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Switching nesting boxes?

Shanti_P

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I have had 2 cockatiels, a male and a female, for over 6 years. We got a male first and then when we got a female, she was already pregnant and laid an egg but it dropped to the bottom of the cage. For around 4 years, she has started mating with our male cockatiel but they have never had babies. Around 2 years ago, they had started roaming around the room and found cardboard in a dark corner and started chewing it up and hiding in there. I added a nesting box in order to prevent her laying and egg on a perch but they went in and out and never laid an egg.

A few days ago, I found them behind the couch chewing up cardboard, so I added a nesting box in their cage. Since they had been trying for several years I did not expect them to lay an egg, I had made a nesting box from a 12 by 10 by 5 box (which is really short) and added some carboard for them to chew on. Yesterday, I had found out she laid an egg, but I know the box doesn't have the proper bedding, height, and has large pieces of carboard inside. I want to change the nesting box to a more suitable one, but I am unsure what problems this would pose to the cockatiels. I tried to do as much research as I can but was unable to find reliable information on this topic. I was hoping to get some advice on here!

Some other information about my cockatiels is that they are mainly on a seed diet but get carrots everyday and occasionally get apples. They live in one cage with 2 presumably female budgies, and have been doing so since 5 years ago. The cage is around approximately 12 by 24 and 36 inches in height, but we leave the cage open at all times to have access to the house. The age of the cockatiels are both unknown.

Their very DIY nest box:

nestbox.jpeg
 

Zara

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Looks fine to me. Just be sure to take the eggs out an boil as they are laid. Allow them to cool and put back. Let her rest in her box for up to 3 weeks before removing all the eggs and the box. Rearranging the cage whenm you take the nest can help them bounce back from all the hormones.

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Shanti_P

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Looks fine to me. Just be sure to take the eggs out an boil as they are laid. Allow them to cool and put back. Let her rest in her box for up to 3 weeks before removing all the eggs and the box. Rearranging the cage whenm you take the nest can help them bounce back from all the hormones.

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Boil them? As in give them boiled eggs for calcium or boil the eggs they lay? I don't wish to kill the offspring if I can prevent it.
 

Gigibirds

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She meant boil their eggs to kill the babies (presuming that you didn't want babies). If you do want chicks, then DO NOT boil the eggs. But yes, feeding the adults calcium and egg food/hard boiled eggs is all important.
 

Zara

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I don't wish to kill the offspring if I can prevent it.
Breeding birds on a mainly seed diet is not ideal. Given they are cockatiels, it would be better they are converted to a pellet diet (be sure the pellets have vit d3) with fresh veggies daily, before they mate and lay eggs. Gives healthier offspring.
You could boil these eggs (there´s no life in the eggs when they are laid), and prepare for future clutches by having a good nesting box ready, and getting them eating less seed.

They live in one cage with 2 presumably female budgies
I just saw this part. You would need to house them in their own cage for breeding.

She meant boil their eggs to kill the babies
You´re joking right? There´s no ¨babies¨ in a few day old egg. Not even an embryo. Just potential, nothing more. There´s no life yet.
Candling eggs you can see when life starts to form and the veins appear.
 

Shanti_P

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Breeding birds on a mainly seed diet is not ideal. Given they are cockatiels, it would be better they are converted to a pellet diet (be sure the pellets have vit d3) with fresh veggies daily, before they mate and lay eggs. Gives healthier offspring.
What are some problems that would occur from having babies on an all seed diet? I'm just curious in case we decide to keep the potential baby. I've tried to get them on a veggie diet but I don't know if its working because I mix the veggies with the seeds and don't know if they're eating the veggies or picking out the seeds.
 
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Zara

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What are some problems that would occur from having babies on an all seed diet?
Malnutrition and vitamin deficiency would likely be the top worries. This includes deficiency in-egg, which can lead to slow growth rate, abnormalities and DIS.

I've tried to get them on a veggie diet
Sometimes it´s how the food is presented, they might like it in big chunks, or small pieces, or mashed. Feeding the veggies in a separate dish with just a pinch of seeds sprinkled on top in the morning is usually the best chance for success.
Have you ever tried pellets?

If you really wanted to breed these birds but they won´t eat the veggies or pellets, consult your vet. See if maybe an eggfood and/or supplement would give the birds what they need. They will be able to give you good guidance.
Please don´t just try to add supplements yourself, too much calcium can cause shell thickening, which can result in the chicks unable to get out of the eggs and dying.
 

Zara

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Nutritional Deficiencies:

Vitamin A: Death at about 48 hours of incubation from failure to develop the circulatory system; abnormalities of kidneys, eyes and skeleton
Vitamin D: Death at about 18 or 19 days of incubation, with malpositions, soft bones, and with a defectiveupper beak prominent.
Vitamin E: Early death at about 84 to 96 hours of incubation, with hemorrhaging and circulatory failure(implicated with selenium).
Thiamin: High embryonic mortality during emergence but no obvious symptoms other than polyneuritis inthose that survive.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Mortality peaks at 60 hours, 14 days, and 20 days of incubation, with peaks prominent early asdeficiency becomes severe. Altered limb and beak development, dwarfism and clubbing ofdown are defects expressed by embryo.
Niacin: Embryo readily synthesizes sufficient niacin from tryptophan. Various bone and beak malformationsoccur when certain antagonists are administered during incubation.
Biotin: High death rate at 19 days to 21 days of incubation, parrot beak, chondrodystrophy, severalskeletal deformities and webbing between the toes. Perosis.
Pantothenic acid: Deaths appear around 14 days of incubation, although marginal levels may delay problems untilemergence. Variable subcutaneous hemorrhaging and edema; wirey down in poults.
Pyridoxine: Early embryonic mortality based on antivitamin use.
Folic acid: Mortality at about 20 days of incubation. The dead generally appear normal, but many havebent tibiotarsus (long leg bone), syndactyly (fused toes) and beak malformations. In poults, mortality at 26 days to 28days of incubation with abnormalities of extremities and circulatory system.
Vitamin B12 : Mortality at about 20 days of incubation, with atrophy of legs, edema, hemorrhaging, fattyorgans, and head between thighs malposition.
Manganese : Deaths peak prior to emergence. Chondrodystrophy, dwarfism, long bone shortening, headmalformations, edema, and abnormal feathering are prominent. Perosis.
Zinc: Deaths prior to emergence, and the appearance of rumplessness, depletion of vertebral column,eyes underdeveloped and limbs missing.
Iodine : Prolongation of hatching time, reduced thyroid size, and incomplete abdominal closure.
Iron: Low hematocrit; low blood hemoglobin; poor extra-embryonic circulation in candled eggs.

Source / Reference: gallus.tamu.edu/Extensionpublications/b6092.pdf
 

Zara

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I almost forgot, it can also cause splayed legs and stunted chicks.
 

Shanti_P

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Have you ever tried pellets?
We have Zupreem smart selects pellets for medium sized birds, but since its expensive I mix it with the regular seeds. The only thing I'm worried about when adding pellets is that the nutritional diet for cockatiels isn't suitable to budgies since they eat out of the same containers so I try not to add too much.
 

Zara

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This really is not a good breeding setup. The budgies need to be split from the cockatiels.
This way you can control who eats what regardless of breeding, like you said, budgies eat more seeds that cockatiels.

RE expense, chicks are expensive. If something goes wrong, the vet bills can quickly add up. I think the vet is potentially more expensive than buying the formula, brooder, heat pad, thermometers, hygrometer, syringes, spoons, formula, aspen shavings + all the food wasted during weaning.

I really think, that it is best to boils these eggs now, and prepare better for the future if breeding is still something you want to pursue. It will give you time to work out all the details.
 

Shanti_P

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Nutritional Deficiencies:

Vitamin A: Death at about 48 hours of incubation from failure to develop the circulatory system; abnormalities of kidneys, eyes and skeleton
Vitamin D: Death at about 18 or 19 days of incubation, with malpositions, soft bones, and with a defectiveupper beak prominent.
Vitamin E: Early death at about 84 to 96 hours of incubation, with hemorrhaging and circulatory failure(implicated with selenium).
Thiamin: High embryonic mortality during emergence but no obvious symptoms other than polyneuritis inthose that survive.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Mortality peaks at 60 hours, 14 days, and 20 days of incubation, with peaks prominent early asdeficiency becomes severe. Altered limb and beak development, dwarfism and clubbing ofdown are defects expressed by embryo.
Niacin: Embryo readily synthesizes sufficient niacin from tryptophan. Various bone and beak malformationsoccur when certain antagonists are administered during incubation.
Biotin: High death rate at 19 days to 21 days of incubation, parrot beak, chondrodystrophy, severalskeletal deformities and webbing between the toes. Perosis.
Pantothenic acid: Deaths appear around 14 days of incubation, although marginal levels may delay problems untilemergence. Variable subcutaneous hemorrhaging and edema; wirey down in poults.
Pyridoxine: Early embryonic mortality based on antivitamin use.
Folic acid: Mortality at about 20 days of incubation. The dead generally appear normal, but many havebent tibiotarsus (long leg bone), syndactyly (fused toes) and beak malformations. In poults, mortality at 26 days to 28days of incubation with abnormalities of extremities and circulatory system.
Vitamin B12 : Mortality at about 20 days of incubation, with atrophy of legs, edema, hemorrhaging, fattyorgans, and head between thighs malposition.
Manganese : Deaths peak prior to emergence. Chondrodystrophy, dwarfism, long bone shortening, headmalformations, edema, and abnormal feathering are prominent. Perosis.
Zinc: Deaths prior to emergence, and the appearance of rumplessness, depletion of vertebral column,eyes underdeveloped and limbs missing.
Iodine : Prolongation of hatching time, reduced thyroid size, and incomplete abdominal closure.
Iron: Low hematocrit; low blood hemoglobin; poor extra-embryonic circulation in candled eggs.

Source / Reference: gallus.tamu.edu/Extensionpublications/b6092.pdf
Is there a chance that the baby, if there is one, will be healthy? And what would the chanced given the circumstances be?
 

Shanti_P

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This really is not a good breeding setup. The budgies need to be split from the cockatiels.
This way you can control who eats what regardless of breeding, like you said, budgies eat more seeds that cockatiels.
We weren't planning on breeding them, it just so happened that she laid an egg yesterday. I have separated them momentarily.
 

Zara

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We weren't planning on breeding them, it just so happened that she laid an egg yesterday.
Yea I get that. It happens. Sometimes a pair will live together for years before there´s any eggs, like your birds.
 

Shanti_P

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Yea I get that. It happens. Sometimes a pair will live together for years before there´s any eggs, like your birds.
Thanks so much for the advice! I will discuss with my sister to see what decision we should make.
 
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