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My cockatiels aren't laying eggs, Why??

Discussion in 'Birds - all breeds / types' started by *My*Cockatiels*Rule*, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. Hi, I have three cockatiels, one male, two females, and the females won't lay. They do however mate with the male quite frequently. They were recently re-housed into a bigger avairy and bigger breeding boxes were put in because I was told that the ones I had were too small even though they were actually for cockatiels.

    It is now spring and there have been no eggs as yet. They are all of breeding age and my mother-in -law actually bred successfully from the females before she passed them on to me.

    I have had the male for roughly 12 months from a really young age and seen him through his first malt to emerge as a beautiful looking healthy bird.

    Could he still be too young to breed? :cry:
  2. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    How old are the females now, A male can fertilise eggs from 1year old that is if he is a fertile bird.

    Birds will still breed even though they are not producing eggs.
    There has to be several factors involved when breeding.

    Birds should be kept in pairs.
    Nest boxes should be lined with 2inches of plain woodshavings.
    The birds need to have atleast 12hours of light.
    The temperature of the bird room or aviary needs to be kept constant.
    A shallow dish of water should be placed in the cage or aviary.
    Soft foods such as boiled eggs crushed up with the shell, Boiled Brown rice, Boiled pasta, Fruit and Vegtables.

    There is an egg food available from any good petstore which is designed for handfeeding and weaning of baby birds its called EMP or CeDe egg food. THis can be fed dry or moist i give my birds a seperate dish of this aswell as there normal seed, Fruit and vegtable diet.

    There should be cuttlefish bone and mineral block in the cage at all times.
    The room the birds are in should be quiet and should not be disturbed apart from cleaning out the cage and to change food and water.

    Nest boxes should be placed high if possible.
    The male will enter the nest first and will not allow the female in until he is sure it is a suitable place to raise a family.

    Females usually start laying eggs 10days after the nest box has been put up.
    If the birds have recently been placed into a new cage then this will put the female off from laying eggs.

  3. Hi, thanks for your reply Mike.

    First off, the male has seemed to have bonded with the yellow female quite a bit. The females are around 2 1/2 years old and both have had about three babies each. The male is always in the breeding box, he goes in, he comes out in the space of a few seconds. He also spends a lot of time sticking his head in and out. The yellow female also ventures in the box and quite often the male is very attentive and interested in what she's doing. I have been waiting for eggs but to no avail.

    Yes I have wood shavings in the breeding boxes, about the thickness you recommend. I also provide calcium suppliments in the water once week (recommended by a breeder I know) as well as a mineral bell that they love to peck on. The birds have been wormed in the last eight weeks as well.

    They are also fed a diet of trill seed recommended for cockatiels which is the best brand in Australia, corn on the cob, broccoli and fresh apple. They have fresh water supplied every day although not placed on the ground.

    I hope the male is not sterile, how often does that happen? :?:
  4. Also I just want to add that my male, even though not tame, will frequently come close to me and whistle and sing. It is the most beautiful feeling when you are staring eye to eye with a bird that obviously loves you and you love it. I think they are the most beautiful bird in the world.

    I must sound like a nut but I don't care! It's the best feeling!! :mrgreen:
  5. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    I would stop putting supplements in the water as this promotes bacteria i never recommend putting stuff in the water to anyone unless its a molt tonic.
    Cuttlefish bone is the best way to go as you can see how much they are actually getting, As after an hour the water starts to go funny which can cause bacteria in the crop which will result in crop infection which will be passed onto the chicks if they have any...

    My cockatiels are fed a cockatiel mix which has budgie seed aswell as sunflower seeds mixed in, they get Fresh fruit and vegtables daily.

    Dark leafy green cabbage is great for them as its full of vitamin E which is a fertility vitamin.

    They also get there egg food which is designed for handfeeding and weaning baby birds.

    I only allow my birds to have 2 clutches of chicks per year as they need to rest.
    You may find seperating the birds so that the male is only in the cage with the female he is bonded with may help produce eggs or you could try introducing a new male this may help them start laying eggs.

    I would give them 4weeks after the nest boxes where put up and if they have not laid anything remove the nests for 2weeks and then try again this usually helps.

    My females sing to me all the time which is great all most of my birds are tame especially meeko as i had to hand raise her from when she was 3days old as her parents killed the other 4 chicks, So she looks too me as her daddy.

  6. Thanks for the advice, I did have another male in the cage but they did not get on and he didn't sing the whole time the other was in the cage. In fact, he got quite depressed. I had to seperate them and took the younger bird out not long ago and now he is his normal self and won't stop singing.

    He quite often sings when he is trying to mate with the females.

    I didn't know that about the bacteria, I was told to leave it in the water for 24hrs and then change it for fresh water. I'll stop giving it to them for a while.

    So I'm guessing that cockatiels lay quite frequently. I may have to just be patient. I will try the egg food as well. I am trying to breed so I can hand-raise them.
  7. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    Since you have a male in a cage of his own i would take one of the females and place her in with the male so that you have 2 pairs this will increase your chances of getting a clutch.

    If they do not lay this year dont worry just remove the nest box wait till next year and try again, The longer the birds are paired together the stronger the bond between each other.

    When breeding i have my birds in pairs in there own cages, During the rest period they are all placed together in an indoor aviary .

    Good luck and do not give up there is still plenty of time for them to lay eggs.

  8. Hi again, you're not gonna believe this!

    Yesterday I seen the yellow female only once all day so I was hopeful she was laying, anyway I went to sleep last night and woke up this morning and still didn't see her. I went into the avairy and checked the box and she was in there with three eggs!!! :eek:

    I have been waiting for this moment for twelve months!! Anyway could you please tell how long before they hatch and when to begin hand-raising.

    Thanks for all your help. :D
  9. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    Congratulations, I should have mentioned that they do not spend much time in the nest until the 2nd or 3rd egg has been laid as this is when they start to incubate the eggs.

    The incubation period is 21days, I recommend leaving the chicks with the parents for 14days before hand feeding them.

    You can candle the eggs 5-7days after the 1st egg was laid.
    Candling is a method where you take a small torch and while holding the egg gently between your finger and thumb place the torch underneath and if the eggs are fertile you will see a web of red veins this is the baby growing.
    Be very gentle with the eggs as they can break easily, Always make sure your hands are clean and do not have any smells of soaps, Handcreams or anything like that, Also when checking the nest tap gently on the side of the box and talk softly to the adult birds this is to make sure when you open the nest you do not startle them.

    Do not handle the eggs to much as the parents will reject them.

    If you have never hand fed a bird before i would not recommend it as its hard and if done wrong can kill the chick instantly.

    If the reason you want to hand feed is so that the chicks are handtame then you do not need to do this to get tame birds.

    I handle my chicks everyday for about 20mins each bird once they are 2weeks old.
    They soon learn that your not going to hurt them plus when they start weaning at 4-6weeks you can start giving them millet while they are sat in your hand and they will taking it wth no problems.

    Good luck and hope all turns out well.

  10. Hi, you mentioned that I can handle the chicks when they have reached two weeks old, Are they old enough to eat seed then or is that when I should begin the handling process but leave them with their parents.

    I want really tame birds and wish to spend as much time with them without the parents. Can I seperate them at two weeks of age I don't want to spoon feed them but I will feed them by hand when they can peck at the food.

    Sorry for all the questions but I don't want any to die but at the same time I don't want them semi-tame either. They must be fully tame and used to people.

    Thanks :)
  11. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    Handfeeding a 2 week old chick involves using a syringe or spoon plus handfeeding formula.

    baby birds do not start to eat seed until they are 4-5weeks old and they still need there parents if they are not being handfed. You can not seperate them at 2weeks old unless your taking them to handfeed every 1-2hours around the clock.
    Alsong as you handle the chicks everyday at the same times everyday they will get used to you and you will not have any problems with them wanting to come to your hands and will become really tame.

    Once they are 4weeks old you can start holding millet spray in your hand and the chicks should start pecking at it.

    What i do is hand some in the nest box and they peck at it so that when i am holding them they know what the millet is for.

    Once they are eating and drinking on there own which is usually by the time they are 6-8weeks old you can then move them into there own cage away from the parents.

  12. Thanks for the info, I should have mentioned that there was two eggs by one female and one egg by the other.

    Well, I checked the second box this morning because I'd noticed that one of the females was out for a long time, when I checked it the single egg was cold :(

    So does that mean, that it wasn't fertile? The male and yellow female have been taking turns to sit on the other two eggs non-stop so does that mean that they are fertile? I haven't been game enough to touch or pick them up in case they reject them. The male gets quite angry when I open the box and he's in there, he sways side to side, fluffs out his feathers and hisses, he has also lunged to bite me. Very unlike him, he's usually very friendly.

    I will do as you suggest and leave them with the parents until they can eat for themselves, do I start handling them from a hatchling or after two weeks?

    Sorry for the questions. :)
  13. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    Its ok about asking questions its how we all learn.

    Do you have 2 nest boxes 1 for each female?

    The single egg will be cold until the female lays another 2 or 3 eggs then she will start to incubate the eggs until this time she will leave the nest and the single egg.

    If after she has finished laying her eggs she still does not bother with the eggs then chances are they are infertile.

    The problem with having 2 females but only 1 male is that he may only breed with 1 female and not the other but because both females are in the same cage and in the same room with nest the single female could be just laying infertile eggs because the pair are breeding.

    I usually start handling my chicks 7-14days after they have hatched depending on the parents, One of my pairs will allow me to go in the nest and pick the chicks up, Yet my other pairs act like your male and will attack me if i put my hand in or just open the nest box.

    You will need to clean the nest box out so the parents will need to learn to leave the nest. To help stop them freaking out and stressing tap gently on the side of the nest box and gently speak there names keep speaking gently as you open the nest up.

    I will give more info on nest cleaning after the eggs have hatched.

  14. Ohh Noo, I removed the cold egg because I was told that it would have been rejected and that if it was gone from the box it would encourage more eggs.

    Now I have witnessed the male being violent towards the grey female pecking the back of her head because she is trying to enter the yellow females nest. He has been chasing her around for the last 15 mins or so and he is really peeved. I am going to have to seperate them because I can't bear the fighting.

    When I remove the grey female should I remove the nesting box that she layed in as well? There is also a problem, that I got the second male off my mother-in law as well as the females and the grey bird could well be his mother from last season.

    Will they breed together and if so will the babies be deformed or something?
  15. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    Never remove any eggs that have been laid as this can cause the female to lay more eggs which could result in a calcium deficiency which will cause egg binding and worst case scenero death to the female.

    When you place the grey female in a cage of her own do not give her a nest box as there is really no point since she has no male in there with her.

    Mother and son breeding has been done alot and most times results in normal chicks but this can not be guarenteed with this kind of breeding. If you are wanting to breed from her then its best to get a new male for her but they would need to be together for about 6months before allowing them to breed.

    If you do not remove the female from the male and yellow female he will eventually cause serious harm to the grey female once the eggs hatch.

  16. There is now 6 eggs, 4 with yellow, 2 with grey female. I have been watching and they are now all taking turns to sit on each others eggs.

    Male will sit on both clutches (is that what they're called?) and the two females sit on each others eggs too. there is no more attacks on grey bird. I didn't take her out because she laid more eggs. So is that a good sign to leave her there?

    I am thinking of hand-rearing baby chicks instead of just handling them, I was watching a program involving feeding newly hatched chicks and apparently they have really small stomachs/gullets?? Even though it would be time consuming and probably a bit expensive, I would really love to do it and think I can handle it. (I have raised a litter of pups from birth because mum rejected them.) So I know what I'm getting myself into.

    Charm, could you please give me some tips on heating lamps, foods and methods I would need to know/get so I can get started. I once saw a pet shop rearing chicks inside a glass fish tank with heat lamps and they grew into healthy birds. I want to take the chicks from hatchlings.

    I also value your opinion so please feel free to tell me what you really think about this idea and if you are opposed to the idea or not.

    I am still learning so the last thing I want is to mess things up or God forbid kill any babies but I would really love to try.

    Thanks for your help :)
  17. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    I would see what happens if any fighting starts up again i would remove the grey female.

    Hand raising chicks from hatching is harder then waiting a few days.
    When i raised mine at 3days old that was hard, If you go ahead and handfeed you will need to make sure the food is at body temp i will include some links on handfeeding and home made brooders to keep the babies warm.
    There is risks to handfeeding the main, Crop burn, Sour crop, Asphyxiation, Death......

    There crop which is the part on the chest where you can see the crop milk going is very small and as they get older and are eatig more the bigger it gets. If you handfeed make sure that the food never travels back up the gullet as this will cause them to choke and always check the food stays at body temp.

    http://www.cockatiel.org/undefined/arti ... eding.html



    Hope these links help you out.

    I would leave them with the parents i never hand feed unless i need to my pairs do a great job at raising there babies without my help.

    The first couple of days the chicks are getting antibodies from there parents first crop milk.

  18. Thanks for the great articles. I have saved them in my favourites.

    I have decided to leave the babies with their parents for the first two weeks so they can get used to feeding from the parents and get their immune systems up.

    Now I know what brooder, utensils and heat regulators to use so I should be prepared to raise them. These articles provided me with some good information, advantages and disadvantages on raising newly hatched chicks and also great info on the babies crops which I didn't know.

    Thankyou for all your help and I will keep you informed.

    Thanks again.
  19. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

  20. OMG!! Those babies are sooo cute!!! :mrgreen:

    Meeko and Max look exactly like my male and grey female, although they aren't a bonded pair. Your cinnamon pair are really cute, too.

    I'm glad I've decided to hand-raise at two weeks, hatchlings look way too delicate for me to care for.

    It's amazing how after a few weeks they go from almost totally bald to completely feathered!! :shock:

    How can I post pics of my birds and babies so I can show you how well they are going? (or not) LOL!

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