Even though we keep a variety of birds, cockatiels have always been one of our favourites. We do not currently breed as many mutations as we have previously but the ones we do have are of good quality. Most of our pairs have been selectively kept to provide handraised pets. These birds have continually produced babies of superior temperament and suitability for the pet environment.
We handraise the majority of our Cockatiels to cater for the ever increasing demand for family pets and will generally have babies available for most of the year. Our handraised baby Cockatiels are taken from their parents at the approximately 3-4 weeks of age. They are then handfed with a top quality handraising formula. Usually at around 5 weeks of age they are ready to be placed in a cage and offered their first taste of solid food. At this early stage the first attempts at eating are only playing and as such formula is still fed at regular daily intervals.
As the babies gradually learn to eat by themselves the number of feeds of formula is decreased. This is called the weaning process and is an important phase of their development. It is important to feed them enough formula to maintain them whilst still leaving them hungry enough to want to try and eat by themselves. This process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. The average time is about 3 weeks so that by around 8 weeks of age the babies can feed themselves and easily maintain their own weight.
Once babies are weaned and maintaining their weight on their own they are ready to be placed in new homes. It is important that the transition from their birth home to their new family is as stress free as possible. Remember that everything will be completely new to them. As well as finding themselves often being the only bird in the household, everything is foreign to them. They have lost the familiarity of their usual cage, the smells, sights and sounds will be different and so will the people. This can be very frightening for a young bird and they must be closely monitored to make certain they are dealing with it well. Try and feed them what they are used to and keep a close watch to see they are in fact eating.
All my handraised cockatiels are special to me and as such I do not just forget them once they go to a new home. I offer all new owners as much advise and support as they need to assist their new pet into adjusting to their new home. I am also more than willing to help in whatever way I can at any stage should assistance or advice be needed.
A pet cockatiel is an important member of the family and will hopefully be a part of it for 20 years or so. As there is between all family members there must also be trust and respect for the pet bird also.
We were lucky enough to witness the hatching process of some of our Cockatiels. Please find below some shots we took during this process.
Baby Cockatiels being hand reared.