Welcome to a glimpse into the early life of Phoenix Cockatiels. From nestbox to brooder to the "big bird" cage check out how they are given love and taught independance and trust at every stage. If you'd like to know what babies are coming soon check out the pairs page for regular updates or the available cockatiels page for babies currently being handfed or weaned.
The adult pairs: Care and conditioning- I make every effort to keep my flock healthy. This is even more important for pairs preparing to nest. The breeding process can take a toll on their health if the adults are in optimal condition and provided with all the nutrition and minerals needed to raise a successful clutch. And it all begins long before the first egg.
Choosing breeding pairs: The most importanat factor to consider when pairing your birds up is health. After that the possibilities may vary greatly. Some pairs I set because up the color and others because I'm a sucker for tiel love affair.
Setting up the pair: Cockatiels are known to be fairly easy birds to breed. For the most part all a breeder has to do is give a bonded pair a nest box and shortly after will be blessed with eggs.
Here at Pheonix we do several things to help increase the odds of a successful clutch. We continue with optimal feedings, choose a quiet area with easy access and offer them a nestbox. I think the tiels only care about the last part, but it all helps.
One thing I'll mention about my nestboxes... they are all designed and made my us here at Pheonix. It only took one clutch for me to see just how messy a pair and their young can be. After cleaning that first box and hating all the work that went into getting wood back to sanitary clean, I decided there had to be a better way. I started with a plastic shoebox and built a nestbox around that shape. The first time I used the new box I knew the idea was a keeper. The birds were completely fine with the plastic insert. The box was easy to keep clean and removable anytime the hatchlings needed checked on or supplimented. The only downside at all is the box is a little bigger and if not made out of strong enough wood, it can sag some. Even so, I will never go back to plain wood. What took an hour to clean before, now only takes minutes.
Yay! We have eggs! My pairs usually lay 4 to 6 eggs. Incubation takes about 18 to 24 days.
Minimal interference: After the eggs are laid I try to keep from bothering the pair as much as possible. Besides providing daily fresh food and water and a bath tub, I'll also try to keep the environment outside their cage as stable as possible. I'll maintain this quiet time until the egs hatch. After that I will only check on the new babies as much as needed to ensure their health.
Pulling: I pull my baby Cockatiels for handfeeding between 10 and 21 days old. The baby's eyes are sealed until around 10 days of age and although they gain weight very quickly when with good parents, I prefer to wait until after their eyes are open and they are a little less fragile.
Handfeeding: I feed my babies Kaytee Exact handfeeding formula. So far I've had excellent results. When I first pull the babies I start them off on 5 feedings a day, offering them as much as they want at each meal. By holding them in my hand while feeding I get them used to being confined which helps to overcome bird's natural instinct to escape. Usually within just a few feedings the babies are crawling into and under my palm in an attempt to get to where the food is. Not long after that they are seeking me out even when not hungry.
Wing clipping: I love letting my babies fly free inside the house. The games and antics are a blast and never get dull. However, there are dangers involved and to be on the safe side nearly all of my juveniles for sale are clipped. I let them learn to fly naturally before any clipping. Some young birds are super independent and early clipping can help them tame down more quickly. And no matter how tame, it's always safest to clip the wings before a young bird goes to a new home to make the transition easiest.