Broody Cockatiel

Submitted by Vicky on Thu, 01/16/2014 - 00:00
We have an female and male Cockatiel and we saw them mating about a week ago today. She hasn't been building a nest or anything. Do you think she getting ready to lay her eggs? She is looking bigger down near her tail feathers. She seems to sleep a lot also is this normal for her to do before laying eggs? Is it ok to let her have time out of the cage. I do let her out will both of them. V

Yes, I would get a nest box for her. If you don’t want a wooden nestbox, any “box” will do (stronger shipping box with entrance hole cut in, etc.). Tear up some paper towel into small pieces and place it inside. Not too much as to bury any eggs …This being said, they may not readily accept the nest box, unless they have in the past successfully used one. Inexperienced parents or hand-raised birds may not have the know-how to successfully raise young. Pairing inexperienced birds up with experienced breeders usually raises the chances of successful breeding. However, I don't know what the situation is with this pair. If we are lucky, they will start using the nest box. If not this time, then likely next time (which may be soon, if they are double-clutching = laying eggs in short succession, for which Cockatiels are known). The vent swells up before laying eggs, as the shape of the egg is starting to show. That usually happens about 24 hours before egg laying. I would make sure that she has a bathing dish and mineral supplements available. The bathing water will help keep the egg lubricated. One of the major risks is mineral deficiency, which would lead to soft-shell eggs, which are likely to break inside her leading to infection and often to death. That’s why calcium / mineral supplements are so important. Crushing egg shell (from chicken eggs) and/or feeding hard-boiled eggs crushed up will do; or a calcium block / cuttlebone, if she will take them (if not, take a knife and take scrapings from them and put those on top of the food that she will eat ..… I would allow her to go out of the cage whenever you deem fit until she has eggs, at which point she will likely remain close to the eggs (if she is a good / experienced breeder that is) ... Best of luck! Sibylle

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