Ask Lafeber


June 20, 2022

After 2 hatched cockiteals

Is it best to keep parent cockiteals locked in cage or can you allow them out for exercise ? This is first hatched babies and the parents don’t seem to be bothering with them much . These babies are just 1 day old .


Hi Debbie,

Breeding birds should not be let out while nesting and they should not be handled or interacted with. They need to focus on each other and their eggs or chicks, and trying to let them out or trying to handle them causes confusion. They stay in or very close to the nest in the wild and only venture out to get food.

Since they have chicks it is even more important to give them privacy and hope their instincts kick in. I will warn you that first clutches almost always fail. Few get to the point of chicks hatching, and most first time parents fail to feed the chicks or do it wrong. But cockatiel chicks are almost impossible to keep alive by handfeeding from day 1, and if you plan to let this pair breed again in the future, you need to let them make their mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Also, they do not feed the chicks for hours after they hatch because the chicks are still absorbing the yolk sac. But at least one parent should be sitting on the chicks at all times or they will get cold and die, and the same goes for the unhatched eggs.

Whether these chicks survive or not, the nest box needs to be removed as soon as the chicks have left it or if they don’t make it. The parents must always be rested for 6 months, without a nest box, between each clutch.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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