How Many Times a Year Do Cockatiels Lay Eggs?

Cockatiels lay eggs like all the other birds on our planet. You may be considering mating your cockatiel, breeding them, or interested in stopping the mating process and found yourself asking a lot of questions like “how many times a year do cockatiels lay eggs?” Well, we have an answer for you. 

In total Cockatiels typically have one to two clutches of eggs annually. When a bird lays eggs, the group is called a “clutch.” A cockatiel that produces more than two clutches a year is likely unhealthy and should visit an avian vet. 

Letting your cockatiels lay eggs and breed is a personal decision. If you intend to become a breeder, keep reading because we touch on that later in this piece. If breeding isn’t your thing and you would prefer to stop the egg-laying, you can take steps to make that happen. 

How to stop your cockatiel from laying eggs. 

Step One: Start by changing their diet to one that is low in fat. When living in the wild, cockatiels search for fat and protein to form eggs. You can start by limiting the birdseed and adding fruits and vegetables to their diet. 

Step Two: Keep her in the cage so she doesn’t start nesting in tucked-away areas of your home. Also, keep her pen free of dark and quiet spaces to not have anywhere to nest. 

Step Three: Reduce the amount of sunlight your cockatiel gets in her cage. They tend to get the impulse to next when experiencing more than twelve hours of direct sunlight. 

Step Four: Separate your cockatiels even if you have two females. A male and female might mate. Two females in the same cage might start laying eggs simultaneously because they are inspired by the other.  

Step Five: Replace any eggs with mock eggs. She will stop when she feels she’s completed a clutch. 

How many times do cockatiels breed in a year?

In general, cockatiels breed 2-4 times a year in the wild but can breed year-round in captivity with proper care. Factors like food, daylight, and a mate affect breeding frequency. Provide a spacious cage, balanced diet, and rest for healthy breeding.

In the wild, cockatiels breed one or two times each year. In captivity, cockatiels will breed the whole year through. Vets advise you should limit your cockatiel’s breeding to one or two times a year, identical to their natural state. As an owner, you should prevent other attempts to breed. 

Even if cockatiels can breed many times every year, that type of schedule is not in the best interest of the female cockatiel. First, it’s not natural for a cockatiel to breed more than twice a year so instigating more egg laying isn’t healthy. 

Excessive egg laying depletes the female of calcium and other nutrients that she needs to survive. As a breeder, you may want to breed your cockatiels as many times a year as possible, but you will be risking the female’s life, which would be cruel. 

The more eggs a female cockatiel lays, the better chance they have of egg binding, which is when they cannot discharge the egg, which can be fatal if not caught soon enough. 

How long do cockatiel eggs take to hatch?

In general Cockatiel eggs usually take about 18-21 days to hatch after incubation starts. Incubation should begin once the female starts to lay the second egg, and both parents will take turns incubating the eggs.

There is much more to breeding than letting your cockatiels mate and have some babies. First, you have to be sure your birds like each other, let alone love each other enough to breed. Cockatiels mate for life in the wild, and sometimes you can get a pair of the opposite sex, and they end up hating each other. 

The chances that they’ll mate are more significant because they are the only two cockatiels around, but they have to be the right age between two and five years old. 

Next, you have to be sure they are both healthy, disease-free, and not related to each other. Your pair will need to share a cage, so it needs to be significant in size. You will also want to provide your birds with pine shavings or other nesting materials.

For success in breeding, you’ll also want to place a nesting box in the cage. Cockatiels naturally nest in cool, dark places to keep their chicks safe. Making a nesting box available for your pair will give be like giving them a birthing suite.  

While breeding, your should also pay special attention to their diets, especially that of the female. Both birds should have a diet rich in calcium and other nutrients, so the eggs form well, and it will help the female replenish lost resources. 

Your job not over once the eggs hatch. Some breeders let the chicks mature with their parents. Others separate them from their parents after two weeks. These first two weeks and hand-feed them until weaning. You can wean your new cockatiels when they are six to eight weeks old. To wean, use soft pellets or millet.  

While cockatiels are typically very caring and nurturing to their offspring, there is always a chance you will get an abusive parent. If you notice the older bird pecking or hurting the baby cockatiels in any way, separate them immediately and start with the hand-feeding schedule below. 

  • Hatched to 10 – 15 hours old: 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 formula every two hours. No feeding between midnight and 5:00 am. 
  • 10 – 14 days old: Formula every three hours. No feeding between midnight and 5:00 am. 
  • 15 – 20 days old: Formula every four hours. It should be thicker too. You can also give them a small bowl of water. 
  • 21 – 25 days old: Formula two to three times daily. It should be thicker than the formula at four days old. Begin to give them soaked seeds or millet blended with the formula to start the weaning process.

Cockatiel breeding behaviors to look out for?

You can tell a female is about to lay eggs when she gains weight. Cockatiels are small, so this may be difficult to detect unless you weigh them every day. Females tend to drink more water when producing eggs and might lay on the cage floor quietly to herself.

If you notice any of these behaviors, start getting ready for the eggs to start coming for the next week or so. Typically a female cockatiel will produce an egg every two days, give or take a few hours until she has completed her clutch. 

Females typically lay six eggs per clutch but have been known to lay four. If you try to discourage egg-laying, you can put those mock eggs we mentioned earlier into their nest after expelling that first egg. She will think she completed her clutch and stop producing eggs. 

Some females have succumbed to excessive egg-laying, and you want to make sure this is taken care of right away if you see it happening. The results can be harmful to the female between the depletion of nutrients and the possibility of egg binding. 

Can you have a cockatiel spayed or neutered?

In general, spaying/neutering a cockatiel is not possible. Hormone therapy can control breeding behavior but it’s best to consult an avian vet for advice on aggressive or territorial behavior.

Cockatiels are not typically spayed or neutered. A safe alternative to spay and neutering is to follow the tips we gave above to stop your female from laying eggs or the male fertilizing them.

Birds like cockatiels are small, and surgery to remove their reproductive organs is not only risky, it’s likely life-threatening. Birds are not like mammals when it comes to reproduction, which is why you’ll probably have a hard time finding a vet that will conduct such a procedure on a cockatiel. 

The best thing to do would be to separate your male and female bird, so there is no chance of fertilization. Even if your female lays eggs without the male, they won’t hatch. Another option is to get your female to stop laying eggs following the tips we gave you above. 

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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