiels are less likely to lay eggs in unfamiliar environments. Avoid switching the cockatiel to a new cage or placing the cage in a different home area. Otherwise, the cockatiel may become stressed enough to avoid playing, eating, or sleeping properly.
6. Fewer toys
During mating season, your cockatiel could develop the urge to breed with toys or its reflection in a mirror. This usually happens when cockatiels are lonely or poorly socialized. Without a suitable mate and an excess of hormones, the cockatiel may resort to unnatural copulation.
Remove all objects that trigger sexual stimulation. Instead, replace them with toys that motivate the cockatiel to play more or become curious, which will draw its attention away. Moreover, never provide soft toys since cockatiels use them as nesting materials. Instead, you can offer your cockatiels toys made of plastic, hardwood, or metal.
7. Limit high-calorie foods and fats
Food is an essential factor that affects reproduction in birds. To reduce the urge for mating in cockatiels, limit fats, and high-energy foods.
After all, cockatiels mate during the spring and summer, when the widest variety of food is available. High-calorie, fatty diets provide them the resources they need to lay quality eggs and have the energy to reproduce.
8. No nesting spots
Even if you keep hiding spots to a minimum, your cockatiels may make do. You can discourage the cockatiels from mating by taking away their options for backup nests, including:
- Empty food bowls
- Flatwood perches
- Hammocks or broad perches
- Bedded areas
9. Hormone injection therapy
Hormone injection is an effective and fast remedy against excessive breeding in cockatiels. However, cockatiels may respond differently to hormonal injections. Some reduce the number of eggs laid, while others go for an extended period without laying any eggs.
During the procedure, a vet administers an injection known as lupron depot. This prevents the release of reproductive hormones, stopping all ovarian functions and shutting down your cockatiel’s reproductive cycle.
A female cockatiel will need hormone injection therapy every 3-6 months for effective results.
Can Cockatiels Breed Without A Nesting Box?
Cockatiels prefer a nesting box and may be discouraged from breeding without it. However, a cockatiel will mate, nest, and brood eggs where it can. As long as the temperature, level of privacy, light exposure, and physical stimulation are right, cockatiels will reproduce.
Impromptu nesting spots within a cage may include:
- Flat perches
- Bottom of the cage in a secluded corner
- Cockatiel beds
- Empty food bowls
- Behind decorations or toys
If you don’t want your cockatiels to mate, you should remove the nesting box. However, you will also need to limit your cockatiel’s access to dark, secluded areas.