Ask Lafeber

Question:

June 10, 2022

Female cockatiel acting strange?


Hi! I have a fairly young cockatiel, and she’s started to sit in her food bowl and making odd sounds kind of like soft screeching. Is she trying to nest or about to lay an egg?


Answer:

Hi Juno,

Yes, your little girl is trying to nest and you need to act quickly to avoid early egg laying and possible complications like egg binding. There are changes you need to make to discourage egg laying and prevent her hormones from being triggered. The first is to take that bowl away and replace with smaller cups she can’t fit inside of.

You need to do all of these things to discourage egg laying. Keep in mind that to lay eggs, she needs longer daylight, warmer weather, abundant food, and a quiet, private environment. Your goal is to reverse these conditions.

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

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

Do not give her 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 she shows signs of nesting – settling on the cage floor for example.

If she is let out of the cage, do not let her get in any dark cozy places and don’t give her free roam.

When you handle her, limit any petting to her head and neck – do not pet her on the body.

If there is no metal floor grate, then do not use any bedding or paper in the cage tray – leave it bare and clean it daily.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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