How Long Does it Take a Cockatiel Egg to Hatch? (Vet’s Guide)

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Ali Shahid

The process of cockatiel egg laying may be unfamiliar to those who are new to keeping them. When it comes to cockatiels and their eggs, the biggest question is :

How long does it take a cockatiel egg to hatch?

A cockatiel egg’s hatching time depends on the length of incubation. It is important to note that each parrot species has its incubation period. In the case of cockatiels, the incubation period generally ranges from 17 to 23 days, although sometimes it may extend to 25 days. Hence, a cockatiel egg takes 17 to 23 days to hatch.

During this time, the hatching process begins. The exact duration of incubation might change a bit based on factors like temperature and humidity levels.

Remember to maintain the right conditions during the entire incubation period to improve the chances of successful hatching. In this article, I will discuss when your cockatiel will lay eggs, and how long it takes for a cockatiel egg to hatch.

Signs that Your Cockatiel is About to Lay Eggs

When a female cockatiel is carrying eggs (gravid), you will notice her spending more time inside her nesting box. To provide her body with the necessary nutrients for eggshell formation, she might increase her consumption of food from cuttlebones and mineral blocks.

Two prominent signs that eggs are about to be laid are the hen’s droppings becoming larger than usual and the swelling of her vent. As the time approaches for the eggs to be laid, the hen’s vent will take on a rounded shape, resembling an egg, in the hours leading up to the actual egg expulsion.

How Long Does It Take for Cockatiels to Lay Eggs?

Cockatiels typically engage in mating just once during their breeding season. The male’s sperm remains viable within the female for approximately a month. After accepting a nesting site, female cockatiels usually start laying their clutch of eggs in around 4 to 6 days.

On average, they lay an egg every alternate day. An egg laid by a fertile cockatiel may remain fertile for a period of up to ten days. Consequently, cockatiels generally begin incubating their eggs after laying at least three of them. Once incubation begins, these eggs take about 17 to 23 days to hatch.

To maintain suitable conditions, the temperature should be kept within the range of 97-98°F (36-37°C). It is crucial to turn the eggs a minimum of three times each day to ensure the yolk is evenly distributed and the embryo isn’t pressed against the shell.

It is essential to be aware that an excessively lengthy or short incubation period could lead to embryo mortality. High temperatures might result in overheating and embryo death. The hatching of the eggs typically mirrors the pattern of their laying, meaning you can anticipate hatching every other day.

Your cockatiel may not lay fertile eggs all the time, so you shouldn’t remove any eggs until their fertility is confirmed. To ascertain whether a cockatiel egg is fertilized or not, you can perform egg candling.

What should I do after my cockatiel lays eggs?

Once your cockatiel has laid its eggs, the waiting game begins. It is good to keep in mind that not all eggs will hatch, so don’t be surprised by this possibility. There are different ways to find out if an egg is viable:

If your pair of breeding cockatiels is actively taking care of their eggs, it is best to practice patience. Eggs that don’t end up hatching can be handled later on. If you are using an incubator to try and hatch the eggs, you can do something called egg candling after around 10 days of incubation.

Egg candling can also be done if the eggs are being taken care of by the cockatiel parents. Just be careful not to disturb the parent birds when you are taking the eggs. Egg candling involves shining a candle’s light through the cockatiel egg to see how the embryo is developing.

It is easier to do this with eggs that are lighter in color, but you can still manage with darker eggs. If you look at the egg under the candlelight for a short time, you will be able to determine whether it is fertile or not.

Determining if an Egg is Fertile or Not
If the egg looks clear
It might be too soon to determine or it might not be viable.
Seeing blood vessels and movement
indicates a viable embryo.
Spotting a very dark embryo without visible details.
probably not viable.
Observing a mass with a red ring, is also probably not viable.
Noticing a dark mass clinging to the shell’s side probably not viable.

Unfertilized Eggs

Even when encountering unfertilized eggs, cockatiels demonstrate maternal behavior. This behavior arises from their inability to differentiate between fertile and non-fertile eggs. In their world, each egg holds the potential for life, and this prompts them to care for all eggs, regardless of whether they contain embryos or not.

If your female bird lays eggs when there’s no male around, it might be due to her receiving excessive nutrition.  In such cases, it is advisable to have a veterinarian examine her.

Allowing her to incubate these unfertilized eggs is not recommended, as they can spoil and break, attracting harmful bacteria to the nesting area. This could potentially lead to health problems for your bird.

Many pet stores sell mock cockatiel eggs that closely resemble the real thing. If these mock eggs are placed in her nest, she may believe that her clutch has been laid, resulting in her stopping laying eggs.

However, this approach doesn’t always work. Collaborating with a veterinarian to identify the reasons for her egg-laying behavior is important in breaking this cycle.

Fertilized Eggs

The cockatiel egg should be returned to its nest or incubator once it has been confirmed fertile through egg candling. Both male and female cockatiels incubate eggs, so they need a large nesting area.

When your cockatiels are incubating, which takes approximately 20 days, it is best to minimize disturbances and leave them alone. There is a wide variety of perceptions of enjoyment among people because everyone perceives things differently.

Factors Affecting the Incubation Period

It is crucial to understand that multiple factors can impact the duration of the incubation period for cockatiel eggs. Elements like humidity and egg age are significant contributors. Warmer temperatures, for instance, can lead to a shorter incubation period, while colder temperatures might extend it.

Excessive humidity can also prolong the hatching time. Eggs that have been stored for a prolonged period typically require more time to hatch.

When attempting to hatch cockatiel eggs, it is essential to account for all these factors. Remember, there is no precise formula for accurately predicting the exact length of the incubation period.

While it is generally useful to consider the 18-21 day timeframe as a basic guideline, be prepared for the eggs to hatch slightly earlier or later. It is perfectly normal for the eggs to take a few additional days to hatch, so there is no need for concern.

What Does It Mean If the Cockatiel Eggs Don’t Hatch?

As previously mentioned, the typical incubation period for cockatiel eggs is around 18-21 days after they are laid. Nonetheless, there are instances where cockatiel eggs may not hatch within this timeframe due to various reasons.

One possibility is that your cockatiels are too young. Additionally, there is the chance that the eggs themselves are not fertilized. Another potential cause could be that the embryo inside the egg has ceased developing, rendering it unable to hatch.

Normally, cockatiels reach breeding maturity at about one year of age. While younger cockatiels might lay eggs, these eggs are usually infertile. Sometimes, even mature cockatiels might lay eggs that won’t develop into chicks. This can occur if the necessary sperm required for chick formation is absent or hasn’t reached the right location.

Embracing a broader perspective, embryo mortality can arise from various factors. Frequently, it results from a lack of essential nutrients needed for the production of healthy eggs.

It is important to note that an egg not hatching within the initial 21-day incubation period doesn’t necessarily indicate that it is infertile. Occasionally, eggs might take up to 25 days to hatch. Therefore, allowing a few extra days for the process is advised

How Long Do Baby Cockatiels Stay with Their Moms?

Baby cockatiels, also referred to as hatchlings when newly hatched, progress through several stages while in the nest.

1.   Hatchlings: These are freshly hatched cockatiels. They are extremely dependent on their parents for warmth, food, and care.

2.   Nestlings: The young are called nestlings after hatching, and they usually stay in the nest for 4-5 weeks before they leave. During this time, they continue to be fed and cared for by their parents.

3.  Fledglings: Around 4-5 weeks of age, the young cockatiels become fledglings. At this stage, they leave the nest and begin exploring their surroundings. They may not yet be fully independent and may still receive some care from their parents.

4.  Independence: As fledglings continue to grow, they gain more independence and develop their flying skills. They become fully weaned, meaning they no longer rely on their parents for feeding, by the time they reach 6-8 weeks of age.

This journey from hatchlings to independent, fully weaned cockatiels takes about 6-8 weeks. It is a crucial period of growth and development that prepares them for life outside the nest.

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