Ask Lafeber


November 10, 2020

No show of interest in breeding

Hi Lafeber team,
1 have a pair of adults cockateil. The pair have been laid eggs before and have hatched all the eggs to healthy and cute babies. But somehow, I found that the pair showing no interest in mating, recently. The cock never make any of mating call. But the pair are in good health condition, eat well and preened each others.The last clutch was 3 months ago. Need your good advice and guide on the matter.


Hi Joy,

I’m not sure how many clutches they have had, but three months after a clutch is too soon to let them breed again anyway. Right now you need to remove the nest box for at least 3 more months. If this pair has been allowed to have clutch after clutch, then they have been over bred. You should only let them have up to two clutches per year, with a six month rest in between each clutch. In the wild, a pair will only have one clutch per year, because then the environmental conditions change, signaling the end of breeding season. When we breed birds indoors, there are no changes so a pair will keep breeding and raising clutches until it endangers their health. In many cases, when a pair is allowed to reproduce unchecked, the female will eventually be found dead in the nest box, still sitting on her last eggs. They only know to respond to natural hormonal triggers, so you have to make changes after each clutch to reverse the perfect breeding conditions so they will rest. Laying eggs and raising chicks is very hard on the female, especially, and her system wasn’t intended to do this more than once per year. You can get away with a second clutch in captivity after they rest, if you are feeding them a good diet and providing good care.

Breeding birds must be on a nutritionally balanced diet. This means a pelleted diet or a foraging diet such as our Nutri-Berries, Avi-Cakes and Pellet-Berries or a combination of all of these diets. A loose seed mix does not provide the nutrition they need, even if you add vitamins. In addition, you should offer dark leafy greens, chopped veggies, multi grain bread and cooked eggs, with the shell cleaned, crushed and cooked with the eggs. The bread and eggs are only to be fed when you set them back up each time to breed and until the chicks have been weaned or removed for hand feeding.

After the chicks leave or are removed from the nest box, you need to remove the nest box and do a deep cleaning of the cage and nest box. You will not replace the box until they have rested for 6 months. They do not need the box to sleep in – in the wild, nests are only used during the breeding season. You can then rearrange toys and perches in the cage, move the cage to another really busy place in the house, limit any fresh foods to a couple of times a week, stop offering the eggs and bread, and cover the cage early each evening to limit their light to 8-10 hours per day. After 6 months, you can replace the box, move the cage back to a private, quiet place and start feeding extra fresh foods, bread and cooked eggs to encourage breeding.

If you follow this type schedule, your adults will live longer and have more breeding years and your chicks will be much healthier. I’m sure after a few more months to rest, your pair will be back to health and ready to breed again.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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