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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Spring is here in NZ and my pair Honey and Henry have been asking me for a nest box (they've been mating several times a day and every time I let them out of their cage they go into full-blown nest-hunting mode) for a several weeks now so their cage was kitted out with one yesterday.

Back in 2013 their first attempt at breeding failed (Honey laid a clutch of 4 eggs and they were incubating them perfectly, sadly all of the eggs were infertile) but I’m hopeful this time since they’ve been mating correctly recently and they've had a lot of time to mature since then. Honey is 6 years old and Henry is 7+(unsure of his exact age). Honey is a cinnamon lutino pied, Henry is a whiteface split to pearl. I am unaware of any hidden splits so if they do end up successful this time it'll be interesting to see what colour babies they produce.

Wish them luck on their journey! I will update this thread frequently on their progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thank you! They have been obsessed with the box and are very pleased with themselves about it. They've been in the box a lot of the time, chewing the entrance hole and rearranging the bedding. Henry sings while he is inside, I remember last time they had a clutch he would sing to the eggs lol. Overall it has quietened them down so much (prior to adding the box their noise level was getting uncontrollable, basically yelling at me as if to say "give us a nest, we want to breed!" :blush:). Honey is my only hen who refuses to lay eggs until she has a suitable and proper nesting site (she's a madam and she just won't settle for an uncomfortable food dish, unlike a couple of my other hens).

I don't plan on hand rearing but I will get some supplies together if the clutch ends up being fertile (a sort of baby first aid kit if you will) in case something goes wrong and I end up having to rescue a baby and raise it myself. I think it's extremely important for anyone attempting to breed their cockatiels to have some hand feeding supplies on hand. I will be candling the eggs to check for fertility after about a week of incubation.

If they turn out to be excellent parents I will let them do their thing and start handling the babies once they begin feathering up to get them hand tame. I don't plan on keeping the babies (I will find it incredibly challenging not to get too attached though!). I'm a member of the NZ Cockatiel Society group on Facebook so I have some excellent contacts for finding the babies suitable homes (I'm getting ahead of myself here. We don't even have an egg yet! :D).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks ninfatiel, will keep that in mind. :)

We have the first egg today! :clap: Here's a pic of them on egg-sitting duty.
 

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Thanks ninfatiel, will keep that in mind. :)

We have the first egg today! :clap: Here's a pic of them on egg-sitting duty.
OOOOH!! :D I'm so excited for you and hopeful for your little clutch!!

Thank you! They have been obsessed with the box and are very pleased with themselves about it. They've been in the box a lot of the time, chewing the entrance hole and rearranging the bedding. Henry sings while he is inside, I remember last time they had a clutch he would sing to the eggs lol. Overall it has quietened them down so much (prior to adding the box their noise level was getting uncontrollable, basically yelling at me as if to say "give us a nest, we want to breed!" ). Honey is my only hen who refuses to lay eggs until she has a suitable and proper nesting site (she's a madam and she just won't settle for an uncomfortable food dish, unlike a couple of my other hens).

I don't plan on hand rearing but I will get some supplies together if the clutch ends up being fertile (a sort of baby first aid kit if you will) in case something goes wrong and I end up having to rescue a baby and raise it myself. I think it's extremely important for anyone attempting to breed their cockatiels to have some hand feeding supplies on hand. I will be candling the eggs to check for fertility after about a week of incubation.

If they turn out to be excellent parents I will let them do their thing and start handling the babies once they begin feathering up to get them hand tame. I don't plan on keeping the babies (I will find it incredibly challenging not to get too attached though!). I'm a member of the NZ Cockatiel Society group on Facebook so I have some excellent contacts for finding the babies suitable homes (I'm getting ahead of myself here. We don't even have an egg yet! ).
Henry and Honey are so adorable, and I'm glad you're so prepared. What are you putting in the first aid kit? Out of curiosity, how popular are cockatiels in New Zealand? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The second egg was laid early this morning!

So we have:
Egg #1 laid: 4/9
Egg #2 laid: 6/9

They are doing everything to expectation: Henry is sitting during the day and Honey at night. They are quite often both in the box together during the early morning and daytime, too. Except last night there was confusion over who was going to take over egg sitting duty, so Henry ended up sitting at night last night and Honey slept on top of the nest box. They are coming out separately a couple of times a day and in the evening to hoover down some food and drink and of course poop. It's late evening at the moment and Honey is on the eggs and Henry is on top of the box.

I am having some concerns about Honey which I don't know if I am worrying too much about or not. She is breathing about twice as fast as she normally does since she began laying. Her whole body moves with her breathing including her tail (she is not gasping for breath though). Also her bottom (under her vent) is very swollen, and the swelling doesn't go down after she's laid an egg. I am sure she is pooping because of the clear evidence when I change the papers in the morning although I haven't witnessed her poop with my own eyes. I am keeping a very close eye on her to watch for any other possibly concerning symptoms and I will attempt to get a clear video of her tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
What are you putting in the first aid kit?
~ A product called Medipulv which I think every bird owner should have on hand to stop bleeding. The avian vet I used to go to gave me Potassium Permanganate but I do not recommend using this as it causes severe burns to the skin if left on.
~ Handfeeding syringes of varying sizes.
~ Handfeeding spoons - this type.
~ Handfeeding formula - not sure which is the best brand but I will be getting the Kaytee Exact formula and also the Vetafarm formula (I much prefer Vetafarm's products to be honest). The Kaytee formula is recommended for handfeeding finches which my partner and I may have to do in the near future, too.
~ Materials for an emergency brooder in case we have to rescue a chick (or chicks). My partner is an expert at DIY so he will be setting that up haha.

And... I'm not sure what else. There might be something else I've missed? Any input into what I need or should purchase is appreciated (thought I'd mention again that I'm not planning on handraising the chicks.. this time 'round anyway.. this is just for if something goes wrong and I end up having to).

Out of curiosity, how popular are cockatiels in New Zealand? :)
Cockatiels are quite popular pet birds in NZ, and rightly so! :) There is also a large showing and breeding community called the NZ Cockatiel Society. I know a couple of local breeders who are very devoted to their flocks and have such beautiful birds (my 'tiels Mabel and Shelby came from one of them. She has a fairly large flock divided into several flights of aviaries. Her birds are seriously show-worthy!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Great news: my worries about Honey have been resolved. Today her bottom looked abnormally swollen (even worse than the previous couple of days), and we noticed she had some dried poop and wood shavings stuck to her vent. So we filled the spray bottle with warm water and managed to give her bottom a good soaking, the dried piece of poop came off and she then released the most gigantic poop I've ever seen!! The swelling instantly came down, her breathing returned to normal and after sitting there for a few minutes beak grinding with a sleepy look on her face she became much more active and alert and had a good feed. She nibbled my finger gently (which she has never done before!) while I was pegging in place a spray of millet in the cage, as if to say "thank you".

Two nights ago when Honey was acting quite anxious and didn't want to sleep in the nest box overnight I really felt that something was wrong so I am soo relieved that we were able to figure out what the issue was and resolve it.

Gross alert: attached is a picture of her gigantic poop that she must've been unable to expel for a couple of days at least. I just hope that she wasn't poisoned from it being in her system for a long time but judging by how much she has perked up since she pooped I feel that she is going to be alright. If she shows any signs of unwellness in the days to come I will definitely give my vet a call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Short and sweet update: we have a third egg!

Egg #1 laid: 4/9
Egg #2 laid: 6/9
Egg #3 laid: 8/9.
 

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3 eggs! Hopefully she lays a couple more. :) That's a nice emergency kit you've got there. It's also really handy to have some pharmaceutical grade Baytril on hand (10%). I personally don't care for Kaytee's hand feeding formula, but I swear by inTune. I've tried a number of hand feeding formulas and inTune has worked the best for me. My babies all seem to love it more than the other formulas as well. Just a recommendation. ^ ^
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I personally don't care for Kaytee's hand feeding formula, but I swear by inTune. I've tried a number of hand feeding formulas and inTune has worked the best for me. My babies all seem to love it more than the other formulas as well. Just a recommendation. ^ ^
Is that the Higgins inTune? That brand is available in pellets here but I've never seen the handfeeding formula. Will look into that, too, thanks. :)

Honey's poop trouble has returned. She is unable to poop on her own without assistance (a spray on the bum with some warm water). She didn’t poop for an entire 2 days again so we repeated what we did the first time and it worked but her bottom wasn’t dirty this time. So she should be able to lay the 4th egg overnight now that we got her to empty out the waste.

Honestly if we hadn’t been monitoring her closely and acted on it I’m sure she would be dead by now from not being able to poop or an infection from being blocked up. I just don’t understand why she is laying perfectly but not pooping (she’s not even straining to poop). She’s definitely not egg bound. I've done such a lot of research but I can't find much info on why this could be happening except for egg binding (definitely ruled out), constipation, an obstruction, dehydration or weak muscles. It's almost like she doesn't have enough strength to push the poop out past the egg, or enough room to because the egg is taking up all the space.

I am home all day most days at the moment so I can monitor her extremely closely. I am hoping she stops laying at 4 eggs like last time and her toilet habits return to normal but if this issue continues I will definitely be taking her to our vet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
No 4th egg this morning, but the outline of the egg under her bum is prominent. Soaked her bottom this morning and she let out another huge poop. Hopefully she will lay it sometime today, I have the cage half covered and keeping the room quiet. Will be on a very close look out for any signs of egg binding...

Update: Perhaps she has stopped at 3. Still no sign of a 4th egg. Absolutely no symptoms of egg binding (I have seen it before and have researched it to death). She has been a lot perkier today, scoffing food and moving around a lot faster. She has stopped chewing on her cuttlebone and mineral block. Her breathing is normal and she isn't tail bobbing. She still has the egg bulge so I’m wondering if she is holding off laying until tonight... We will have to wait it out until tomorrow morning.

Henry has strong separation anxiety and he doesn't want to sleep outside of the box at night and will join Honey in the nest. There's only been one or two nights where he hasn't slept in the box with her. It's so adorable watching him be so loving and so fatherly to the eggs. Their cage is located in our bedroom so we can hear them turning the eggs every so often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
No 4th egg this morning. Honey pooped on her own!! Such a relief. She is back to her normal perky self now, her bottom has shrunk down so I'm certain she has stopped at 3 eggs which is fine with me (I'd rather her lay a small clutch this time around).

Here's a pic of them in the box today. So adorable! :love:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Today we had to help Honey poop again... Her breathing was very fast and heavy and her bum was overly swollen again. She let out 2 enormously oversized egg poops with the help of some warm water. Waited all day for her to poop on her own but it never happened. Perhaps she is constipated? Giving her flaxseed oil mixed into Gold N Fruit conditioning food and plenty of veggies along with their regular food (Roudybush breeder pellets, Vetafarm egg & biscuit, millet spray and seed mix). She is not drinking as much as she normally does, preferring to munch on some moist vegetables instead.

They were in the nest box all day together until early evening when Honey finally emerged and we assisted her and after that she perked up and had a decent feed. Henry came out later on in the evening. He has been sleeping on top of the box for the past 2 nights.
 

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Congratulations, cho0k!

Thanks for posting all these updates, Vicki. I'm really enjoying reading them. :) Honey and Henry are such good parents, you must be proud. :D Have you considered calling an avian specialist to just have a quick ask about Honey? I think she should be fine as long as you're helping her poop everyday, but of course it's always best to get advice from an expert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Thanks for posting all these updates, Vicki. I'm really enjoying reading them. :) Honey and Henry are such good parents, you must be proud. :D Have you considered calling an avian specialist to just have a quick ask about Honey? I think she should be fine as long as you're helping her poop everyday, but of course it's always best to get advice from an expert.
Yes I will call my vet if this continues. I almost did today if there were no more eggs. I have posted about her on the NZ Cockatiel Society Facebook group (90% of the members are serious breeders) but nobody has any advice or knowledge as to why this is happening.

And so... we checked the nest box this morning and behold, there are now 5 eggs!! :eek: That makes me a little less worrisome, as I thought she had stopped laying at 3, but obviously we were unable to see the most recent 2 eggs until this morning. With only Honey in the nest (we have to block the opening so Henry can't get back in) it is much easier to look for the eggs as she is pretty calm and non-aggressive. Henry on the other hand turns into a feral monster so I wasn't able to check the eggs properly over the past 2-3 days because I feared he was going to break them if he got too upset.

It's definitely true that she can't relieve herself without assistance while she's got an egg in there. If she still can't expel the waste on her own once she has finished laying I will take her in to my vet. I don't think the clutch will be at risk of abandonment if I have to take Honey away for a while because of how dedicated Henry is, and at the end of the day Honey's health is my greatest concern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Awesome news: Honey pooped all by herself today. Big relief. Let's hope she continues to do so. :blush:
 
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