Caring for Cockatiel Babies

Updated on September 14, 2017
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 fastFather 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 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 with their wet feathers 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 will 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, down their back and sprout crest feathers on top of their heads. By three weeks, they are almost fully feathered but a little mangy looking, and 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 

      8 days 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. 

      9 days 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 

      3 weeks 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 

      4 weeks 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 

      4 weeks 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 

      5 weeks 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 

      6 weeks 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 

      6 weeks ago

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

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      6 weeks 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 

      6 weeks 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 

      7 weeks 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 

      7 weeks ago

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

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      8 weeks 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 

      8 weeks 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 

      8 weeks 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 

      8 weeks 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 

      2 months ago from Georgia

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

    • profile image

      Isabel 

      2 months ago

      What is the best food to feed baby cocktails?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      3 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 

      3 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 

      3 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 

      3 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 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      6 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 

      6 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 

      6 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 

      6 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 

      6 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 

      6 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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      8 months ago

      Never mind it died

    • profile image

      Darryl 

      8 months ago

      My baby bird was taken out of the nest wen it just was born do I feed it or does it have a sack we’re it gets it’s own food

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      10 months ago from Georgia

      Siomara how old are these babies? Were they hatched stuck together as from a double yoked egg? Or did this happen since they were hatched? If since they were hatched some food or other substance could have hardened like glue as they nested near to each other.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      12 months ago from Georgia

      Hi Magda,

      Baby cockatiels loose their down. By about 10 days old they are pretty much bald. However, then their feathers will start to come in. By three weeks old they have a lot of feathers growing and by four weeks old or so they will usually fly for the first time.

    • profile image

      Magda 

      12 months ago

      My 3 week old cockatiel was born with just a little down feathers and it's still bald. What do you think? He seems healthy. He moved around a lot and her eyes just opened this week. He even recognizes my voice and his name.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      12 months ago from Georgia

      Congratulations on your birds. Handle them often and they will make great companions. As for feeding, feed them a balanced diet. Along with their bird food include some leafy greens, and I recommend offering them millet.

    • profile image

      LJ 

      12 months ago

      hi! I love birds and my friend gave me 2 cockatiel hatchlings, about 27 days old.

      do you have any recommendations on what to feed them?

      Thanks and will appreciate your reply.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      If you handle them often, they will be socialized. It is such a rewarding experience. I never tire of it. Have a couple babies just about ready to go to new homes and four eggs about to hatch. :)

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 

      5 years ago

      I love the idea of a flock ! Of course i know I could get overwhelmed quickly :)

      My daughter wants a cockatiel of her own, so this would be a perfect opportunity for her. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! Axel is about a year old now.

      I am thinking i would have the parents feed them, but handle the babies regularly so that they are socialized. I've found a few sites where people talk about doing this, and give specifics of what they did when. If it isn't working, I'll adjust. With any new endevor, you have your ideas at the beginning, and then the actual experience can change things.

      Its nice to have an expert i can bounce things off of.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Grace,

      I have had cockatiels who were bonded with me and remained bonded with me even after they mated, laid eggs, and hatched chicks. How old is Axel now? You want to make sure she is a year old before you give them the nest box, but otherwise, I'd go ahead. Before you do, think about what you'll be doing about the chicks. Do you plan to hand feed? Keep them all? Find them homes? Something to think about or your can end up with a flock before you know it. :)

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 

      5 years ago

      I wrote about 6 months ago about my cockatiels Angus and Selchie. Here is the update:

      We brought home another cockatiel. The pet shop owner was sure he was a boy, based on shape of pelvis, and we named him Axel. Now it appears Axel is a girl, and she and Angus are...well, it appears they are mating. At first i thought it was some sort of fight, but then i did a little research, and both their behavior matches what boy & girl cockatiels do during courtship. I'm so used to thinking of Axel as a boy this was a bit of a stunner. Selchie, our original girl cockatiel (who i thought Angus was bonding with) is a bit left out in the cold by this, though she seems to have accepted it.

      So now I am wondering about giving Angus and Axel a nest box. Some things I've read say if you let them become parents you can't expect them to keep their bond with you - birds are either pets or breeders. They both are very bonded to us, and we're very attached to them. The idea of them having babies seems like a lot of fun. Is it your experience that they aren't pets anymore after producing babies?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      The crop does get quite full...usually the only time it looks empty is in the morning after they've slept at night. Is that the case?

    • profile image

      Louie Laffend 

      5 years ago

      My cockatiel parents were over-feeding my 5 day old chick. His crop is never empty and seems over filled. What should we do??

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      I raise them and fall in love with each one. They each have their own unique personality, too. I hope you find one who picks you. :)

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      6 years ago from Kansas City - United States

      I enjoyed reading your hub, Donna. I worked with a lady who had a cockatiel for years. That bird was her baby. I have never owned one, but your hub reminded me that I want to look into it. They are such beautiful birds! Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading my hub, Bonnie, and letting me know you enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      Bonnie 

      6 years ago

      Amazing and interesting

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      I'm hoping to get a video of feeding this clutch of babies. I have one that had a hard time hatching (long story), and who is under size but now thriving. You can catch the pictures on my facebook page if you like. You can find me as Donna Sundblad.

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 

      6 years ago

      I'll keep you updated! I imagine I would benefit from a mentor for handfeeding baby chicks. The owner of the local pet store would most likely help me - I've seen her handfeeding baby cockatiels behind the counter.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Their behavior sounds like a bonded pair. The way they groom and call each other. When you give them the nest box, time will tell whether they are a "proven pair" which means they will produce offspring. You'll have to let me know how it goes. Hand feeding your babies will make them awesome pets and will be a very rewarding experience for you, too. I pull my chicks at about 2 weeks to start hand feeding.

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 

      6 years ago

      Donna - I got my birds from a pet store which sold just birds. They were the only two cockatiels in the store, shared a cage, and had come from the same breeder but were not related. So theoretically, they could have babies.

      Are they a bonded pair? I'm not sure. These are my first birds. I have a friend who has kept budgies for years, ans she told me that sometimes a male and female bond, and then sometimes they remain just friends. Angus and Selchie (my birds) seem quite attached to each other. They groom each other, and like to perch close while resting. They call to each other, esp if they just changed position (they are allowed out of the cage most of the day), but these are maybe just flock calls. Angus (the male) is more of an explorer, and Selchie is more of a home body. She gets kind of fussy with him to my mind - he likes to explore a bit, check if any food can be found on the ground, spend some time with the humans - and she gets nervous and calls for him if he has been away from her too long. She seems to like him to try new things first, she will hang back and follow his lead. He is much more aware of looking around, always checking what's going on, reacting to sounds. It seems to me he watches over both of them. She seems much less concerned about watching out - she will eat with her head down, whereas he checks his surroundings after each bite. They do bicker. You're in my way, i'm eating out of this dish right now, that sort of thing. Seems like bickering happens often when settling down for the night, maybe they are tired? If they argue over a perch too much, I rearrange the cage. This ends the dispute.

      Is there a way for me to tell if they are a bonded pair?

      How can I tell if they are a bonded pair?

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Grace,

      I have three babies right now myself. It is very rewarding watching them grow. Are your birds a bonded pair?

      Donna

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 

      6 years ago

      I have two young cockatiels (about 18 months old now) and we are hoping they have babies. I'm going to get them a nest box for Christmas. I know it's not automatic, but we think it would be a lot of fun. We would probably keep the babies if all goes well.

    • Donna Sundblad profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Sundblad 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the warm welcome and for commenting homestead! It is amazing, isn't it!

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      This was a very nicely written hub. I found it interesting that you could know what color a baby cockatiel would become by the color of their eyes that was apparent through closed lids.

      Welcome to hubpages! It's a great place to be!

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