How to Raise Baby Cockatiels Without Hand Feeding

While hand-feeding young cockatiels from around two weeks onward will usually ensure the development of tame babies, feeding by hand can be difficult and time consuming. This task is inadvisable for the novice bird breeder. If your adult cockatiels are relatively tame, you can still socialize your chicks while allowing the parents to complete the task of feeding and raising them.

Things You'll Need

  • High-quality pellets or fortified seed
  • Mineral block
  • Fresh foods
  • Weaning cage

Instructions

    • 1

      Provide optimal nutrition for the parent birds. This diet should consist of high-quality pellets (or fortified seed if they are not accustomed to pellets) supplemented with a mineral block and plenty of fresh foods such as spinach, kale, broccoli, sprouted seed and even peppers or fruits. Variety is key, and will help the baby birds accept a variety of foods later in life.

    • 2

      Handle the chicks one at a time once per day if the parents show no signs of aggression when you go near the nest. Alternatively, you can wait until both birds are occupied out of the nest for a period and gently pick up and inspect each chick for a moment. Make sure that the crop feels full, and that the chicks are gaining weight each day.

    • 3

      Increase the amount of time you handle the chicks as they grow, talking softly to them and gently shifting them between your hands. By the time their eyes open at about 10 days old, you can hold them for a few minutes at a time twice per day before placing them back into the nest to get the birds used to human voices and hands.

    • 4

      Remove the chicks to a separate weaning cage as soon as they are completely weaned from the parents, and not before. This may occur at slightly different times for each individual chick, depending on weight, development and when each egg hatched.

    • 5

      Socialize in more frequent and longer sessions once the chicks are in a separate weaning cage. Spend at least half an hour two times per day handling the birds, carrying them around and offering them small treats of fresh foods.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before handling young birds or eggs. Dry with a clean paper towel to prevent any transmission of bacteria. Newborn chicks have no developed immune system to protect them from viruses, bacteria or pathogens, and eggs are porous enough to allow bacteria to permeate the shells.
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References

Resources

  • Photo Credit colorful cockatiel image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com

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