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How Long Does it Take for Cockatiel Eggs to Hatch? A Comprehensive Guide

How Long Does it Take for Cockatiel Eggs to Hatch

Cockatiels are a popular pet bird species known for their distinctive crests and friendly personalities. These birds are native to Australia and are famous for pet owners due to their playful nature and ability to mimic sounds and words. However, for those who own or plan to own a cockatiel, it is crucial to understand the egg-hatching process.

Understanding the cockatiel egg-hatching process is significant for bird owners as it helps them to provide the necessary care for their pets. Cockatiels lay their eggs in clutches, and the incubation period lasts about 18 to 20 days. Providing the right conditions for the eggs to hatch is critical. 

Additionally, it is essential to know that not all eggs will hatch, and it is best to leave the unhatched eggs in the clutch until it is clear that they will not hatch.

The Incubation Period

The incubation period for cockatiel eggs is typically 18 to 20 days. The hen takes responsibility for keeping the eggs warm and rotates them regularly for proper development. It’s important to understand that not all eggs will hatch successfully, as approximately 90% of fertilized eggs are viable.

Temperature and humidity play crucial roles in the incubation process. Maintaining an ideal temperature range of 99 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of around 50% is essential. Deviations from these values can lead to complications in egg development.

Genetic variations can also play a role in the incubation period. Some pairs of cockatiels may have a shorter or longer incubation period than others due to genetic differences.

To ensure a successful incubation period, providing your cockatiels with a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables and calcium-rich foods is crucial. Providing a nesting box with suitable material can also help encourage healthy behavior during the reproductive cycle.

The Hatching Process

Once the incubation begins, it takes 17 to 23 days for cockatiel eggs to hatch. During this time, the embryo inside the egg develops and grows until it is ready to hatch.

The hatching process consists of three stages: pipping, hatching, and post-hatching. Pipping involves the chick breaking through the eggshell using its egg tooth. Hatching is when the chick fully emerges from the egg, and post-hatching is the period of adjustment to its new environment and growth.

During the pipping stage, the chick will make a small hole in the shell using its egg tooth. This hole allows the chick to breathe and get more oxygen. The chick will then use its egg tooth to chip away at the shell until it can push its way out.

Once the chick has hatched, it will be wet and covered in eggshells. The parents will help clean the chick and remove any remaining eggshell pieces. The chick will also have a yolk sac attached to its belly, which provides nutrients for the first few days of its life.

After hatching, the chick will spend most of its time in the nest box with its parents. The chick will continue to grow and develop, and its feathers will begin to come in. The parents will feed the chick a unique formula, and the chick will eventually be weaned onto solid food.

Several signs indicate hatching is imminent. The parents will spend more time in the nest box and may become more protective of their eggs. The eggs may also move or shake slightly as the chick prepares to hatch. Monitoring the temperature and humidity in the incubator or nest box is essential to ensure the eggs get the proper hatching conditions.

If there are any concerns about the hatching process, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian who specializes in avian medicine. They can guide in identifying signs of distress or complications during the hatching process.

To provide a safe and comfortable environment for the chicks, cardboard boxes can be used as a temporary housing solution until they are old enough to move to a larger cage. It’s vital to ensure that the box is clean and dry and that the chicks can access food and water.

Egg Candling: Understanding Embryo Development

Egg candling is a process used to monitor the development of embryos within eggs, including those of cockatiels. 

It involves shining a bright light through the egg to observe the contents inside, including the embryo, yolk sac, and air cell. This technique determines whether an egg is fertile, infertile, or developing abnormally.

During the incubation period, typically 18-20 days for cockatiel eggs, the embryo undergoes significant changes and growth. Egg candling allows breeders to monitor the embryo’s progress and identify potential issues or complications.

To candle an egg, a bright light source is held up to one end of the egg while the other end is held up to a dark background. The egg is then rotated to observe all sides. 

A fertile egg will show signs of development, such as blood vessels and a dark spot indicating the embryo. An infertile or unfertilized egg will appear clear.

It is crucial to candle eggs regularly during incubation to identify any issues that may arise. For example, suppose an egg is not developing correctly or has stopped altogether. 

In that case, it can be removed from the incubator to prevent contamination and ensure the health of the other eggs.

hat to Expect Before the Egg Hatches

To ensure successful hatching, bird owners should create a suitable and secure nesting area for the mother bird and her eggs. This includes placing the nesting box in a quiet, private location, free from disturbances and potential predators.

It should be filled with nesting material, such as shredded paper or straw, to provide a comfortable and warm environment for the mother bird and her eggs.

As the eggs near the end of their incubation period, bird owners should look for signs of imminent hatching. The female cockatiel will spend more time in the nesting box, and her behavior may become more protective and agitated. She may also start to vocalize more frequently and loudly.

To ensure that necessary supplies are readily available, bird owners should stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables and calcium-rich foods, such as cuttlebone or eggshells. These nutrients are essential for the mother bird’s health and the development of the eggs.

It is important to note that female cockatiels can lay eggs without a mate, and chronic egg-laying can lead to health problems. Bird owners should monitor their reproductive cycle and limit breeding and mating activities to the appropriate season. Clutches should also be limited to prevent excessive egg-laying.

What to Expect After the Egg Hatches

Once the cockatiel egg hatches, the chick will entirely depend on its parents for survival. As a responsible owner, knowing the critical aspects of post-hatch care for newly hatched cockatiel chicks is vital.

Maintaining optimal temperature and humidity is crucial for the survival of the chicks. The brooder should be kept at a temperature of around 95°F (35°C) for the first week, gradually decreasing by 5°F (2.8°C) each week until it reaches room temperature. The humidity level should be between 50-60% to prevent dehydration.

Offering initial feedings and hydration is also essential. The chicks should be fed a soft food mixture, which can be made by mixing baby bird formula with water. 

The mixture should be fed to the chicks using a syringe or pipette every 2-3 hours. Fresh water should also be provided in a shallow dish.

Promoting bonding between parent birds and chicks is crucial for the chicks’ development. The parents should be allowed to care for the chicks as much as possible, but it is crucial to monitor their behavior to ensure that they are not neglecting or harming the chicks. Providing a mineral block and fresh fruits and vegetables can also help promote good health and nutrition for the chicks.

As the chicks grow, they will develop their behavior and personalities. Monitoring their health and behavior closely and seeking necessary veterinary care is crucial. 

Weaning should begin when the chicks are around 6-8 weeks old, and a healthy diet of seeds, pellets, and fresh fruits and vegetables should be provided.

Dealing with Unfertilized Eggs

Unfertilized eggs are a common occurrence in female cockatiels. These eggs are not viable and will not hatch. It is vital to address this issue promptly to prevent potential health problems for the female bird.

There are several options for dealing with unfertilized eggs. One option is to dispose of them. This can be done by placing them in a plastic bag and throwing them away. Another option is to use them for cooking or baking, as unfertilized eggs are safe to eat.

If a female cockatiel consistently lays infertile eggs, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem or behavioral issue. In such cases, consulting with a veterinarian for professional advice and guidance is crucial.

To prevent the laying of unfertilized eggs, ensuring that the female cockatiel is in good health and that her cage is sized correctly and equipped with a suitable nesting box is vital. Monitoring the bird’s behavior and ensuring she is not under undue stress is also essential.

The Fate of Eggs that Don’t Hatch

When it comes to cockatiel breeding, there is always the possibility that some eggs may not hatch. There are several reasons why this may happen, ranging from infertility to developmental issues.

Infertility is one of the most common reasons an egg may not hatch. This can occur if the egg is not fertilized correctly or the male is infertile. In some cases, the female may also be infertile.

Developmental issues can also prevent eggs from hatching. These can include genetic abnormalities, such as a malformed embryo or improper incubation conditions.

When dealing with unhatched eggs, it is advised to minimize intervention. It is recommended to wait at least four weeks beyond the expected hatch date before removing the eggs. This accounts for potential delays in incubation and variations in the length of the incubation period.

If you suspect an egg may be infertile or has developmental issues, it is best to seek advice from a professional, such as a veterinarian. They can guide the best course of action.

In terms of incubation, it is crucial to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels. The incubation period for cockatiel eggs is typically around 21 days. However, it is not uncommon for some eggs to hatch a few days earlier or later.

It is also essential to monitor the health and behavior of the breeding pair, as this can impact the development of the eggs. Any signs of illness or stress should be addressed promptly.

Duration of Nest Stay for Baby Cockatiels

Baby cockatiels typically stay with their mother in the nest for about 4-5 weeks after hatching. During this period, the parents provide brooding and care to the young birds until they are ready to leave the nest.

It is essential to allow baby cockatiels to develop fully before separating them from their parents. Separating them too early can lead to various behavioral and health problems. Thus, it is crucial to provide a nesting area that is spacious and comfortable for the birds.

The nesting box should be large enough to accommodate the entire family, with enough space for the young birds to move around. Additionally, the nesting box should be placed in a quiet area, away from any disturbances that could cause stress to the birds.

As the young birds develop, they will start to wean off their parents and become more independent. This process can take several weeks, and monitoring the birds’ behavior is essential to ensure they are healthy.

If there are any concerns about the birds’ health, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian specializing in avian care. They can advise how to care for the birds and address health issues.


In conclusion, the incubation period for cockatiel eggs can vary between 17-23 days. During this time, it is crucial to ensure the eggs are kept in a warm and humid environment, with regular turning to prevent the embryo from sticking to the shell.

It is also important to note that not all eggs a cockatiel lays will be fertile; therefore, not all eggs will hatch. It is recommended to leave the eggs in the nest for up to 30 days before discarding them, as some eggs may take longer to hatch than others.

If a cockatiel is not showing signs of incubating its eggs, removing them and providing artificial incubation may be necessary. However, this should only be done if necessary, as it can be stressful for the bird and may result in a lower hatching success rate.