In the last few weeks, I have been considering bringing a pair of cockatiels into my family, a male and a female.
The male and female pair are both young and healthy, making them an ideal match for breeding.
I began to investigate further and realized one critical fact that I was missing.
In what season do cockatiels breed, and what other conditions would I need to know about?
Well, I went on a research journey to find out all the necessary information about when cockatiels breed, and I’m here to share all my findings with you.
Do cockatiels breed all year round?
Yes, cockatiels can breed at any time of the year. If you want to encourage breeding, there are three basic needs you need to help them meet. The first is providing plenty of good light – around 10-12 hours a day. The second is to provide an adequate nesting box, (12” x 12” is usually sufficient). The third is to provide plenty of quality nutrition to help your cockatiels maintain optimal health.
Breeding birds is no small undertaking.
It will be time consuming and will require ample knowledge about your birds and their health needs.
However, do not let the time of year deter you.
If you are ready and able to breed your cockatiels, then you can create the perfect environment to start expanding your family.
Do cockatiels have a natural breeding season?
In the wild cockatiels will breed from spring to early autumn.
This is because conditions are the most favorable.
The temperature is warmer, the days are longer, and there is plenty of food and rainfall.
These conditions can be replicated in captivity without any negative health impacts, allowing cockatiels to breed all year long.
However, it is very important to note that even though they can be bred all year long cockatiels should have no more than two clutches per year in order to avoid physical stress and health problems.
How do I create the right environment for cockatiel breeding?
You will need to replicate the spring to summer environment in nature.
This means creating a comfortable, safe environment with plenty of food and water.
First you need a nesting box, which should be at least 12 inches by 12 inches.
It should be lined with soft bedding and paper towels to absorb moisture.
Make a well in the center for your bird to lay her eggs in.
This will keep them safe.
Materials could include shredded paper, pine shavings, or molted feathers.
You also must replicate the longer light conditions by providing 10-12 hours a day of either natural or artificial light.
This will keep your bird warm enough as well.
You should also provide them water to bathe in and should maintain humidity levels.
What is a cockatiel’s incubation period?
Cockatiels lay their eggs about three weeks after mating.
This process could take some days, as one egg is usually laid every 48 hours and each clutch has around 4-6 eggs.
Cockatiels incubate their eggs for about 20 days, though of course this can vary a few days in either direction.
Incubation will not begin until they are nested and warmed, so don’t worry if the laying process takes some time.
Eggs will stay viable for about 7 days before nesting.
Will breeding change my bird’s behavior?
It is likely that your cockatiel will become more aggressive during breeding.
A bonded pair will likely nest together or take turns, meaning that both will be protective of the clutch.
This is normal, it is after all their job to protect their babies!
It is critical to watch for any aggression within the bonded pair.
While this is less common, it is important that neither bird gets injured by the other.
Generally, it is the male bird who becomes more aggressive, but both can become instinctually protective.
At what ages do cockatiels start and stop breeding?
Breeding cockatiels should not start until they are at least 18 months old, and ideally two years old.
Reproduction takes a significant physical toll on your birds, so even if they could successfully breed earlier it is best to avoid the risk.
The ideal age for breeding cockatiels is 2-8 years of age, though some birds can breed up to 10 years of age.
After 10 your bird’s fertility will decline and it could take an additional toll on their health.
What should I feed my breeding cockatiels?
Nutrition is very important!
During their wild mating season cockatiels would have access to ample, high quality food, so we must replicate this environment in captivity as well.
Your bird’s standard seed should be available at all times, and make sure that both male and female birds are getting equal access.
If one is guarding the food, offer it privately or provide two food trays.
You should supplement seeds with fresh greens, sprouted seeds, or soaked multigrain bread.
Ensure that your female cockatiel is getting enough calcium as well.
Providing cuttlefish bones and supplemental nutrition will help make sure she has all the calcium and vitamins that she needs for healthy eggs.
How long should hatchlings stay with their parents?
Once your cockatiel eggs have hatched you must allow the parents to raise their babies as they fledge.
Normally this takes about 4 weeks, and you should not fully wean the babies for another 4-6 weeks afterwards.
During this period, you must provide extra food, as raising chicks will take a toll on your birds.
A good sign that the chicks are ready to be weaned will be when they are feeding themselves.
They should be able to drink, eat, end basically operate and fend for themselves before they are weaned from the parents.
Do not wait too long to wean as this could take and excessive toll on your adult birds.
Again, ensure that your birds have no more than 2 clutches a year, though one may be even more ideal of long-term health.
If you are able to create a healthy and safe environment, full of light and food, then you will be able to breed your cockatiels at any time of the year.
Remember to keep your birds’ safety and happiness in mind and soon you will be ready to expand your avian family!
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