Cockatiels instinctively know how to rear their young, but not all cockatiels are good parents. Baby cockatiels are delicate creatures, and there are many reasons why baby cockatiels keep dying.
Why Do My Baby Cockatiels Keep Dying? The main reason why baby cockatiels keep dying is because they don’t get enough food or aren’t fed well. Besides this, other factors that cause baby cockatiels to keep dying are airborne toxins, illness and disease, extreme temperatures, and physical deformities.
Always keep your cockatiel away from airborne toxins, such as Teflon cooking fumes.
Baby cockatiels are more likely to get sick because their immune systems aren’t fully developed yet. All cockatiels are sensitive to heat and cold, so they may keep dying from being too hot or too cold.
When eggs are in their later stages of development and are shaken, it can cause deformities. Also, chicks can die if the eggs aren’t turned or the incubation isn’t even.
Why Do Baby Cockatiels Die?
All animals are more vulnerable when they are young than when they are adults. Birds, especially small ones like cockatiels, are very vulnerable.
Here are the most common reasons why baby cockatiels die prematurely:
Not being fed by parents
Baby cockatiels often die because they don’t get enough food or because they starve. If you think a chick died because it wasn’t getting enough food, ask yourself two things:
Were the parents being fed a balanced diet?
Were the parents feeding their young?
Adult cockatiels won’t immediately feed their young. After the chicks hatch, the female cockatiel will rest while her young feed off the egg yolk sac for energy and nutrition.
Eventually, the chicks will cry out for food, so the mother should feed them at this point. If the mother doesn’t feed her chicks 24 hours after hatching, you’ll need to feed them a juvenile bird formula.
Once the egg yolk sac has been consumed, baby cockatiels need to be fed by their parents at least once every 3–4 hours. You should observe the mother regurgitating food into the mouths of her young.
But, if this isn’t happening, their parents have abandoned the chicks.
Because of how sensitive their respiratory system is, cockatiels are vulnerable to toxicants in the air. Yes, chicks are even more likely to get hurt.
Airborne toxins commonly come from:
- Scented candles
- Chemical-based cleaning products
- Perfumes and aftershave
- Teflon cookware (non-stick pans)
- Bug sprays
Don’t use any of the above products in the same room as your cockatiels.
Illness and Disease
Since baby cockatiels don’t have a fully grown immune system yet, even small illnesses can kill them. They could get them from being in the air with other birds or from their owners.
Bacteria and viruses thrive in dirty places, so do the following to keep the cage clean:
- Change the water 2-3 times per day
- Take food away after meals so it doesn’t go rotten
- Change the cage lining once per day
- Clean toys, perches, swings, and bells daily
- Ensure that the cage is well-ventilated
It is very important that the parents, especially the mother, are healthy. Ensure that she is getting a calcium-rich diet, isn’t bored or stressed, and gets enough exercise.
Get cockatiels checked out by a vet before they have chicks to make sure they don’t have any illnesses or diseases that they can pass on to their young.
Baby cockatiels can’t regulate their temperature since they are small and don’t have any feathers. It’s common for chicks that are left alone to die because they are too cold or too hot.
Even chicks that aren’t abandoned can die from the wrong temperature. So, ensure that the ambient temperature for baby cockatiels is kept close to 98 degrees.
There are ways to prevent baby cockatiels from getting too cold:
- Use a brooder lamp, which is a special kind of lamp made for chicks.
- Place a heating pad under the nesting box
- Use a humidifier
- Cover the cage with a blanket
- Raise the temperature of the entire room
Hatchlings and other young birds without feathers should be kept in a place with a relative humidity of at least 50%. This will make sure that their skin and feathers are healthy when they grow up.
Sometimes, chicks are hatched with physical defects that make it impossible for them to live. These problems happen while the chick is still in the egg and is developing.
Physical deformities can be caused by the following:
Eggs that have been shaken could be physically deformed and unhealthy. When an egg is in its last stages of development and is shaken, this often happens.
Most of the time, an egg shakes because it fell out of the nest. That’s why it’s important to make sure the eggs are safe by putting them in a nesting box or other safe places on the ground.
A “patchy” incubation is when eggs haven’t been incubated the same way all the way through. This happens when the mother leaves the nest or eggs unattended for too long.
If you have to take the female out of the aviary, you’ll have to take care of the eggs yourself. You can also move the eggs to another nest where they will be fostered.
However, sometimes female cockatiels will reject eggs. This can happen when a mother suspects that the eggs are unhealthy or diseased.
The point of cockatiels is to keep the species alive, so it doesn’t make sense to spend time and energy on chicks that aren’t likely to survive.
Female cockatiels turn their eggs a minimum of 5 times per day while they nest.
Avian Biology Research says that egg turning is meant to make sure that the embryo lives and that the chick grows upright.
It’s certainly the case that the top of the egg will stay warmer as it’s in direct contact with the mother’s body. Turning the eggs ensure that all parts of a developing egg receive much-needed warmth.
Mothers know how to make a good nest by instinct and will turn their eggs. But stressed-out females or ones that aren’t ready to nest might not.
How Do You Know If a Baby Cockatiel Is Dying?
Baby cockatiels are usually lively, vocal, and active. So if you see a baby cockatiel that is standing still for a long time or looking generally quiet then this is one of the first symptoms that something isn’t right.
Other symptoms that can indicate that a baby cockatiel is very ill or dying include:
- Sleeping lots
- Unresponsive and lifeless
- Quiet and dull
- Eyes constantly half-closed
- Eyes swollen or enlarged
- Panting, gasping, and sneezing
- Struggle to breathe
- Feels cold
What To Do If Your Baby Cockatiels Keep Dying?
The first thing you should do if you think a baby cockatiel is dying is to call your veterinarian for advice. You can also take measures to make sure that the baby cockatiels are warm, fed, and properly hydrated.
If you think a baby cockatiel is dying, then you need to isolate it and make it warm and comfortable. But if your baby cockatiel is responsive, then you should offer it some lukewarm water. The water should be a little warm. Cold drinking water can cause shock in a dying baby cockatiel.
Depending on what your vet recommends, then you could try giving your baby cockatiel a specially formulated supplement.
Baby Cockatiel Died Suddenly
Baby cockatiels can die in one night if they are hungry or sick, if the temperature changes, or if they are attacked by other cockatiels. Usually, illness, disease, and malnutrition kill a baby cockatiel overnight.
If you find a dead cockatiel in the cage, remove it immediately. Cockatiels that have died from disease are likely to infect other birds. Once the body is taken out, clean the whole cage very well.
Take the dead chick to a vet so it can be checked out after it has died. So, any diseases that are easy to spread can be ruled out, and if necessary, other chicks can be treated.
Life and death are a part of keeping cockatiels, so don’t be dismayed when your baby cockatiels die. Raising them is something that is best learned through experience. And as long as you are willing to learn, eventually, you will get it right.