If you are not aware, we at ‘about cockatiels‘ have just had a successful batch of three wonderful cockatiels hatch & grow up. This is an update on how they went, from a desire in their parents eye to a wonderful specimen of what they are today.
The first part of the process was the fun bit… or maybe not as the female cockatiel really does scream as if she is being attacked!! However, it takes two to tango as they say.
Even though the female can produce eggs without her partner, she does require the male to make the eggs fertile. The mating session can vary in timing but the fundamentals never change. Once this act has taken place generally more than once… the pair will be rampant in search of a suitable nesting place. Note; a single female can lay an egg in any place she feels comfortable, we have had one laid in the waste paper bin, on my lap and various other places. Be aware that excessive egg laying is not good.
I would suggest that if you are wanting to allow your couple to have a go at the whole nesting and raising baby cockatiels saga, then introduce a perfect nesting situation. I say saga as it can become quite an ordeal if things go wrong. Warning, be completly sure that this is what you are prepared for & understand the consequences that may follow. As soon as they have found a suitable nesting area, one that they have decided is fine or one that you have introduced, they will set things in motion.
Once the nest is sorted and the pair are comfortable, the female will lay her clutch of eggs. This can be any number but generally between 3 – 6. Some females will become egg laying machines and this will require medical attention. Their are certain dangers in the egg laying procedure that you need to be aware of which are life and death situations so please inform yourselves.
Once the eggs have been laid at an interval of one every second day (48 hours) the couple will incubate them for 21 days. Ours have been spot on 21 days each time, some say 19 – 22 days. Our couples have the routine that the female sits during the night from around 6pm till 6am with no break, and the male during the day, with a few changes in between the day shift. This pattern continues once the egg hatches.
The first sounds of a baby cockatiel can actually be heard from inside the egg. This is a sign that very soon it will crack open the egg and make its way out. Ours took about 4 hours to break through.
The parent will check it over and gently help it free of its shell. The first feed will happen around 12 hours after hatching. The baby cockatiel will just roll and sort of crawl in the nest with the parent sitting on it keeping warm. Every two days an egg should hatch, if some don’t then they were infertile and I suggest removing them (allow a few days extra before taking out). Once the eggs have hatched, the parents will feed them regularly and this is important that you as the owner can see that all the baby cockatiels are being feed and consuming the food.
A Few Hours Old
Cockatiels are born with their eyes closed and no feathers just a little pale looking alien like shape. They will show fluff within the first 24 hours and be lying on their back and front lots as they can not stand yet. It is important that the parents do keep the baby warm and close to them, if they reject it then you will need to take action.
A feeding schedule will need to be established if you have to step in and help out with the feeding. We had to supplement one of ours as it was missing out at feeding times and not growing fast enough and as a result was not strong enough to fight for it’s food between the two other stronger cockatiels.
A Few Days Old
The baby will only just be able to stand, make sure that you can see the crop being full and emptied at this stage. This is most important as the baby cockatiel must be fed and the crop must be warm and also functioning. The eyes will still be closed and the body should become covered with fluff. They are about double the size now from hatching.
A Week Old
Now they are standing but not able to walk without falling over. A bit like something top heavy they keep falling forward. The crop should be very visible after feeding from the parents. This is very important and requires continuous attention from all owners. You can see the pin feathers slowly appearing.
Around Ten Days Old
I say around ten days as this is the time when the baby cockatiel opens it’s eyes for the first time. They still look very bald and helpless at this stage, but the wings and legs, feet and claws are fully visible.
Now they are about four times the size from hatching. Parents are still feeding according to their schedule and the baby cockatiels are showing signs of feathers coming through.
Two Weeks Old
At two weeks these little beauties have some colour showing through there fluff. Also the wings are well deformed and the pin feathers are starting to show more. They have grown considerably in size and are double what they were at 8 – 10 days old. Keep checking that they are being fed and as you hold them you should feel that they have put on some weight. They only weigh between 80 – 120 grams when fully grown.
Three Weeks Old
Right now the baby cockatiels are able to stand very well, however balancing on one leg is still a challenge. They are putting on more weight and growing bigger. The eyes are wide open and bright, the crest feathers are showing as long spikes and the best feathers are most visible on the wings. They still have fluff and are beginning to show some signs of adventure… Remember that you as the owner must always be vigilant and be aware of any signs that something is not right, you must know how to care for your cockatiel .
Four Weeks Old
The baby cockatiels are now showing good feather growth and have considerable strength in their wings. Although not able to fly yet they are stretching out. The nares are open and clean, the beak has taken on great definition and pale in colour without any blemishes.
We are taking the baby cockatiels out of the nesting box daily to get them used to us and the surroundings. The feathers are covering them quite even now and are showing great patterns. Between now and five weeks they will start to crack the first seeds however the parents still need to continue to feed them.
Five Weeks Old
Now the baby cockatiels are showing great strength in their wings and practising the flying motions flapping with vigour. They are climbing in and out of the nesting box within the cage. The feathers are very well spread and the majority have opened.
Still being fed by the parents and cracking seeds themselves. They are not able to feed themselves yet. Showing signs of flight determination and the parents are encouraging them to make their first flights. Now they are able to balance on one leg and stretch without falling over…
Six Weeks Old
During this week they have made their virgin flights and have left the nesting box. We have transferred them into the larger living cage now.
The parents are still feeding them regularly and they are eating seeds and celery. They have had an introduction to water by a spray which they loved. The baby cockatiels sleep on the perches and rummage on the floor of the cage, trying to fly up with some success. Their feathers are still not fully grown, yet they do have complete coverage. They will get longer as they get older.
So there you have it, a detailed first 40 days of our baby cockatiels and how they have progressed. The journey has been really exciting and a pleasure to see how these wonderful creatures evolve from such a small helpless baby into a truly fine cockatiel.
Tags: about cockatiels, baby cockatiels, breeding cockatiels at home, breeding tiels, caring for cockatiels, cockatiel breeding, cockatiel care, cockatiel nesting, cockatiel pets, cockatiels in a home