I don’t know whether you’re thinking of bringing some baby cockatiels into the world, or whether you already have, and now you’re freaking out about how to take good care of them. Whatever your situation, let’s take a look at everything you need to know, from their development phases to their feeding requirements.
Development Phases of Cockatiels
Baby cockatiels come into the world by breaking their way out of their egg. To do that, they have a special egg tooth – a hard spike on top of their beak – which they’ll lose after a few weeks.
A newly hatched cockatiel only weighs 4-5 grams, and their pink skin is covered with a yellow down. At hatching, they’re totally helpless, their eyes are closed, and they can’t even raise their heads.
Cockatiels might be born underdeveloped, but once they’ve entered the world, they develop quickly. By four or five days old they’re already begging for food, and you can start to see their eyes opening. The committed feeding from their parents has seen their weight triple in a few short days. They’re growing fast.
By nine or ten days old, you can expect your baby cockatiels to weigh around 35 grams, and their eyes to be fully open. They’re still growing fast, and begging for food. And their tired parents will be delivering larger and larger amounts of regurgitated seeds, straight into their beaks.
At about the same time, you can see their first real feathers starting to appear, and the chicks are finally able to hold their heads up.
At 2-4 weeks old, the baby cockatiels can recognize each other, and their parents. If you look in on them now, they’re likely to hiss at you, because they think you’re a threat. At the same time, they’ve lost their egg tooth, and their first feathers are finishing their development.
When they’re only 4 or 5 weeks old, baby cockatiels are already looking much bigger, and more grown up. By now, they have an almost full set of feathers, although they’re color is paler than in adult birds, and can weigh 70-90 grams. That’s an 18-20 times weight increase in only 4-5 weeks!
With their new feathers, you’ll probably be able to hear the chicks flapping their wings, in practice, even if you don’t peek inside the nesting box and see them. But you won’t have to contain your curiosity for too long, because around this time, they’ll start to leave the nesting box, and explore the outside world.
By around six weeks old, their feathers are complete, and they’re ready to begin learning how to fly. Although their exhausted parents are still feeding them at this point, the baby cockatiels will begin to feed themselves, taking less and less from their parents.
Once they’re six or seven months old, your baby cockatiels are starting to become adults, are completely independent of their parents, and are able to live on their own. By the time they’re a year old, they’ll be full adults, ready to raise babies of their own.
How to Look After Baby Cockatiels
You know how some things are really hard, time consuming and stressful? Well, this isn’t one of them – admit it, I had you scared for a second there.
The truth is that you should just leave it all to the parents, because they instinctively know what they’re doing. You should check the nesting box occasionally, when the parents are away, and remove any muck only if it’s really filthy. But the parents will usually keep the nesting box reasonably clean anyway.
What you do need to do is make sure the parents are getting what they need. This means a good diet, with nutrient supplements, and plenty of peace and quite to get on with raising their young – they’ve got enough stress going on right now.
Of course, this article only looks at the scenario where the parents are looking after the baby. We’ll cover what you need to know about caring for abandoned and rejected chicks in another article, otherwise this one will go on forever.
It’s an exciting and nervous time when you have baby cockatiels in your home. You wonder what they look like, how they’re doing, if they’re healthy, and you can’t wait to see them and get to know them. Enjoy this wonderful experience, and good luck raising some healthy new birds.