Cockatiel Blog

Q & A For Your Pet Cockatiel

I recently purchased a cockateil from a breeder. The bird is 5 months old and is doing well. Unfortunately, he was born with a defective lower beak. It does not affect his eating although he does seem to do better with smaller seeds. He has shown average growth and development and is very friendly,active and vocal. My concern is that the lower beak is getting rather long. He does not use the cuttle bone, probably because of the defect. Is there something I can do or give him that will keep the beak size from becoming a problem? Can his beak be trimmed? If so, how? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you. Donna.


Hello Donna,

Thank you for your question. It was very kind of you to purchase a bird with a defective beak, as many might overlook him, and he sounds like a wonderful bird. If the lower beak is not grinding on the upper beak, it will continue to grow just as our nails do. His beak can and will probably always have to be trimmed. This should be done by an experienced person only.

I have an african grey that never likes to chew any wood or hard nuts, so his upper beak overgrows. I take him to my avian vet regularly for a nail and beak trimming. Bird's beaks have many blood vessels, so trimming should only be done by a professional. In between visits, I give my grey some toys specifically made for bird's with beak problems. I also give him a sandy perch that he chews on to some extent. A cuttlebone is necessary in your cockatiel's cage, but it will not be enough to grind down his beak, as they are too soft.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best with your bird. It sounds like you a concerned owner and he is a lucky bird. Please let me know if I can answer any more questions.

Good luck,

Jill


How old does a cockateil have to be to lay eggs?

I recently purchased 2 white cockateils from a breeder. He said they was 5 months old, I have them in the same cage. They are now 7 months old, one of them lay an egg in the bottom of the cage. I think they are to young to lay eggs. Thanks Chris

Hi Chris, Thank you for your question regarding your cockatiels. It is true that your bird may have laid an egg at the age of 7 months, but it is recommended that cockatiels should be at least a year old before they start a nest. I would also ask the breeder you bought the birds from for more information on this. I also have some more details on my cockatiel blog. It is interesting how some birds mature early and others later. My female cockatiel did not lay eggs until she was eleven. She continued to lay eggs until she was twenty-two. Both my cockatiels are going on twenty-five years. They have been wonderful birds, as well as friends to me. I hope you have many happy years with yours.

Jill


I have a cockateil and i was wondering if you can put 2 together, does it have to be a male and female together? Is it better to have 2 cockatiels in the same cage for company? Mine is about 3 years old and i was thinking about buying another one, Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thank-you teresa

Hello Teresa,
Thank you for your question. Cockatiels are one of the most friendly birds with each other. They rarely fight and you can have two together of either sex. You did not mention if you had a male or female. I had my male cockatiel for a year before I bought the female. He fell in love right away with the female and was never friendly again, but they are still together and going on 25 years old.

Yes, birds love companions, but if you want your pet to stay attached to you, it is best to keep a single bird. If you are busy and feel he is lonely, they do like mirrors and toys. However, if you absolutely think he or she is lonely and you are looking for another and you want to keep them tame, keep them in separate cages, at least until the new bird is friendly with you too.

I hope this helped in your decision and please look for more information on my cockatiel blog.

Take care,
Jill

My dad had found my cockatiel out in the pasture at his ranch. We now have it in a cage. I know it is a Luntino and that is about all. Right now its seems scared since this is only the second day. He/she doesnt like the perch, climbs up the side and sits on the bottom. Eats very well.. any suggestions or what I should do to make him feel safe thank you Diane

Diane: Congratulations on your new cockatiel. It is a lucky bird to have been found, because even though cockatiels can and do survive when they are released or escape into the wild, lutino (light yellow) and albino cockatiels have a more difficult time, as they are easily spotted by hawks and falcons that prey on them. Your cockatiel has probably had quite an ordeal outside, so even though it is safer in a cage, it does not realize this and it may feel confined at first. It also feels vulnerable, which is why it does not perch and prefers to move around and sit on the bottom. It should calm down after a few days if it is not bothered or moved too often. You should put the cage in one place and let it get used to it's surroundings.

Cockatiels are friendly by nature, so if you talk to it softly and reassure it, that will help make it more comfortable. However, I must mention that even the most comfortable cockatiel can have what they call a night fright, where they thrash around the cage at night in panic. This is something that most cockatiels owners have experienced. I find turning on the light and talking to them calms them down, unfortunately they sometimes damage a few feathers, which will grow in like new when they molt. As my cockatiels got older, they had less night frights and I found a night light helps too.

I am happy to hear it is eating well. You can feed cockatiel seed in one dish and you can have a separate dish for vegetables and fruits. Some favorites are carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, dried red peppers, spinach, corn, grapes, apples and oranges. They also enjoy millet sprays, which can be given as a treat. Never feed any bird avocado or chocolate, as this can be deadly to them. A cuttlebone should be placed in the cage for calcium requirements and always provide a dish of fresh water.

Lastly, I am assuming your cockatiel's wings are not trimmed since it was outside. If you intend to keep it as a pet, you might consider trimming it's wings because this should help it tame down faster. Wing trimming should be done by an expert, so as not to damage feathers or possibly trim a blood (new) feather growing in.

Cockatiels make wonderful devoted pets and they can live 20 years or more. Mine are in their twenties. Of course you will not be able to tell the age of yours, but you can usually tell a male from a female, because the males whistle more. Both make delightful pets and I hope you find that to be true. Please write to me if you have any more questions and please update me in the future on how your cockatiel is doing. You are welcome to send a picture of your cockatiel which we will post on the web page. This can be sent to photos@astepupbird.com. Thank you for contacting us through the parrot blog.

Jill


hi, i have a female cockateil who has 4 eggs with no other cockateil in the same cage. i dont have a male cockateil. just a female anyway she,s had 4 eggs and shes been sitting on them in the bottom of the cage. the only time she gets up off the floor of the cage is to eat and drink bottled water in r water bottle.what do i do with the eggs? and will they hatch with out a male cockateil in the cage? what should i do with her eggs? get rid of them or just and see if they,ll hatch? or will cockateil eggs hatch with out amale cockateil?even though i just have the one female cockateil will the eggs hatch at all?please let me know about this. thanks. patty

Hello Patty: In answer to your questions, it is not unusual for female birds to lay eggs, with or without a mate. The difference is that the eggs your parakeets laid are possibly fertile and could hatch. Your cockatiel's eggs will not hatch, because without a male bird, there is no chance that they are fertile. In the case of your cockatiel, even though they will not hatch, you should allow your cockatiel to sit on her eggs. The average number of eggs laid by cockatiels is 4 to 6. Fertile cockatiel's eggs normally hatch in 18 to 23 days, so you should let her sit on them for that amount of time, even though they will never hatch. At that time, you can remove and discard them.

If you remove the eggs as they are laid, your cockatiel will continue to lay eggs to try to complete those lost from her clutch. This could be harmful to your bird's health, because continuous egg laying uses up the bird's energy, as her body is depleted of valuable nutrients. Your cockatiel will continue to sit on the eggs, because she thinks they are going to hatch. She will leave them only to eat and drink for brief periods. Cockatiels should be provided with a cuttlebone at all times, but this is especially important when they are laying eggs because they require extra calcium.

When the time comes to discard the eggs, you may feel bad for your cockatiel, because you think she will miss them. The truth is, in the wild many birds lose their eggs to predators, bad weather or a variety of other reasons. They may miss them for a moment, but they get over it. Life goes on in the wild and your bird will have the same instincts and should quickly get back to her old self. However, the only drawback here is that she may start laying another set of eggs, as many cockatiels often have two nests a year. If she does, then you should follow the same routine as above. Anymore than two nests is not good for your bird's health, so at that point, I would contact an avian veterinarian to determine what is causing your cockatiel to keep laying eggs. You might want to check your library for some books on cockatiels and parakeets that would give you additional information.

Thank you for your question to our cockatiel blog. I wish you the best with your parakeets and cockatiel.

Jill


I just recently purchased another cockatiel to give my female gray a companion. I am still trying to decide what mutation it is. He/She has a bright yellow head with bright red cheeks, a pearl pattern down the back of its wings and the front is a light brown patch then yellow in the middle followed by light brown at the bottom of the belly. It still looks very young with a pink beak and feet but it is very vocal. Do I have a Cinnamon Pearl or a Cinnamon Pearl Pied? With the bright yellow head I though it was a male but now after reading on both mutations I'm not sure. Dina.

Dina: Hello and thank you for your patience in my answering your question. I have two cockatiels that are over twenty-two years old. My male is the normal gray color and my female is a lutino.

I have not studied cockatiel mutations, but having read about them, I decided to take your description of your bird to the person that I purchase most of my birds from. He has a wonderful pet store and he has been in business for over twenty years. He is very familiar with many types of cockatiels and he surmises, based on your written description, that you have a cinnamon pearl pied.

Regarding whether your cockatiel is a male or female, I will tell you what you probably already know. In the wild, males have a bright yellow face with orange spots and gray feathers with some white on the wing feathers. Females lack the yellow face and their orange spots are not as bright. It is difficult to sex cockatiels now by looking at them, because there are so many beautiful mutations. Males are normally more vocal. I know mine is.

The pet shop owner added that, if you have a male, some pearl male's feathers turn gray and lose their pearl coloring after their first molt. I read about birds all the time and that is an excellent way to keep updated with what is new about your cockatiels. Thank you for asking your question on the cockatiel blog.

Jill


i have two cockateils. the female just laid an egg today and the male is the one that is sitting on it. Is it normal for the male to be the one to do this? Yayo.

Yayo: Hello and yes this is normal behavior. Cockatiels take turns sitting on the eggs, with the male usually sitting on them all day, except to eat, at which time the female will sit on them briefly. During the night, the female will sit on the eggs and the male will stand guard over them. Cockatiels average four to five eggs per nest, with an egg typically laid every other day. If the eggs are fertile, they should start hatching in 18 to 21 days.

The parents will need nesting food and soft foods, in addition to their regular diet, so they can feed the babies. Please check with your veterinarian or local pet supplier regarding what they recommend. Supply a cuttlebone for your cockatiels to provide valuable calcium which the female needs to develop strong eggshells. Always provide fresh water.

When the eggs hatch, both parents will feed the chicks and they will stay in the nest for five or six weeks. At this time, the babies will begin venturing out and start eating seed. They will learn to do this by watching their parents. Seed should be placed on the floor of the cage at first. They will eventually eat from seed dishes when they start perching. The babies can be placed in their own cage when they are eating on their own. The parent birds will probably start a second nest at this time.

Good luck with your cockatiels and thank you for your question on the cockatiel blog.

Jill


If any of you have a 6-10 year-old in the family you might find help with their learning to multiply, at my dad's site -
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