All About Hand Rearing Baby Cockatiels

hand rearing baby cockatielsHand rearing baby cockatiels is no easy feat, but here is some advice for you if you would like to attempt to do this.

Hand Rearing Baby Cockatiels

Normally young cockatiels will be cared for by their parents day and night. If the parent cockatiels are well trained, you should be able to handle the babies every day or two to check them over. They should have full crops and because they grow quickly, you should see a difference in them on a daily basis. Weighing them daily is a good idea in order to catch problems early.

Also, if you handle the chicks, it will be easier to train them when they get older.

Kaytee Exact Handfeed Baby Bird 5lb (Catalog Category: Bird / Baby Formula & Related)

Exact by Kaytee is a high nutrition formula that helps with hand rearing baby cockatiels. The chicks will grow faster, wean earlier and develop better, brighter plumage.

Remember to keep the nest boxes clean. They need to be cleaned out every second day.

The best way to do this is to wait until the parents are out of the box. Block the entrance so that they can’t get in.  Place the chicks in a bowl lined with  paper towel in a warm place free from drafts.

Clean out the box by removing all the nesting material and scraping off the droppings. Place new nesting material in and replace the chicks before replacing the box in the cage.  It is necessary to do this so that you can avoid any bacterial or fungal infections from breaking out.

If you want to hand feed the chicks, a good time to pull them from the nest is when they are between two and three weeks old. At this age they are sufficiently strong and also still young enough to accept humans.hand rearing baby cockatiels

Make sure that you know what you are doing before you start to hand feed, otherwise, things could go horribly wrong.

If for some reason you need to pull the chicks out of the cage earlier than a week, keep in mind that they will need night feeds, twice a night. The chick’s crop should never be empty during a 24 hour period, except once, so that the food does not build up and spoil, which in turn could cause fungal infections.

I am a firm believe in leaving the chicks with the parents, as this give the chicks natural care and antibodies from their parents. If you want them tame then spend about half an hour or so a day to socialize them.  This is of course the easiest route to follow and it will save you lots of time and hassle.

This is of course if the parents are suitable. Most cockatiels make good parents, but problems can occur if they have been over bred, or have other social or health issues.hand rearing baby cockatiels

Some breeders say that a chick raised by humans is tamer in the long run. This is providing there is a lot of contact with humans. Some breeding facilities breed lots of chicks in buckets with other chicks, and this does not give them a lot of contact with humans, and also denies them the contact with their natural parents.

Whatever you choose to do, the quality of the time that you spend with the chicks is what really counts.

When Are The Chicks Weaned?

This normally happens between 8 and 12 weeks. It varies a lot, and you should let each cockatiel chick wean at their own speed.

Keep hand feeding the chicks for as long as they want to be hand fed. Once they are weaned and start to eat on their own, you will find that their crops will stay fuller longer.

Make sure that you give your weaning chicks a wide variety of foods and not just seeds, or they will be reluctant to try new foods in the future, which will be detrimental to their health.

The weaning period is the best time to introduce new foods, such as a spray of millet, sprouted seeds, pellets, fruit and vegetables. Once they are eating well, you can introduce calcium or mineral blocks.

Feel free to leave any comments and suggestions below that you may have about hand rearing baby cockatiels.





  1. I have a baby Cockateil about 5 weeks old ,I found it on the floor of their cage early on morning about a week ago.
    It may have been pushed out of the net box by its siblings.
    The issue is ,it cant stop rocking back and forth ,also cant maintain its balance, keeps falling over . I am hand feeding it and it eats well but what happens when it needs to be weaned ,what quality of life can we expect for it .
    I can bring myself to put it down but what options is there ?

    1. Hi Wiliam,
      I know cockatiels normally rock back and forth when they feel threatened, but not sure why your baby bird is doing this. If he is eating well, he may be ok. Many baby birds don’t balance well.

      I suggest taking it to be checked out by an avian vet for peace of mind.

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