Ask Lafeber


July 19, 2022


How long do male cocktail nest for?


Hi Ann-marie,

Is this a single male or a male with a female mate? With a breeding pair, the male and female take turns sitting on the eggs – one sits during the day and one sits at night. Some single males will get hormonal and choose a spot in the cage to nest. It’s best to make some changes, otherwise he may do this indefinitely. The inactivity isn’t good for him, and an overly hormonal male is prone to prolapse from the straining of wanting to mate or from mating with objects. These are many of the same changes that are done for a female cockatiel that won’t stop laying eggs.

Certain conditions can trigger hormones in your male, making him nest – longer daylight, warmer weather, abundant food, and a quiet, private environment. Your goal is to reverse these conditions.

Limit his light to 8-10 hours by covering the cage early each evening

Do not give him anything to use as a nest – no bird huts or tents, no box, bowl, etc. If he decides to sit in a food bowl, remove it and replace with smaller cups.

Do not give him anything to shred such as paper or cardboard.

Rearrange the toys in the cage frequently.

Move the cage to a different place in the room. Move the cage about once a week, or whenever he shows signs of nesting – settling on the cage floor for example. This disrupts his idea of having a stable place to nest.

If you feed a lot of fresh foods, stop offering any for a couple of weeks, and then only offer them in small amounts about 2 or 3 times a week. You can resume normal feeding later when he isn’t being hormonal.

If you handle him, limit petting to his head and neck. When you touch his body, this is where only a mate would groom him, so you send the message that you are a mate and this triggers his hormones.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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