If you are only feeding the seed they carry, then first you need to work on their nutrition before any breeding goes on. Laying eggs is very hard on the hen and drains her resources. She is very likely to become eggbound and die if she is on a seed only diet, or die just from the strain and stress of laying eggs and sitting on them. We often have people write in and say their hen died at some point in the egg laying or incubation process and it always turns out they did not have adequate nutrition. Fortunately it is very easy to order the right kind of food online these days. All of our diets can be ordered directly through us and you will receive the freshest product off the line. Also, if you ask your pet or feed store, you may be surprised to learn that they can special order what you need and often it will cost less than from a large pet or bird shop.
The same goes for caging. You need at least one more cage. You should always have a spare cage in case of fighting. Plus you will need one when the chicks are weaned while you are trying to find homes for them or if you intend to keep one. They can NOT remain in the same cage with the parent birds once they are weaned. They will either be attacked by the parents or inbreeding will happen. And then there will definitely be fighting. You can’t have other birds in a cage with a breeding pair, even if the pair is not set up for breeding at the time. They will still be hormonal and territorial. Again, cages can be ordered online.
As I said before, breeding birds and even just owning a pet bird is expensive. And birds do need veterinary care on occasion. If there is not an Avian vet in your immediate area, you can search for the nearest one. Some people have to drive for several hours to take their bird to a vet but this is all part of responsible pet ownership. If your bird gets sick, the last thing you want to do is have to watch it die for lack of Vet care.
So back to the breeding – my advice has not changed. The male is definitely too young to breed. He needs to be about 7 months older than he is now since you believe he is 11 months old. You will have a better chance of them bonding later if you order another cage for him and separate them for now. You mentioned installing the nestbox in the cage, but the nestbox should be installed on the outside of the cage as high as possible – generally the top of the nestbox should be level or just below the top of the cage. The box should have a lid that lifts from the back where you can check on the eggs or chicks.
Between improving their diet, letting the male get older and then giving them time to bond, you are looking at a year at a minimum before you can expect any results, and as I have warned you, they are rarely successful on their first try. There are no magic answers that will speed up this process. You are dealing with living beings that have their own mind and will do things as nature intends for them.
Thank you for asking Lafeber,