When to hand feed baby cockatiels

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


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

Cockatiel Bath Time! by m4tt1600

Edited by Devna Arora
Published in 2011

We grow the chicks of Corella -


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Inna Grabovaya recently posted (view all)

Corella parrots are loved by many for their charming ruddy cheeks and crest. Parrots of this species are small in size, they are very cute and quickly tamed. The matter is not always limited to the purchase of one bird, often the owners acquire a pair for their pet. The second parrot can be purchased not only so that she is not bored, but also to create a pair to continue the race.

When creating a pair of parrots, there are some important points to consider:

1. Parrots should like each other. If they fight, then they are unlikely to succeed in an alliance. You can put the male and female in different cages and put them side by side. Perhaps in 2-3 weeks they will get used to each other. If this does not happen, then the male or female should be replaced.
2. The male must take care of the female, feed her.
3. The female should not be afraid of a person, she should be calm and not jump out of the nest for any reason. nine0043 4. Parakeets must have a good appetite to ensure the proper development of their chicks.
5. Parrots must be healthy. The presence of any diseases, skin parasites can lead to deviations in the development of chicks or will distract from incubation of eggs.

6. Male and female must be of the right age. Birds that are too young will not form an alliance until they reach maturity. Old birds may not be able to give birth at all, or the chicks will be sick. nine0043 7. It is necessary to provide birds with good nutrition. Insufficient intake of vitamins, minerals can lead to the fact that the embryos will die while still in the egg.
8. Be sure to maintain hygiene. The nest box must be carefully crafted.
9. Create the necessary conditions for comfortable incubation of eggs. Make an indentation in the bottom of the nest box to avoid scatter of eggs. Put the cage in a quiet place.

Compliance with these conditions will create a good cockatiel union, which will ensure the birth of healthy cockatiels. nine0003

A baby cockatiel is born blind. He has no plumage, his whole body is covered with yellow fluff.

The first few days after the chick has hatched, the female feeds him with crop milk. It is a white liquid with a yellow tint, it contains a large amount of protein.

After about 4 days, the cockatiel chick begins to receive a semi-digested grain mixture from the female. The male feeds the female, and she, in turn, passes solid food to the chick. At this time, it is useful for parrots to give germinated grain, finely chopped chicken egg, but greens in the diet should be avoided. nine0003

When the chicks are hungry, they make "tickling" sounds, as they mature, this sound will become reminiscent of croaking or snoring. Therefore, be prepared for the fact that there will be a lot of noise from hungry chicks in the room.

At the age of 6-7 days the baby cockatiel opens its eyes. On the head and back, you can notice the appearance of the first stumps of feathers, and on the 11-13th day, stumps of tail and flight feathers appear. For 4-5 days, these feathers become much larger. The cockatiel chick is covered with stumps all over the body, it becomes like a small funny hedgehog. nine0003

Feathers all over the body appear in chicks at the age of about 3-4 weeks. By the end of 4 weeks, the cockatiel chick should be fully fledged.

When the little parrot is 5-6 weeks old, he already leaves the nest. As a rule, at this age, the chicks already know how to take food, sit on a perch, flap their wings, and may even try to fly.

Feeding cockatiel chicks

Sometimes it happens that the female does not feed him for several hours after the birth of the cockatiel. A cockatiel chick can live without food for several hours. But if after some time the female does not begin to feed the chick, then this may mean that she does not have a maternal instinct, or the chick is too weak. If possible, then in this case you can transfer this chick to another nest or offer the female an older chick. He will squeak, thereby encouraging her to feed him. However, this is only possible if you have at least two pairs of cockatiels. nine0003

You can try to feed the chick yourself. To do this, dilute a sparse infant formula, its temperature should be about 36-37 degrees. In your hand, lay the parrot on its back, try giving it a small drop of the mixture on the side of the beak. If the cockatiel chick is not very weak, then he will swallow it. You will need to feed such a chick around the clock every 2 hours. When the little parrot is 7 days old, it will be possible to feed it every 3 hours, at night it is no longer necessary to feed (from 22.00 to 6.00). The amount of food should be gradually increased. nine0003

Little birds are very vulnerable. Be attentive and careful. When the chick reaches the age of 2 weeks, it will become much easier to feed him. In the diet, you can add porridge from small millet and baby cereal mixture. At the age of 3 weeks, young cockatiels can be taught to take food on their own from a spoon or other container.

Feeding mixes

In order for cockatiel chicks to grow up healthy and strong, it is necessary to ensure that they receive all the necessary vitamins. Mixtures are well suited for this purpose. nine0003

  1. Mix 1.5 tablespoons of white breadcrumbs, 2 tablets of calcium gluconate, 2 tablets of glucose and 1 tablet of vitamin C thoroughly, add chopped boiled egg. The mixture is given to adult cockatiels after the eggs have hatched for 8-10 days.
  2. Grind 3 tablets of glucose and calcium glycerophosphate, add to them 1 tablespoon of dry infant formula, 2 tablespoons of semolina, 2 boiled eggs. Mix and serve to the birds.
  3. Grind 1 tablet each of calcium gluconate and calcium glycerophosphate, add 1 tablespoon of infant formula, 3 tablespoons of semolina, 1 boiled egg. Grate carrots, about 1 tablespoon, add a few drops of fortified fish oil to it. Mix with the rest of the ingredients. nine0014

This mixture can be fed to cockatiel chicks that are already 3-4 weeks old. Give 1 teaspoon every day. Add fish oil only once a week.

Why cockatiel chick dies small

Sometimes it happens that the chick dies even before leaving the nest. There may be several reasons for this phenomenon:

1. One of the parrots throws out of the nest or kills the chicks. Pay attention to which of the parrots is doing this, and replace it. In the future, this parrot should not be allowed to breed. nine0043 2. If the little parrots have not yet fledged, and the female has already started the second clutch, then the eggs from the second clutch should, if possible, be placed with another pair of parrots. Otherwise, the female will incubate a new clutch, and she will not feed the chicks. However, if the chicks have already fledged, then a second nest should be placed in the nest box. In this case, while the female will incubate the clutch, the male will feed the little parrots.
3 The female does not feed her babies well or stops feeding them altogether. If possible, transfer these chicks to another pair of cockatiels. Or feed yourself. The next time such a female should not be allowed to breed.4. Birds receive little food and cannot ensure sufficient intake of substances in the body of small parrots. It is necessary to increase the feeding rate, add fruits, vegetables, greens to the diet. nine0043 5. Perhaps the female feeds the babies, but they do not get enough heat, so they can die from hypothermia.
6. Too active and nervous birds can also cause injury or death to chicks. It is necessary not to disturb the birds once again, to provide them with peace and quiet.

It is often observed that parrots become aggressive towards their chicks. Perhaps they are going to breed new offspring, and the chicks in the nest prevent them from doing this. The way out of this situation is to put the little cockatiels in another cage and feed them yourself. nine0003

If one of the parrots starts to pluck the feathers of the chicks, this indicates a lack of nutrients. It is necessary to revise the diet of parrots, add mineral food, vegetables, fruits, fresh herbs.

When cockatiel chicks can be weaned from their parents

As a rule, cockatiel female feeds her chicks until the age of 2 months. However, if she is about to start a new clutch, then feeding may end earlier. In this case, the chicks are placed in another cage and fed artificially. What is remarkable is that such chicks are tamed faster, because from a young age they are drawn to a person for food. nine0003

Cockatiel chicks can be placed when they can sit on the perch and eat by themselves. Chicks can be transplanted into a separate cage or with other parrots of the same age. If they are placed in a cage or aviary with adult birds, then there is a possibility that they will be attacked. And this can cause not only stress, but also lead to death or injury to the chick.

At the age of 8-12 months, cockatiel chicks begin to molt, which lasts 30-40 days. During this period, it is important to provide the parrot with proper nutrition and care. After molting, it becomes possible to determine the sex of the cockatiel. nine0003

Raising cockatiel chicks

cockatiel chicks are born bare and blind. They are covered with long yellow down.

During the first days after the chicks hatch, the female feeds them with a yellowish-white liquid, which many breeders call crop milk. However, in the literature, this protein-rich mass is called the milk of the anterior stomach.

Night light

It is recommended to use a night light during breeding. You can use the usual type of home night light with a built-in light sensor, or a small light bulb - in any case, they should be of low power and provide only dim light. The purpose of the nightlight is not to help the parents so that they can feed the chicks at night. Nature has given them everything they need for this, and they do not need our help. However, the birds are often frightened at night, falling off the perch or nest (they may be startled by predators, car lights, street fireworks, etc.). Using a night light will give them enough light to fly up onto a perch or into a nest box without getting injured or damaged or interfering with the nesting process. nine0003

Checking chicks and nesting conditions

ALWAYS check newly hatched chicks. Not only to see signs that the chick is being fed, but also to avoid the next possible problems. For example, the mother may “spill” some of the food on the “face” of the chick, this food may harden like concrete and the chick will not be able to open its beak for further feeding, and the nostrils may also be stuck.

When you notice a newborn in the nest, it has most likely arrived an hour or two ago. If the shell is still very close, then the chick has probably just been born. The mother removes the shell from the chick rather quickly. She may throw the shell out of the nest, move it to the side, or eat it as an additional source of calcium. Check for signs of food in the baby's crop... a light yellow, rather creamy, tiny blister on the skin at the base of the neck. If there is food in the crop, all is well. If not, don't panic, but check again a few hours later. It often happens that a newborn is not fed until 8 - 10 hours. If there are other babies in the nest, and they are much larger, you can move the baby a little closer to the entrance, where the mother will see him and feed him better, and the baby will not be trampled. In a day or two, subject to good feeding, he will already have the strength to crawl out from under his brothers and sisters. Don't be afraid to pick up newborns. They are very "elastic" and your gentle touch will not harm them. The main thing is not to overdo it. nine0003

Checking the nest boxes when the chicks start to hatch is essential. You can control the house at the time when parents eat early in the morning and in the evening.

You should check the house regularly to make sure:

Chicks are fed

No broken or damaged eggs

Parents don't eat their own eggs and/or chicks (yes... that can happen)

· No dead chicks (some chicks hatch during the night and die because they weren't seen or fed). This must be done because there is nothing worse than finding a dead chick a few days later and knowing that there could be bacteria and disease in the nest because of it. nine0003

· The condition of the nesting materials for the bottom of the house is satisfactory

· Checking the possible presence of insects in the nest

· Checking for possible deformations in the chicks. For example, "twine" (which is corrected if noticed early enough and action is taken), bone and beak deformities. Later, when the chicks have their eyes open, check that both eyes are present, as sometimes chicks may be born without an eyeball.

· Check babies' beaks for food sticking. nine0003

Feeding of chicks by parents

Humidity and temperature during the period of raising chicks

Humidity in the room should be 50-60%. Room temperature, but not lower than 22 degrees.

Parents' diet

- Wheat and oat germs

- Steamed oats and wheat

- Cottage cheese 0% granular

- Hard boiled eggs, grated on a fine grater

red and orange). It is especially important to give grated or sliced ​​carrots. The form of serving carrots depends on the preferences of the birds to either eat from the feeder or gnaw something. nine0003

- If the chicks are developmentally retarded or the parents do not look well, you can add 1 tablet of brewer's yeast and calcium gluconate per day at the standard dosage of 1.5 ml per 50 ml drinker.

It is not recommended to give vitamin complexes to parents who feed chicks. It is also not recommended to give any synthetic vitamin complexes to young birds under one year old.

Female with chick

When the last chick appears, the parrots are not permanently in the nest, but fly out in search of food. nine0003

After 3-4 days, the female begins to give her chicks solid food (the male feeds the female sitting in the nest box, and she passes the food to the chicks) - semi-digested grains. It is best at this time, along with the grain mixture, to feed the parrots with germinated seeds.

The sounds made by chicks when they are hungry differ at different times in their lives. Very small chicks shout "Tzik!" or “Ttzit!”, and already grown-ups “croak” or “snor”.

By this time you should increase your daily intake of supplementary feed and grain mix, and also consider the parent's diet above. Many veterinarians do not recommend giving birds greens during this period. nine0003

By the end of the 1st week, the eyes of the chicks open, and feather stumps begin to grow on the back and head. By the 11th-13th day, the chicks are completely covered with down, after which stumps of fly and tail feathers grow in them.

Only on the 16th-17th day, the flight feathers reach a significant size, and the chicks begin to become covered with stumps of covert feathers, becoming like small bristling hedgehogs.

Feathers on the back, head and wings appear in young parrots by the end of the 3rd week of life. By the age of one month, the chicks are fully feathered. At the age of 35–40 days, the chicks leave the nest. nine0003

By now the chicks have learned a lot. They can sit on a perch, take food, flap their wings. Some chicks are already trying to fly.

It happens that the female does not feed the chick in the first few hours after it hatches from the egg. You should not panic because of this: the chick has a certain reserve of nutrients in the yolk bladder, and it can live for several hours without receiving food.

If even after 2–3 hours the female does not feed the chick, this means that the parrot that has been born is either too weak to receive food, or the instinct to feed the chicks has not worked in the female. nine0003

If you encounter this problem, move the chick to another nest containing newly hatched birds, or give the female a 4-5 day old chick from another nest to encourage her to feed with his squeak.

If this does not work, you can try to save the bird by artificial feeding. To do this, dilute the baby food (the mixture should be relatively liquid) and heat it to 35-37 ° C. Then take the chick in your hand, put it on its back, dip a small brush into the prepared mixture and bring a drop hanging from the end of the brush to the side of the parrot's beak. If the chick is not too weak, he will swallow a drop of food. Feed the chicks until they are full, every 2 hours (and at night too). You will see food already in the crop. Return him to his parents and carefully observe the coming days to see if the parents are feeding. You may need to feed the little one several times before the parents start doing it themselves. Some birds that have become parents for the first time do not immediately understand what needs to be done, but they can figure it out a little later. nine0003

Feeding chicks by hand is quite common among breeders. There may be several reasons for such feeding. One of the main reasons is the plucking of feathers from chicks by parents. Unfortunately, this is a problem that almost all breeders face. Many females pluck the chick's down, but when the feather shafts appear, they stop plucking. Do not worry about such females, they are often the most attentive mothers and excellent nurses. The real problem is when the male or female starts to pluck, peck and chew on the growing feathers on the head, back and wingtips of their chicks. Often these areas become red and bleed. nine0003

How to act in such cases. Firstly, if the age of the chick allows, then it is immediately moved to a separate cage. Secondly, if the movement is impossible due to the age of the chicks, and the female plucks the feathers, then she can be removed from the adjustable cage, leaving the male to continue to take care of the chicks. If the aggressor is a male, then he must be removed, and the female left. This is the only guaranteed option to avoid plucking.

Experience shows that once a parent has started to pluck, he will continue to do so again. In the first nest, such birds may not do this, but if they do, they will continue. There is a point of view that this is a hereditary problem. nine0003

From the 7th day of life, the chicks can be fed every 3 hours and only from 6–7 am to 10 pm. Every day, the dose of food must be increased and, in addition, baby cereal mixture should be added to it.

Little chicks look defenseless

Corellas that have reached the age of 14 days are already much easier to feed. Millet porridge can be added to the usual food of 2-week-old parrots (millet should be crushed).

Cleaning the nest box with the chicks in it.

If there are wood shavings or similar in the nest, the condition of the nest will remain more or less acceptable until the chicks are about 14 days old. After that, you need to be very careful about the cleanliness of the nest, because the chicks and parents dirty it quite a lot.

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