Ask Lafeber


July 5, 2021

Cockatiel got wrong mate

Hi,I think my cockatiel Peeko ( female ) got wrong mate.peeko is a lutino cockatiel just hitted 9 months,
One i was sitting in my couch she sat on my thum toe and she started rubbing her body towards me i didn’t get it first,then i searched it but i didn’t get a correct information,it said gently move your cockatiel from you.i think it’s some signs of sexual maturity but i didn’t think it’s good . If its some sexual maturity tooo she is not adult(18+) so i cant find a bird mate for her. What if she tries to mate with me? Whate if she lay egg ?will that egg be fertile?will peeko go through danger (danger in health)?she is so active now dancing singing and all, I think she is happy but I’m worried.
Hope ill get reply soon


Hi Haya,

Based on the personality and what you described, it sounds like Peeko might be a male. If Peeko has already grown adult feathers, then you can look under the wings and if there are spots or yellow marks on the underneath side of the long wing feathers, then it is a female, but if the feathers are solid white or cream/pale yellow, then you have a male. The male will also usually have a more solid yellow face and head with bright orange cheek patches. There are photos and diagrams online if you search images for male & female lutino cockatiel. In captivity, cockatiels are sexually mature as early as 8 months sometimes. But they should not be given a mate or encouraged to breed at that age. Ideally, you should not let a pair breed until they are 2 years old. Since Peeko is a pet, I would not recommend breeding him/her. If you get a mate, Peeko will not be tame anymore. All pet birds will get hormonal at times. That does not mean the bird needs a mate. The hormonal behavior is temporary, and there are things you should do to avoid triggering his or her hormones. You are right to stop her when she tries to rub on you. But also, when you handle her, you should limit petting to her head. When you pet a bird on the body, this can trigger their hormones. As far as egg laying, yes, if Peeko is a female, she might lay eggs at some point, but without a male that she has mated with, they will not be fertile. When she is out of the cage, don’t let her get in small spaces, nothing dark and cozy. Don’t let her roam around – she needs to be on you or on a play stand. Never give her a nest or any kind of bird hut or tent, and no boxes – nothing she can get inside of and use like a nest. We have presented several webinars that discuss how to deal with hormonal behavior, and what hormonal signals we accidentally give our bird. I’ll give you the link to those. Again, if you want her to remain a good pet, do not get a mate for her.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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