Once you have watched a baby cockatiel hatching, it is impossible to forget. They are so tiny at hatching it is hard to believe the baby even had enough strength to peck through the eggshell.
But cockatiels grow and strengthen surprisingly quickly. Before you even realize it, your downy baby cockatiel is ready to become a parent!
In this article, learn what to expect and chart your cockatiel’s progress using our baby cockatiel growth chart.
Baby Cockatiel Growth Chart
According to The Pet Supply Guy, a one-year-old cockatiel is equivalent to an eight-year-old human.
This means your baby cockatiel is doing three-quarters of a year’s worth of growth for every month of its first year!
Read on to discover what is happening inside your baby cockatiel’s body during the critical life milestones from hatchling to adulthood.
Watch a Time-lapse of Baby Cockatiel’s First 30 Days of Life
While baby cockatiels are born blind, deaf, near-naked, and completely helpless, they don’t stay that way for long.
This short YouTube video gives you a clear visual idea of just how much growing a baby cockatiel has to do in just the first 30 days of life outside the egg.
Baby Cockatiel First 30 Days Growth Chart
A baby cockatiel’s first 30 days are perhaps the most action-packed. This is especially true when you consider that on Day Zero, the baby bird is still inside the egg, where they have lived for the past 18 to 23 days on average.
So let’s find out what happens during those first critical 30 days of life, starting with hatching. Remember that the exact timeline for important events like eyes and ears opening, fledging, weaning, and flight can vary for individual chicks.
Baby Cockatiel Day 1
On day one, that all-important start-of-life event occurs. The baby cockatiel uses its tiny egg tooth on the top of its beak to peck its way out of the egg.
As Rehabbers Den explains, the baby cockatiel entirely depends on its parents.
The newborn bird is blind and deaf, with only a few tiny down feathers for warmth. They cannot sit or stand, warm, feed themselves, or do anything else they need to survive.
Baby Cockatiel Day 2
As Feisty Feathers explains, by day two, the hatchling cockatiel has begun to master holding its own head up to be fed, and its downy feathers have dried and become fluffier.
Baby Cockatiel Day 3-5
Lots are going on during these three days. The baby cockatiel’s eyes are just beginning to open. They are getting stronger and learning to stand.
Baby Cockatiel Day 6-10
By days eight to 10, the baby cockatiel can see more clearly, and pin feathers are starting to appear on the head and wings. American Cockatiel Society points out that by day eight or so, the ear flaps are also beginning to open.
Baby Cockatiel Day 11-17
The beauty of Birds explains that the pin feathers appear on the baby cockatiel’s face, chest, body, and back during days 11 to 17.
Baby Cockatiel Day 18-27
The baby cockatiel is starting to fowl, which means the pin feathers are beginning to grow and unfurl. It is often possible to accurately tell the color mutation during this period, although the gender may still be inconclusive.
Baby Cockatiel Day 28-30
Right around the end of the first 30 days of life, the baby cockatiel may exhibit independent foraging behaviors, seeking out food and exploring novel foods they have not tried before.
Baby Cockatiel Monthly Milestones Growth Chart
As mentioned in this article, each baby cockatiel may hit important milestones at slightly different times.
Birth order, genetics, parental experience, the choice to hand-rear versus leaving the chick with parents, diet, and health all play a part in how quickly an individual cockatiel chick matures.
This is why you generally see essential milestones such as fledging, weaning, and reaching breeding age outlined as a range of days rather than a single concrete day.
Here are the monthly milestones for your baby cockatiel’s first year.
Cockatiel Milestones Day 1-30
As you just learned, the first 30 days of a baby cockatiel’s life are the most intense.
The eyes and ears open, feathers grow in and unfurl, and the baby moves into fledging and the weaning process.
A baby cockatiel that has mastered these essential basics is well on becoming a healthy adult bird.
Cockatiel Milestones Day 31-60
Days 31 to 60 usher in two more key milestones, as LafeberVet points out.
Between days 32 and 38, the baby cockatiel will fledge. This means the young cockatiel has grown in the long-flight feathers on the wings and tail. Without these feathers, the young bird cannot learn to fly.
Fledging is a gradual process. A bird fledges before they are fully weaned, which means the young cockatiel remains dependent on its parents for flying lessons and successfully transitions from being fed to foraging for food independently.
Speaking of food, the weaning period typically occurs between day 47 and day 52. However, this timeline only applies to cockatiel chicks reared by the parent birds. The weaning period may differ for hand-fed, hand-reared cockatiel babies.
Cockatiel Milestones Day 91-120
During the three to six-month period of life, the young cockatiel continues to learn how to forage successfully for food independent of its parents. They are also actively learning other vital life skills – most importantly, how to fly.
Since their long-flight feathers continue to grow and develop, the young birds may only be able to take short flights at first. They become more confident as their feathers get longer and their wing and body muscles get stronger.
By the time the young cockatiel has reached the age of 120 days or six months, they start the most important transition of all into sexual maturity, breeding readiness, and full adulthood.
Cockatiel Milestones Day 6-12 Months
Cockatiels mature at different ages. Some cockatiels may be sexually mature as early as six months, while others may not reach this same milestone until the age of nine or even 12 months.
Here again, this can depend on several factors. Of these, genetics and birth order are two of the most important.
When Can Cockatiels Start to Breed
Cockatiels typically mate for life. Both parents are very involved in the incubating of eggs, the rearing and feeding of the chicks, and the overall care of the chicks.
However, while young cockatiels may be sexually mature as early as six months, it is crucial not to permit breeding until the bird is at least 18 months old.
Once cockatiels begin to breed, their breeding lifespan is relatively lengthy. In most cases, the couple can breed for up to 10 years.
Cockatiel Cottage explains that it is vitally essential to discourage breeding until the young birds are fully grown, at a healthy weight and strength, and in the prime of life. Always limit clutches to twice per year.