Many say that the cockatiel is a good choice for amateur breeders. First of all, you won’t need to spend as much on equipment. And second of all, these birds are generally less “delicate” and more “cooperative” than other birds. (Some of the more prolific ones will lay eggs once every two days!)
You need healthy birds to breed successfully, so be sure to give your cockatiels enough exercise and a nutritious diet.
Then, pick just a few of your healthiest and most attractive birds, and bring them to the veterinarian. They will be examined for any dormant diseases, through tests like gram stains and blood cultures.
Once you’ve identified your “breeders” pair them so that they off-set each other’s limitations. The worst thing you can do is to mate two birds that have similar weaknesses, because they’ll inevitably pass these on to their offspring. The goal is to develop chicks that are stronger and more beautiful than their parents!
Place the pair in the breeding pen. They’ll immediately engage in courtship, with the male “singing” as it bobs its head and finally chatters its beak. Since the two will do most of its courting on a perch, make sure it’s strong, wide and comfortable.
One of the first investments you need to make as a breeder is a clutch. This will hold the eggs of the cockatiels. Each clutch can hold about seven eggs. They’re not that large (the average is about a big as a thumbnail).
A fertilized egg will need to be incubated for about 19 to 20 days. The mother birds will take care of it for about a month. Then, the chicks are ready to be “independent”—but they’re still fragile. They can get sick, or lost, and owners have to pay close attention to them during this time. But with proper management, you’ll see the chicks flying by the time they’re two months old. Congratulations, you’ve raised your first batch of cockatiels! You can now sell them or keep them to breed other chicks.
Cockatiel Breeding-Unfertilized Eggs
A cockatiel reaches maturity at 9 months, but it will take more time for it to be able to have its own young. Without a mate, a female cockatiel may sometimes lay unfertilized eggs. It will, out of instinct, try to sit on them. You should leave the nest alone, lest the bird think you are trying to steal its young, and then just remove the eggs when the mother’s wandered off.
You can prevent a cockatiel from laying eggs when it’s not “time” with a simple cage blanket. Since the bird tends to lay eggs during the daytime, just keep it in darkness for longer periods of time—taking off the cover later in the day, or blanketing it by dusk.
There are some cockatiels that will mistake their owners for a mate. They will try to “court” you, and show signs of possessiveness and territorialism. (For example, they may peck a guest who stands to close to you.) If you are breeding the bird, keep them in pairs from the get-go. It will prevent any confusion about who they can really call their mate—and hopefully minimize the number of unfertilized eggs.