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Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 11431
Experience:  Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
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Recently I purchased a cockatiel to friend another cockatiel

Customer Question

Customer: Hello, my name is***** purchased a cockatiel to friend another cockatiel I had rescued from the wild cold weather. Turns out the new bird is a male and has started relations with the rescue bird. Today I noticed feces hanging from the rectal area. Wondering if she might be bound up. A friend says to hold her over steam to help her! I don't know, she doesn't like to be touched. Should I be thinking nesting box and material, not sure I want to raise babies.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Not sure what more to add here. Should I be concerned about her health?
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Customer: Sure.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in bird health. I would like to help you today.

Whenever two cockatiels of opposite sexes start relations, it's wise to put in a nest box. If they are going to reproduce, it will happen whether you have a nestbox or not, but without a nestbox, eggs end up on the floor, and females are more likely to have problems.

Egg binding is always a concern. Signs of binding include feces stuck to the vent area, squatting, straining as if to pass something, and eventually appetite loss and lethargy. If your bird actually is egg bound, home remedies seldom work. This is an emergency. A bird can die in just a few hours from this condition. If you need a vet, here is a link to a list of avian vets . You may have to drive a bit to get to one.

If you absolutely can't get to a vet right away, there are a few things you can try, but success is iffy. If the egg is just inside the vent, you can put a little cooking oil or mineral oil in the vent. This won't do any good if the egg is further up. Do not try to break the egg or pull it out - this can do even more harm.

Give her some water with a little sugar or Karo syrup in it.

You can run a hot shower in your bathroom until the room is warm and humid (85 to 90 degrees). Gently (so as not to accidentally break the egg) put her in a small box or cage and take her to the warm room. Watch her closely to make sure she doesn't overheat.Sometimes the warmth and humidity may help her pass the egg. Here is a site with detailed information on egg binding:

Remember that these home remedies seldom work. They are just a last attempt to help if you absolutely cannot get to a vet.

If your bird has no other symptoms, she may not be egg bound. Give her a nest box and some nesting material to see what happens. Even if things go well, a first clutch often doesn't survive because the parents lack the skills they need or because young parents don't produce viable chicks. For some pairs, it may take several clutches before they manage to raise babies. There can be failure of the hen to set, breaking or eating of the eggs, and killing of chicks. None of these things are unusual.

The female usually starts laying eggs 7 to 10 days after mating. An egg is usually laid every other day until the clutch is complete. A normal clutch is 2 to 8 eggs. The eggs often don't all hatch at once. If you don't want babies (and I can understand that), you can remove the eggs while the female is out eating, and replace them with artificial eggs. If you don't give her the artificial eggs, she will simply keep laying more to replace the ones you take. That would be very bad for her health. To prevent babies in the future, you would need to separate the birds or have a vet intervene with hormone therapy or surgery. Here is a source for artificial eggs:

If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope your cockatiel will be fine.


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Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?