how to incubate cockatiel eggs

The Ultimate Guide to How to Incubate Cockatiel Eggs

Ever wondered what it takes to successfully incubate cockatiel eggs and venture into the rewarding journey of raising these charming birds? Fear not, for you’ve stumbled upon a goldmine of information that will guide you through every step of the way! Cockatiels, with their captivating whistles and endearing personalities, make fantastic companions. Let’s embark on this adventure together, ensuring those tiny eggs receive the utmost care for a successful hatch.


There’s something inherently magical about incubating cockatiel eggs. It’s like being part of a delicate process that culminates in the miracle of life. Whether you’re a seasoned breeder or a curious newbie, understanding the nuances of egg incubation is key to raising healthy, joyful cockatiels. So, grab a cup of tea, and let’s dive into the world of cockatiel egg incubation, where patience and care open the doors to unforgettable moments of fluffiness and the first heartwarming chirps.

Understanding the Basics of Cockatiel Reproduction

Cockatiels are monogamous creatures that form pairs and can reproduce throughout the year, with the right conditions. They lay between 4 to 6 eggs per clutch, which then require about 18 to 21 days of incubation before the chicks peck their way into the world. Ensuring the health and safety of these eggs is the first step towards a successful hatch.

Importance of Proper Egg Incubation

The right incubation process can make all the difference. It’s not just about keeping the eggs warm; it’s about providing the perfect environment for the developing chicks. Proper incubation ensures healthy skeletal formation, minimizes the risk of deformities, and sets the pace for the overall health and well-being of the chicks.

Overview of the Incubation Process: How to Incubate Cockatiel Eggs

How to Incubate Cockatiel Eggs

Preparing for Incubation

Selecting the Right Incubator

When it comes to incubators, one size doesn’t fit all. Consider size, reliability, and ease of use. A digital incubator with automatic turning and a built-in hygrometer for humidity measurement is ideal for beginners.

Types of Incubators

  • Still Air Incubator: Economical but requires manual egg turning.
  • Forced Air Incubator: Equipped with a fan for even temperature distribution, ideal for larger batches of eggs.

Features to Look For

  • Automatic Turner: Saves time and facilitates even development.
  • Temperature and Humidity Display: Keeps you informed of the conditions inside.
  • Ventilation: Essential for oxygen supply.

Setting Up Your Incubator

Choose a stable, draft-free location and calibrate your incubator before setting the eggs. This ensures you’re starting off with the right conditions.

Creating the Perfect Environment

Temperature Requirements

Maintain a steady temperature of 99.5°F (37.5°C) for forced air incubators and 100.5°F (38°C) for still air models.

Humidity Levels

Aim for 40-50% humidity during the incubation period, increasing to 65-75% a few days before hatching.

Ventilation and Air Circulation

Ensure your incubator is well-ventilated to provide sufficient oxygen and prevent the accumulation of harmful gases.

Egg Handling and Care

Identifying Fertile Eggs

Fertile eggs exhibit a network of blood vessels when candled, while infertile eggs remain clear.

Visual Inspection

Look for clean, uncracked eggs. Minor imperfections on the shell can be detrimental.

Candling Technique

Using a bright light source in a dark room, gently hold the egg up to the light to examine the contents.

Handling Precautions

Handle eggs with clean, dry hands and minimize exposure to extreme temperatures during inspection.

Setting the Eggs in the Incubator

Positioning for Optimal Development

Lay eggs on their sides and turn them 3-5 times a day if your incubator doesn’t have an automatic turner.

Rotation Schedule

Consistent turning mimics natural motherly care, encouraging healthy development.

Monitoring and Adjustments

Keep a close eye on temperature and humidity, making adjustments as necessary to ensure a stable environment.

Monitoring the Incubation Process

Daily Check-Ups

A quick daily inspection helps catch and rectify any discrepancies in temperature or humidity early.

Temperature and Humidity Checks

Regular checks are crucial. Even slight deviations can impact the development of the embryos.

Egg Turning and Positioning

Ensure eggs are being turned regularly to prevent the embryo from sticking to one side of the shell.

Identifying and Solving Common Issues

Be on the lookout for signs of mold or abnormal development, and take corrective action immediately.

Anticipating Hatching

Signs of Impending Hatching

Increased movement within the egg and chirping sounds are harbingers of the exciting event.

Preparing for the Arrival of Chicks

Ensure the incubator’s temperature and humidity are optimized for hatching, and prepare a warm, comfortable brooding area for the newborns.

Care for the Newly Hatched Chicks

Care for the Newly Hatched Chicks

The First Hours After Hatching

Allow chicks to dry and gain some strength before moving them to the brooder.

Assisting with Hatching, If Necessary

Intervention is rarely needed, but be prepared to help if a chick is struggling to break free, ensuring to act with utmost care.

Initial Care and Warmth

Maintain a brooder temperature of 95°F (35°C) during the first week, decreasing gradually as they feather.

Health Checks and Observations

Monitor chicks for any signs of distress or illness, providing immediate care as needed.

Feeding and Nutrition

The Importance of Proper Nutrition

A balanced diet is crucial for the development of young cockatiels, supporting their rapid growth and feathering.

Feeding Techniques and Schedules

Start with a high-quality hand-rearing formula, feeding every 2 hours initially, and gradually decreasing as they grow.

Monitoring Growth and Development

Regular weigh-ins help ensure chicks are on the right track, adjusting feedings based on their growth rate.

Transition to a Brooder

Creating a Safe and Comfortable Environment

Ensure the brooder is secure, clean, and well-ventilated, with appropriate bedding to absorb waste.

Temperature and Humidity Levels

Adjust temperatures weekly, reducing by 5°F until reaching room temperature, ensuring a smooth transition.

Socialization and Early Training

Interact with chicks regularly to foster trust and begin basic training, encouraging natural behaviors.

Beyond Incubation: Raising Healthy Cockatiels

Health and Wellness Checkups

Schedule regular check-ups with an avian veterinarian to ensure your cockatiels are in tip-top shape.

Regular Veterinary Visits

These are essential for preventive care, vaccinations, and addressing any health concerns promptly.

Vaccinations and Preventative Care

Discuss a suitable vaccination schedule with your vet to protect against common diseases.

Recognizing Signs of Illness

Being vigilant about changes in behavior or appearance can help catch health issues early.

The Importance of Social Interaction

Cockatiels thrive on interaction. Spend quality time with your birds to build a strong bond.

Bonding with Your Cockatiels

Creating a trustful relationship with your cockatiels adds to the joy of pet ownership.

Introducing New Foods and Activities

Keep your cockatiels stimulated with a variety of foods and enrichment activities, promoting physical and mental health.

Encouraging Natural Behaviors

Provide opportunities for flying, foraging, and socializing, mimicking their natural habitat as closely as possible.

Preparing for Adulthood

As cockatiels mature, adjust their environment, diet, and training to suit their evolving needs.

Upgrading Cages and Environments

Larger cages, new toys, and regular changes to their living space prevent boredom and encourage healthy activity.

Advanced Training and Activities

Teach new tricks and games to keep your cockatiels engaged, enhancing your bond and their well-being.

Planning for Mating and Reproduction

If considering breeding, prepare thoroughly, ensuring you can provide the necessary care for another generation.


Incubating cockatiel eggs and raising the chicks into enchanting adult birds is a journey filled with challenges, learning, and immense rewards. Each step, from setting up the proper incubation environment to nurturing the chicks into adulthood, demands patience, care, and attention. Embrace this journey with an open heart and a willingness to learn, and you’ll find the experience of raising cockatiels to be one of the most fulfilling adventures of your life.


  • How long does it take for cockatiel eggs to hatch?
    • Typically, cockatiel eggs will hatch after 18 to 21 days of incubation.
  • What should I do if an egg doesn’t hatch?
    • Give it a little more time as some eggs may hatch a few days late. If it still doesn’t hatch, carefully inspect the egg for signs of development.
  • How can I tell if an egg is infertile?
    • Candling the egg about 5 to 7 days into incubation can help identify if there is a growing embryo or not.
  • Can I leave the cockatiel eggs under the care of the parent birds?
    • Yes, parent-raised incubation is a natural and often successful method, provided the parents are experienced and attentive.
  • How soon can I handle the newly hatched chicks?
    • It’s best to wait until the chicks have fluffed up and are starting to move around before handling, giving them time to gain strength.
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About Me

I’m Kamran, a co-founder and content creator at With 8+ years in the world of avian enthusiasts, I’ve gained extensive knowledge in caring for birds. From egg-laying and mating to cohabitation with other birds, dietary needs, nurturing, and breeding, I’m here at to share valuable insights for your avian companions.

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