Can You Eat Cockatiel Eggs? Would You Even Want To?

Lots of birds are mated and bred for their eggs, but can you do the same with cockatiels? Would you even want to do that to your pet? I explore this rather icky topic in the article.

Most mature cockatiels will lay eggs, be they fertilized or unfertilized, as long as they get a balanced diet and a nesting box.

Egg-laying usually begins after puberty, sometimes from as less as five months of age.

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    But for the sake of the female bird’s health, you should only breed them after they are at least two years old.

    While breeding cockatiels to sell off the fledglings is common, they are generally not bred for their eggs to be consumed.

    Can You Eat Cockatiel Eggs
    Source: Oldcockatoo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    You can eat a cockatiel’s egg, but little can be gained from it.

    And the idea would probably inspire horror in most owners like me – who keep pet cockatiels as lovable companions!

    But what if your female cockatiel is consistently laying eggs? How do you get rid of them? You might have a big problem on your hands!

    In this article, I will try to tackle these questions.

    Is It Safe To Eat A Cockatiel’s Egg?

    Theoretically speaking, cockatiel eggs are similar to duck or hen eggs and are a source of calcium and fat.

    While chicken or duck eggs can be an excellent source of protein, cockatiels eggs are very small in size (around 3/4th of an inch) to be of any nutritional value.

    They are edible (for humans) and do not contain any toxins or harmful substances.

    But on the whole, owners who breed or consume cockatiel eggs are unheard of. Cockatiels eggs are too small in size to be of any practical use – nutrient-wise.

    Any nutrients you could get from it will be minuscule, and you are better off investing in birds like chickens if you want fresh eggs.

    What Does a Cockatiel’s Egg Taste Like?

    The taste of a cockatiel’s egg depends mostly on what your bird eats.

    While pet birds should get a varied diet, it’s difficult to get them accustomed to greens like lettuce or sweet potatoes.

    Hence, most owners feed their pet birds a pellet and seed diet. In this case, the birds consume lots of sugar, and this results in eggs that taste very sweet.

    Source: Dylan Ashe from San Jose, USACC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    This is usual for domestic birds, even ones that are bred in captivity for eggs. Wild bird eggs do not taste as sweet.

    Another thing you can do is check the structure of the egg. If the shell is too thin, papery, or bends on impact, your bird needs more calcium in its diet.

    What Do With Unfertilized Cockatiel Eggs?

    If you have a female cockatiel who is continuously laying eggs which do not hatch, you need to take measures to prevent this.

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      Chronic egg laying can lead to complications like egg binding and even weaken your bird severely.

      Discourage egg laying by removing any dark nooks and crannies from the cage.

      If there is a male and female bird in the cage, but the female does not show any interest in warming the eggs, it’s best to keep the two separate for some time.

      For the eggs that they have laid, wait until the female abandons them after incubation time.

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        Once she does, dispose of it as you would any biodegradable kitchen waste.

        If your bird is too young, don’t let her incubate the egg at all but remove it as soon as possible.

        Also, remove any males from the cage and create a false food scarcity but distributing the food and allowing them to forage for it rather than keeping it in their food bowl.

        You should stop feeding her soft foods and high-fat items such as sunflower seeds and focus on more nutritious food such as leafy greens.

        Avoid giving high-calorie human food to your birds.

        Try to limit their daylight exposure as well, as longer daylight exposure can trigger hormonal changes favorable to breeding.

        How To Know if an Egg Is Fertilized or Not?

        You can start checking if an egg is turning into a chick or not around seven days of incubation.

        There are many methods to do this, such as candling or letting the egg float in a cup of water.

        If the egg is not fertilized, throw it away.

        Source: Dylan Ashe from San Jose, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

        To discourage egg laying, remove the nesting box and provide only perches in the cage. Do not create any space where your female can lay an egg and incubate it.

        If your cockatiel does not have a mate, the egg is unfertilized. Sometimes, removing the egg can simply lead to your bird laying more to replace it.

        In that case, you can allow your bird to incubate a clutch until she loses interest. Remove the eggs once she abandons them completely.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Are cockatiel eggs edible for humans?

        Yes, cockatiel eggs are non-toxic and safe for human consumption. At least, we don’t have any reports so far of its toxicity or long-term effects.
        But again, there are very few reports of people consuming cockatiel eggs in the first place!

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          What do you do with cockatiel eggs?

          If your birds are of age and the eggs are fertilized, you can let your birds incubate them.
          If your birds are young, throw the eggs and separate the pair from discouraging egg-laying.
          For non-viable eggs, dispose of them to prevent the female from sitting on them too long.

          Can I touch my cockatiel eggs?

          If you have built a good bond with your bird, you can touch its eggs.
          In fact, most keepers will touch their bird’s eggs regularly to weigh and check the embryo’s growth.
          However, if your bird shows signs of agitation, it’s best not to touch the eggs.

          How long do cockatiel eggs last?

          Without incubation, a fertilized cockatiel egg can remain viable for up to 10 days.
          Female birds usually begin incubation when at least 2 or 3 eggs have been laid. If the egg does not hatch after 28 days, it is probably not viable, and you can dispose of it.

          Wrap Up

          Birds are usually not neutered like larger pets such as cats or dogs. It is also difficult to identify their gender when they are young.

          Hence, owners might get confused when they suddenly see an egg that they did not prepare.

          However, there are many ways to dispose of it without alarming your bird. I do not suggest eating the eggs.

          Sometimes, your cockatiel might break and eat an unfertilized egg shell. This usually points to a lack of calcium in their diet.

          Thank you for reading!

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