Young Male Cockatiel Seems Not to Know How to Mate

by Jim S
(Chandler, AZ)

Hi, Our 9-month old male lives with our 18-year old female. The female is chirping at me and making her back flat. I know what this means and so does my male cockatiel. He wants to mate with her but all he does is climb on her back and stand there picking at her head or standing sideways (not aligned with her body).

First question is should we let her mate? Everyone says she is in great shape, but she is 18.

Second question is will the male figure out how to mate?

He's on her back many times a day recently and they are falling all over the place. I don't want them to get hurt and try to "assist" him by stabilizing the pair but it's just a funny situation (to me).

Thanks, Jim

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Apr 07, 2014
Year old male just stands on her back.
by: Rick

Hey Jim, I'm having the same issue with my year old male. He sings for the girl and she flattens out, he climbs on and just goes for a ride - no mating. She has laid a clutch of 6 eggs, all infertile. I have another pair in with them who clutched at the same time so I stole 3 of her fertile eggs and switched them out for the infertile. They hatched them and were great parents. After 10 days I pulled them to hand feed. It's a month later and they are back it but again not mating. He's on her 5 times a day but just stands there for 2 minutes or so. Will he eventually figure it out? Am I right to switch out bad eggs for good so they can raise some babies? Any advise is appreciated.

Jan 11, 2012
Reply to Linda
by: Jim S.

Hi Linda,

Thank you again for your great feedback and advice. I'll let you know how the moves goes.

Enjoy your week,

Jim

Jan 11, 2012
Young Male Cockatiel Seems Not to Know How to Mate
by: Linda

Hello again Jim!

If you put the cages close together they will be fine. They start a lot of yelling if they cannot see each other, so moving him into another cage should work fine. If you have room to put them next to each other even better, and I think even if it's just the same room, it will work. They HAVE to see each other, and it's when they can't that the FUN starts, so keep them as close as you can in the same room, and all should be fine.

There WILL be some loud vocals when you are actually moving him into his new cage, and he should settle down quickly. Make sure his cage is outfitted with nice safe wood natural wood branches, a toy and his water and food dishes. You'll want both of them to have the natural branch perches as this gives their feet and legs a rest. The dowels that come with cages cause them to have to hold on too tightly which causes chronic pain in feet and legs leading to arthritis. You can find them in pet stores selling bird supplies or internet shops as well. Get the correct overall diameter for their feet. The perches like toys are usually listed with size of bird, so this should not be a problem.

When measuring for the perches, use inside cage measurements. The perches come with hanger bolts in them and an inside and outside washer, so to keep perch from being too wide/long, use inside dimensions of cages. That way, they will fit snugly with nothing to have to cut off. Once the hanger bolts are in them, cutting them off means having to put new bolts into them which is a pain.

It's good to hear from you again so soon, and we are always here for you and your birds, Let us know how this move goes. Your young male is going to be a little upset, and this is normal since he's been with the older female for a while. He will adjust, and give them both some extra attention while they are getting used to their new living arrangement. If one of the cages has a playtop, they could spend some time together on it. Just limit time together because I do feel he is bothering her though she loves him and does not want to "say" anything. Play with each of them separately and this way, the little male will be much easier to train for you. Hope I covered all the bases here. If not, just write in again...

Linda

Jan 11, 2012
Reply to Linda
by: Jim S.

Hi Linda,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. We had bought the male six months ago to be a companion for the female. Perhaps we should have bought a second female instead of a male.

If we separate them into two cages, will he/she/they start getting more vocal because he/she/they want to be together?

Thanks!

Jim

Jan 11, 2012
Young Male Cockatiel Seems Not to Know How to Mate
by: Linda

Jim, I am Linda and will also throw in my two cents' worth!

Please separate the two birds into two cages that are put close to each other. Your male is actually too young to know what he's doing, and considering the advnced age on your female, he is being annoying more than anything. Your female is most likely not really interested in breeding at her age, and I would caution you to not do it because if she's never laid an egg, there may be a physical reason why not. Bird's would have to be examined by Avian Vet before going any further.

As Tracie said, breeding birds is a lot of hardwork, expense, and there is much to learn before even thinking of doing it. One thing is cost of breeding cage plus all babies will have to be put into cages once they are weaned. You may also have to handfeed using baby parrot formula using a syringe which is a learned skill.

I've raised the Cockies many years' ago, and the two smaller ones always had to be handfed until they caught up in size with the two older babies. the eggs hatch every other day, so there can be much difference in size for the two last ones to hatch. They will get flattened by the two larger ones while trying to get some food.

Also, when we have birds, we also have to have an Avian Vet on speed-dial for emergencies and for regular yearly checkups to make sure birds are healthy. Food should be a high quality pelleted diet like Harrisons, found here, and it gets expensive for multiple birds.

All these things together mean breeding is a serious business which costs a lot and has few monetary rewards. If you house, feed high quality food, take birds to Avian Vet as needed, you find yourself barely breaking even. If a person does not intend to take the best care of their birds, then the breeding is called cruelty, and both parents and babies are unhealthy and unhappy. There are already too many birds in horrible homes as we speak. These birds live their lives in misery and lonliness without anyone to love and care for them.

Please become a part of the solution and not the problem because too many parrots being bred IS a very big problem here in the US.

Thanks for writing,
Linda

Jan 11, 2012
Stop male bird from mating with female
by: Tracie

Yes, separating them is the only way to stop the mating behavior. It might be possible to curb the hormonal behavior of both birds by limiting their daylight hours to reflect winter.

When we had a bird laying eggs, and no male bird in the house, we put her in travel cage at night and put her in our spare bedroom where it was dark and quiet. Cutting down the hours of light stopped her egg laying and mating behavior.

Jan 10, 2012
Reply to Tracie
by: Anonymous

Hi Tracie,

Thank you for your response. How does one stop the male from trying to mate? Is it nothing more than just separating the two birds? The male is trying to mate because the female is chirping the "mate with me" call.

Thanks,

Jim

Jan 10, 2012
Young cockatiel mating behavior
by: Tracie

(moved to parrot questions, Dr B is overloaded and has not been answering questions)

Linda, and experienced breeder, will likely answer this much better than me, but I will throw in my 2 cents.

I would have you consider NOT allowing these birds to breed, because it doesn't sound like you are a breeder. If you are, then throw out my comments.

If you are not a breeder, then you may be biting off more then you can chew, so to speak. If the the birds don't feed the chicks or start killing them, are you prepared to feed them all day long every day until they are weaned?

Do you have the funds for vet bills? If the female is not eating Harrison's or Roudybush pellets for 80% of her diet, then she may become egg bound due to a lack of nutrition. The babies may have problems and you will need to have them seen by an avian vet before selling them to assure the people buying them that they are healthy.

I suggest you help an experienced breeder in your area to see what all it takes and learn to feed babies so you don't suddenly have to figure everything out if something goes wrong. (You will need to have hand feeding formula and know how to feed the babies properly before they hatch just in case.)

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