My cockatiels stop feeding their chicks after about 5-6 days. Sometimes they feed them until they are 10 days old and then they'll stop. I have lost so many chicks due to this bad habit. What should I do make them keep feeding their chicks until they're fully grown?

  • For reference. A normal time period for the parent cockatiels feeding their chicks should be about 2 weeks, to 2-1/2 weeks before the breeder/owner would take the chicks away to start hand feeding them. – Spidercat Jan 15 '14 at 22:33
  • @MattS. parents stop feeding chicks and sometimes they die if they are not hand fed. what should i do so that parents keeps on feeding the chicks – user3132152 Jan 15 '14 at 22:41
  • I will try and write an answer later this evening when I have a better internet connection. It's generally bad practice to ask/answer questions in the comments of the site. Comments are reserved for clarifying, or adding to, an answer or question. If you look at the other questions here you can get an idea of how it's set up to work. – Spidercat Jan 15 '14 at 22:59
  • Is there anything else you can tell us about the cockatiels and this behaviour? Giving us as much information as possible will help you get more defined answers. – Spidercat Jan 16 '14 at 17:06

There is a delicate balance between overseeing your cockatiels' hatchlings, and causing them stress. If the parents get stressed, or feel like they're in danger, they will stop caring for (even kill) their babies. Usually they will do this when they're still eggs, like if the breeder is looking into their nest too often, but it's possible that something is happening in the couple days that the babies have hatched where the parents don't feel safe caring for them anymore.

Another reason could be food. The link for Cockatiel Cottage explains that part. You need to be feeding your birds double what you normally would, plus regularly offering them soft food. That way they have enough for them, and the babies. If they don't have enough food for both, they will keep the food for themselves. Although there's the delicate balance again where you don't want them overfeeding the babies, as their crops need to be emptied every 24 hours, or they risk impaction.

The only other reason I can think of, is that there is something wrong with the babies, or they think there is something wrong with the babies. Birds can tell when their chicks are born with defects, or are too underdeveloped to survive. So it they don't think the babies will make it, they'll simply ignore them to focus on the ones that will. In this case, since all of the chicks are being ignored, there is something bigger going on.

I would suggest reading up on breeding cockatiels. Breeding any animal is a delicate process and should not be done without proper care. And since I do not specialize in birds, there is a great deal more you can find out from people other than me.

Cockatiel Cottage on Breeding

The American Cockatiel Society on Cockatiel Breeding

Avian Web on Cockatiel Breeding

I'm hoping the couple you're breeding aren't related, as trying to breed parents that are related to each other produces nothing but chicks with birth defects, in which case the parents would ignore them.

I would do some research into crop impaction, as that's my best guess as to what's happening here. If they're being overfed, fed the wrong foods, the temperature isn't right, they have an infection, then their digestive systems will shut down. That would cause the parents to ignore them.

Finally, I think the best thing to do is get someone who breeds cockatiels, or, even better, a vet to take a look at both the adult pair, and the babies. To make sure that there isn't any underlying issues that is causing this. Ultimately I can give you all the advice in the world, but I cannot see the birds, so I'm inevitably missing something. Being able to see them helps a great deal.

Ultimately, you're probably going to have to take the babies yourself and hand-feed them sooner than you would normally. The links I provided should help you with that as well.

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  • @Chad Fair enough. I'm not against it being edited if someone thinks it needs to be refined. I didn't want to make any conclusions without knowing more though. Since there are several reasons why it could be happening, as I tried to say in my answer. – Spidercat Jan 16 '14 at 17:14
  • I will admit I skimmed the question and missed the answer in the TLDR in the middle. I think moving the actual answer to the top improves the answer greatly. The extra info is now useful instead of seeming an attempt to avoid answering the question. – user9 Jan 16 '14 at 17:20

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