Ask Lafeber


July 22, 2022

How to breed my cockatoos

I have a male cockatoo that was a breeder bird and a female cockatoo that was not how do I get them to breed


Hi Alana,

Cockatoos are probably the most difficult parrot to breed. Breeding parrots is not like breeding a dog or cat. The pairs have to bond & remain together, and you lose them as pets if they are pets.

You mentioned the male was a breeder, but do you have any idea what happened to his mate? They mate for life unless something happens to the mate. Unfortunately in captivity, male cockatoos are notorious for killing their mates. It is not fully understood why they do this, but it can seem to happen with no warning. Generally you can’t leave cockatoo pairs together year round. They can only be together for breeding season, and he may still kill her. Unless you know for sure what happened to his mate, you can assume he killed her. People do not sell a good breeder bird, especially not a cockatoo. It’s too hard to get one who isn’t a mate killer. I’m sorry to say you really can’t trust what someone told you happened unless it is someone you know well. I wouldn’t trust this bird with your female. I would strongly advise you not to try to breed these birds. A reputable and experienced cockatoo breeder would be glad for another breeding bird if this bird isn’t tame and seems better suited for breeding. But be transparent about what happened to the mate, or that you do not know what happened to the mate. As for your female, if she is tame, you shouldn’t be trying to breed her anyway. Breeding birds are not pets. You have to cut ties with them and no longer try to handle them. Again, with a cockatoo this is very important. If you have a pair and try to handle one, the mate can get jealous and you could cause fighting or cause one to kill the other. I’m sorry not to be more helpful, but cockatoo breeding isn’t for everyone. If you are still determined to breed them, please find an experienced cockatoo breeder and ask them for advice.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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