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When does a cockatiel mature?

Pip's Owner

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I have a female cockatiel, she is eight months, which apparently would make her an "adult". She is my only cockatiel, and also hasn't laid eggs yet. Would she be considered "mature"? (I'm not planning any breeding or anything, and I know that they have to be around 11 months for that). I just wanted to know. Also what is a normal age for a female cockatiel to start laying eggs? I couldn't find any information on this topic. Sorry if it's a silly question.
 

JLcribber

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At one years old your bird is old enough to breed. It will start going through a hormonal cycle every season. Whether or not your hen lays eggs has many outside determining factors. Diet. Environment. Handling. Daylight. Presence of a mate (human/bird).

Some birds may not lay eggs even with all those things going for them. Other birds will lay eggs at the drop of a hat even under bad conditions.

A happy healthy hen in a great environment that does lay eggs runs the risk of becoming a chronic egg layer. Especially with improper handling.

So will your bird lays eggs? Probably at some point. I would discourage it as much as possible simply because it complicates your birds captive health.

Some reading
Hormonal Behavior in Pet Birds - Introduction — For The Birds DVM — Avian Vet
 

Garet

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Yes, she is old enough to start laying eggs. There are ways to try and discourage this, of course, so it's not all doom and gloom!
  • Avoid petting her anywhere but the head and neck. This can arouse birds, and that may lead her to think that she's been bred and thus has to produce eggs.
  • Give her ten to twelve hours of total darkness a night.
  • Do not give her nesting sites (deep baskets, tents, nest boxes, ect)
  • If she does lay, do not take her eggs away right away. You can temporarily take them and freeze/boil them and give them back, but removing them altogether will prompt more egg-laying, which has a good chance of hurting your little girl.
I've managed to keep 2/3 of my girls from laying eggs so far just by being careful where I pet them, removing nesting sites and giving them decent amounts of sleep. One of my gals hasn't been here long enough to benefit from the sleep schedule and came with eggs already inside of her. It's scary when one of your babies has babies, but as long as you keep an eye on her and try your best to reduce stimuli and monitor her if she does wind up with eggs, you should be just fine.
 

Garet

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Thank you! All of this information was very helpful.
No problem! There are also ways of keeping her calcium up if she does lay eggs. Cuttlebones should always be provided whether or not your female does wind up with eggs, but if she does, you can feed her things high in calcium, (ie: cooked scrambled eggs with the shells), bird calcium supplements, crushed sea shells, ect. I think they sell the latter in some pet stores.
 

tielluver

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if she does lay eggs I suggest replacing the eggs with fakes, which are sold on the internet. works great. my birds cannot tell the difference. they lay only so many (varies) n a clutch every other day. when they lose interest they set on them less, I remove one every other day then. I have 3 babies our pair of birds hatched, they are 15 months old and have been trying to mate which I have been discouraging, I do not want to contribute to inbreeding. so far she has not laid eggs. the parent birds are laying, I've been replacing their eggs, when I see a new one I break it and throw it away. I do this because at 1st I did not know about fakes. I put an egg in the freezer and refrigerator, then put it back in the cage by them so she would not keep laying. It's supposed to kill it and it will not hatch. well, one day a baby did hatch from that egg. it was smaller, it died within 24 hrs. I felt bad about it. but that you only have to worry about if you have a mated pair.
 

Pip's Owner

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Thanks for all help! Also, is it normal for an eight month female cockatiel to show mating/breeding behavior? Like mating "dances" and such. I heard they start showing this behavior later on, maybe around a year.
 

Serin

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My female cockatiel started laying eggs at six months. I believe that is their time of sexual maturity, though intentional breeding should not be encouraged until one year.
 

Pip's Owner

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Ah, thank you! And yah, I'm not planning intentional breeding, just wanted to know around when they mature or are considered 'adults'. Thanks to everyone for all the help!
 

Monica

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Actually, they are considered "mature" around 2 years old. They can, and do, mate/breed at well under a year old, but they are more physically, and mentally, mature at or around 2 years of age. Much like young [human] teens may be "old" enough to have kids, it doesn't mean that they are mature enough, physically and mentally, until they are around 24 years old, give or take.
 
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