Raising Cockatiels – Cockatiel Care Guide

Raising cockatiels can be challenging and very rewarding at the same time. This article discusses all the steps and precautions when raising these birds. We also answer some important questions at the end.

Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) are native to their parent continent of Australia. Wild cockatiels take care of their chicks for a long time – sometimes as long as three months. 

Hence, if you’re raising cockatiel chicks as pet birds without their parents in a different place, there are many things you need to be careful of.

This handy guide will tell you everything you need to know for hand-raising, training, and weaning off cockatiel chicks.

How Old Should a Cockatiel Be When You Buy It?

There are many situations in which you might end up with a cockatiel on your hands. These two are the common ones to think about:

You choose to buy a cockatiel voluntarily

In this case, it’s best to get a young adult cockatiel that has been weaned off. Cockatiels get weaned off at around 8 to 10 weeks of age. 

After this, they do not require constant feeding and can eat on their own. For first-time owners, this might be the best step to take. Chicks need round-the-clock feeding and constant check-ins. 

You find an abandoned cockatiel chick

In the last few decades, these native Australian birds have been imported across the world as popular companion pets. 

Many are hand-reared birds that later escape. An inexperienced cockatiel parent may abandon the chicks if they do not feel up to the task of child raising. 

If you come across an abandoned chick, it is best to intervene and take care of it – as this is its only chance for survival. 

Your cockatiel pets breed and lay eggs.

Cockatiel breeding has a lot of dos and donts. We suggest that you go through our breeding and mating guide for a complete understanding.

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide
Baby cockatiel in nest box

How To Know A Cockatiel’s Age?

There are many visual cues you can use to figure out the approximate age of your bird. Here is a simple baby cockatiel growth chart to match with: 

New-born babies: A newly hatched cockatiel will only contain tufts of wet feathers which have not yet fluffed up. 

At around a week of age, these will stand up to form pin feathers. Pin feathers are essentially pin-like feathers that are yet to unfurl. 

This stage, known as the “porky pine” stage, lasts until almost five weeks old. Newborns also increase in size at a very rapid speed. Within weeks, the baby will triple in size. 

2 to 3 weeks: The chick will be fully covered with pin feathers and finally open its eyes. 

3 to 4 weeks: At this stage, pin feathers unfurl, and the cockatiel chicks start developing a coat. It is difficult to determine the sex of the chicks at this stage as all of them look female. 

4 to 5 weeks: This is when weaning begins. The chicks will develop into ‘fledglings’ that start learning to fly. 

6 to 7 weeks: Called juveniles; this is when they start weaning off completely. They also start looking like adults but have baby features like big eyes and some scruffy feathers. 

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide
Baby cockatiel – 3 to 4 weeks

Less than a year: At this stage, cockatiels look fully grown but will have shorter tails. However, their color might be dull. 

Their feathers get brighter as adults go through their second molt. The patterns on their feathers will also change with each molt. 

Adult: After a year, cockatiels are fully grown, and their colors remain permanent with each molt. 

As the birds grow, the difference between the stages decreases. If you get an older bird, you can gauge its age by looking at the following features.

CharacteristicsYoung CockatielOld Cockatiel 
Beak and eyesBeak looks larger and eyes rounder, as fewer feathers are present around the faceEyes look smaller and the beak disappears into the feathers around their mouth
Cheek patchesSmall cheek patchesIn very old birds, cheek patches might grow larger
SleepSleep lessSleep more 
CrestShort and stiff crests with fewer feathersLong and curved crests with many feathers 

Apart from this if you bought your cockatiel from a legal breeder – they might have added a leg band. This identifies both the age and gender of the cockatiel.  

How To Care for a Baby Cockatiel? 

If you find a baby cockatiel, the first thing to do is to look for its nest and its parents. If you cannot find them, take the cockatiels to a place of safety and provide them with warmth. 

When To Take Baby Cockatiels From Parents?

It is best to take a baby cockatiel away from its parents after weaning. They should not be taken away from their parents before an age of 8 weeks. 

This time is crucial for them to learn how to eat, fly and interact with other birds. 

At the most, you can occasionally take them out for a couple of hours to interact with humans. 

If the adults are also hand-reared, then they will allow humans to socialize with their chicks. 

Some breeders do take out the chicks at around three weeks of age to increase human bonding. 

However, this comes with the added work of constant feeding. Hand-raising chicks require time, effort, and attention. 

When Can You Hold a Baby Cockatiel?

It’s best to introduce baby cockatiels to human touch at the earliest. 

If you are hand-rearing small chicks, handling them while feeding helps to build a bond between the chick and the keeper. 

If you see a chick lying on the ground away from its nest, it is safe to put it back in the nest. 

It is a common myth that birds do not accept their younglings after humans have touched them, but this is not the case – they don’t care that much! 

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide
Baby cockatiel – week old. Its best to bring them in human contact as early as possible

How To Keep a Baby Cockatiel Warm?

If you have newly hatched babies, then you must keep them at a temperature of around 99.5°F

For this, you can place them in a box and place 2 light bulbs of 60W power each above the enclosure. Have a thermostat handy to monitor the temperature. 

Alternatively, you can add rice and other seeds to a small sock. Heat the sock in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. 

Wrap this again in a towel and place it within the brood. The chicks can gather around to gain warmth from this. Reheat and exchange the sock from time to time. 

How To Setup A Baby Cockatiel Nesting Box?

An ideal nesting box provides enough warmth and comfort while sheltering them from the direct sun. In the wild, cockatiel chicks grow up in holes within trees or nests in very wooded areas. 

As such, they are not subject to direct sunlight and need darkness to sleep at night. 

You can keep them in a cardboard box for shoes or small equipment, a wicker basket, or even an empty aquarium.

If you want to make one by hand, you can find a great way to make a nesting box in our breeding guide.

Cockatiel Breeding & Mating
Nesting Box

There must be enough openings for ventilation. Line the inside of the box with towels and napkins that you can replace quickly. 

Place the box in a warm, dry area. If you see the chicks huddling or shivering, they probably need more warmth. 

You can use a lamp to provide warmth but beware of shining continuous light on them. You can remove the lamp once the chicks have their 1st layer of downy feathers. 

On the other hand, if you see them spreading their wings and opening their beaks – it means the chicks are overheating!

At night, cover the box with a towel while leaving room for ventilation. Apart from this, ensure that no ants or insects get into the box. 

Napkins should be replaced every day to prevent bacterial growth. 

How To Feed Baby Cockatiel?

A baby lutino cockatiel chick will have to be hand-fed. For this, you need

  • A disposable syringe feeder, 
  • Or, a dropper
  • Or, or a thin, small plastic spoon

To start feeding a chick, separate it from the huddle.

Place the chick gently on a towel or napkin. Use the feeding item (syringe or dropper) to gently tap on the chick’s beak. 

Young chicks might not even have opened their eyes at this stage. 

The tapping simulates the general notion of how a parent encourages young chicks to eat. Once the chick opens its beak, it will bob its head. 

At this cue, parent birds usually regurgitate the food they had stored in their crop. 

If you are feeding through a syringe, insert it into their mouth at an angle.

Make sure to not to put too much food at a time as it might obstruct their throat. This can cause the chick to choke.

Cockatiel Breeding & Mating
Syringe Feeding

Stop feeding every few seconds and allow the baby cockatiel to take the food down. 

You can check the crop beneath their beak to see how full it is. Once you feel it is full, stop feeding. 

After feeding, clean up the chick using a damp and then dry towel. 

How To Wean a Baby Cockatiel? All Your Questions Answered.

Eventually, you need to wean the cockatiel chick so that it can adapt to feeding itself solid food. 

The weaning process may take up to 10 weeks for some birds and as little as 6 for some. Be patient with them all. 

Pre-weaning

Around 3 weeks is a good time to start pre-weaning. Try adding fresh fruit and vegetables cut into small pieces in their nesting box or cockatiel cage. 

Include peas, boiled corn, cooked rice, cooked oats, soft bread, and cooked pasta as one of the meals. 

You can initially add some bird formula as a topping to this. While some people also include things like eggs, it’s best to give these in moderation. 

Your cockatiel chick should not have more than 22% protein for a proper diet during the weaning time. 

Weaning

At around 6 or 7 weeks, begin the weaning process officially. During this stage, introduce them to solid foods and stop formula feeding. 

Keep a tab on their weight during this time. While weaning, chicks may lose around 10 to 15% of their weight safely. 

However, if your chick is losing more weight, it means they are not yet ready to wean and needs more formula feeding. 

You can also transfer them from hand feeding to dish feeding by placing the formula on a dish.

But remember to change the formula every 30 mins to prevent bacterial growth, which can cause problems like Candida

If your chick doesn’t wean even after ten weeks or keeps crying – the reason could be medical. It’s best to visit the vet at this point. 

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide
Feeding

Why Is My Baby Cockatiel Not Eating?

A cockatiel chick may not open its beak for feeding due to many reasons. Check the food before feeding it to see if it’s empty. 

Usually, it should get empty every couple of hours. However, if you see that the crop does not empty out – it means the bird is not eating the food. 

You should take the chick to the vet immediately. There will also be other signs like less activity. 

Not eating could mean stress, depression, or some other illness and infection. 

If the chick seems otherwise healthy with an empty crop but still refuses to eat the food – it could be that they simply don’t like it. The formula might be too cold, warm, thin, or thick. 

How To Know if Baby Cockatiel Is Full?

You will be able to see and feel the chick’s crop extend as you feed them. Once it looks fully extended, stop feeding. 

The chick will also stop opening its beak and bobbing its head enthusiastically.

Do not overfeed baby cockatiels, as this can cause their windpipe to overflow with food and choke them. 

Before feeding, ensure their crop is empty. Retention of stale food in the crop can cause yeast infections.

Baby Cockatiel Food: What Should I Give The Baby?

The best food for a cockatiel chick is Baby bird formulae found in pet shops. Alternatives can be baby formula found in stores. 

A final alternative can be the bread that is dipped and mashed with fresh water into a mush. 

However, this should be a last resort and only temporary food while you find bird formula. Do NOT feed young birds milk or dairy products! 

Before feeding, check the chick’s crop. If you still see some food present, you can delay the feeding. 

Younglings should be fed every 2 hours, except during nighttime. 

After a month’s time, you can only feed them every 5 hours. Start feeding them at around 6 am or their natural waking up time. 

Cockatiel Breeding & Mating

When Can Baby Cockatiels Eat Seed?

Seeds are not food for baby cockatiels. Rather, it is something they have to be weaned into. You can start introducing them to seeds and grains at around 6 to 7 weeks of age. 

The chicks first need to be strong enough to break through the shell of seeds. 

If you’re a seller planning to sell your brood, it is absolutely important that you wean them into eating seeds, as this is the most common pet food found for them. 

Are Sunflower Seeds Bad for Cockatiels?

Sunflower seeds have high-fat content and if taken in excess, can cause heart disease. They should be given with precaution and in limited quantities. 

Generally, cockatiels are very fond of sunflower seeds and if given those, will binge on these and refuse to eat other, healthier food items.

It is important for cockatiels to have fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods apart from seeds in their diet, to ensure they get the right nutrient mix.

An alternative is to use the sunflower seed as a treat whenever they learn a new trick or do something good. 

Baby Cockatiel Not Eating: What Should You Do?

Not eating or showing interest in food is a sign of illness. At this stage:

First, check if your chick’s crop is extended. It might still not have digested the earlier food given. 

In such a case, wait an hour or two and try to feed again. You may find the chick enthusiastic about eating again!

After 1 hour, if you still see the crop is extended, it means the chick is not digesting the food given. 

This could mean a crop infection (very common in young birds) or something more. It’s best to seek medical attention at this time. 

Alternatively, if your chick is interested in eating (bobbing their heads, opening their beaks) but not eating the mix you provide, it means it’s simply not good. 

Try making it warmer or colder (as the case may be) or creating a thicker or thinner mix. 

Cockatiel Breeding & Mating

How Much To Feed Baby Cockatiel?

If you’re hand-feeding formula, the total food should not exceed more than 1ml each time for newborns. 

After four days, you can increase it to 2ml. After a week, it is safe to go with 4 ml as you increase the time between feedings. 

Chicks do not need water while they are being fed watery formula.

How To Hand Feed Baby Cockatiels?

Handfeeding chicks require patience and experience, so if you are doing it for the first time, we suggest getting help from someone who knows what they are doing.

Begin with a syringe or a dropper. For a chick, their glottis has a diameter of around 2.5mm

This means that you need to find a syringe or a dropper that has a mouth thinner than this, or you could end up obstructing their air pathway while feeding. 

Ideally, the formula you feed should have a temperature of 100°F. 

Young chicks are always enthusiastic about feeding, so you can simply hold them in place gently and drop the food into their open mouths. 

Raise their head during this time so that their esophagus forms a natural curve allowing food to easily move down. 

After around 2 or 3 weeks, they enter a stage where feeding may require some effort. You might have to hold them or their beaks open as they start getting active and moving around. 

When To Stop Hand Feeding Baby Cockatiels?

8 weeks is the right time for cockatiels to be weaned. This means that they completely stop relying on being hand-fed and can eat solid food and water on their own. 

You should start preparing for weaning from 5 to 6 weeks of age. 

Weaning is an individual process for the birds, and some may take shorter or longer than others. 

Allow them to develop the skill, even as they continue to screech for hand-feeding. 

If your cockatiel is still being handfed after ten weeks, you should seek professional help to have them weaned. 

How Do Cockatiels Feed Their Young?

Adult cockatiels feed their young ones a watery mush. They go around looking for food and store it in their crop. 

The ‘crop’ is a pouch-like muscle that most birds have. It is essentially a part of their esophagus, which is enlarged just beneath the throat. See the image below to understand:

Cockatiel Crop

Birds store their food here and pre-digest it before sending it down to the stomach. 

Adults pre-digest food here and then regurgitate the dialed-down food into their young ones’ mouths. This is known as ‘crop milk’. 

When do Do Baby Cockatiels eat on Their Own?

Cockatiels will start to show interest in exploring and feeding on their own at around 5 to 6 weeks of age. 

You should definitely encourage this behavior by allowing them to eat more solid food. 

They might experiment with breaking seed covers, using their feet as a help, and even drinking water from a water bowl on their own. 

When Do Baby Cockatiels Start Drinking Water?

Technically, cockatiels need clean water to survive and drink it from day one itself. 

However, if you are feeding your chicks formula that is mixed with water, there is no need to feed them water separately. 

Cockatiels start drinking water by themselves at the same time as when they wean. 

Baby Cockatiel Food Homemade?

To make food for your baby chick at home, you can use a mix of bird or baby formula with water. 

Any utensils you plan on using should be thoroughly sterilized in boiling water. To create the formula, mix the powder formula with water. 

Keep a very thin consistency for young chicks and a pudding-like consistency for older chicks. You can also add ground baby cereal or peanut butter. 

Do Baby Cockatiels Sleep a Lot?

Young chicks sleep for a large portion of the day. They’re most active during feeding times and spend the rest of the time napping or resting.

As adults, they sleep for around 10 to 12 hours a day – though not at the same time. 

Cockatiels are notorious for their afternoon naps. A cockatiel grinding its beak is a happy and sleepy cockatiel. 

How Do Baby Cockatiels Sleep?

An ideal sleeping position for cockatiels is the ‘baby position’.

In this, a cockatiel may sit on one or both legs, fluff its feathers, and then put its head back 180 degrees into its wing. 

Usually, you will see them sleeping against a cage wall, with their back to the wall and their face facing the forward of the cage. 

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide
Baby cockatiel

Why Does My Baby Cockatiel Sleep So Much?

Sleeping a lot is a common behavior among cockatiels. However, if you notice them sleeping beyond their usual pattern, it could mean that your bird is just bored. 

You can engage your bird by spending more time with them, playing them tunes, and providing them with toys. 

How To Clean Baby Cockatiel

When a baby cockatiel does not have any feathers, it’s best to keep them away from baths. 

During this time, if they spill food on themselves, you can wipe it away with a damp cloth and then again with a dry cloth. 

As adults, cockatiels clean and bathe themselves. It’s an activity they rather enjoy. 

When Can I Bathe My Baby Cockatiel?

Cockatiels are naturally attracted to baths so you can slowly introduce them to shallow water dishes after they are covered with feathers. 

Initially, you might see your birds bathing only once or twice a week. During the summer months, they may take regular afternoon baths

You can encourage this behavior by providing them with their favorite treats after they take a bath. Encourage them to bathe more during the molting season. 

Baby Cockatiel Behavior

Why Do Baby Cockatiels Cry?

Very young cockatiels mostly cry and bob their head to get food. A cockatiel chick in its weaning time may cry out to be hand-fed. 

Apart from this, screeching can also mean discomfort caused due to other issues like internal infections or diseases. 

Either way, if your cockatiel is showing signs of odd behavior like excessive crying or tiredness, you need to get it checked.  

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide
Baby cockatiel

How To Play With Baby Cockatiel?

Cockatiels love attention and playing with their keepers. You can start on this by

  • First getting the baby cockatiel used to your presence. Sit and talk to them after feeding, whistle and offer them treats. Eventually, they will see your presence as a positive experience.
  • Give them toys to play with. They can learn tricks like stepping up or down, moving in a circle, and tuning. You can also teach them to play fetch. 
  • Generally, cockatiels enjoy colorful, movable, sound-producing toys that they can throw around and bite on. 

How To Groom Baby Cockatiel?

Hand-reared cockatiels have to learn to groom themselves. To encourage this, you can mist them using a spray bottle. 

Misting can allow them to preen their feathers and get oil out of it. It can also encourage them to eventually take baths. 

How To Take Proper Care of a Cockatiel

Do Cockatiels Get Cold?

If you see your bird fluff its feathers and not move a lot, it means that they’re cold. 

Though they come from Australia which has both high and low temperatures, the ideal temperature for them is between 65 to 80 °F

Below 50°F, your bird could be at risk of getting hypothermia. It’s best to get a heating pad and place it on top of their box or cage in cold areas. 

Cockatiel Plucking Baby Feathers

Plucking feathers is a common sign of a bird that is bored, anxious, or distressed

Cockatiels, like most birds, engage in self-destructive behaviors like feather plucking when stressed. 

This could be due to a poor diet, adverse living conditions, other cockatiels in the cage, or even inactivity. A depressed cockatiel will also pull out its own feathers. 

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide
Developed beak and Fur

Baby Cockatiel Watery Poop: What Does It Mean?

Watery poop or diarrhea is a common sign of illness in birds. Some causes could be:

  • Improper nutrition – Diary products can cause diarrhea as birds cannot digest it well 
  • Parasites – Contracting parasites can lead to many symptoms like watery food followed by weight loss and inactivity.
  • Infection – Yeast, viral or bacterial infections can lead to watery poop as a symptom. 
  • Stress – Stress due to changes in friends, owners, and environments can cause diarrhea. 

Do Cockatiels Need Vaccinations?

Generally, no. Cockatiels do not need vaccinations of any sort. 

Though vaccines for Polyomavirus are available and it’s best to get them as the disease is pretty much fatal. 

Home-reared birds that do not socialize with wild birds have low chances of contracting viruses. 

Baby Cockatiel Growth Chart

You can use this Baby Cockatiel Growth Chart to look after your bird. 

First 7 Days

Visual

New-born chicks are pink and fleshy in color. They will have some tufts of wet, downy feathers but will mostly be naked. 

They have large eyes that remain closed for the 1st week. These chicks are totally helpless and need extreme care. 

Parent birds are the best caregivers during this stage as there is a very low survival rate among chicks rescued at this stage.  

Care

During this time, the chick needs food every 2 hours. You have to start feeding at around 6 AM and continue all the way until midnight. 

Chicks grow very fast during this stage, so you can vary your formula content by

  • 1-4 days – Around 1ml of formula
  • 4-6 days – Around 2ml of formula
  • 7 days onwards – Around 4ml of formula

1-Week-Old Cockatiel

Visual

Up until a week, the chick remains helpless, defenseless, and without feathers. Broods at this stage need warmth and huddle around each other. 

Care

Baby chicks should be kept in soft warm rags. Do not keep them in an open cage, this can cause stress. 

Check for poop after every feeding as this is a sign of a healthy cockatiel chick that is feeding regularly. 

2-Week-Old Cockatiel

Visual

Pin feathers will start to emerge across the chick’s body. You will see them finally open their eyes around the 10th day. 

Care

From now, you can reduce feeding to only every 3 hours. Start from 6 AM and increase the quantity to 5ml. You can leave them alone for the night after the last feeding at 10 PM.

3-Week-Old Cockatiel

Visual

The pin feathers will start to unfurl, though many will remain curled. The chick will still be flightless and have limited movement. They will huddle around and only feed as their main activity. 

Cockatiel Breeding & Mating

Care

The temperature of the brood of chicks at this stage can be around 85 to 90 °F. You can also reduce feeding them to only 3 times a day, starting from morning 6 or 7 AM. 

Keep the last feeding at around 10 PM. A good measure of thumb is 6ml of formula per feeding. The formula can now be a bit thicker than before.  

1-Month-Old Cockatiel

Visual

Called fledglings at this stage, a 4 or 5-week-old cockatiel will be covered with feathers – just not very nice ones. The flight feathers will start coming in and finally, the chick will start being active throughout the day. They may start developing skills like foraging. 

Care

At around 5 weeks, cut out the earlier noon feeding and only feed them twice a day, 8ml each time. You can start pre-weaning by introducing solid food sprinkled with formula at noon. But do not keep out food for too long as it can develop bacteria. 

At around 6 to 7 weeks, your cockatiel will adapt to solid food. You can now place them within a cage. A cage should have a food dish and a shallow water dish as cockatiels love to take baths. 

2-Month-Old Cockatiel

Visual

At this stage, the cockatiel will look fully grown while retaining some of its baby features such as a large beak and eyes. They will eventually grow into it! Distinguishing between genders is still tough and will require many more months. 

At around 10 to 12 weeks, you can start training them to perform simple tricks and whistles. 

Care

While your cockatiel now does not require any continuous care and feeding, it still requires regular socialization. 

If you are caging them, make sure to give them some out-of-cage time every single day. Engage them with toys, whistling tunes, and scratching surfaces. 

A balanced diet should have fresh food like beans and carrots and seed mixes with cuttlebone powder. Place it in a food bowl, and they will take care of feeding themselves

Cockatiel Food List
Cockatiel Eating Seed Mix

Some other care items include

Clipping their toenails – This is not essential if your bird gets enough activity and movement. Give them textured branches and their nails will remain rounded. 

However, if your bird develops too-long nails that get caught in places, you might want to trim them slightly using bird nail clippers. 

If bleeding occurs, apply Nebusulf powder. Continuous bleeding means a visit to the doctor is next. 

Banding – Stores may often band their cockatiels at an early age. But you can also choose to band them after a year when they reach maturity. 

At this stage, you can distinguish between male and female cockatiels through their feather patterns and behavior. 

Older

On average, domesticated cockatiels can live for up to 20 years. Males take up to 1 year to reach maturity. 

Females require around 18 months. It’s best to not breed birds until they reach maturity to prevent health issues. 

At around this time, you will notice your birds go through a molt. Generally, cockatiel eggs take around 3 weeks to hatch. A female can lay up to 2 clutches in a year. 

Cockatiel Chick: Day-to-Day Development: First Hand Experience

Emily – the proud owner of the beautiful cockatiel parents Faith and Fella (on the right) – sent in the photos of her beautiful cockatiel chick “Freckles.” 

Cockatiel Parents
Cockatiel Parents

Freckles appear to be either a pearly or pied pearly mutation.

Freckles’ day-to-day growth and development is reflected in the photo series featured below. 

To simplify uploading, all photos have been integrated into one image – therefore, it may take a moment to load. 

Your patience is appreciated – you will find the photos worthwhile waiting for.

If Freckles is a girl, she will keep the beautiful pearly coloration into adulthood. 

If it turns out to be a male, the pearly coloration will molt out (most likely to a pied) coloration as this chick reaches maturity.

Jennifer Christensen, who has an in-depth understanding of cockatiel genetics, offered the following insight: 

“I wanted to point out that Freckles is a female. It is obvious just by the colors of the parents. 

The only explanation is that the dad is split to pearl, and when that is the case only daughters inherit the gene visually. 

For it to be a male pearl, both parents would have had to contribute one pearl gene.

The mom is not a pearl, and females cannot carry the pearl gene as a non-visual split.”

Day To Day Chick Development
Day To Day Chick Development

Cockatiel Common Problems

If you have cockatiels and preparing to raise chicks, it’s best to be aware of the problems that come with them. Here are some common cockatiel problems and how you can deal with them: 

Egg binding 

Young females are prone to egg binding. Egg binding is a condition when a female is unable to pass an egg as it gets snagged within her digestive or reproductive tract. 

If you see your female chick inactive and listless, check underneath to see if there are any signs of egg binding. 

In the early stages, you can feed them castor oil and add some onto the cloaca with an earbud to enable smooth passing. 

However, in the later stages, you might see the cloaca or egg hanging out. In this case, keep the bird warm and take her to the vet immediately. A cloaca that out requires surgery. 

Pacheco’s Disease 

This is a fatal disease caused by the Herpesvirus. Birds that contract it die within a few days, and members of the parrot family are especially susceptible to it. 

If caught early on, you can administer them with anti-herpesvirus which has produced positive results before. 

Yeast infection

Young chicks with undigested food in their crop can develop yeast growth – especially Candida

If you notice a bird averse to eating food and growing anxious and listless, it could be a yeast infection. 

This can be treated with regular antibiotics from a qualified vet. Yeast infections are not life-threatening but are stressful for birds.

Raising Cockatiels - Cockatiel Care Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cockatiels Easy To Take Care Of?

Compared to other members of the parrot family, smaller birds like cockatiels, parakeets, and budgerigars are the easiest to take care of. 
They are also engaging and smart birds that can recognize their owners and adopt tunes. On the whole, a pet cockatiel is a good beginner option.

How Long Does a Baby Cockatiel Stay in the Nest?

Generally, cockatiels will stay in the nest up until the time they wean. Then, they will start exploring their surroundings and trying to fly. 
Their parents will still accompany them. At around 12 weeks of age is when they finally leave on their own.

What not to do with a cockatiel?

Two common errors with a cockatiel are the way we train them and the food we give them. 
Always give them a healthy diet of greens and seeds, and avoid things that can be poisonous like apple seeds. 
Secondly, train the birds using positive reinforcement instead of punishing them.

Do cockatiels prefer to be in pairs?

Ideally, yes – you can keep a pair of opposite genders. In this case, prevent them from mating until both are fully mature. 
However, if you have raised a bird who you are close to and give enough time throughout the day, you can also keep them alone as well.

Can I free a cockatiel?

A caged and hand-reared cockatiel should never be set free. Hand-reared birds do not develop the necessary social and foraging skills necessary to survive in the world. 
Especially if you live in a place where cockatiels are not native – do not release your bird into the wild.

Should I cover cockatiels at night?

This depends on your birds. During the early days, you can cover the cage to give chicks a feeling of safety. 
However, as adults, total darkness may frighten a cockatiel and some perform better when a small night light is left on.

Wrap Up

Armed with this information, you should be able to take good care of your baby lutino cockatiel. 

The most important thing is to remain aware of any changes in behavior. These are the first signs of any problems to come. 

A healthy bird will remain active, stand erect and be vocal. Thank you for reading.

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