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Cockatiel Breeding Cycles

Learn how to control your cockatiel's breeding cycle.

Q: I have a breeding pair of cockatiels. Can you please tell me how I can slow down there breeding process? They will have a clutch and when the babies are about two weeks old, they start mating again. I now have two babies in the box and so far one egg. The shot for birth control is $65 in my area. This is a very busy job for me. I love my birds. The pet store is not selling cockatiels right now so mine are not moving. I am in need of a slow down period. Please help me. I have tried keeping the lights down and not keeping the temperature too warm and that is not helping. I also separated the two, and the male started loosing weight.

Linda RubinLinda S. Rubin explains:

Cockatiels are stimulated to breed by: 1) increased photolight period, 2) increased temperature and humidity, 3) presence of soft foods for feeding young, 4) an available nesting site, and 5) an appropriate mate.  The increase in photolight period refers to both intensity and duration, so you may try shortening the amount of light by turning lights off earlier at night, or letting the pair go to sleep at dusk. However, cockatiels require extra light while feeding young, although many will continue night feeds to very young chicks.

Cockatiels should only be permitted to raise two full rounds of chicks per breeding season, or their health will eventually suffer. You can slow the pair down by removing each egg for a few hours once it becomes fertile, allowing it to cool so it will addle and stop developing, then return the egg to the pair after warming it in your hands so they will accept it back.

Never deny your birds a nutrient rich diet; include plenty of fresh vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, and other nutritious foods. However, you can stop soft foods for rearing young such as egg food, corn-rice-bean mixtures, or commercial rearing products. However, if the pair has lost weight, they may be in need of additional calories and can be fed plenty of spray millet, whole-wheat or “birdie” bread, and similar nutritious treats.

Once the earlier clutch of chicks are weaned, and the current round of eggs don’t hatch, the pair should abandon the nest and you can remove the nest box. However, if the pair should continue to show further interest in another round, distract them further by placing the pair together in a different flight, pen or another cage. Cockatiels are creatures of habit, and a change of scenery or living quarters is sometimes enough to disrupt the breeding cycle. If not, the “birth control” shot might be your last option.


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