Ask Lafeber


October 5, 2022

Dominant male cockatiel

Hi I have a young male who is in a large Avery with another female, they have mated but they are not bonded. There are another bonded couple as well. I have provided 2 nesting boxes. The problem is, the dominant male won’t let the girls go in the box. He nips at their feet. If the bonded couple manage to finally get in their, he climbs in as well


Hi Julie,

The problem is you can only have one pair of birds in a cage for breeding, so you either need to take down both nest boxes, or remove one box and one pair. This is not going to work, because even if either pair lays eggs, that male is probably going to go in a destroy the eggs of the other pair. Breeding bids are very territorial, so when you try to breed in the same cage, even a large cage, there is not enough territory for each pair. They will end up fighting, and since the one male seems to be so dominant, he may even kill the other male and if the other female rejects him, he may kill her.

You mentioned he is young – is he at least 2 years old? Cockatiels should be 2 years old before you pair them and give them a nest box. They are capable of breeding at a younger age, but experienced breeders will tell you that there are more issues with trying to breed young birds. They are more interested in mating than settling down and caring for eggs, so they end up developing bad breeding habits that can ruin them for ever being a good breeding bird. Once a bird starts breaking or eating eggs, or not incubating them, they rarely break those habits. So if your birds are under 2, I would remove all of the nest boxes and let the birds get old enough. Then, only have one pair per cage before trying to breed them.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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