Caring for Cockatiel Babies

Updated on July 5, 2019
Donna Sundblad profile image

I love nature and being outdoors. I also delight in caring for the animals that make their home with me.

When a cockatiel baby hatches, it is only about an inch long and covered in yellow down. They look a bit like prehistoric miniatures with heavy heads that loll on rubbery little necks. On day one, they are too weak to stand, but that doesn't mean they won't try. Their parents take them under their wing and keep them warm and well-fed. It's amazing how fast they grow. In just six to eight short weeks, they are fully grown and ready for a loving home.

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Baby Lutino CockatielBabies grow fast!Father and mother take turns on the nest.
Baby Lutino Cockatiel
Baby Lutino Cockatiel | Source
Babies grow fast!
Babies grow fast! | Source
Father and mother take turns on the nest.
Father and mother take turns on the nest. | Source

Incubation Period

It takes anywhere from 18–23 days for cockatiel eggs to incubate. One breeder pair I owned hatched babies like clockwork, laying every 18 days after the first egg. Another pair of mine hatched babies every 21 days. My current breeding pair is not quite as regular, though they do fall within the 18–23 day range. Eggs are most often laid a day or two apart and hatch following that order. This is why you often see chicks of different sizes within the same brood.

Role of Cockatiel Parents

Male and female cockatiels share the responsibilities of incubating the eggs, feeding the young, and keeping them warm. While incubating the eggs, the female stays on the eggs at night, and the male takes over the day shift. While on duty, the birds' responsibilities include:

  • Egg turning. Eggs are turned once an hour. This helps ensure the baby cockatiel inside stays a uniform temperature. Turning also helps prevent the baby from sticking to the shell membrane.
  • Maintaining proper humidity. Parents bathe in a shallow dish of water and use their wet feathers to maintain proper humidity for the eggs.

Egg Tooth

Before a baby cockatiel hatches, you can hear it chirping faintly within the egg. They start to break through the shell by using a small protrusion on the top of their beak, known as an egg tooth. The process of breaking free of the egg is called "pipping." It takes hours and a lot of energy for the baby bird to work free from the egg.

Baby Cockatiel
Baby Cockatiel | Source

Cockatiel Baby Eyes

When baby cockatiels first hatch, their eyes are closed and remain closed for about eight to ten days. The skin over their sealed eyes is transparent enough to see whether their eyes are red or dark brown. Eye color is the first clue as to what color the baby cockatiel will be when its feathers grow in.

In some cases, color is a sex-linked mutation, and in others, it is a recessive mutation. I'll save all that for another article, but basically, red eyes mean the bird will cost a little more to buy because they are rarer. Cockatiels with red eyes may be one of the following:

  • Albino
  • Fallow (also called cinnamon)
  • Lutino
  • Recessive Silver

Getting Their Feathers

By the time baby cockatiels are two weeks old, they've lost most or all of their down and have started to grow feathers on their wings and back, along with sprouting crest feathers on top of their heads. By three weeks, they are almost fully feathered but a little mangy looking; by four weeks, they almost look like an adult bird.

Young Cockatiels as Pets

Cockatiels are an ideal choice for a first-time bird owner. They are a smaller bird with a big personality. Males are more vocal and often learn to whistle and talk, but either sex bonds affectionately to their owner as a loving companion. Finding a baby cockatiel who is just weaned is the ideal scenario as they adjust quickly to new surroundings.

Four-week-old baby cockatiel.
Four-week-old baby cockatiel. | Source

Hand-Fed Baby Cockatiels

Hand-fed baby cockatiels make friendly, gentle pets. Hand-fed means the babies are pulled from the nest (usually 10–14 days old) and fed by humans. This practice establishes trust between birds and humans and eliminates the fear of human hands. Hand-fed babies often cost a little more because of the extra time and effort it requires to raise them.

When buying a pet, however, take time to handle baby cockatiels to see how they act toward you. Some breeders hand-feed babies but handle them very little other than that. The best choice is to select babies raised by breeders who both interact with the birds and hand-feed them. These conditions produce the best quality pets.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      10 days ago from Georgia

      Hi Ashish,

      I suggest you call the vet right away.

    • profile image

      ashish shahapurkar 

      10 days ago

      I have 4 baby cockatiels one was died due to parents feed yellow pellets and 3 are remaining which having sour crop due hard food (yellow pellets) please let me know ho to treat

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      4 weeks ago from Georgia

      Baby birds do sleep a lot because they are growing and developing. Even adult birds should sleep 10-12 hours a day. As for the feeding, was the baby handfed before you got it? If not, it will have to learn that what you are doing is feeding. Maybe try a drop of food on your finger and get a little into the mouth so it recognizes it is food. You might have to do that a couple of times and then introduce the syringe again. If that doesn't work, try an eyedropper placing a small amount at a time in the mouth until the bird learns to eat. The trick with this is not to allow the food to get cold. Let me know how it goes.

    • profile image

      Naila Ayaz 

      4 weeks ago

      Hi,

      I have just got a baby cockatiel nearly three weeks old but it is not gaping its beak to eat. Probably it is not trained to respond to hand feed. it sleeps a lot too. How to make it eat with a syringe? and how is it ok if it is sleeping that much?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      6 weeks ago from Georgia

      Hi Gina,

      It's good to ask questions before your baby arrives. By three weeks, they will have some feathers and they will have each other to cuddle with. I would keep them in an aquarium for starts with some bedding because they won't be perching yet. As for food, you will need a bird formula. There are a number of quality choices. I use the Kaytee blend. It is designed to meet their nutritional needs. As for seed or pellets, you can place a small dish in the aquarium/cage and at first they will play with them, but gradually they start to eat.

    • profile image

      Gina 

      6 weeks ago

      In a few weeks I'm getting two 3 week old cockatiels. I have a 6 year old cockatiel, but I got her six months ago. I've had parakeets for most of my life, but I've never taken care of baby parrots before. I'm getting them when they're already at 3 weeks old so would I need a heating lamp? Will I need to give them formula? When Will I need to start with regular seed? what brand of formula would be ideal? Last but not least, would it be dangerous if I gave them baby formula/food?

      PS. Sorry for asking so much, I'm just nervous and excited to add two to the flock

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      7 weeks ago from Georgia

      Hi Marina,

      If you are handfeeding, use a quality baby bird formula. The babies should be fed every two hours around the clock for the first four days, and every three hours around the clock on days five through seven. By the time they are two weeks old, feedings can be about every 4 hours during the day and the babies will be okay for about 8 hours overnight without feedings. The formula should be mixed according to the manufacturer's instructions and the temperature of the formula should be between 102 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

    • profile image

      Marina 

      7 weeks ago

      Our cockatiels dont feed their babies how much

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      2 months ago from Georgia

      Hello Emely,

      In my experience baby cockatiels have both eyes open around 10 days old so I wouldn't worry yet.

      Donna

    • profile image

      Emely 

      2 months ago

      Hello i have a one week old cockatiel baby bird and he has only opened one eye. Should i be worried or is it normal?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      2 months ago from Georgia

      You are welcome. Glad to hear your baby is being cared for. Molting is a stressful time for our birds so be sure to supplement your cockatiel's diet with foods high in vitamin A, like sweet potatoes and carrots and add more calcium and some boiled egg for additional protein

    • profile image

      Rick 

      2 months ago

      Luckily enough both parents are still taking very good care of their first. Mama laid another egg yesterday and put it in the freezer last night, split overnight so lost both eggs so far, so keeping my fingers crossed that she’s finished laying, it does appear that she’s starting molting as well. Thank you for your assistance.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      2 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Rick,

      Fertilized eggs remain viable at room temperature for up to ten days as long as the incubation process has not begun. People sometimes freeze an egg for 24 hours to use like you would a fake or dummy egg to discourage egg laying but the egg is no longer viable once frozen.

      If your birds have moved on to starting a new clutch and neglect the baby, you should plan to handfeed it. Along with that, you want to be careful that your birds aren't constantly egg laying because it will deplete your female bird of vital nutrients, I hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Rick 

      2 months ago

      My tiels had a clutch of 4 eggs, of which one survived, is now 23 days old and mama laid another egg today, I read online that the egg can be frozen for 24 hours before putting it back in the nest, I hate to do it but don’t want the parents to abandon their current baby , they’ve both been very good at taking turns caring for their first baby, dad is 12 and mom is 3. They were even bickering over who got to sit on their 3rd batch which had the 1 survivor.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      2 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Beth,

      Consistently ruffled feathers are a sign of sickness. Do the feathers still look like they were wet and just dried like the bird didn't preen? The feathers should have a smooth look? If in doubt, I'd check with the vet.

    • profile image

      Beth659 

      2 months ago

      Hi there, just got a 8 week old cockatiel, the breeder gave him a bath before i received him. A day later and all dry he hasn't fluffed to normal looking. His feathers look all matted down like he got totally drenched. Is this normal or could he be sick?

    • profile image

      Emily 

      3 months ago

      I have a quick question my 2 babe cockatiel are almost full of hair but they are missing some hair on the head.they are about 4 weeks old is that normal ?another question is they attempt to cheep a lot which gets me nervous since they are 4 weeks.another question is when do they start flying?sorry for all these questions it’s just we just have 2 new baby birds and don’t know how to handle them

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      3 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Celina,

      How old is the baby? Is it in a nest box? Those falls can injure it so it would be best to move the baby to a lower level and see if the parents will feed it there. You might try placing it in a bowl with a small towel or pine shavings (not cedar). I pull my babies and start handfeeding when they are two weeks old but have had to had feed a few from the day they hatched. There are plenty of baby bird formulas on the market. Please let me know if you have more questions.

    • profile image

      Celina Gomez 

      3 months ago

      My cockatiels had a baby but since we don’t handle them, they don’t trust humans, and they keep knocking down the chick out of the best or the chick keeps getting down. It’s about a foot and a half height. I’m worried the chick is going to get hurt. If I take the chick out and hand feed it, what can I give it?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      3 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Carmen,

      How old are the babies? Babies hatch a day or two apart which makes a difference in their sizes, but by two weeks old they are able to stand...not perch but stand and by four weeks they are starting to perch. If your baby is older than that, I would suggest making a visit to the vet to have it checked out.

    • profile image

      Carmen Martinez 

      3 months ago

      Hello, I have a question, we have two babies cockatiel about two weeks ago but one isn't able to stand up, it is normal? The other is growing so fast. Thanks. We are worried

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      4 months ago from Georgia

      If you plan to harvest bird-safe wood from the wild, look for a hardwood like dogwood, elm, magnolia, etc., but be sure whatever tree you’re harvesting from is pesticide free. Some trees are safe once the bark is removed, like maple wood, due to a fungus that can cause respiratory issues in your bird. I suggest you research the specific wood you are considering because the lists for both safe and unsafe foods are quite extensive and available information is constantly being updated.

    • profile image

      Jeannie 

      4 months ago

      What kind of wood is best to make perches for my Cocktail?. Are there some to stay away from?. Thanks

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      5 months ago from Georgia

      Hello Dallas,

      Congratulations on your new chick. Is it the first of a clutch your birds are brooding? If so, is this their first clutch? So many factors play into breeding birds and raising chicks. In my experience, I allowed the parents to feed the babies for the first couple of weeks as I provided them with a balanced diet that included greens and hardboiled eggs along with their regular foods. Then I pulled the babies and hand fed them. However, there have been times I’ve had to pull a baby right away to supplement the feeding. If your birds are capable of feeding and keeping the baby warm, I’d let them take care of those responsibilities for a couple of weeks but that’s just my preference. Let me know how it goes.

      Donna

    • profile image

      Dallas Howard 

      5 months ago

      I am a bird owner and proud parent of a new baby. Any help would be appreciated please on how and what to do. Please

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      5 months ago from Georgia

      Hello Annabell,

      It sounds like you’ve taken the right steps upon discovering the unattended baby cockatiel. Body temperature is critical to survival. In fact, keeping the baby warm is also crucial to its ability to digest food as feeding a cold baby can lead to an impacted crop. As for how much to feed it, each bird is a little different, but you probably want to feed it a little more than 1 milliliter per feed. By the time it is two weeks old, feedings should be about 4-6 milliliters with feedings approximately every four hours, except for overnight. Overnight you can wait 8 hours and feed in the morning.

      As for the parents, I would suggest you take away their nesting box for now. They may not be cut out to be parents. In the decades that I’ve been breeding cockatiels, I only had one pair that weren’t good parents. I finally took away their nest box for good.

      I hope this helps. If you still have concerns, I would suggest you contact a local breeder or an avian vet to check on the baby to see that it is getting enough to eat and developing as it should.

      Donna

    • profile image

      Annabell 

      5 months ago

      Good Morning.

      My cockatiels are breeding, however, they don't look after their babies. The first clutch they laid 4 eggs only one hatched and 2 days later I found it cold and gasping for air, unfortunately, it didn't make it despite my efforts to save it. They laid another clutch of 4 soon after the first one and I had to pull the baby from the breeding box the morning after it hatched as both parents left the box and it got excessively cold. It is now 5 days old and I am hoping it will survive, I'm not sure that I'm feeding it enough, it eats approximately 1ml per feed. It seems to want food every 1:30 to 2 hours. I do feed it round the clock every two hours. Would you be able to assist with this?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      6 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Suzanne,

      If a baby has had inadequate nutrition it could develop beak problems. I'm not a avian medical expert, so I would suggest calling a vet...if possible, an avian vet.

      Donna

    • profile image

      Suzanne judy 

      6 months ago

      I just got a baby cockatiel, I think there is something wrong with it beak. Is there anyone who can help me?

    • profile image

      Rosa 

      6 months ago

      My cocatail laid eggs they hatched and at couple of days they die dont understand why they both take good care of them

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      7 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Alice,

      Congratulations. What you do next depends on what you want to do in the future. If you plan on letting them parent the chic, be sure to give them a nutritious dies that includes soft foods including greens and things like boiled eggs. Keep an eye on the baby to be sure they are keeping it warm and fed. Do you have other eggs waiting to hatch?

      Donna

    • profile image

      Alice 

      7 months ago

      My female is about 17 years old. She and her mate just hatched their first baby. What do I need to know.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      7 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Agatha,

      As I mentioned to Julia in the last comment, a healthy adult cockatiel can range from from 70 – 120 grams in weight. Birds with an inbred history, as well as certain color mutations, are more likely to be on the lighter end of that range. Plus, your bird is still young, so I expect that he/she will gain a little more weight when it finally makes a complete transition away for formula.

      Donna

    • profile image

      Agatha 

      7 months ago

      Hi, my cockatiel in two day will be 8 weeks old, but his weight is only 86 grams. He is very playful and exuberant bird. He started to eat less his formula, but he started to eat seeds. He fly a lot so maybe that is the reason why he's weight is little, but I don't know is it good weight for bird at his age.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      7 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Julia,

      Your English is great! Normal weight for a healthy adult cockatiel can range from from 70 – 120 grams. Birds with an inbred history, as well as certain color mutations, are more likely to be in the smaller range end. Your bird is still young, so I expect that he/she will gain a little more weight, but is fine where it is.

      Donna

    • profile image

      Julia 

      7 months ago

      Hello, my cockatiel is 7 weeks, but he is small looks kinda like on the photo above (I mean this 4 weeks cockatiel) he's weight is 93 grams, and I don't know is it normal or not. He eat normally and he's acting normlly. If I wrote somethins wrong - sorry, but I'm not a native speaker of language.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      7 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Maryam,

      When did your bird lay her first egg? Hatching takes place about 21 days later if the egg is fertile and all goes well.

      Hope that helps.

      Donna

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      Maryam Abawi 

      7 months ago

      My bird layed eggs but it is not poening

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      9 months ago from Georgia

      Hi sibani,

      Your lutino may or may not give birth to another lutino. It's a bit complicated because the answer lies in the bird's genetics. There are Sex-Linked, Recessive, and Dominant mutations so it depends on your bird's background.

    • profile image

      sibani 

      9 months ago

      does my lutino cockatiel give birth to a albino cockatiel

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      10 months ago from Georgia

      Hello Karen,

      I have raised cockatiels for decades, but right now my breeding pair are both about 20 years old now and have not produced fertile eggs in about three years. I have one other female, but haven't found the right male for her yet. I do know someone who has a breeding pair so I can let you know when he has babies if you'd like.

    • profile image

      Karen 

      10 months ago

      Donna do you raise them to sale because I bought three when they were brand new babies and watch them to become (Beautiful cockatiels). They barely had any feathers and feed them with a dropper till they got big enough to eat seeds. I’ve had cockatieIs for many years. I would love to have 1 or 2 birds I live in Nashville TN. I’m retired and would love to have them in my life and would love to watch them grow

      If you want my email. Please text me back thank you have a great day Karen

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      11 months ago from Georgia

      The parents sometimes separate eggs and babies and sit on them individually like Haven might sit on some while the dad is on the other. Do you have a flat bottom in the cage? If so that might work. Do you have bedding on the bottom of the cage? Just watch that the baby is warm. How are you keeping baby number 1 warm?

    • profile image

      Katlin Donnelly 

      11 months ago

      Thanks SO much Donna! I have seen both parents feed the second baby. However, it was by itself, at the back of the cage this morning. My tiels will not use a nesting box. I put it up with the other 3 eggs and daddy came right up and scooted it up under him. I'll keep a very close eye on that. Haven still has 3 eggs that they are sitting on. A day between hatchings seems like a lifetime!!

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      11 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Katlin,

      Congratulations on your babies. You will be able to tell if the babies are being fed based on their crop. If it is totally flat the baby is not being fat. Plus you can here them feeding. You did the right thing pulling that first baby. How is the second one doing?

    • profile image

      Katlin Donnelly 

      11 months ago

      Hi Donna,

      My cockatiel, after 4 non hatching clutches, finally has hatchlings! The parents did nothing for the first one yesterday, and after 12 hours, I finally pulled it and hand fed. Another egg hatched today, and Momma, Haven, is keeping it under her and her other 3 eggs. How will I know if Haven and Harpo are going to take care of it? Is there a chance she will keep it warm but not feed it? The one I pulled is being hand fed every 2-3 hours around the clock and hanging in there!

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      11 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Kristie, Your baby cockatiels won't be fully feathered until they are 6-7 weeks old. At four weeks they still look a little ratty but that will change quickly.

    • profile image

      Kristie 

      11 months ago

      I have 2baby cockatiels they ar 1 month but don't have all their feathers should I be worried

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      11 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Glenda,

      Baby cockatiels under three weeks old should be kept at around 92 degrees. There’s not much you can do to cool them down but to keep them in the shade and make sure they have plenty of water to stay hydrated. You might want to spritz the parents with a spray bottle filled with warm water for a shower or place a shallow bowl of water in the cage for bathing. You can also place the baby in the bowl for a short time to help it cool down. Hope this helps and that the weather cools down soon.

      As for air conditioning, my birds live in air conditioned space during the summer, but you don't want to bring them from extreme heat to air conditioning because abrupt changes in temperature can be harmful too.

    • profile image

      Glenda 

      11 months ago

      Could I please get some advice about cooling off my one and only 3 week old chick? At the moment it's 39C or 102F and both parents are panting, so I took the baby out of the box and let it sit on the floor of the cage where I thought it might just be lucky enough to catch a little breeze. The cage is on a verandah inside the house with louvers and windows and is usually the coolest part of the house . The parents have lived there for years and don't seem to mind, but, is there anything else that you can suggest to help my poor bird family to be more comfortable in this heat? Does this kind of heat kill the young? Can I take them into airconditioning?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      12 months ago from Georgia

      Hi N.V.,

      Have your birds hatched eggs before or is this their first clutch? It is not unusual for proven pairs to lose babies in their first and second clutches. However, to help ensure healthy babies make sure to feed your birds a balanced died, and when they are feeding young to include soft foods which are easier for the young to digest. After babies hatch, keep a close eye on them to make sure they are thriving. I had one pair of cockatiels that were not good parents and I had to pull the babies when they hatched to start handfeeding. All you can do is put forth your best effort. Let me know how it goes.

    • profile image

      N.V. 

      12 months ago

      Is there any way to prevent the babies from dying? My cockatiels have just laid eggs, and I don't want to see them dying.

    • profile image

      Marsha 

      12 months ago

      My cockatiel babies are 31/2 weeks old, with the first one hatched being 4 weeks. They do not have any feathers or pin feathers on their backs or stomachs. They have crests, the larger wing, tail and face feathers and most of them have opened all the way up. I can tell that their parents are not picking at them. In all other ways, they seem very healthy, alert and active. Just bald. In all the years I have been breeding birds, I have never seen anything like it.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      13 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Michelle,

      I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your babies. It is not unusual for first time parents to lose babies, and even second time parents. It's hard for me to say why they died as it could be a number of things from feeding to temperature. Were the parents eating balanced foods including greens and soft foods? Soft foods are easier for babies to digest.

      You may want to supplement feeding with a baby bird formula. If you have an avian vet, you could check with them for suggestions.

    • profile image

      MichelleAnnee 

      13 months ago

      Hello. My cockatiel had laid eggs and one hatched but it died the next day assuming it didn't get feed. And then another egg hatched and I saw the parents feeding it & on the third day it died. I could see the seeds in it's stomach/crop I'm not sure if it's cause the parents are overfeeding the baby or something about the parents not taking care of the baby right. It hurts seeing each baby chick die. Any advice? The cage is in my room with warm temperature and a blanket over the cage at night

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      13 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Vijay,

      A nutritionally balanced diet for cockatiels consists of seeds and also includes vegetables like leafy greens and sprouts, and important minerals like calcium which are available in cuttlebone and mineral blocks. When the parents are feeding babies add soft foods to their diet because soft foods are easier for the babies to digest. A small amount of cooked eggs mashed up with the shell is a good soft food and cooked whole grains are another option.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      13 months ago from Georgia

      The parents will feed them, but a seed-only diet is not best. Instead, a balanced diet should include vegetables including leafy greens and sprouts, and minerals like calcium are also important and are available in cuttlebone and mineral blocks, A small amount of cooked eggs mashed up with the shell are also a good soft food to include as soft foods are easier for the babies to digest. Cooked whole grains are another option. An all-seed diet is never best nutritionally for cockatiels.

    • profile image

      Aaron 

      13 months ago

      So will the parents just feed the bird with seeds ????

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      13 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Tiffany Ralph,

      Sounds like you are equipped and ready to enjoy the experience of hand-feeding. The one correction I would make is that you don't want to start with lukewarm water or the food will be too cold and not digest properly. Heat water to 110 F (too hot for your fingers) and add it to the formula. Stir with a spoon until it reaches a gravy-like consistency. It cools during this process and should be 107 degrees when fed.

    • profile image

      TiffanyRalph 

      13 months ago

      Good Afternoon everyone! I can't seem to get unstressed over bringing my 2 10 day old cockatiels home, i am worried about not giving the proper care... i have bought normal pipettes or eye droppers for feeding, a bag of Exact Formula to feed them with using lukewarm water, i have bought a plastic container with a blanket inside and i spend 4 or 5 days at home every week... just need some exact advice on the things i am stressing over... Help would be greatly appreciated and if i am leaving anything out of the hand feeding process..

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      13 months ago from Georgia

      Hi CJ,

      That's a good question. Along with seeds, make sure to include fresh vegetables like dark leafy greens and sprouts, mineral blocks, cuttlebone, fruit and soft food like very hard boiled egg mashed

      with the shell.

    • profile image

      Cj Anderson 

      13 months ago

      Is there anything taht we should get foodwise, to help mom and dad bird with the babies

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      13 months ago from Georgia

      Hello Alee,

      Your baby is not weaned yet and so eating and sleeping is what he do as growing takes a lot of energy. This may go on until he is six to eight weeks old but gradually will sleep less as he learns to eat on his own.

    • profile image

      Alee 

      13 months ago

      Hello there,

      I have bought a cocktail baby bird a few days back and I am the bit of confuse, he is one month old and he just eats and sleeps, when he is hungry he starts making a running motor type of noises and when I hand feed him he start sleeping, like turning his eyes off and all the stuff that birds do for sleeping. I just want to ask if its normal, do all the baby birds do the same?

      Thanks.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      13 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Linda,

      It is hard to answer your question as there are many variables that may be influencing your bird's condition. How many babies are in this brood? Those that hatch first are the strongest and usually get fed more often. If the baby that cannot lift its head is one of the younger ones, it may no be getting enough regular nutrition. If that's the case you could try supplementing with baby bird formula. To be safe, I'd call a avian vet and see what they recommend. As for the unhatched egg, if it has passed it's time, go ahead and pull it.

    • profile image

      Linda's lady bird 

      13 months ago

      I have 2 1/2 week old baby cockatiels and one cannot lift up his head it just goes in circles but it looks like it's been packed because it's as healthy as the others what should I do for it and there was for a total anyone did not hatch and it still in the box should it be removed the parents are pacing back-and-forth at times very nervous

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      14 months ago from Georgia

      The hand feed formula I use is Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding Formula.

    • profile image

      Isabel 

      14 months ago

      What is the best food to feed baby cocktails?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      15 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Nuzha,

      There are a variety of reasons for why eggs don't hatch. They may be infertile, or the baby may have died while still in the egg. Also if infertile eggs spoils (or an egg containing a dead baby bird spoils), they may contaminate other eggs causing them not to hatch. I would suggest you candle the eggs to see if the problem is low hatchability or infertile eggs.

      Donna

    • profile image

      Nuzha 

      15 months ago

      I have a pair of cocktail birds, this is the third time they laid 5 eggs (they laid 5 eggs the first and second times as well)

      But they don’t bring the baby cocktail birds

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      15 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Melinda,

      It is difficult for the inexperienced to feed baby birds when first hatched for a number of reasons. If your parent birds aren't willing to feed the babies, I would stop breeding them since they don't make good parent birds. When it comes to feeding baby birds, the temperature of the formula is important and you have to be careful to avoid aspiration. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this heartbreaking turn of events.

      Donna

    • profile image

      Melinda 

      15 months ago

      I have parent birds that wont feed the babies after hatching so we are hand feeding them formula what can i do different so they dont keep dying on me.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      16 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Kari,

      A baby cockaiel's eyes usually open around 10 days old or so. At that point they look pretty naked with just the start of feathers showing at the crest, tail, and wings. That might help you identify age, but I would suggest since the younger bird doesn't seem well that you seek out advice from a vet to be checked for Aspiration Pneumonia.

    • profile image

      Kari 

      16 months ago

      So I’m hand feeding one chick. Because the mother doesn’t want to feed it. I’m not so are on how old they are. But one is maybe 12 -14 days he’s big and has his eyes open while the other is still tiny. Maybe 9 to 10 days. The tiny baby seems weak and can hardly stand on its own. And today when I was feeding it liquid came out of its left nostril. What should I do?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      16 months ago from Georgia

      They can be hand fed using a baby bird formula. Generally both the mother and father feed the babies, but they usually wean at 6-8 weeks. How old are they?

    • profile image

      Kari 

      16 months ago

      My mums cockatiel had babies. 3 but one passed away. And now the mum cockatiel doesn’t want to feed her babies. What should I do? And what can I feed them. I’m not sure how old they are but they both have their eyes open.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      17 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Dene,

      The babies will wean between 6 and 12 weeks. Mine are often around 7 weeks. You don't have to hand feed, but make sure you give the parents plenty of food as they will be feeding the babies often. Along with their regular food, be sure to include millet and fresh greens, I also give my birds whole grain bread. Enjoy!

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      17 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Eryn,

      Sounds like your bird has started the weaning process. Very soon he won't be interested in formula at all. Most of my babies go from formula to seeds between 6 and 8 weeks of age.

    • profile image

      Eryn 

      17 months ago

      Hi there can someone please give me advice so i got my baby at 5 weeks , he is now 7 weeks, im just concerned as to why he isnt as interested in his formula anymore, his crop does fill but not totally has a few mouth fulls of food and refuses any more, goes back into cage and starts with the seeds, jist worried that he may starve or if hes actually eating the seeds at all as he is very curious about the seeds thank you

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      17 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Robyn, As long as he isn't losing weight and eating from your hand then I would give it a couple more weeks before calling a vet. But if he is losing weight, call the vet now, and if he doesn't start eating on his own by 12 weeks call the vet.

    • profile image

      Robyn 

      17 months ago

      Thankyou :) yes he has had Millet on the floor for two weeks now but still nothing I am a bit worried.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      17 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Robyn, I've heard of babies taking as long as 12 weeks to wean so your baby may be one of them. Try putting a millet spray on the bottom of the cage to introduce your bird to start eating on its own. It may start to pick at it and then actually eat a little.

    • profile image

      Robyn 

      17 months ago

      My baby is now 10weeks old and still not eating on his own. He will not clean his self and still sits on the floor of the cage what should I do ?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      17 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Chelsea,

      Cockatiels molt for the first time around six months so its not a normal molt. Sometimes a tail feather or wing feather gets caught in the bars of a wire cage, especially if they are frightened and flap around inside the cage. This often happens with younger birds at night and is known as night frights. This can cause the loss of a feather. If it happens with a blood feather the bleeding must be stopped. A new tail feather will start to grow in.

    • profile image

      Chelsea 

      17 months ago

      I got my cockatiel at 5 weeks old, now his nearly 8 weeks. I just saw one of his tail feather on the floor. Just very little blood. Should I worry?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      17 months ago from Georgia

      I do wonder if the bird is a little older than four weeks then because the earliest I've seen them start to wean is 6 weeks with the average weaning age 8-10 weeks...some even going to 12 weeks. As for the tail feathers, if they aren't broken I'm not sure what to say. I wonder if it was kept in a small cage that didn't allow the feathers to grow straight. You might want to take it to a vet to be checked because it is not normal.

    • profile image

      Kelley lamotte 

      17 months ago

      No ma'am I am not hand feeding he eats on his own I am more concerned about the tail feathers being off to the side all the time is this normal

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      17 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Kelley, Four weeks is still very young and would not be weaned yet. At four weeks baby cockatiels have their feathers but they aren't totally feathered and will look a little ratty. Are you hand feeding?

    • profile image

      Kelley lamotte 

      17 months ago

      I just got a 4 week old cockatiel and I'm a bit concerned because he flops around instead of walking and his tail feathers look like they r falling out and they r always to the side guess I'm just wondering if I should be concerned thanks for any advice

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      18 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Ken,

      As a young bird, there is a chance it is still associating eating with making the baby bird feeding sound. Not sure exactly what noise your bird is making, but if it is thriving I wouldn't worry about it. If the bird doesn't seem to be thriving then I would see your vet for sure.

    • profile image

      Ken 

      18 months ago

      Hi Donna,

      My cockatiel is almost 4months old now. I got him from a breeder at 3months of age and is weaned. He was quite when he first arrive my home and gone into a stage that he sleeps so much and tuck his head under his wing. Luckily he has gone much better and active in the second week. However, he became a big eater. He eat most of the time in the food tray, he also keep making the crying noise while eating or being held by me. Is that normal?

      Thank you.

      Ken

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      18 months ago from Georgia

      Hi George,

      The first molt for cockatiels is around 6 months old, so if your bird is only 4 months old, the feathers could be because it was scared and fluttering around the cage (often at night), or that it is plucking due to stress. Hopefully it isn't the second. With a pearl, once it molts it will no longer look pearled if it is a male. If it is a female it will still have the pearled coloring.

    • profile image

      George 

      18 months ago

      Hi I just bought a 4 month baby emerald pearl cockatiel I start to see feathers around the gage u think is molding at this age how can u tell the sex

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      18 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Guruvandhanan, It is important to try and keep the baby clean. If food drips on them, clean it with a warm cloth as soon as you are done feeding. If your baby has food that has hardened on the feathers, try holding a wet, warm, washcloth on the the food-crusted feathers. As the hardened food softens, try breaking it apart with your fingernails. Keep following this until the feather's are clean again. If you lose a few feathers they should grow back unless the follicle is damaged. Hope that helps.

    • profile image

      Guruvandhanan 

      18 months ago

      Hi...I have one 40 days old albino cocktail....by handfeeding...its neck and stomach become dust due to Sherlock...how can I clean them...will the feathers remove and grow

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      19 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Tim, That is normal. They lose their baby down and within a few days you will see the start of pin feathers along their back, their crests and on their wings. It's amazing how quickly their feathers come in. By the time they are three weeks old they will look almost fully feathered but a little ratty. By 4 weeks they will look like full grown birds. Have fun!

    • profile image

      Tim 

      19 months ago

      Hi I have a breeding pair of cockatiels and they had a baby bird on 3/28 and about ten days ago the baby had yellow down on its back and now it’s all gone,and bald. Is that normal or do I have to do something? I’ve been reading about them and it is supposed to be growing feathers by now. Thanks for any help you can give me. Tim

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      19 months ago from Georgia

      Hi ziasaiyed,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your babies dying. It is a heartbreaking experience. Bacterial and fungal infections are secondary to something else like stress or contamination. Baby bird food formula can become contaminated if overheated or becoming moist after leaving the manufacturer. It can even become contaminated by the hand feeder if they drip water into it. Utensils used in hand feeding (along with the area where you feed them) must be kept sanitized. If you use tap water you might want to boil it to kill most bacteria present. And disinfect your hands before feeding too. There’s no easy answer this question, but this is a good place to start. I hope it helps.

    • profile image

      Zia Saiyed 

      19 months ago from Surat, Gujarat, India

      Hi, My 2 baby handfeeding cockatiel die due to infection on stomach. Can you share what precaution should be taken for handrasing birds. Infection is very common in chicks and I do not want to repeat my failure again.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Darryl 

      20 months ago

      Never mind it died

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