We’ve been having a go at breeding our cockatiels recently.
It’s been uniquely challenging, as I’m sure you’ll know if you’ve ever tried it yourself.
I’m sure we will eventually get the hang of it, but it did act as a lesson for my son in one way I wasn’t really anticipating.
When I said that our female cockatiel was having trouble laying eggs, my son asked, do male cockatiels lay eggs?
I decided to put my answer here, too.
So, do male cockatiels lay eggs?
No, male cockatiels do not lay eggs. Only females lay eggs, and only females ever will lay eggs. Just like in any other species, the female has eggs and the male has to fertilize them. Female cockatiels may even lay eggs without males around. But no male will ever lay an egg.
So, there’s nothing unusual about cockatiels in that sense.
Females lay eggs and males fertilize them, just like any other species.
The fact that the absence of a mate can still mean that a female lays eggs is often what leads to this confusion, but this is again true of many bird species.
After all, we wouldn’t have chickens’ eggs otherwise.
Let’s look further into this.
Can male cockatiels lay eggs?
No, they don’t.
Male cockatiels cannot and do not lay eggs, as that is not their role.
There really are virtually no bird species in which the male lays the eggs.
The process of incubating and hatching an egg is the result of a uniquely tuned reproductive evolution, and so males and females have clearly defined roles in raising a chick.
That said, as I’ll get into, males do play an important role in the eventual hatching of an egg, as many bird species do.
Many birds, cockatiels included, are known to very commonly mate for life.
The male plays a key role in supporting the female during the incubation and hatching, but they don’t lay eggs themselves.
So, no, male cockatiels do not and cannot lay eggs, just like any other species of bird.
Indeed, every chicken egg you’ve ever eaten came from a hen and not a rooster.
Just as human males lack the ability to give birth, male cockatiels cannot lay eggs and never do.
The thing that sometimes confuses people is the fact that hen cockatiels do not appear to always need a male to lay an egg.
Let’s look into that.
Can cockatiels lay eggs without mating?
Yes, cockatiels can often lay eggs without mating.
The egg will be unfertilized, and will therefore never hatch, but they can indeed lay non-fertilized eggs.
They don’t do this as often as chickens, whom we have specially bred to lay eggs as much as possible.
But they do indeed lay eggs this way.
The reasons can more than one, but generally, when a hen of any bird species lays an unfertilized egg, it is because they are attempting to collect a clutch.
Cockatiels can breed at any time of the year, and so have a very long breeding season.
Thus, they try to lay as many eggs as they can.
Again, this won’t be as many as a chicken, but it does still happen fairly regularly.
Do male cockatiels incubate eggs?
This is often the source of the confusion.
When a chick has mated and laid a fertilized egg, the two parents share responsibility for its incubation.
We know that the mother usually has the strongest instinct to incubate, but both parents, especially in cockatiels, share the responsibility.
So, if you are breeding your cockatiels, it is definitely worth being aware of this. both the mother and the father will incubate the egg—this doesn’t mean the male has laid an egg of his own!
How often do cockatiels lay eggs?
It will really depend.
Though they can breed all year round in captivity, you will have to replicate the conditions of spring and summer to achieve this.
Cockatiels are unlikely to lay any kind of egg, fertilized or unfertilized, if they aren’t experiencing these conditions.
When they have mated, it’s not uncommon for a female cockatiel to lay an egg every other day until the clutch has been laid.
There are typically 4-6 eggs in a clutch.
Laying eggs without mating is far less predictable, and they may not do so at all.
So, just to finally clear it up, male cockatiels do not lay eggs.
They may sometimes incubate them in the mother’s absence, but mainly they are there to fertilize and support the female.
While there are some species where males take a more proactive role in the birth of their offspring, like seahorses, this is not true of cockatiels.
Male cockatiels do not lay eggs—they just fertilize and incubate the eggs laid by females.