Do Baby Cockatiels Sleep A Lot

Babies of all kinds are innocent and new to the world that surrounds them. Taking it all in is exhausting and can tucker a little one out. When it comes to cockatiels, the need for sleep and rejuvenation is just as vital as it is for human offsprings, who seem to need a lot of sleep. 

Typically you will see a baby cockatiel sleep for 90% of the day and spend the reset of the time feeding. As they get older they will tend to sleep less  between 12 and 14 hours a day. 

Read on to learn more about normal behaviors of your baby bird.

Normal Behavior

How a healthy baby cockatiel acts from the moment it hatches until it matures into a fully formed cockatiel differs from day to day. We’ve tried to break it down for you so you can keep an eye out for any troublesome behaviors. 

One to Seven Days

At this age, your bird will be completely helpless. A chick will barely be able to move, and its eyes will be shut. 

Eight Days to Two Weeks 

By eight to ten days, your baby should be opening its eyes. 

Two to Four Weeks

They will begin to show colorful feathers and be able to sit up well. As they move from the third into the fourth week, the chick will have their baby feathers, but more juvenile plumage will start to grow. 

Four to Five Weeks

Since it takes seven to ten weeks for a cockatiel to grow fully, this is somewhat the middle point. This stage is when flight feathers will begin to grow on your cockatiel. When they reach this age, the term typically used for birds is fledglings, which is apropos. 

Six to Seven Weeks

At this point, your cockatiel should be fully grown and getting ready for that first significant molt. The behaviors they exhibit will be the same as other adult cockatiels, which we cover below. 

Adult Cockatiel Behaviors

Birds are individuals and have likes and dislike like anyone else. And, like humans, they are predictable as well. Here are a few standard species behaviors you can expect from your cockatiel. 

Visual Behaviors

Sleeping is an easy-to-spot behavior. A cockatiel is typically puffed up and has one leg raised when it is sleeping. 

These birds are also vain in the sense that they like to groom themselves, which means they spend a lot of time moving down their feathers from the base to the end, meticulously inspecting each one. Cockatiels groom socially as well, so they will perform this ritual on each other. 

Play is another form of behavior your cockatiel is likely to display. Whether it’s fighting a set of rings in their cage or singing to their reflection, cockatiels are intelligent birds and like to be active. 

Strutting is a behavior many males display when they see their reflection or are beginning to court. Female cockatiels are not typically interested in their reflection. 

Some cockatiels hang upside down, which means they are on the defense, and their territory is threatened. 

Banging things with their beaks is another way cockatiels like to behave and communicate to the world around them. It could be to stake a claim of their territory or as a way to get your attention. 

Cockatiels that are bored or want attention have also been know to throw things. This behavior is typical if they are feeling neglected. 

Vocal Behaviors

It’s probably not surprising to read that what a bird says is as relevant a behavior as what they do with their bodies. Cockatiels can talk, sing, whistle, hiss, and create a bevy of vocal stylings to keep you entertained for years. Here are a few familiar sounds you can expect from your cockatiel. 

  • Whistle: Cockatiels love to whistle and do it often. This sound means they are happy, enjoying music, mimicking a whistle that they heard, or trying to get your attention. 
  • Screech: Cockatiels also scream. They do this when they are afraid, bored, lonely, hear others talking, or want to get your attention. It may also mean they lack nutrition. 
  • Singing: Singing along with music is another vocal styling cockatiels can pick up when living with humans. Birds love to connect with their owners, and this is one way. It also means they are happy. 
  • ChitChat: Cockatiels like to have chatter time and love conversations. Our bird can repeat the sounds he hears, and sometimes that is human chatter. 
  • Hissing: When a cockatiel hisses, it means they feel threatened, angry, or afraid. 
  • Chirping: Cockatiels chirp when they are inquisitive. They do so a lot when they hear other birds off in the distance.  
  • Human Words: Cockatiels can learn human words. There are simple steps to teach them to say “hello” or other simple words or phrases. 

Winning Them From Their Parent

There are different schools of thought on when is a good time to separate a baby cockatiel from its parents. It’s important to remember baby birds are gentile, and the longer they stay with their parents, the better it is for their development, is what some say. Others, primarily breeders, feel it’s better to ween them off the parents early, so they are easier to train. 

Every situation is different, and we try to cover them all. If you choose to ween a baby from its parents before the typical ten-week development, you should at least wait until the first week because the babies get around the clock feeding and can die quickly. 

If you find yourself with an orphaned, abandoned, or abused baby, you can follow the feeding schedule we listed below.

It is ideal for those looking to breed if you wait to hand feed the baby cockatiel until two or three weeks old. 

Hand feeding

  • Hatched to 10 – 15 hours old: Do not feed your chick anything during this period. When you reach the fifteen-hour mark, you can provide your baby one drop of lukewarm water. 
  • One hour old: One drop of lukewarm water mixed with the ground, pure white cuttlebone, and pure yogurt. Repeat this step in another hour. 
  • Past 3 hours old: Give your baby a few drops of a hand-rearing diet every hour.
  • 4 – 9 days old: Give commercial, hand-rearing formula every two hours. You don’t have to feed them between midnight and 5:00 am. 
  • 10 – 14 days old: Hand-rearing formula every three hours. No need to do it between midnight and 5:00 am. 
  • 15 – 20 days old: Hand-rearing formula every four hours. It should be thicker too. You can also give them a small bowl of water. 
  • 21 – 25 days old: Feed the formula to them two to three times daily, and be sure it is thicker than when you fed them at four days old. At this stage, you can begin to give them soaked seeds or millet blended with formula. At this stage, they will learn to find their food. 

Adult sleeping patterns

Humans sleep lying down, as do some other mammals. Fish rest but don’t sleep as we do. Birds have their way of dealing with sleep and danger, which is a half-sleep thing that is fascinating. 

When cockatiels sleep, half of their brain is still alert to dangers like predators in the wild. Because of this unique pattern, they sleep with one leg perched and the other tucked underneath their body. Baby cockatiels sleep with both legs tucked under because they haven’t fully developed yet.  

If you find your adult bird isn’t sleeping well, contact your veterinarian for possible solutions. 

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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