Feeding cockatiel babies

Protocols for the hand-raising and care of cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus)

Corina Gardner



Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) are native to Australia and were first identified in the mid 1700’s. It is unclear when they were first imported out of Australia, but they were found in Europe in the 1800’s and have been exported to all parts of the world in the last few decades. They have been bred in captivity for over a hundred years now.

Cockatiels are intelligent, gentle and playful birds. They are usually very inquisitive and will thoroughly investigate anything everything that is around them. Individual cockatiels have very distinct personalities, behavior traits, and their own likes and dislikes. For example, grinding its beak indicates that the bird is sleepy and relaxed. These gregarious birds make one of the most popular pet birds today.

Cockatiels are naturally sociable birds and enjoy human contact. Hand-reared cockatiels are particularly easy to tame. Even cockatiels which have not really had very much human interaction but have been introduced into the company of humans adjust very well. Our cockatiels greet us when we get home by whistling and calling out. Most pet cockatiels even enjoy eating when their owners are having their meals. They crave attention and have a distinct call when they don’t want you to walk away from them. They can sometimes be incorrigible. If they are aware that they a particular behavior will annoy you, then that’s precisely what they will do.

General Guidelines for hand-rearing baby cockatiels

Often, young and inexperienced parents may abandon their nests and refuse to feed baby birds. Such a situation would demand immediate intervention and you will have to care for the baby birds yourself. If there happens to be another pair of cockatiels with a brood of chicks of a similar age, then chances are that the parents may accept and care for the abandoned chicks. Regrettably, this is seldom the case.

Hand-rearing a baby cockatiel is an extremely challenging and time consuming task that requires absolute dedication and patience. Baby cockatiels, which are also commonly called pinkies, are extremely delicate and fragile and therefore require immense amount of diligence while handling. As this is the most vulnerable part of their lives, special care must be taken to ensure the survival of these baby birds.

Feeding and hygiene

A disposable syringe, which is easily available in most medical stores, can be used for feeding the young birds. If unavailable, then the next best alternative would be to use an eye dropper or a plastic teaspoon. The slender tip of the spoon can be dipped in boiling water and then bent make a funnel, thus making it easy to use for hand feeding.

After feeding, the feeder (spoon, syringe or dropper) must be rinsed with warm water to remove any bacteria. Mild soap or detergent can be used to clean the feeder; however, it must be washed thoroughly so that no soap residue remains.

Baby bird formulae, for example, Kaytee Exact, available in most pet stores would be an ideal feed. However, as it is not easily available in India, baby formula like Cerelac can be used instead. If however neither of these is available, then a piece of bread can be crumbled in lukewarm milk and fed to the young birds - but I would only use this as a last resort. The formula must be prepared in a glass container as plastic containers tend to harbor bacteria. The consistency of the formula should be similar to that of a soft pudding – neither too thick, which would make it difficult for the baby to swallow and it may choke, nor too diluted as the baby could inhale the formula into its lungs causing aspiration. The formula must only be heated adequately before feeding the baby. Formula that is too hot will scald the baby bird’s crop, causing crop burn. Crop burn is the scalding of a chick’s crop and esophagus. For the same reason, formula must never be heated in a microwave. On the other hand, formula that is cold will cause sour crop. Sour crop is a condition in which the formula in the baby’s crop has gone bad and the contents of the crop has not emptied.

The baby bird can be placed on a napkin or towel on a table or kitchen counter and held gently while feeding. The aim is to emulate the parent bird as much as possible. Parent birds tap on the baby bird’s beak to stimulate the feeding response. So, gently tap the bay bird’s beak with the feeding instrument in a similar manner to encourage the feeding response. The feeding response is when the baby gapes for food, bobbing its head up and down. Parent birds then feed their chicks by inserting their beaks at an angle, through the side of the baby’s mouth. They then regurgitate the food deep into the baby bird’s mouth. Therefore, insert the tip of the feeding syringe at an angle at either sides of the baby’s beak. Press the plunger slowly, stopping every now and then, so as to allow the baby time to swallow. The speed of feeding must never be hastened. Enough time must be allowed for the baby to swallow its food before pressing on the plunger any further. Once its crop is full, not over-extended, and it has had enough to eat, the baby will stop gaping and refuse to open its beak. Feeding must be stopped immediately. Over feeding can cause formula to flow into the throat and down its windpipe, which can be life threatening. The baby must not be forced to feed when it is reluctant to accept food. The beak and feathers of the baby must be wiped gently with a warm, damp cloth after feeding.

1-7 day old baby

New born cockatiels are born totally helpless, eyes closed, pink with a few downy feathers.

Ideally, feeding should start at 6 a.m. and continue until midnight. The baby should be fed every 2 hours. A day old chick would require approx 1 ml of formula per feed, which can be gradually increased to 2 ml by the 4th day and 3 ml by 7th day. It is unnecessary to give the baby any additional water as they receive sufficient fluids in their feed itself. It is unnecessary to feed the baby at night as in nature, parent birds as well as their babies sleep at night.

2-3 weeks

Pin feathers begin to erupt in the second week of the baby’s life & the eyes usually open around the 8th -10th day.

The baby can be fed every 3 hours. The feed quantity must be increased to 4-5 ml per feed. Feeding must still begin by 6 a.m., however, the last feed could be given by 10 p.m.

3-4 weeks

The baby still has a few pin feathers.

The formula should now be of a thicker consistency and the feed quantity can be increased to 6 ml per feed. The frequency of feeding can be decreased to a feed every 4-5 hrs. The baby’s crop usually empties within 4 hrs. A crop that remains full or does not empty completely within that time indicates that there is a problem. The crop is a muscular pouch near the throat of the baby bird that is used to store excess food for subsequent digestion.

4-5 weeks

The baby birds start to develop flight feathers by this age and are now called fledglings. They also start foraging (searching for food) themselves by this age. Feed quantity can now be increased to 8 ml per feed and the frequency of feeds can be decreased to 2-3 feeds a day. The weaning process must begin by the time the baby is 5 weeks old.

Weaning foods such as greens, bits of toast and bread, crushed and grated boiled eggs (along with the shell) and cream cracker biscuits can now be offered to the young birds. This mixture is an easily digestible substitute and ideal during rearing of young birds. Mixed bird seeds such as millet (durra), foxtail millet (kheri), finger millet (ragi), sunflower seed, etc. should also be given to the birds.

6-7 weeks

The young bird is quite independent now and it’s time to transfer the bird to a cage. Although they feed well by themselves at this age, they must be watched vigilantly to ensure they are eating well. If necessary, feedings can be continued once or twice a day.

Mixed bird seed, which is available in most pet stores, should also be given to the bird. In the event that bird seed is unavailable then large millet seed (bajra), finger millet (ragi), foxtail millet (kheri), sunflower seed (suraj mukhi), safflower (beni or kardi) seed, pumpkin (kaddu) seed, boiled maize (makki) and soaked gram (chana) can be provided. It’s always advisable to offer the young birds entire or un-hulled seeds as hulled seeds tend to decay and mold. Seeding grass, French beans, and carrots are always a welcome treat as well. Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, mustard sprouts, millet sprouts and fenugreek (methi) leaves is essential along with other weaning foods. By 8 weeks of age, the bird should be completely weaned.

Foods that are toxic for cockatiels include apple pips, avocado (makhanphal), cherries and peaches (aadu). Never give your birds chocolate, as it may make your bird seriously ill.

In the event that the bird suffers an upset stomach or diarrhea, indications of which include watery green droppings, a pinch of Ridol or Kaltin or any other binding tablet can be crushed and mixed in a half container of water and offered instead of plain drinking water.

Grit, which is a mixture of sand and stones, and cuttle-bone, which is rich in calcium and phosphates, should be given to the birds periodically. Clean, fresh drinking water must be provided daily. The feed and water containers must never be placed directly beneath perches as the bird’s dropping will foul the contents.

It’s also a good practice to provide a shallow dish for the birds to bathe in. Another option would be to use a spray mister (plant atomizer mister), filled with warm water, not hot water. Many a time you’ll find your bird flapping its wings and hanging upside down from its perch, this usually indicates that the bird wishes to bathe. You will know that he is enjoying his bath when he puffs out his feathers, raises both his wings up and away from his side and leans forward.

Housing the young birds

A shoe-box or small cardboard box with adequate holes for ventilation, a wicker basket or even a small aquarium may be used to house the young birds. The box can be lined with a soft towel at the base and a few layers of tissue papers on top of the towel, making it easy to change the paper towels when dirty. The box must be placed in a warm, dry place, preferably near a source of warmth. A heating lamp, with a light bulb of maximum 40 watts, can be placed above the box. The lamp must be placed at least 12” away from the box. The ideal temperature for the baby birds would be about 35.5° Celsius (or 96° Fahrenheit). Again, it is crucial to be vigilant and ensure that the baby is not being overheated. A clear indication of overheating would be when the baby’s beak is open (as if panting) and wings are held away from its body. On the other hand, if it’s huddled and shivering, it is not receiving enough warmth. At night, partly cover the box with a light towel to keep out the light from the heating lamp and thus enable the baby to sleep.

It must be noted that the purpose of the lamp is to provide warmth alone, and not light, and it must never interfere with the natural light patterns and disrupt the baby bird’s sleep cycle. In nature, cockatiels nest in hollow tree trunks in wooded areas, where not much light enters. Even when in captivity, the parent bird sits on the baby, shielding it from most of the light. The heating lamp may be discontinued after the baby crosses 2-3 weeks of age and is covered with its first layer of feathers.

Ants are a real danger to baby birds and can fatally hurt them. It must be ensured that there are no ants in the vicinity of the bird.

Once shifted to a cage, it must be ensured that the cages are spacious enough to allow free movement between perches. Perches should be placed just above the floor of the cage so that the bird can easily climb onto them. The cage must be located in a well lighted location with a source of natural light such as sunlight. Avoid exposing the birds to a cold breeze or draught, especially at night, as this causes chills and other health problems.

Fresh, natural branches of Indian lilac or neem (Azadirachta indica)and other trees should be provided as perches as this helps to keep the feet and claws of the birds healthy and strong. It not only strengthens their jaws and sharpens their beaks but keeps them occupied as well. Birds are otherwise prone to boredom and feather plucking.

It’s advisable to cover the cage with a cloth at night as it gives the bird a feeling of security. If you get too near the cage at night, you might find him hissing. This is a fine demonstration of his protest to your invading his personal space and literally translates as, “don’t get in my face”. Beak-banging is a common male cockatiel trait that indicates he is looking for attention.

Clipping toenails

In the wild, birds’ nails are naturally smoothened out on a range of surfaces but this may not the case in captivity. However, if it transpires that your bird’s nails have grown too long then clipping them becomes inevitable.

Overgrown toenails are likely to get caught on a perch, cage wire, tray or fabric. This can cause deep discomfort, distress and even injury to your bird. Clipping a bird’s nails is a traumatic event at the best of times, both for the bird and the owner, and so it must only be done when the bird’s nails are very overgrown.

Special nail clippers, which have a rounded edge, should be used to trim the nails of your bird. Take care to only clip the tip of the nail, clipping too much will cause the toe to bleed. If the toe starts to bleed, Nebusulf powder which contains the antibiotic Neomycin, must immediately be applied to the wound.

Sexing Cockatiels

Both males and females look remarkably alike especially until they reach sexual maturity. One way to distinguish between the sexes is that the males sing and whistle while the females don’t. Males have bright orange patches on their cheeks, while females have duller patches. Another distinguishing aspect is that females have pale yellow/white dots on the underside of their wings and yellow/white barring on their tails. Males simply do not have this characteristic.

Cockatiels are not generally aggressive and have a good natured disposition. However, in the event that male cockatiels are kept together in a cage, there is a possibility of the dominant male pecking the more timid male, perhaps even preventing it from eating. The solution would be a larger cage with two food trays and two water trays. If however, the dominant male continues pecking the timid male, than separate the birds into different cages.

Egg binding

Egg binding is a medical condition when a female bird is unable to expel an egg. Egg binding can pose a serious threat to cockatiels. Younger females are at a greater risk of dying from egg binding. In the event that a female cockatiel is suddenly puffed-up and listless, it is quite likely due to egg-binding.

The female must immediately be placed in a small cage or shoe-box and provided with additional warmth. A heating lamp would be ideal. Castor oil or even cooking oil can be gently applied in to the birds vent or cloaca, with a Q-tip (a cotton bud) to lubricate the area and facilitate the passing of the difficult egg. One drop of castor oil given orally will also help the passage of the egg. If these basic requirements are provided it is unlikely that the bird will suffer any serious health issues.


Cages for breeding cockatiels should be an average size of 20”X20”X50”. The nest-box in the breeding cage should be 9”X11”X12” with a 2” opening. The nest-box can be mounted on the outside of the cage. Most cages now come equipped with a small door at the side of the cage which can be used as an entry to the nest-box. If on the other hand birds are housed in aviaries then the box can be placed inside the aviary itself. Nesting material should consist of pine shavings, shredded paper & freshly cut grass.

Cockatiels live for an average of 15-20 years in captivity and breed well in captivity. Males mature by 12 months of age while females mature by 18 months of age. When a female cockatiel is ready to mate she will sit low on a perch with her tail in the air while emitting a peeping sound while males will tap their beaks on the cage to gain the female’s attention. The eggs are laid a week after mating. The eggs hatch after a period of 21 days. Cockatiels usually lay a clutch of 4-8 eggs, twice a year.

Freeing cockatiels

Freeing cockatiels is just not an option as they will surely be attacked and killed by other predatory birds such as hawks, kites, shikras, crows, etc. as they are vulnerable and unable to fend for themselves. They will also be vulnerable to other predators such as cats, snakes, rats, etc. unless they can find themselves a safe place to roost.

In the wild, cockatiels forage for grain (usually on farms), feed on grass seeds, leaves, vegetables and fruit. Locating such food sources, especially in environments they are not native, would be extremely difficult. Needleless to say, this would be even more difficult in a city.


Barrie, A. (1997) Guide to owning a cockatiel. T.F.H. Publications, New Jersey

Grindol, D. (1998) The complete book of cockatiels. Howell Book House, New York

Grindol, D. (2001) Cockatiels for dummies. For Dummies, New York

Mancini, J.R. and Haupt, T. (2008) Cockatiels (Complete pet owner’s manuel). 2nd Ed. Barrons Educational Series, New York

Photographs used

Lucy. Female cockatiel.
Available from:
[Accessed: 21/11/2011]

Corina Gardner. Bent spoon feeder.

Corina Gardner. Juvenile cockatiel.

Devna Arora. Disposable syringe feeder.

Brett Donald. Adult male.
Available from:
[Accessed: 23/11/2011]

Dylan Ashe. Feeding a baby cockatiel.
Available from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ackook/page49/
[Accessed: 23/11/2011]

Dylan Ashe. New born cockatiel.
Available from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ackook/page49/
[Accessed: 23/11/2011]

Dylan Ashe. 1 week old cockatiel. Available form:
[Accessed: 23/11/2011]

Dylan Ashe. 3 weeks old cockatiel.
Available form: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ackook/page48/
[Accessed: 21/11/2011]

Dylan Ashe. 4 weeks old cockatiel.
Available form: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ackook/page48/
[Accessed: 21/11/2011]

Dylan Ashe. 5 weeks old cockatiel.
Available form: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ackook/page47/
[Accessed: 21/11/2011]

Lianne. Enjoying a mist bath.
Available from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ysaleth/2834585666/
[Accessed: 26/11/2011]

Matrixphere. Cockatiel bathing. Available from:
[Accessed: 26/11/2011]

Ulf Gotthardsson. Cockatiel foraging. Available from:
[Accessed: 21/11/2011]

Further reading

Excellent photographs on the entire stage of cockatiel chick development by Dylan Ashe can be viewed through the following links

Cockatiel Mist Bath by 3sugarbeans
http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=pA47Mpn05YQ 

Cockatiel Bath Time! by m4tt1600

Edited by Devna Arora
Published in 2011

Care For An Abandoned Baby Cockatiel

It can be a nerve-wracking experience to discover a newborn or very young cockatiel unexpectedly hatched out and abandoned by one or both parents. Once you are absolutely certain that a baby cockatiel is not being fed or consistently brooded and kept warm by its parents, you must act.

Baby birds that are well cared for have food in their crops — the little “sacks” under the throat located at the top of the breast. The parent birds pump food down the crop by grasping and shaking the baby bird’s beaks vigorously. Healthy youngsters scream for food and the adults first feed those that scream the loudest. Well-cared for baby birds are continuously brooded, nap contently between feedings, kept warm by their parents, and prevented from wondering away where they can grow cold and die.

In an ideal situation, aviculturists who raise cockatiels will attempt to find another pair of breeding birds with babies the same age so they can foster out the young. If the baby birds are too far apart in age, the foster parents might attack the newcomers, so it is critical that the babies’ ages are within days of one another.

However daunting at first, hand-feeding a single baby cockatiel can be successful providing you are fully committed from the start. Baby cockatiels require constant attention; if you are unable to be consistent or make the commitment, then you might have to find another solution.

When first hatched, a baby bird’s chance of survival during the first few days — especially with a new inexperienced hand-feeder — is very slim. Even experienced hand-feeders can lose babies that are under a week of age. This can be due to underdeveloped immune systems that would thrive better when fed by the baby bird’s parents, whose crop contents provide the natural flora and beneficial bacteria to ensure survival. Out of all the parrot species, the cockatiel is most sensitive to crop impaction. Crop impaction, or “sour crop,” is when the crop walls begin to slow down and digestion stops, leading to serious complications that are fatal if unattended.

Upon first discovering an unattended baby cockatiel, the most critical need to address is body temperature. Warming up the baby is not only essential to its overall survival, it is crucial to its ability to digest food. Never feed a cold baby! It is a guaranteed journey to an impacted crop.

Lacking a commercial brooder or incubator, home-made brooders can easily be built. Place a clean, empty aquarium or shoe box on top of a heating pad set to “medium” for a make-shift brooder. Towels can be partially draped to create more insulation if needed. Watch that baby birds do not become over-heated, or they can suffer heatstroke and die. Cockatiel babies that are too hot have gaping, wide-open beaks, while opening their tiny wings away from their bodies in an effort to keep cool. Baby birds that are too cold shiver, are restless, cry, and are unable to sleep. A thermometer is an excellent tool to keep track of temperature.

Babies between two and a half, to three weeks of age, may be kept in an environment between 92 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Gradually reduce the heat over time as the babies continue to feather, until reaching 86 degrees. At five to six weeks of age, move the babies into a cage so they may learn how to eat and perch; however, return them to the heated brooder at night to sleep. The babies will require another two or three weeks to wean and become completely self-sufficient. Gradually reduce the heat further over time, until they are weaned and sleeping comfortably on their own, and can remain full time in their new cage.

For single baby birds that have no siblings to cuddle with, a small paper cup stuffed with clean tissue paper provides superb support for drooping heads due to weak developing neck and can easily be changed with each feeding to keep the nest clean.

Fortunately, a variety of hand-feeding formulas are available today at local pet retailers that are ideal for hand-feeding baby cockatiels. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to the letter; each brand is different and prepared in a slightly different manner. Whichever brand you choose, always prepare fresh formula for each meal, discarding whatever is left over. Feeding leftover formula or formula that is not warm enough will impact a baby’s crop. Feeding formula that is too hot will scald the crop and cause serious, painful crop burn, requiring immediate veterinary emergency care for the baby bird to survive. Always test formula on the inside of your wrist — if it burns you, it will certainly burn the baby bird’s crop.

When attempting its first feed, you can try to drip a drop of formula onto the side of the baby bird’s beak; it will usually respond to the warmth and suck it in. If you lack a syringe, use a spoon with the sides curved upward. Another trick is to give a gentle “pinch” just like the parent grasping the baby bird’s beak. A baby usually responds by opening its beak, allowing you to slowly feed a small amount of food until it gets the idea to swallow. The chick will begin to vigorously pump its head up and down (at times almost too fast for the human eye!) hungrily taking in the formula.

Be careful not to feed too quickly or to overfeed, which can cause a chick to aspirate the food back down its windpipe. If you need to re-warm formula during feedings, either prepare a new batch, or (if the manufacturer’s instructions allow) heat a small glass of hot water and place the container of formula within it to keep it warm.

It is always better to feed too loose a formula and feed more often until you and the baby can learn a schedule together. If fed too thick, a heavier formula can impact the crop. After feeds, clean the beak, face or other soiled feathers with a clean cloth or tissue. Dry, and return the baby bird to its warm environment immediately so it can digest its food. Sterilize all utensils and syringes in a good disinfectant, which is obtainable at a local animal hospital or hospital supplier.

If a baby bird’s crop fills with air, massage is the correct treatment if you are able to gently burp the air out without aspirating the food up at the same time and risk the food going back down the windpipe. Frequent massages might be required. Air in the crop, however, is often a sign of further problems. If it does not resolve quickly, becomes worse or is accompanied by other problems, a veterinarian specializing in avian medicine should be sought.

For an avian veterinarian near your location, visit The Association of Avian Veterinarians. There is a listing for the public to find veterinarians whose practice includes birds, both within and outside the USA.

Newborns and tiny cockatiel babies require feeds at least every hour, then every two hours around the clock, with an eventual four-hour break at night near one week of age. Some cockatiel providers are able to arrange for more than one hand-feeder to take over at least part of the time, which greatly reduces the stress on the human caregiver. Most aviculturists will not “pull” baby birds for hand-feeding under 2 1/2 weeks of age, because baby birds require too many feeds each day. Waiting beyond 18 days can be tricky, because cockatiel babies are afraid of humans at that age and will often refuse food and be impossible to feed. Timing is everything!

In the event that a parent cockatiel is interested in feeding, assisting or even brooding its young, it might be given the opportunity to do so. A close and careful watch is necessary to be certain the baby is properly cared for. Another option is to allow supervised visits, without chilling the baby or interrupting its digestion if it is on formula.

In general, 3-week old cockatiel babies usually require five feeds per day; 4-week old babies require four feeds; 5-week old babies need three feeds daily; 6-week old baby birds are usually down to two feeds per day; and 7 week-olds usually require only nightly feedings until they are weaned at 8 weeks of age.

Of course, this is an “ideal schedule” of averages and does not account for individuality, slow growers, early problems or special needs. Some baby birds that start off slow easily catch up with maturity. Many aviculturists, the author included, have on occasion fed babies for one reason or another until it was 10 weeks of age. I’ve heard of longer, but that would usually point to other problems. However, never, ever, allow a cockatiel baby to go to bed hungry! If a baby bird’s crop is not full and round at bedtime, feed it you must. Weaning will occur when the cockatiel baby is developmentally ready to wean, and not before!

By 4 weeks of age, the “pin-cushion” you have been feeding will be fully feathered with a short little tail and can be kept in a larger aquarium or bird cage, protected from drafts, with food on the floor so it will learn to sample such dietary items. Tempting foods include millet spray; cockatiel bird food and fresh seed mix; stone ground whole-wheat bread; breakfast grains, such as shredded wheat or Cheerios; a corn, rice, and bean mix; corn on the cob; fresh, dark-green leafy vegetables, such as dandelion spinach, broccoli, parsley, carrots (including tops), among others; and other soft foods in moderation. Always supply clean drinking water, because cockatiel chicks wean faster when water is made available to them.

Today, the mind-body connection in medical and health issues is more widely accepted. Similarly, the mental bond that can be established between a care-giver or hand-feeder and their charge can, and often does, pull an animal through to flourish successfully. The sheer power of devotion, connection and perseverance in the survival of a helpless baby that is dependent upon its caregiver can make all the difference in the world.

Posted by: Chewy Editorial

Featured Image: iStock.com/Cerenzio


Cockatiel chicks: care, feeding, photo, video

Parrot breeders can tell a lot about keeping pets from their experience, but not everyone knows how to provide proper care and feeding when cockatiel chicks appear in the house. In the article you will find answers to these questions, as well as how to select a suitable pair for breeding and the stages of development of the offspring that have appeared.

Contents of the article

  • How to choose a healthy pair for breeding
  • The emergence and development of cockatiel chicks
  • Foster chicks
    • Feeding mix options
  • When cockatiel chicks can be taken from their parents

How to choose a healthy breeding mate

Choosing the right breeding mate starts with buying birds. Healthy parents lead to healthy offspring, so take the choice of cockatiels very seriously.

Purchase parrots from reliable breeders or nurseries. There, their age is more likely to be known and you can be sure that the birds were kept in suitable conditions and fed quality food. For more information on how to choose cockatiels, read this article.

Once the birds have settled into your home after purchase, observe them. If you notice that cockatiels have chosen each other among other birds in the aviary, this is the best pair to take for breeding.

In nature, cockatiels choose their partners on their own, therefore at home it is worth adhering to the same principles.

If you have only one cockatiel, then it will be more difficult to find a pair for him. After all, it is not known how your pet will react to the appearance of your chosen partner, whether they will like each other.

Therefore, do not rush to put a newly bought parrot in a cage with your pet. Let them get used to each other a little.

The habituation process is quite simple: put the birds in different cages and put them side by side. In a few days they will get to know each other and get used to each other.

Attention! You need to plant a newly acquired parrot with a partner who has been living with you for a long time no earlier than two to three weeks after they met.

If you notice that the birds do not react aggressively to each other, but, on the contrary, show interest, then they may well form a pair.

It is important that at this moment they are healthy, otherwise the offspring from sick parrots will cause a lot of problems later.

After you put them together in an aviary or in a cage, cockatiels can begin to care for each other, feed a partner and start mating games. So it's nesting time. You will need to prepare a nesting house and change the diet by increasing animal products in it, adding mineral supplements and grain sprouts.

Emergence and development of cockatiel chicks

After 21-23 days after laying the first egg, chicks appear one after another. They hatch blind, covered with a thin yellow down, weighing only 4-5 grams. Over the next week of life, they gain weight and become four times heavier - their weight is already 20 grams. At the same time, they begin to publish a calling squeak when they are hungry. At this time, parents constantly warm the cubs, because due to the lack of plumage they are very sensitive to temperature changes, they can get sick and die.

The eyes of cockatiel chicks open after 10 days of life. By this time, they are already gaining 40 grams in weight, hold their heads well and make loud clicks or squeaks. Then, under the newborn down, the beginnings of the emerging plumage begin to appear.

Important! Ringing cockatiel chicks is carried out approximately on the tenth day of life.

On the 14th day, the beginnings of the crest characteristic of the cockatiel appear on the head of the young. The beak with its shape of a grin begins to resemble the beaks of adults. The chicks already weigh 80 grams.

If at first, feeling hungry, they uttered a squeak, a little later the sound became “poking”, then it becomes similar to croaking or snoring. Hungry babies make a lot of noise.

All this time, the parents feed the chicks first with goiter milk, and then, when the milk stops being produced, with semi-digested food.

On the 20-21st day of life, the yellow fluff from the body of the birds is already completely gone. Their views are already meaningful and curious. Chicks try to imitate the behavior of their parents.

The next week is busy for young individuals: the tuft on the head becomes longer, the entire surface of the body is covered with feathers, a characteristic “blush” appears on the cheeks - orange-red spots. The chicks are already beginning to peck at seeds and grains, that is, they are becoming able to feed themselves.

Monthly birds are already starting to make their first attempts to fly out of the nest. At about six months of age, they leave him forever. For about another 2 weeks, the chicks are fed by their parents until they are completely able to do without them.

In this video you will see with your own eyes the development of cockatiel chicks from birth to full independence:

Nursing chicks

It happens that some female cockatiels do not have a maternal instinct and after hatching the chicks do not begin to feed them. Babies can live without food for several hours, but if the fasting drags on, it is fraught with their death.

If the female has not started to feed her offspring, and you have a couple of cockatiels busy breeding, try laying eggs in another nest. If the female refuses the chicks there, be prepared to feed them yourself. For this, a special infant formula is prepared. It should not be thick and have a temperature of + 36-37 ° C.

Take a budgie, put it back to your palm and inject a drop of the mixture on the side of the beak. If the chick is not too weak yet, he will readily swallow it.

These chicks are fed every 2 hours even at night. Only after seven days it will be possible to switch to feeding at three-hour intervals, and at night (22.00-6.00) feeding is completely canceled. The amount of the mixture will need to be gradually increased.

At the age of two weeks, fosterlings are fed with small millet porridge and baby cereal mixtures.

At three weeks old cockatiel chicks are already accustomed to eating food with their beaks from a spoon or other container. And the older they get, the better they get at it.

Feeding options

There are no difficulties in preparing formula for cockatiel chicks. There are several recipes for feeding these babies, you can choose any of them:

  1. Infant formula powder (1 tbsp) and semolina (2 tbsp) are mixed with crushed calcium glycerophosphate and glucose tablets (three each) and boiled chicken eggs (two pieces). The mixture is given to the chicks.
  2. Tablets of calcium gluconate and glucose (2 pieces each) are turned into powder, as well as one tablet of vitamin C, mixed with crumbled white crackers (one and a half tablespoons) and chopped boiled egg. This mixture is given to chicks from 8-10 days old.
  3. Powder of infant formula (1 tbsp) and semolina (3 tbsp) are mixed with calcium gluconate and glycerophosphate (one tablet each) and boiled egg (one piece), grated carrots (1 tbsp. .l.) and 3-4 drops of fish oil (it can be given no more than once every seven days). This nutrient mixture is fed to chicks at the age of three to four weeks. Daily rate - 1 tsp.

When cockatiel chicks can be taken from their parents

Usually parents feed their offspring for two months. However, sometimes the female can make a new clutch, and then feeding ends earlier.

If this happens, the owner must take the young and place them in another cage. In this case, the feeding of cockatiel chicks falls entirely on the person. Although this has its own plus: fosterlings quickly become tame, as they are accustomed almost from birth to reach out to a person in search of food.

The readiness of young animals for independence can be determined by their behavior: they confidently sit on the perches and eat food on their own. Then you can put them away. Chicks of different pairs of cockatiels, if they are about the same age, can be kept in the same aviary or spacious cage. But for the time being, they should not be planted with adults, since the elders can attack the young.

Before six months of age, cockatiel chicks need special attention and care, as they are still very sensitive to drafts, feed quality and hygienic conditions.

Watch this video about the subtleties of care and feeding of cockatiel chicks:

Feeding parrot chicks

Under natural conditions, parrots-parents are engaged in feeding the chicks, and nothing more. If for some reason this becomes impossible, then the offspring dies. In cage conditions, when a situation arises when parents leave their chicks or are forced to isolate them so that they do not harm their children, the owners feed the parrot chicks. So, the owners of parrots should have an idea of ​​\u200b\u200bhow this is done in order to insure the cubs of their feathered pets if necessary.

Conditions for artificial feeding

For artificial feeding to be successful, it is necessary to create comfortable conditions for abandoned chicks. They should be provided with heat - 25 - 30 0 C. Everything can be organized using a cardboard box, the bottom of which should be heated. Little chicks are still without feather covering and are not able to maintain body temperature. Overheating is also harmful to them, therefore, if a similar situation arises and the temperature at the bottom of the box rises, it must be lowered. You can just put a towel on the bottom. Some experts in breeding parrots use an incubator set to a comfortable mode for them to provide heat.

Staged feeding

The very first food for baby parrots is goiter milk. If the chicks were left without a mother, then in the first week it can be replaced with porridge from baby food, diluted with water, but in no case with milk. It should be diluted to a puree state. And it is also desirable to add a very small piece of yolk from a chicken egg passed through a sieve, and a drop of freshly made carrot or apple juice.

Chicks are growing fast. And after a couple of weeks, you can add a liquid porridge cooked from finely crushed millet to the mixture, add an eighth of a mashed egg (chicken or quail). You should also put calcium gluconate in the resulting mixture - half a tablet in crushed form.

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