Ask Lafeber


November 19, 2018

No babies

My cockatiel lays eggs but babies don’t come out


Hi Pinky,

If you only have one bird, then the eggs are not fertile and will not hatch. If you do have a male, there can be many reasons for eggs not to hatch. Both birds need to be old enough – ideally at least 2 years old for the female and 18 months for the male. They need a nest box designed for cockatiels and the right kind of nesting material. They also need special foods when they are nesting.

Since your bird has been laying eggs, she needs a break from this for a while – at least 6 months. Whether she is a single bird or has a mate, she still needs to be rested. It is very hard on a bird to keep laying eggs and cockatiels are notorious chronic egg layers. Her nest box needs to be removed or whatever she is laying her eggs in needs to be removed. Take away anything she can shred and use as nesting material – this includes paper, paper towels or cage bedding. Move her cage to another place in the room or another room, & move her toys and perches around in her cage some. Limit her daylight hours by covering her cage before sunset and don’t remove the cage cover until late in the morning. If she acts like she is settling down to nest again, move her cage again. This will disrupt her and make her feel like her environment is not stable enough to lay eggs.

If she has a mate and you are trying to breed them, then you need to do a lot of research on breeding cockatiels during these months that she is resting. There are many sites on the internet that will have detailed information on breeding cockatiels. In the future, if the eggs still do not hatch, either she or the male may not be fertile. In this case, you need to take away the nest box and not try to breed this pair.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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