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Cockatiels Constantly Mating?

Raptor40

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Hey!
I've had 2 clutches of chicks now (5 eggs in each, all hatching with 2 chicks surviving the first clutch and 3 the second). I had taken the first 2 chicks out for hand raising, waited a bit and then taken the main nesting box out. By this time, however, they'd already started mating and I put the main nesting box back in as I was concerned the female would become egg-bound if I didn't (not sure how it all works on that front). I know now that I also should've taken the second nesting box out, too.
However, this time 2 chicks are only about 2 weeks old and still outside in the nesting box with the parents (other one inside as he is tiny and stunted) and they are yet again starting to mate. I'm not really sure what to do here, as the hen has already had 2 clutches over the last 4 months and I know that compulsive egg-laying is not healthy for the hen. I will be taking the chicks out in a few days to a week for hand-rearing, meaning I'll be taking the nesting box out then, but I don't feel it's natural for the parents to want to move on so quickly to laying again while they still have 2 young chicks. I absolutely love rearing cockatiels, but I'm not sure having constant chicks is a good thing for anyone.

The chicks themselves haven't had the best survival rate (less than half surviving) and the chicks I have in early due to small size have all seemed to have some sort of neurological problems. One had crop-emptying issues, which I'd spent about $1000 on vet bills for only to find he had a neurological issue that prevented digestion. Another one passed away last night after weird illness symptoms such as lack of growth, only weighing about 8 grams at 8 days, refusing food, a hardened crop, air in the crop, waving the head side-to-side all the time and constantly lying on its back. I'm 100% sure this chick didn't have issues due to my care as I'd weighed him, constantly checked the crop, checked the formula consistency and temp, and made sure his brooder was the warm. The crop was also doughy when I brought him in, so not sure if it was something he might've been born with. I'm a little concerned that these problems might be due to excessive laying.

Is there anybody else who's had these problems?
 

Shezbug

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Have you considered dummy eggs, removing the nesting box and taking measures to make hormones settle down some?

@Zara @Mockinbirdiva

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Raptor40

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Have you considered dummy eggs, removing the nesting box and taking measures to make hormones settle down some?

@Zara @Mockinbirdiva

If I can think of others I will be back to tag them.
Haven't tried dummy eggs yet but not sure if they will lay eggs anyway if they've been mating? I can't take the nests out as there are still chicks inside (will take the chicks out for handrearing soon tho and take the nesting boxes out then). Not really sure what other measures there are apart from those (I'm sure there are others, I just don't know them). Might have to separate the two until mating time.
 

Tara81

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Once the nesting box is removed, i suggest giving them 14 hours of sleep for 2 weeks, rearrangement of cage (change perches, switch out toys) and moving the cage to a new location. Do this every 3-5 days. Create more foraging opportunities for food. (Hide seeds inside balsa wood blocks with holes... Hide millet spray inside of a finger trap or plain white paper and clip it on the cage.. give them foraging toys (tip and treat , slider toys) , place paper (mini muffin papers, shredded paper, can easily cut up paper at home) on top of their food dishes so they have to rummage through to get to their food. Hide dehydrated veges/pellets or seed inside little cups. If they are not used to foraging, do make sure they can see there is food inside (create large holes so they can see their goal food at first til they understand). If they are busy working for their food they will do less mating. Weave kale(or dark leaves) inbetween cage bars. Clip Kale (or any dark leafy green) above their top perches so they have to tear apart the jungle to mate. Give them more toys that need to shred (palm, vine, paper, cardboard, soft woods like yucca,balsa,cork). Give them more time out of cage to do other things. If all else fails, maybe seperate in cages next to each other. Good luck!
 
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Tara81

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Clip Kale (or any dark leafy green) above their top perches so they have to tear apart the jungle to mate. Hide pellets or seeds or dehydrated veges inside of a cactus wood perch. Sea grass mats and yucca kabobs are a huge favorite of my birds for chewing.
 

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Mockinbirdiva

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Hey!
I've had 2 clutches of chicks now (5 eggs in each, all hatching with 2 chicks surviving the first clutch and 3 the second). I had taken the first 2 chicks out for hand raising, waited a bit and then taken the main nesting box out. By this time, however, they'd already started mating and I put the main nesting box back in as I was concerned the female would become egg-bound if I didn't (not sure how it all works on that front). I know now that I also should've taken the second nesting box out, too.
However, this time 2 chicks are only about 2 weeks old and still outside in the nesting box with the parents (other one inside as he is tiny and stunted) and they are yet again starting to mate. I'm not really sure what to do here, as the hen has already had 2 clutches over the last 4 months and I know that compulsive egg-laying is not healthy for the hen. I will be taking the chicks out in a few days to a week for hand-rearing, meaning I'll be taking the nesting box out then, but I don't feel it's natural for the parents to want to move on so quickly to laying again while they still have 2 young chicks. I absolutely love rearing cockatiels, but I'm not sure having constant chicks is a good thing for anyone.

The chicks themselves haven't had the best survival rate (less than half surviving) and the chicks I have in early due to small size have all seemed to have some sort of neurological problems. One had crop-emptying issues, which I'd spent about $1000 on vet bills for only to find he had a neurological issue that prevented digestion. Another one passed away last night after weird illness symptoms such as lack of growth, only weighing about 8 grams at 8 days, refusing food, a hardened crop, air in the crop, waving the head side-to-side all the time and constantly lying on its back. I'm 100% sure this chick didn't have issues due to my care as I'd weighed him, constantly checked the crop, checked the formula consistency and temp, and made sure his brooder was the warm. The crop was also doughy when I brought him in, so not sure if it was something he might've been born with. I'm a little concerned that these problems might be due to excessive laying.

Is there anybody else who's had these problems?
I'm having a hard time trying to be clear on what you've written. So, the first clutch was five eggs... all hatched but three died. You took two chicks out to hand rear but left the other three for the parents to raise? When did the three chicks die on clutch #1 ? Did you take them out of the nest to hand rear as well? How long is " waiting a bit"? before you took out the main nesting box? If you remove the chicks the parents will certainly start the process of mating all over again. You mention 'the main nesting box' and the 'second nesting box'... how many boxes do you have in with your pair.

Never mind... I went to your other threads you posted and now remember your outdoor aviary. You took the nest box out to clean it ( there were maggots in the nest) , two of the chicks had died, you pulled the tiny chick out to take care of and now I'm assuming the little one died from this clutch. So.... how many chicks actually survived from that first clutch? And on the second clutch....you have two chicks surviving in the nest? If so, I would leave those chicks in the nest for the parents to take care of so they can complete the process of laying and raising the babies until they are weaned. This alone, should keep your hen from laying more eggs until those babies fledge. As much as you love rearing you could be perpetuating the mating and laying behavior by taking the chicks out of the nest to rear. Egg laying takes a lot out of a hen and can cause some serious health issues. Especially if you aren't providing an optimum diet for them to help her body recover the calcium she is depleted of by laying.

Ok... going back again to another post and I see the two babies that survived from your first clutch. And now you have two babies left in the second clutch in the nestbox outside in your aviary. Don't pull them for feeding if you can help it. Allow your pair to complete a cycle of raising their own chicks. Both of those nest boxes have to come out when those chicks are raised by the parents. I don't think it's healthy for them to lay more than two clutches a year. Cockatiels in the wild produce 1-2 clutches each year.

 
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Raptor40

Meeting neighbors
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1/27/20
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44
Location
Victoria, Australia
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Once the nesting box is removed, i suggest giving them 14 hours of sleep for 2 weeks, rearrangement of cage (change perches, switch out toys) and moving the cage to a new location. Do this every 3-5 days. Create more foraging opportunities for food. (Hide seeds inside balsa wood blocks with holes... Hide millet spray inside of a finger trap or plain white paper and clip it on the cage.. give them foraging toys (tip and treat , slider toys) , place paper (mini muffin papers, shredded paper, can easily cut up paper at home) on top of their food dishes so they have to rummage through to get to their food. Hide dehydrated veges/pellets or seed inside little cups. If they are not used to foraging, do make sure they can see there is food inside (create large holes so they can see their goal food at first til they understand). If they are busy working for their food they will do less mating. Weave kale(or dark leaves) inbetween cage bars. Clip Kale (or any dark leafy green) above their top perches so they have to tear apart the jungle to mate. Give them more toys that need to shred (palm, vine, paper, cardboard, soft woods like yucca,balsa,cork). Give them more time out of cage to do other things. If all else fails, maybe seperate in cages next to each other. Good luck!
Thank you!
I'm in the middle of making some new toys and foraging opportunities now so hopefully I will be able to remove the nesting boxes soon. I can't move the cage or limit the sleep time, as they live in a large outdoor aviary that is nailed to the ground, but I can definitely change around some of the perches and toys! Thanks again!
 
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