First of all, make sure you have a true pair! That sounds obvious, but it really isn’t if you are starting with new, immature stock. Usually, only the male will “sing” or vocalize more than just the short one-note call that both sexes use for a contact call. If the birds are mature cinnamons, pearls, normals, etc. you can tell by appearance, as the males develop a white face on which the orange cheek patch contrasts brilliantly. Females keep the same coloring that they start with as babies. With pieds, it’s much harder to know that you have a true pair. If the bird has some normally colored tail feathers, those will show bars across if the bird is a female and will be a solid color if a male. These bars are also present in a lutino female’s tail feathers, but will be yellow on a white background.
Make sure your birds are old enough to breed. If not, wait a bit and the birds will be healthier for it. Cock birds can fertilize eggs after about 8 months of age. You would definitely want to pair a cock bird this young with an experienced female. Your female breeders should be 18 months old before they lay eggs for the first time. If bred before that age, there is a greater risk of egg binding, which can cause death or loss of the bird as a breeder.
Give the birds as large a cage as you have room for. Cockatiels will breed in an 18” pet cage, but they can’t stay in that size cage all the time and continue to be healthy. So the options in order to have healthy birds is either to make your breeding cages large, at least 2’ deep x3’ long x 2’ high, or use smaller cages for breeding, then “flock” the birds in large flights when they are not breeding. Some breeders separate their males and females when the birds are put into flights and I’m sure this makes them much more eager to breed.
Make sure that your lighting and ventilation are adequate. You can’t have too much fresh air unless it is frigidly cold outside. Cockatiels produce lots of dust and neither they nor you needs to breathe air saturated with that dust. Cockatiels will breed when the days are short but they need at least 14 hours of light for the best breeding results. They also need these hours of light later on in order to feed their chicks enough for them to grow big and strong. Babies seem to do better when the temperature in your breeding room doesn’t get under 50 degrees F.
Give the pair a cuttlebone immediately, as the hen will need to build up calcium reserves before laying eggs. Nestboxes need to be at least as large as 12” x 12” x 12” and they need to have an inspection door. Pine shavings or aspen shavings make good nestbox bedding; place a layer about 2” deep. when the birds start to go in the box, they will rearrange and flatten the bedding. Keep an eye on that cuttlebone at this stage, as sometimes the hens will demolish one in a few days.
Cockatiels lay their eggs every two days. They usually won’t sit until after the third one has been laid. Usually, the hen sits at night and the cock during the day. BUT, you can have all sorts of variations on that. Sometimes the birds will sit from day 1. Sometimes they will both sit all the time, maybe dividing up the eggs. Sometimes, the cock bird won’t do his part and participate in the sitting of the eggs. Counting from the day the bird(s) start sitting the eggs, you will have babies in 18 to 19 days if the eggs are fertile. To candle the eggs, place a penlight into the nestbox and shine it near the eggs after they have been sat for a week to ten days. You will see a reddish color and should be able to see blood veins.
You will need to give your birds soft foods to feed to their babies. This makes sense when you realize that the parents have to eat the food, then regurgitate it for the babies. The soft foods such as cooked grain mixes, veggies, brown bread, corn on the cob, etc. are simply easier for them to stuff down in a hurry. After they get used to the routine, you will find some pairs pacing impatiently as they wait for their special breakfast to arrive each morning.
Being a successful bird breeder requires four key components:
If you can't provide all of that and more, then it's best to refrain from breeding. Do you have money set aside to use in case of an emergency? Do you know what to do if your hen becomes eggbound? Can you hand feed a tiny baby bird with a syringe, on a schedule, without giving him crop burn or worse? When you choose to breed birds, you are essentially taking responsibility for the lives of the hen and any potential babies.
If all four of those key breeding components aren't in place, the result can be deadly.
A big issue to take into consideration is your relationship with your pet bird. Many times a bird who takes a mate becomes less interested in his "human flock". Are you willing to risk giving up your bond with your bird to raise a clutch of babies? Many bird owners find that for them, the answer is a resounding NO.
Another issue to ponder is whether or not you have the space to accommodate a breeding operation. Supplies you will need include nest boxes, extra cages, an incubator and a brooder, just to name a few. If you don't have the room to house these items, breeding is pretty much out of the question.
While just these points may seem overwhelming, the truth is that we haven't even scratched the surface of everything that it takes to be a good bird breeder. For this reason, most bird owners decide that it's best to leave breeding to the professionals and just enjoy their pet's companionship.
However, if you think you have what it takes to be a breeder, and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices, the best thing to do is talk your decision over with your avian vet before beginning the process. He or she will be able to offer valuable advice, and will make sure that your birds are in proper breeding condition.
Hi Paula, i hope you don`t mine if i posted this on the same thread, i also found something on Breeding Cockatiels,
Of course it's okay, feel free, the more information we have the better, thanks for posting it.
I usually mix the egg food with the seed, if a cockatiel has laid an egg, i also have a seperate bowl with the egg mix in it, you can buy this at any pet shop which sells birds, the one i usually buy is finch egg mix.
Commercial egg food mixes are made by crumbling a high protein egg enriched baked cake. Because of the high egg content, the egg-food is high in protein and amino acids necessary for healthy birds in breeding condition. In some soft food mixes the protein is derived from dairy products-lactose removed. While this is a more expensive than just adding dry egg, it is better for the birds. It is not as quick to spoil and does not contain the high fat levels of dehydrated egg.
I am not new to breeding tiels but dealing with this one pair has me feeling like a novice.....first a bit of background info...i bought this male and female (yes for sure female has laid eggs and male wild colored male) from a couple who had them as pets HOWEVER didn't spend a whole lot of time with them and the were not what i would call cuddly the male would sit on your shoulder and sing to you but only on his terms and the female is a bit more timid but neither really bites but does try to bully...they came a taller homemade cage. The male i believe to be around 5 and the female is 5 yrs or older.
I brought them home let them settle in a bit and after awhile gave them a nestbox..the male seems to be the issue. He acts like he wants to mate with her sings carries on feeds her BUT when she lowers her back to him for mount he starts to step up and then backs off. She had laid eggs so i left them in for awhile then took nest box off and let them be for a bit (yes plenty of cuttlebone)THEN i tried again. still same problem so i thought just maybe he felt insecure on the perches within the homemade cage so i put them in a new cage not tall but bigger waited again for them to settle and once again placed the nestbox in with them same thing again he acted like he was going to mount her and backed off. so i left them alone for several months taking off the next box and was thinking of putting it back on with them come april or may. My question is should i put them by the other tiels that are mating OR should i seperate the two and give her a different male? I give them pellets and i belive the cage meets the specific reqirements why am i having such an issue with this male? I believe it's due to him not breeding her