Incubating Cockatiel Eggs: The Complete Guide

Incubating Cockatiel Eggs

Incubation is the crucial process in which an embryo develops within a cockatiel egg, thriving under optimal temperature, humidity, and regular egg-turning conditions.

It’s important to note that cockatiels’ eggs cannot self-incubate, and without proper incubation, they will never hatch.

Cockatiel egg incubation temperature and humidity level are essential for the successful development of fertile eggsOpens in a new tab.. Therefore, you should set the incubating temperature at 98–99 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7–37.2°C) and a humidity level of around 65%. Also, it’s worth mentioning that viable, fertile eggs can be incubated for up to 7 days after being laid.

If you do not incubate cockatiels’ eggs within three weeks of being laid, they will not surviveOpens in a new tab..

A cockatiel egg incubator is recommended to ensure the survival of fertile eggs without the presence of the mother cockatiel. You can use a cockatiel egg incubator with temperature and humidity controls.

During the incubation time, it’s crucial to rotate the cockatiel’s eggs 4–8 times daily. Continue this process until day 16 of incubation, but remember not to turn the eggs during the final three days.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to incubate cockatiel eggs, cockatiel egg incubation temperature and humidity, incubation time and period, and the best incubator for cockatiel eggs. Additionally, we’ll also talk about how to incubate cockatiel eggs without an incubator.

Do You Have To Incubate Cockatiel Eggs?

In natural conditions, the mother cockatiel takes on the responsibility of incubating the eggs. She sits on her eggs and uses her body heat to keep them warm while protecting them with her feathers.

By maintaining this process, the embryos inside the eggs can develop and eventually form chicks. It’s important to note that cockatiels’ eggs are incapable of self-incubation and cannot progress without adequate warmth.

However, when the mother cockatiel neglects her incubation duties, you must provide the necessary warmth for the eggs to develop.

How To Incubate Cockatiel Eggs

How To Incubate Cockatiel Eggs

It is common for young female cockatiels to abandon their fertile eggs. If you desire the survival of these eggs, you must engage in artificial incubation.

Infertile eggs can be discarded as they will never hatch, but fertile ones have the potential to hatch if provided with the right conditions. Cockatiels’ eggs require a minimum incubation period of 18 days.

See Also: How Long Does It Take For Cockatiel Eggs To Hatch?Opens in a new tab.

Here is the complete guide on how to incubate cockatiel eggs:

Choice of cockatiel egg incubator

Cockatiel Egg Incubator

An incubator serves the crucial purpose of ensuring the optimal temperature and humidity levels for successful cockatiel egg incubation. It becomes the most practical choice when it is challenging to maintain the required temperature around freshly laid eggs naturally:

  • 98–99 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7–37.2°C)
  • 65% humidity

The latest incubators incorporate microprocessor controls that regulate heating, cooling, and humidity levels. Additionally, they boast a convenient self-turning time feature, streamlining the entire incubation process.

A high-quality incubator should possess fan-assisted ventilation and precise temperature and humidity control settings. It should also include a reliable self-turning system to ensure an even distribution of heat across all sides of the eggs. Without this, there is a risk of incomplete development or the hacking of deformed chicks.

Remember, always place an incubator in a quiet, temperature- and humidity-controlled location that is not in direct sunlight. Also, clean and disinfect it before use to ensure a hygienic environment.

Egg Placement

Place the cockatiel eggs in the incubator with the pointed end slightly downward. Avoid rotating the eggs after placing them to prevent detachment of the developing embryo.

Always wash your hands before placing the eggs in the incubator.

Best Incubator For Cockatiel Eggs

When it comes to finding the best incubator for cockatiel eggs, the Brinsea Products Mini II Advance Automatic 7 Egg IncubatorOpens in a new tab. stands out as a top choice.

This incubator offers exceptional features explicitly designed for cockatiel breeding. It ensures precise temperature control, humidity regulation, and gentle rocking motion to simulate the natural nest conditions, enhancing the chances of successful hatching.

Also, it has a compact and user-friendly interface making it convenient to use, while it’s sturdy construction and reliable insulation provide a stable environment for the eggs.

With its outstanding performance and reliability, the Brinsea Mini II Advance Automatic 7 Egg IncubatorOpens in a new tab. is highly recommended for cockatiel breeders seeking optimal hatch rates.

Cockatiel Egg Incubation Temperature

The ideal temperature range for incubating cockatiels’ eggs is 98.7-99.1 degrees Fahrenheit (37-37.3°C).

Under natural circumstances, it is highly unlikely for the mother bird to overheat her eggs. However, if an incubator raises the temperature excessively, it can prevent the egg from hatching or result in a weak chick.

Incubating an egg below the optimal temperature range will cause delayed hatching. Furthermore, the low temperature can impact the humidity level, affecting the chick’s ability to absorb its yolk sac. This reduced absorption greatly reduces the chances of survival.

While most incubators come with built-in thermometers, it is advisable to double-check their accuracy. Use a reliable electronic thermometer or precise glass-stem thermometer to verify the temperature.

When it comes to thermometers most of the breeders use temperature infrared guns like this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab., to ensure the temperature stays within the desired range.

Related read: Keeping Baby Cockatiels Warm: Essential Tips & Heating MethodsOpens in a new tab.

Incubator Humidity Levels For Cockatiel Eggs

Among breeders, a higher number of chicks are lost due to excessive humidity rather than insufficient humidity.

The primary purpose of humidity control is to maintain a balance against the natural evaporation of fluids from within the growing embryo, leading to an increase in air space.

Determining the correct humidity level can be based on the development of the air space of the weight loss observed between setting the eggs and the internal pipping stage.

However, it’s important to note that specific humidity guidelines may vary depending on the ambient humidity in your location.

In most situations, cockatiels’ eggs can successfully hatch relying solely on the surrounding humidity. Your objective should be to maintain an incubator humidity level of 65% ± 5%.

Note: Certain incubators cannot set humidity automatically. In such cases, you must manually add water to the incubator’s water pan each day and monitor and adjust the humidity level yourself. You can do this by using a wet-bulb thermometer or a hygrometer. Check this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

Turning Eggs

Egg turning plays a vital role in the incubation process, with several important benefits.

During the initial stages of incubation (up to 10 days), frequent egg turning promotes vein growth and the development of blood vessels. As the embryo progresses, turning prevents malformation and encourages even growth. Once the veins have fully formed, the significance of frequent turning diminishes.

In artificial settings, it is essential to replicate the regular egg turning observed in the wild. Ideally, cockatiels’ eggs should be turned at least 4-8 times per day, or once every hour. Turning helps prevent the embryo from sticking to the inner membrane of the eggshell. Mark the eggs with an “X” and “0” to track their rotation.

While manual turning is commonly practiced by bird breeders, using a self-turning incubator provides more reliable results. If acquiring a self-turning incubator is not possible, you can manually give the eggs a 180-degree turn each day.

To ensure optimal vein growth, placing the egg on its sides is crucial. The yolk, being smaller compared to the albumen (the white part of the egg), benefits the most from this positioning.

If feasible, consider investing in an incubator with a turning feature specifically designed for cockatiels’ eggs. This feature allows for adjustable turning at set intervals, ensuring the eggs are placed at the optimal angle.


After a week of incubation, you can candle the eggs to check for fertility, Hold a bright light behind each egg and look for signs of development, such as veins or a dark spot.

How To Incubate Cockatiel Eggs Without An Incubator

How To Incubate Cockatiel Eggs Without An Incubator

Achieving successful egg hatching relies on maintaining a steady cockatiel egg temperature and humidity throughout the incubation period.

In certain situations, such as emergencies or the absence of an incubator, you may need to create the optimal conditions for incubation independently.

Here are several methods on how to incubate cockatiel eggs without an incubator:

Substitute Mother

Sometimes you may not have access to an artificial incubator. Therefore to incubate cockatiel eggs without an incubator you need to find a suitable surrogate mother. It needs to be a female cockatiel capable of incubating the eggs.

Once you have found a surrogate mother, follow these steps:

  • Position the eggs near or beneath the female bird inside a nest.
  • The female will instinctively roll the eggs in her nest or tuck them beneath her body.
  • In that way, the eggs will incubate as they receive warmth from the hen.
  • The surrogate mother will take on the responsibility of caring for the hatchlings.

The mother may reject the eggs, either due to similar reasons as the original mother or for personal reasons.

Wrapping Them In The Towel

You can also incubate the eggs using just a few household items. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Take a clean, medium-sized towel and place it inside a cardboard box.
  • Position the cockatiel eggs in the middle of the towel and fold the towel around them.
  • Set up a desk lamp with a 40-watt bulb beside the box, making sure the bulb faces the middle of the tower.
  • Turn on the lamp and let it shine on the eggs for 12 to 16 hours every day.
  • Personally roll the eggs 4-8 times daily or once per hour.

Heating Pad

Another option to incubate cockatiel eggs without an incubator is to use a heating pad as a substitute for a lamp. Follow these steps:

  • Find a heat-resistant surface and place an adjustable heating pad on it.
  • Adjust the heating pad to the desired temperature setting.
  • Position the eggs in the center of the heating pad.
  • Remember to regularly turn the eggs to ensure even incubation.

Rice-Filled Tube Sock

Although unconventional, this method has been reported to be effective by some breeders. Here’s how you can try it:

  • Grab a tube sock and stuff it with rice.
  • Secure the end of the sock with a string to keep the rice inside.
  • Place the rice-filled sock in the microwave and heat it on a medium setting for one minute.
  • Place your egg on a flat dish or saucer.
  • Wrap the warm sock around the egg.
  • Repeat these steps as needed when the sock returns to room temperature.

What To Do If Your Cockatiel Is Not Incubating Eggs?

What To Do If Your Cockatiel Is Not Incubating Eggs?

If your female cockatiel is not sitting on her eggs, it could be due to stress.

Young cockatiel mothers often abandon or neglect their eggs when they feel overwhelmed. To encourage her to resume incubation, you should identify and eliminate the source of stress.

In an aviary with multiple female cockatiels, interference from others can disrupt incubation and damage the eggs. In such cases, it’s best to separate the mother and her partner into a separate cage. This will provide her with the space and tranquility she needs to regain focus and care for her offspring.

A poor diet can also contribute to a female cockatiel’s failure to incubate her eggs successfully. If the eggs didn’t hatch and have soft shells, it indicates a lack of calcium in the hen’s diet.

You can address this by offering her calcium-rich fruits and vegetables. While this won’t salvage the current batch, it will ensure healthier eggs in the future.

Encourage Cockatiels to Incubate Eggs

To increase the chances of successful egg hatching, there are ways to help your cockatiel mother take good care of her eggs. By assisting, you can support her in the incubation process.

First, ensure that the eggs are kept in the right conditions, away from any potential risks:

  • Offer a nesting box Opens in a new tab.with high sides to prevent egg falls and breakage.
  • Keep the nesting box for cockatiels in a controlled environment with the correct egg incubation temperature and humidity levels.
  • Regularly remove any broken shells or bad eggs from the cage to the aviary.
  • Consider incubating some eggs in an artificial incubator to relieve pressure on the mother.

For optimal nesting, follow these steps:

  • Provide a nest box lined with soft paper and avoid using wood shavings.
  • Place millet seed near the nest box entrance to attract your cockatiel pair.
  • Clean your hands to minimize bacteria before handling the eggs.
  • Place the eggs inside the nest box, considering that incubation may start after two to three eggs are laid.
  • Remember, eggs can still be viable for up to a week without immediate incubation from a parent.

If your cockatiels continue to reject the nest box, consider creating an alternative nesting site:

  • Place a small wooden or glass container lined with soft cloth or paper at the bottom of the cage
  • Transfer the eggs onto the lining in the alternative nesting site.

See Also: Do Cockatiels Need A Nest In Their Cage?Opens in a new tab.


Incubating cockatiel eggs is a delicate and rewarding process that requires careful attention and proper knowledge. Providing the ideal conditions of the incubator, temperature, humidity, and ventilation, as well as maintaining a clean and safe environment, can increase the chances of successful hatching.

During the incubation period, it is crucial to monitor the eggs regularly, ensuring they are not exposed to extreme temperature or excessive humidity levels. Turning the eggs several times a day promotes even development of the embryos and prevents them from sticking to the shell.

The cockatiel eggs usually take around 18 to 21 days to incubate. It is essential to refrain from disturbing or excessively handling the eggs during this period, as it can harm the development of the embryos. It’s important to be patient as the eggs approach hatching.

Cockatiel Enthusiast

My name is Bojan. I have been around Cockatiels for the past 7 years. I love writing about Cockatiels and helping people understand how these beautiful birds live, what they like, and how to provide them the best possible care.

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