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Cockatiels - Breeding and Bonding

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Cockatiels - Breeding and Bonding

Postby Danisaur » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:45 pm

I apologize in advance for the long post. But appreciate if you are able to read through and give me some advice!

have a 4 year old male cockatiel, and a 1.5 year old female.
they have been living in the same cage for a couple months now, and I am badly wanting them to bond and breed.
I understand two months is a very short amount of time. But when I put my male budgie in with my females, he bonded almost instantly with the one.
But my cockatiels don’t seem to be bonding as easily. They do like eachother, but I have not seen any preening or bonding behaviour.

I am wondering what I can do to encourage their bonding or if maybe I should get another male cockatiel closer to the females age to see if they bond easier?

Here is their routine:

- They get warm mist showers every day or two
- Pellet/seed mix
- Fresh chop (Fruits,veggies,quinoa,rice,sprouts,eggs)
- 10-12 hours of sleep
- 8-10 hours out of their cage daily to fly and be social with my other birds.

Things to mention - Their cage is in my living area where we have children, a small cat and dog (The cat and dog are in our mudroom/dog run during the day while the birds are out) - But I’m wondering if the cockatiels don’t feel like it’s a safe environment to breed if there are predators living around them.

should I put them in their own room where it is more quiet? I prefer them in the living area because I love interacting with them. But I have been considering making our spare room into a bird room.

Thank you for any help/suggestions!
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 7
Types of Birds Owned: Sun Conure, Green cheek conure, cockatiels, budgies.
Flight: Yes

Re: Cockatiels - Breeding and Bonding

Postby Pajarita » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:50 pm

Well, the very first thing I need to do is to strongly urge you to reconsider breeding them. Please understand that this is not a judgment on you, it's that I am a bird lover and an animal rights activist so, to me, the birds (all the birds, not just my own) wellbeing is paramount and breeding parrots for the pet trade is not something that fits into this. But, aside from this, there are other reasons. One is that cockatiels are in HUGE overpopulation and producing more babies makes the situation worse instead of better. Two is that breeding birds is not as easy as people think. It takes a lot of knowledge which, going by the information you posted, you do not have (I will elaborate below). This endangers the parents and the offspring. Third, have you considered what you are going to do with the babies? Because finding good homes is not as easy as people think - not because people do not care but because most people do not even realize that they cannot offer the right conditions for them to live a healthy, happy life (how many people do you know who do not work outside the house, do not go on vacations, are in stable relationships, own their own home, have no social life and that would be willing to have their lives revolve around their birds schedule?). And, if you were thinking on keeping them, you might not have thought of the fact that you will need to separate the offspring from the parents as they grow up and keep the males away from the females - because you can't allow incest or you will end up with weak, dead and/or deformed babies.

Now, as to why they are not bonding... well, for one thing, you have an adult male but not an adult female (she needs to be over 2 years old). For another, tiels don't show the same bonding behaviors as budgies. Male budgies will feed the female almost all year round - not in earnest as they do during breeding season but they will ocassionally as a way of expressing their love. But tiels will only do it during courtship and breeding. Budgies chatter all the time but male tiels will only call during courtship and, when they have a bonded mate, only prior to nesting and a few times at that. Females will not make a peep unless they are overly hormonal and without a mate but female budgies chatter as much as the males and also all the time. Budgie bachelors will help feed other pairs babies - this does not happen with tiels. Quite the contrary, in crowded situations, father tiels have been known to kill their own offspring. But male tiels will take turns incubating the eggs while budgie males will not. What I am trying to say is that you cannot use budgie breeding behaviors as a comparison for tiels because they are completely different.

Now as to your husbandry and why I think you might not have enough knowledge... According to what you posted, you are cannot free-feeding protein food (seeds/pellets/nuts/etc, something that is not good for any parrot. You offer them chop but I have never known a parrot that eats enough produce when it has protein food available so although I am sure you offer them chop every day, I would bet you a nickel against a dollar that they are not eating anywhere near enough of it (my birds would not touch chop if their lives depended on it, they just do not like it). You mention fruits as being part of their chop but i can count with the fingers of one hand all the tiels I've known to eat fruits regularly - tiels are just not big on fruit. They do love their leafy greens (which you did not mention on the list of the diet you offer them) and they do eat their veggies as long as they are of a small size but chop is not the healthiest option because it's made of fresh produce which has already lost a large portion of their vitamin value. Fresh produce is necessary because it's the ONLY source of phytonutrients and essential to a good gut bacteria but frozen veggies are more nutritious (and that's why gloop is made with frozen veggies). Also, tiels are grain eaters, not seed eaters so I would recommend you free-feed them gloop which is pretty much the perfect food for granivores and, if you want to continue offering pellets, do it only for dinner. But you also have to take into consideration that pellets might not be enough for vit D3 and calcium (I've know of birds that have died from eggbinding eating pellets) so you will need to supplement. Quinoa and sprouts are great but only during the spring because plants only sprout during the growing season (there are no sprouts in the winter) and quinoa is way too high in protein to be given all the time (again, the resting season's -aka winter- diet is always poor in protein and nutrition - otherwise, it would not be the resting season, it would be the breeding season). And eggs are all wrong, my dear. We used to feed them to birds all the time (I did it myself for years and years) but we now know they are not good for them. Parrots, with the exception of two species and possibly a third, are all classified as herbivores and that means NO animal protein. Eggs are too high in protein (and the wrong kind at that), too high in fat and, worst of all, they have significant amounts of bad cholesterol, something that no hervibore ever consumes in their natural diet because only animal products have it. You are also not keeping your birds at a strict solar schedule and that screws up their endocrine system -which is the one that governs breeding among other things. You can breed birds offseason but it's terribly unhealthy for the parents and all you end producing after the second clutch is few and weak babies because the parents never had the chance to rest and replenish their reserves as they live in an eternal breeding season without the benefit of a resting season (which nature intended just for that purpose - if birds bred all the time, the species would have become extinct in a matter of a few generations). Nature is a hard taskmaster that likes things exactly like she designed them so, when it comes to undomesticated species, we really do not have a lot of leeway in terms of husbandry. Our, and the birds', best bet is to follow nature guidelines which she finetuned through millions of years to perfect them. We tend to arrogantly think we know better than nature and that more is better but, in my personal experience (and although I do not breed parrots, I have bred canaries VERY successfully for many years) and opinion, when it comes to birds, less is better and emulating nature conditions is what works out best.

And, yes, having dogs, cats and children around is never conducive to the much needed sense of safety birds need to feel comfortable enough to breed.
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 16946
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

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