Ask Lafeber


June 11, 2021

My cockatiel won’t beg

Today we decided to bring my 16 day old cockatiel out for handfeeding. It’s been about 5 hours and he won’t beg and we have to force feed him. What do I do


Hi Moez,

You should return the chick to the parents. You should never force feed a chick! You can cause it to aspirate, which means food gets in his lungs, and then he will get sick and die. Possibly he is a bit older than you thought, or maybe he grew faster if he is the only chick. So he is too aware to try to get him to accept hand feeding. If his crop is empty and he isn’t responding to you, then he needs the parents to feed him. He has to be warm enough or he won’t eat. If you do not have a heating pad or other heat source, he may be cold. It’s very bad to feed a cold chick. The food can’t digest and will sour in his crop. Cockatiels do not have to be handfed to be tamed. You can take him out of the nest box and handle him for a few minutes, a few times a day. Never handle him if he has just been fed. His crop should be no more than half full when you handle him. Again, return him to the parents or he may not survive.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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