Cockatiels are beautiful and exciting birds to raise as pets. You could have just one bid or a pair, but sooner or later, you will have to deal with the bird’s eggs.
You need to be keen on the bird’s life to know when it will lay the eggs.
Birds require a special diet when laying eggs to keep up with their life and the strain of laying eggs.
If you don’t take special care of the bird while it’s laying, you might end up with a dead pet. So let us jump into it and get details on the cockatiel;
When Do Cockatiels Lay Eggs?
Female Cockatiels lay between four to six eggs within three weeks after they mate. It is common for cockatiels to lay eggs one day at a time until they are done. Cockatiels in the wild lay during the breeding season in the months of spring and summer.
However, they can lay eggs in captivity any time of the year if the conditions are right. When it comes to maturity, a cockatiel will be ready to lay eggs at five months, but you should let it stay for at least a year before breeding.
How To Know When Your Cockatiel Is Expectant
You need to be keen with your female cockatiels to know when they are about to lay eggs. This is because they have unique nutritional needs that might become catastrophic if you don’t address them. Here are some indications of your bird being close to laying eggs;
1. Increased Calcium intake
A bird that is laying eggs needs more calcium than it usually requires. Therefore, the bird will keep trying to find more ways to add on the amount of calcium it consumes.
You will notice that the bird starts consuming more fishbone or mineral blocks than usual.
These habits should show you that the bird is trying to add more calcium to its body to help with the production of eggs. It will be an excellent indicator to improve the diet and add more calcium to the food.
As the bird prepares to nest, it will also increase chewing activities as it prepares to nest. It will shred mire toys, perches, paper, and anything else it can find.
2. Her backside seems swollen
Just like any other animal, the cockatiel forms a bump on its underbelly when it has an egg in it. Even the eggs that are not ready to get laid are already forming, and they take a lot of space inside this relatively small bird.
It is, therefore, a sure thing that you will see a bump. You can check for this manually by picking the bird and flipping it over.
Make sure you are gentle to avoid harming the bird or the egg in it. Softly press the area between its legs, and you can feel the eggs if the bird is close.
3. The bird starts taking more water than usual
The developing eggs need a lot of water to make the necessary fluids for the developing embryo. This water is drawn from the bird, so it will need to match the water used with that it takes in.
You will notice the bird drink significantly more water than it used to, almost twice or thrice more often.
This needs you to be keen, and as a precaution, you must have a steady flow of water to the cage for the bird at all times.
4. The bird becomes protective of its cage
The bird makes a nesting area out of the cage you provide for it. It needs to make sure that the nest is safe for its eggs and hatchlings.
It will therefore become less friendly with intruders and become more vicious; it could even start biting.
They might also become more quiet and isolated. Most of the time, the bird will sit in the corner of the cage and chirp quietly from time to time.
You will also notice that the droppings become loose and smell more than usual. This is normal in a pregnant or laying bird.
Cockatiel Breeding Tips
Like any other parrots, Cockatiels are expensive, so breeding them can be a pretty profitable business venture.
Even if you don’t do it for business, you need to care for the eggs and hatchlings to get healthy birds. Here are some tips on breeding cockatiels;
- Find the right pair of healthy birds for breeding. An overweight cockatiel is always at the risk of becoming infertile. Don’t use siblings since they will give rise to offspring that are susceptible to genetic disorders.
- Although a cockatiel can lay from 5 months, you should wait until both birds are at least 18 months old before you breed. Young cockatiels often have issues with egg binding and are unable to care for the young.
- Get deep knowledge about hand-feeding chicks and other ways of caring for them. You could end up having to raise the hatchlings yourself in a home environment.
- Keep the cage in a place where the birds can get bright sunlight for at least 11 hours each day. Sunlight is good for stimulating the formation of eggs in the bird. Provide enough space for breeding and nesting to make the process less stressful for the bird.
How To Stop Your Cockatiel From Laying
You could have a cockatiel, but you don’t want it to lay eggs. There are several reasons for this, but the most common cause is to prevent malnutrition. Constant laying of eggs takes a kit of minerals and water from the bird.
The continuous tapping of these resources can lead to the bird getting life-threatening conditions like yolk peritonitis, egg binding osteoporosis, and malnutrition. Egg-laying can begin at any point after five months with or without a male.
In a house, cockatiels can lay their eggs anywhere, under a sofa, in a big bowl, or anywhere they can feel safe and comfortable. Here are some minor changes you can make to decrease egg laying in your bird;
Don’t allow it to nest. A bird will lay eggs if it gets comfortable enough to lay eggs. If the bird nests in a bowl, change it or remove it entirely. If it spends too much time in one place, prevent it from going there.
This will make sure it doesn’t get anyplace comfortable and familiar enough to nest. You can also put an unfamiliar object in place the bird is used to and scare it away. Get rid of anything that could be used as nests, baskets, nest boxes, or other suitable containers.
Get rid of any material that the bird can use for nestings, such as raffia, paper, fabric, and anything you can find. Keep the bird distracted by constantly remodeling the cage and moving it around the house.
Warm temperatures are suitable for egg formation and laying. Therefore, lowering the temperature will make it harder for your bird to develop the eggs.
It is vital to keep the temperature above 650F since lower temperatures are bad for the cockatiel.
Provide foods that don’t support egg production. The diet should consist of more low-fat foods such as pellets, grains, leafy greens, vegetables, and low-sugar fruit.
Avoid grains like wheat, corn, or rice since they will have the opposite effect. Use toys that the birds cannot shred to make nesting areas.
The best toys should be hard plastic or hardwood to make sure the bird does not shred them. Feed the bird outside the cage or provide enough food but make it hard to find.
The relatively stressful search will distract the bird and control the hormones responsible for egg formation.
Remove all food from the feeder after the bird has eaten to limit the nutrients it takes in; any excesses could trigger egg-laying.
Light is also a trigger, so you need to reduce the hours of direct sunlight you expose the bird to. When the bird sleeps, cover the cage to cut off any additional light that might get to it. Ignore the bird when it acts hormonal or dances, and avoid petting it.
You should keep the bird in her cage more often to reduce chances of her finding a nesting spot. You can also trick the bird by putting fake eggs of the appropriate size in the nest during the breeding season.
This will make the bird stop laying eggs since it will already have them
Cockatiels start laying eggs after five months from hatching. However, to be safe, you should wait until the bird is at least 18 months old before you let it lay eggs.
Younger birds tend to have complications with laying, especially egg binding.
Before breeding, make sure you get a perfect pair of birds; they ought to be well-fed, healthy, and not be from the same parents. Inbreeding might cause genetic weaknesses in the offspring.
You can also keep your cockatiel from laying by hindering its nesting behaviors. You can keep it away from dark places where it gets comfortable, control its movements and limit its access to direct sunlight.