Ask Lafeber


October 10, 2022

Baby weiros not getting looked after

My breeding cockatiels are having lots of babies but aren’t looking after them.. we have had 8 dead babies.. how can I get them to be good parents.


Hi Leanne,

There can be many reasons for this, but some birds never make good breeders and that may be the case. When you say they lost 8 chicks, what time period was this and how many clutches? In the wild, they only breed one time a year, and typically only raise one clutch each breeding season. In captivity, they will not stop breeding, so it is your responsibility to prevent them from breeding too often and too much. The nest box should be removed after every clutch whether they eggs hatch or not. Laying eggs takes a lot out of the hen physically, so she needs time to rest and rebuild her resources. You should rest the pair for 6 months between each clutch of eggs, limiting them to 2 clutches per year. If they have bred over and over without a rest, then they are exhausted and this can account for not taking care of the chicks. If these birds are less than 2 years old, they are actually too young to be letting them breed. While they are capable of breeding, they are not fully developed physically and mentally. Young birds are more interested in mating than caring for eggs and chicks, so they often develop bad breeding habits like breaking or eating the eggs, or ignoring the chicks once they hatch. These habits are hard to break and can ruin them for ever being good breeders. If these birds are under 2 years old, I would not try to breed them again until they are over 2. You also need to be feeding a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets, along with leafy greens, chopped veggies and some fruit. And when set up for breeding, you start offering an egg food daily – either a commercial dry egg food or you can cook and egg with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with the egg. They need all of these foods for the nutrition as well as to have something healthy to feed the chicks. If you are only feeding a seed mix, then they sometimes do not feed the chicks at all, or they tend to stuff them so much that the seed gets impacted and can’t be digested. Breeding pairs also need a quiet, private place – if people are around them too much, they often abandon the nest or eggs or chicks.

If they haven’t been rested, remove the box and rest them for at least 6 months – longer would be better. The same if they are under 2 years old. If they are over 2, have been rested each time, are being fed as described above, have a quiet, private place, then possibly this pair isn’t cut out for being good parents and it’s best to not breed them anymore. All you can do is provide them with everything they need, and if they don’t do their job, you can’t do anything to make them be good parents.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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