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Cockatiel Breeding Basics

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Cockatiel Breeding Basics

Candidates for breeding should be healthy and genetically sound.

Patricia Lowery and Marvette Hillis

Health Requirements:

To ensure the good health of breeding Cockatiels and their babies, a male and female pair should be unrelated, free of disease and birth defects, and between 2 and 5 years of age.

Nesting Requirements:

A cage for a pair of breeding Cockatiels should be a minimum size of 20" x 20" x 50", and should contain a nest box that is at least 12" x 12". Proper nesting material, such as shredded paper, pine shavings, and even molted feathers, should be provided.

Nutritional Requirements:

Cockatiels are hookbills, and as such, should be fed a varied diet consisting of seed, high quality pellets, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Breeding pairs should be treated with a calcium supplement to ensure proper egg development and to help the hen recoup nutrients lost in the egg-making process.

Egg Laying:

Female Cockatiels will lay their eggs within 3 weeks of mating. Like many other types of birds, it's not uncommon for Cockatiels to lay one egg every other day until they have all been laid. There are usually between 4 and 6 eggs in each clutch.

Incubation Time:

On average, Cockatiels incubate their eggs for about 20 days. This can vary by a couple of days in either direction, and is usually no cause for concern.

Hatchling Care and Weaning:

If Cockatiel babies are to be handfed, many breeders will let the parents raise the chicks until the age of about 2 weeks. They will then "pull" the chicks from the nest and place them in a brooder for handfeeding until they are weaned. Most baby Cockatiels can be weaned between the ages of 6 and 8 weeks by offering them millet, small bits of fruit and vegetables, and softened pellets.

Cockatiel Photos courtesy of Patricia Lowery and Marvette Hillis
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