Breeding Cockatiels

Many people believe that cockatiel breeding is simple since most birds are prolific in most circumstances. However, in order to really recognise the bird’s demands and ensure lifespan, cockatiels should only have access to their nestboxes during the summer months. Furthermore, no pair of birds should be permitted to have more than three clutches of babies every year. Cockatiels are generally mature at one year of age, however it is better if they are two years old before being permitted to couple up for reproduction.

There are many various colours in the group presently, and it is best if just the same colours are coupled. It is preferable to differentiate whitefaced mutations from normal (orange cheeked) variants. Many customers request a certain sex when purchasing a young cockatiel, but this is not always simple to identify, even for the breeder. A breeder may have a pair that is “sex-linked,” which means that through experience, he or she has discovered that the same pair of birds produces the same sexes per colour of chick over time. Because the sexes of breeding lutinos, greys, and regular pieds are similar, this cannot be ascertained.

Cockatiels breed best in colonies, however all nestboxes in the aviary must be hung at the same height, and there must be at least one additional box for every pair of birds (i.e. 6 boxes – 5 pairs); if these two requirements are not met, there will be bickering between males and frequently eggs/chicks lost. Nestboxes are available from most dealers/shops and should include a side aperture (for nest observation) and be 9″ square x 18″ deep.

Our nestboxes are hung in March and taken down in August. There is enough time for healthy birds to have three clutches, but no more will be permitted. To keep lice at bay, treat hanging boxes completely with Johnsons Anti-mite spray before hanging them, and after each clutch of chicks, thoroughly clean nestboxes and respray with Johnsons Anti-mite spray. Boxes are filled with 2″ of fresh peat, followed by 3-4″ of coarse wood shavings (shavings must be of untreated wood).

A clutch of eggs may range from 2 to 7 eggs, although the hen should brood no more than 5 viable eggs at a time. The average time from “sitting” to hatching is around 18 days. Feed a high-quality cockatiel or parrakeet mix that is clean and dust-free; we use a vitaminized mix for added health benefits. The parent birds will take a lot of eggfood and millet sprays to feed their offspring, as well as dandelion, sowthistle, and chickweed (well-washed before offering) When combining eggfood, provide some kind of calcium (we use calcivet and nutrobal), as well as canned sweetcorn and hardboiled egg, which are both highly liked when combined with the eggfood (Cede or EMP).
Check the nestbox on a daily basis to ensure that everything is in order; if a chick is discovered to be weak and uncared for, it must be taken and brought inside to be hand-fed if it is to live. Chicks often thrive when provided with the necessary nutritional needs and will fledge the box between 4 and 6 weeks. The parent birds will continue to feed their young on the perch for a few more weeks, but chicks are normally self-sufficient by 10-12 weeks. Before taking children from their parents, a close check must be maintained on them to ensure their independence.

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