Ask Lafeber


May 28, 2019


I have a pair of cockatiels who just laid their 1st clutch. She laid her eggs in a cardboard box I have on the floor instead of the nesting box which was attached to her cage. Anway, at night, while the female is sitting on her eggs, I put my male in his cage to sleep. In the morning, they usually switch and my male will sit on them during the day. The problem comes around 6:00 or so in the evening. She wants to go sit on her eggs but he won’t let her. She’ll go into the box and it sounds like they’re fighting in there. I’ve actually seen him corner her and was trying to bite her. At this point, it takes some time but, I get him out of the nesting box and put him into his cage. Is this normal behavior for a male.


Hi Patricia,

Why did you start removing the male at night? Were they already fighting? If not, this may have caused some confusion with the birds. Breeding birds should be largely left alone. Even if one or both was a pet to begin with, once you let them breed, you have to give up handling them. Otherwise this causes behavior issues like you have described. Even if both birds are wild, sometimes the male or female may be aggressive towards the mate. If it gets serious, then you do need to remove the male. If these are just spats and there is no blood drawn, it is best to let them work it out. Some birds do not make good breeders. If this behavior continues, it is best to split this pair up and not let them breed again.

This article discusses some of these issues.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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