Cockatiels

 

Date: July 19th, 2011

Cockatiel CountryMax.com


Origin: Australia



Average Size: 12 to 14 inches long


Average Lifespan: 15-22 years.


Diet: Variety is key - include fresh veggies, fruits, greens, seeds & pellets.


Vocals: Whistling – males are more vocal and produce more sounds


Sexual Maturity: 12 to 24 months.


Egg Incubation Period: 17 to 24 days


Weaning Age for Chicks: 6 to 8 weeks.


Eggs: Average laid 5 to 10





Housing

Cockatiels require a cage that is at least twice the length of their wingspan, and two to three times their height. Toys in the cage can provide interactive fun – but don’t overdo it! Leave enough room for the Cockatiel to move around comfortably in the cage. Include perches and branches of differing shapes and sizes high in the cage. Not only do perches offer a resting area, they exercise the bird’s foot muscles.

 

Supervised playtime outside of the cage should be offered every day. Make sure to take the necessary precaution before letting your bird out of the cage. For more information on bird safety, read this article.

 

Cockatiels are very social birds – make sure you are able to spend a lot of time with these birds. If you will be spending long periods of time away from them (example, when at work), it is best to get a pair of cockatiels. When left alone for too long, cockatiels have been known to hit their heads against their cage, pull their feathers, refuse to eat, or become angry.

Cockatiel CountryMax.com


Diet

Like all birds, Cockatiels need variety in their diet. In addition to their seed and pellet diet, veggies, fruits and greens are necessary for full spectrum nutrition. Listed below are options to offer – if your cockatiel avoids certain items on the list, don’t force them upon your bird! Your cockatiel will dictate what food it likes and what it doesn't. Your job is to balance your bird’s favorites with healthy options.

Veggies
Sprouts, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Swiss chard, Mustard Greens, Broccoli, Escarole, Chicory, Tomatoes, Beet Greens, Bok Choy, Grated Carrots, Collard greens, Corn on the Cob, Endive, Kale, Yams, Pumpkin, Sweet potato, (some cockatiels like Yams, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato better when they are cooked).

Fruits
Mangos, Cantaloupe, Apricots, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Apples, Bananas, Grapes, Oranges. Make sure your cockatiel does not have any seeds from fruits. Some seeds can be very dangerous, like Cherry pits, as they may contain trace amounts of cyanide.

Protein and Meat
It's OK for your cockatiel to eat chicken, fish or beef in very small amounts. Other sources of protein include cooked eggs (hard boiled or scrambled), yogurt, cottage cheese and peanuts.



Breeding

First, make sure you have a male and female! While this may seem obvious, it can be hard to sex cockatiels. If you are having a hard time sexing your bird, send us a picture or bring it to your local store.

At around 9-12 months old, cockatiels are sexually mature and capable of reproducing. However, much like 14 or 15 year old humans, this does not mean that they have matured enough for parenting.  It is best to wait until the cockatiels are 15 to 18 months old.


The recommended breeding setup for one pair consists of a large (18"W x 18"H x 48"L), breeding cage and a (12" x 12") nest box. Cockatiels are not too fussy and will make do with what they are provided. However, remember that this box should comfortably fit two adults and five babies. Fill the box with pine shavings or a shredded substrate to keep the eggs from rolling around. 


Once the nesting box is provided, it will most likely be first entered by the male. He will make changes to the setup you have provided and rap on the sides to gain the attention of the female Cockatiel. Usually, it takes 1-3 weeks after the box is provided for the hen to begin laying eggs.


The initial sign of a developing chick is a "spider web" of tiny red or pink veins that begin to become visible inside the shell. The eggs will usually hatch in 17-24 days. As the hatch date approaches, increase the amount of soft food given to the parents. This will allow the birds to become accustomed to the food that will be provided for the baby Cockatiels.


Breeding Cockatiels need 10-12 hours of daylight or bright artificial light, abundant water for drinking and bathing, and a large supply of food. Consider providing extra calcium and foods high in Vitamin A and E.


Once born, the babies can be hand fed or left to the parents. Hand feeding can lead to the bird becoming more comfortable in human presence. If hand feeding, make sure to thoroughly wash all products used in the process - babies have an extremely weak immune system. If using a formula, make sure to follow directions and use a separate syringe for each baby.


Weaning to solid foods usually takes place between 6 and 8 weeks and shouldn't be rushed. Gradually introduce a variety of foods, vegetables and fruits. 





Any one who has owned a Cockatiel knows how quickly these birds can capture your heart. If you are willing to put in the effort these birds require and deserve, you will be treated with a playful feathered friend!

 

 

Additional Resources: http://www.cockatiel.com/

http://www.cockatiels.org/breeders/cockatiel-breeding-basics.htm



If you have any further questions, email them to AskMax@CountryMax.com, or visit your local CountryMax store today!



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