Ask Lafeber

Question:

August 2, 2021

Cockatiels fighting over egg


So my cockatiels are around 2 years old and they mated and layed fertile eggs! They had a cluth of 4 eggs but they fighted and one egg cracked, so now there are three. I dont want another egg to crack. They are fighting wildly to decide who will incubate the eggs. I have separated them for a while but they are screaming to see the eggs. And I candled the egg and i am sure that they are fertile eggs. If they have babies will they be able to manage till then?


Answer:

Hi,

This is actually not uncommon. It is generally the male that initiates the aggression. For some reasons, some captive males become too territorial over the nest, and even fight the hen over it. What you can do is separate them and let one parent sit during the day, and the other at night. Sometimes he will calm back down after a few days of this and they can both stay in the cage together. Otherwise it is very hard for the hen to try to care for the chicks by herself if the eggs hatch. I know this isn’t easy to hear, but first clutches almost always fail. Even if the eggs hatch, the parents often don’t feed or care for them right and the chicks do not survive. Keep the parents separate as long as they are fighting, but again, rotate them as far as sitting on the eggs. Once this clutch is done – no matter the outcome – remove the nest box for 6 months before you let them try again. The parents need a 6 month rest between every clutch whether they hatch chicks or not. Forming and laying eggs is hard on the hen’s health, and in the wild she would only do this once a year. It’s also important that they are on a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets, and not a seed mix. You should also offer dark leafy greens, chopped veggies and when you have them set up with a nest box like right now, you should be offering an egg food daily – either a commercial dry egg food or cook an egg with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with the egg.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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