Ask Lafeber


January 25, 2023

Too old?

I have two bonded Cockatiels and want to breed them, however they are 8-9 years old. while I would love to breed them, it might just not be possible and/or be detrimental to their health.

I Have had a nest box for about 3-4 months and while they have spent a lot of time in it and have shown breeding behavior since the beginning, the female refuses the males mating advances. No eggs either.

I only have an egg box, I don’t know if i need anything else extra other than that.

Thanks 🙂



When a bird is considered to be old, depends on the genetics. If the bird comes from a breeder who inbred a lot, then the bird will not have a very long life span – 10-12 years, in which case the bird would be too old at 8-9 years as far as breeding goes. If the bird came from a quality breeder, it could live into the late 20’s – 30’s. In that case, 8-9 years is a prime breeding age. Unfortunately most people have no way to know, because the bird came from a pet shop. It may be that you hen is old at her age, and this is why she isn’t interested in breeding. In order to get in good condition, they need to be eating a nutritionally balanced diet – not a loose seed mix. The main diet should be pellets or our foraging diets. Also offer leafy greens, veggies and some fruit. They need a cuttlebone, and to help get them in condition, offer an egg food – either a commercial dry egg food or cooked eggs with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with the eggs. If this fails to get her in breeding condition, then it sounds like she might be past her breeding years.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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