Ask Lafeber

Question:

May 21, 2022

Cockatiel


This is our cockatiel female birds second time laying eggs. She has laid 6 eggs and was sitting on them, however we just cleaned the box and put it exactly where it was but moved the actual bird cage because it was in the way so now they won’t sit on their eggs.?


Answer:

Hi Lala,

You actually made a very common mistake. As you have discovered the hard way, breeding pairs do not like their cage to be moved or any major changes with the cage or nest box while they have eggs or chicks. In fact, moving the cage is one of the first things we recommend when trying to get a pair to take a break from breeding. Your pair does not feel safe where they are right now, and cleaning the box and moving the cage was too much of a disruption. They are unlikely to return to these eggs. If they had chicks when you did this, they would have abandoned the chicks and let them die. It’s very important to never make changes while a pair is nesting. The nest box does get gross, but you should never clean it once they have laid eggs. You can remove it and clean it once the chicks have left the nest box.

I’m not sure how recently your birds bred before, but a pair should be rested for 6 months in between each clutch, whether the eggs hatch or not. As for this clutch, if they have not returned to the eggs within a couple of days, then go ahead and remove the nest box and discard the eggs. Do not give the box back to them for at least 6 months. The female needs this time to rest and return to full health after the stress of laying eggs and the loss of protein and calcium when forming each egg. After 6 months, you can return the box and hopefully by then the parents will have adjusted to the new cage location.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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