Breeding cockatiels is relatively easy in comparison to other larger parrots, all you have to do is make sure the location, nutrition, and numbers are right.
If cockatiels are satisfied with the nesting arrangements, some hens will lay and even incubate her eggs even if they have no mate.
Breeding Cockatiels Successfully
The most common way of breeding cockatiels is in small garden aviaries with one pair of birds per cage.
The cages are normally partitioned off with wire screening so the birds can still see each other and they are often stimulated into breeding by observing the actions of their neighbors.
This method of building cages is called the block method and is the most economical way of building aviaries. It is a good idea to put double layers of wiring between the cages so that they don’t injure each other, especially as the little ones start to climb up the sides, and sometimes neighboring birds will bite at their feet.
Luckily cockatiel breeders don’t have to worry too much about this as cockatiels are mostly peace-loving birds and they seldom fall out with each other unless the nesting boxes are too close together.
The block method of breeding cockatiels also stops fighting amongst the birds for nesting accommodations and ensures that the breeders choice of pairings is kept.
If you have a very large aviary, you can place more than one pair of breeding cockatiels within the cage, but make sure that there is lots of room.
The height of the aviary should always be higher than the height of the owner. If you are unsure how big to go, there are no limits, so use all the land that your finances permit, and you can always subdivide later if you need to.
It is a good idea to have an aviary that is above floor height so that the seed is less accessible to mice. Cockatiels also don’t like to descend to natural floor level inside the confines of a shelter to feed.
Cockatiels like to soak themselves in water when they breed to humidify the nesting box, so it is a good idea to have a shallow bowl filled with water for this purpose.
Natural branches make the best perches for birds and they love chewing the bark. The different diameters of the twigs will exercise the bird’s feet and toes in a way that standard width perching can’t do. Make sure that the perches are not going to fall over when the cockatiels take flight and land, as well as when they couple. Make sure there is still a good amount of flying room in the cage and the perches and foliage don’t overbear the area.
Sometimes male cockatiels can be very promiscuous and if their mate is indifferent to their attentions, he may make a move on another cockatiels mate. So if you want a particular pair to breed together it is best to keep them separate.
Male cockatiels will court throughout the year, and it’s possible for some hens to do so, but the best time to start your breeding plans are in spring or summer. Most cockatiels are not so keen to breed during the short days of winter, and if they do there is a higher incidence of infertility.
Adult cockatiels tend to molt in autumn, so they will also be a bit lazy to look after chicks and incubate their eggs.
If the country is warm all year round, by all means, give breeding in winter a go, but this is best suited to temperate climates.
During a breeding season, two to three clutches could be raised. (six youngsters) Well tried pairs have been known to raise double this number.
At What Age Can One Start Breeding Cockatiels?
Cockatiels are fully mature by the age of six months, but most breeders prefer to wait until the bird is about two years, as they are then more mature.
If several different pairs are kept for breeding, it is a good idea to pair an experienced bird with a young one. So if each youngster gets an older mate, there is a better chance of raising chicks successfully, as they get better at parenting with age and practice.
Funnily older birds that have never been given the chance to breed almost always prove to be ideal parents, unlike the very young ones.
Most cockatiels have a particularly strong bond with their other half. Generally, in the wild, a pair may remain together until death separates them, so it is a good idea to pair them up a good few months before you want them to start breeding.
Often if you try to separate a pair, if that bird can still see or hear it’s original partner, it will want nothing to do with its new partner.
Can One Breed Cockatiels In Normal Bird Cages?
Yes, it is quite possible to do this, the only difference is that aviaries give the parents a better chance to fulfill a more normal breeding behavior pattern as they do in the wild.
If you want your pair to breed you will need to supply them with a nesting box. Make sure that the cage has space for this and it does not end up making the cage to small, otherwise, the cockatiels may start to squabble.
Will Cockatiels Breed Without Nesting Boxes?
Some may try, but most cockatiels will refuse to breed unless they are given suitable nesting boxes. In the wild, they use holes in trees and lay their eggs on bare wood.
A well constructed wooden nesting box is best. They must be well made with tight joints and thick walls and bottom so that they retain heat. Use screws rather than nails to reduce the movement of the wood and the opening up of the joints.
The nesting box needs to be roomy enough to house both parents and develop the young without overcrowding them, yet not big enough to cause squabbling between the parents about where the eggs should be incubated. A good number to go on is about six to eight inches square.
The hole to enter the nesting box should be about 2.5 inches in diameter and cut in a circular shape. It is a good idea to fit a perch directly below the entrance hole so the cockatiel can stand on it and look directly into the box.
Sawdust can be put in the box for added warmth and comfort, but not too much.
Feeding Supplements For Breeding Cockatiels
When cockatiels are in breeding mode, it is best to use supplements, as there are extra demands made on their metabolism at these times.
Wheat germ oil is a good example of a supplement you could add to their water during the breeding periods.
Green food and other tidbits can be put with the seed to get more nutrition into their bodies.
The health and well being of the chicks produced depends entirely upon the nutrition and hereditary makeup of the parents.
Great Examples Of Healthy Supplements To Add To Your Breeding Cockatiel’s Diet
To anyone setting out to breed cockatiels, you need to accept that everything doesn’t always run to plan.
There will always be deaths, infertile eggs and other outside factors that come into play, so never count your chickens before they hatch.
For more on breeding cockatiels, you can read this article.