Breeding cockatiels is not difficult, as long as the breeding pair are happy with their nesting arrangements. Male cockatiels will court all year round, so it is possible to breed cockatiels any time of the year. It is possible for some hens to breed more than once a year. Fortune obviously favors breeding in summer. A good breeding couple will be able to produce up to six youngsters in a clutch.
A cockatiel's success as a parent improves with age. For this reason breeders often place older cockatiels with younger ones. Cockatiels can breed successfully from about six months to well into their twenties. Cockatiels are known to form strong bonds with their mates, and these bonds often last until the death of one of the cockatiels. For this reason, it is good to introduce a breeding couple a few months before you intend to breed with them to allow them to get to know each other.
Most pairs will refuse to breed unless they have a nesting box. In the wild, cockatiels use holes in trees. A well constructed wooden box with a hole in it will be more than suitable for your cockatiels. The boxes should have tight fitting joints to protect from draughts, and the wood should be quite thick for insulation. The entrance hole and a perch should be towards the top of the box. The inside of the breeding box must be large enough to house both parent cockatiels and the young without crowding them too much.
Cockatiels never build a nest with nesting material, but rather lay their eggs on the floor of the wooden box. A handful of sawdust can be supplied to help absorb excess moisture and droppings. As the chicks grow a small amount of course clean sawdust can be added at a time.
The males have a breeding cry that they use to attract their partners. They are rather persistent and can make some weird and wonderful calls, which the females are unable to do. If the hen is ready for mating she will flatten herself and take her wings slightly away from her body. Mating will usually take place several times a day during the breeding season.
Males and females will be equally involved during the incubation period, especially towards the end when the eggs start to hatch. In most cases the male will incubate during the day, and the female at night as with most pigeons and doves.
Incubation normally lasts nineteen days, but cold weather can increase this time period. When the chicks hatch out, they will be helpless for the first ten days. The skin of the chicks is normally so translucent that the internal organs can be seen. A freshly hatched chick will need to be kept warm by its parents, as it will be unable to regulate its own body temperature. The chicks eyes will be mere slits at first before they slowly open and start to focus in on the world into which they have been born.