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Discussion Starter #1
I have two cages - luckily as he has turned on her and is very aggressive towards her. Suddenly 3 days ago she laid an egg. I put a nest type arrangement in her cage but she didn't want to use it. Now she's laid another egg on the newspaper on the bottom of the cage. I'm keeping him in the bigger cage as he is biting her. I did put a soft cloth in there with her but she does not want to use it. She prefers her eggs on the newspaper on the bottom of the cage. It's her first hatch as she's just 19 months old. I'm worried if she has more they will roll around and I honestly have no idea what to do. All the advice I've read say different things but she seems to have it under control as long as I keep him away from her.

I'm giving her lots of calcium and greens and carrots and food. Any advice is MOST welcome! I've bred budgies but I feel they are very different. I tried to move her eggs to a soft cloth but she rolled them back off. Should I just leave her to her own devices? Does she need him for help as he is purely attacking and biting her and worried what damage he could do?
 

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Birds tend to be faithful to the site where they laid their eggs so you may not be able to get her away from the bottom of the cage. If you have a heavy bowl or basket that won't tip over as the adults enter and exit, you could put some wood shavings in it (pine or aspen) and put it in her current nesting spot with the eggs in the middle. She might accept that, and the eggs will be safer.

She doesn't need the male's help to incubate the eggs, although it's normally his duty to help with that. If she doesn't have more than three eggs she could probably raise the babies by herself, but if there's more than that she might need some help.

Cockatiels normally don't poop in the nest and a lot of them don't like to poop close to it, so you may need to bring her out sometimes for a potty break. If you want to, you can let the male go in during these breaks to see if he wants to help incubate the eggs. It's possible that he's getting aggressive because he wants to sit on the eggs and she won't let him. The most common pattern is for the male to sit in the daytime and the female to sit at night.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you SO much Tielfan! I will try all your advice. I want them all to be happy obviously. Again thanks. I'll keep giving updates! It is very exciting but nerve racking at the same time!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok so I've let them out together and he is indeed sitting on the eggs and she's on the top of the cage eating carrot. Thank you again. You were spot on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok through further investigation he actually pushed the two eggs off the cloth so I bought bird nesting material and made a little nest to where she originally laid them but they BOTH seem keen to push the two eggs out. I do not have an incubator or anything like that. I'm trying not to touch the eggs too much but I'm very worried they are not incubating them. This breeding stuff is stressful.
 

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congrats Lilly :) for the eggs. i dont have any idea on breeding as i only have cutie for 10 months now. But i am sure there are many members here in this forum who will give you good advice..of what needs to be done
 

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It's possible that right now they're just guarding the eggs, not incubating them. It's very common for birds to wait until several eggs have been laid before they start incubating. A lot of pairs start incubating after the third egg arrives but other outcomes are possible. The eggs will stay viable for at least a week without incubation so there's nothing to worry about at the moment. The advantage to this in the wild is that the eggs will hatch at about the same time and the babies will fledge at about the same time. There won't be a long period where they have babies in the nest and out of the nest at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks both of you. So got up this morning - third egg!!! Yes they both seem to be protecting more than incubating. I'm worried that I separate them at night in different cages that is the wrong thing to do. They both roam free in the room during the day. At night she's in the cage obviously with the eggs.

So relieved you told me that information about they can go a week without incubation. You've taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm guessing maybe she has maybe one or two more eggs in her - we'll see. I live in the mountains in Australia and we are actually going into winter. I have a small heater in there to keep the room warm.

Thanks again. Bit like being a nervous first mum except I've never actually personally had kids!!! So this is a first - kind of.
 

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You can see whether the male will be peaceful in the same cage at bedtime. He might be, since it's really the hen's job to sit at night. But some birds want to sit on the eggs all the time whether it's their turn or not. You'll have to watch out though to make sure that violence doesn't erupt as soon as dawn arrives, because they may or may not have figured out how to share. It's OK if he's not actually in the same cage at night. If he's in a cage nearby he'll still have some feeling that he's guarding the nest.
 

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I recently finished reading a book by a professor whose research area was avian evolution, and he had some interesting ideas on why some cockatiels ignore their eggs in the beginning and/or will go through a "guarding the eggs" stage before they start incubating. Birds evolved from reptiles of course. His idea is that their ancestors initially just laid eggs and walked away, and any young that hatched had to fend for themselves. Many reptiles still do this today. This progressed to laying eggs but hanging around to guard the nest and assist the babies after they hatched, by protecting them and leading them to food. There are also modern reptiles that do this. This nest protection eventually included shielding the eggs with their bodies when conditions called for it. As they became warm-blooded, the heat from their bodies helped speed up the development of the embryo which was a big advantage for survival, and ultimately incubation was a requirement for the eggs to hatch.

As the modern birds breed, their hormone/biochemistry level rises gradually which basically takes them through all of these stages. After an egg is first laid they may not be hormonally ready to do anything with it yet because their hormones haven't reached the level that triggers the next evolutionary behavior stage. Then they reach the level where they're ready to guard but not to sit, and finally they reach the level where they start incubating. Some birds go through the stages so fast that they start incubating as soon as the first egg is laid, but others need more time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That is very interesting and makes a lot of sense Tielfan. I am a David Attenborough nature documentary addict so it all makes sense regarding the relation to reptiles. Crocs lay in nests and bury them but always hang around to stop intruders from robbing the 'nest'.

My male's cage is RIGHT next to her cage so all good there. She seems to know what to do re pulling the eggs under her but he just settles next to them. I've tried a cloth and now proper nesting material but they don't like any of it and keep pushing them onto the newspaper which they've torn up a bit.

I sit in the room with them for a few hours a day so he's not SO aggressive with me and gets used to me that I'm not going to harm them or the eggs. That is working well. Thanks again for all the information. You are a gem. x
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My husband just bought a breeding box. We are going to put it in the bottom of his huge cage then let them spend the night together and see how that goes. We have him out with us in the living room while she gets used to being in his big cage with her eggs in the nesting box. She's obviously reluctant to go into the box right now but we'll see how it goes.
 

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I wouldn't do that. Any change in environment can cause them to abandon the eggs. It takes time for the male to prep the nest and the hen to approve it. If they already had a "nest" that they liked, they may not accept this new one and the eggs might not survive.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Roxy - we've changed it already. He's back in his cage, we put the breed box in her cage and all day been getting her used to going in there. It was only late tonight when I went to check on her and she wanted to come out for a while. I gave her lots of love and affection and when I returned her to the box for the fifth time - she stayed in there with the eggs. She adores me and wants 'her' 'mummy' so lucky I work from home and can attend to her as much as possible. I'll handle his new induction to the nesting box tomorrow but it's in her cage - not his. He's still to biting and aggressive and I do not want to risk her or the eggs. The are both new parents - as are we in a weird way - so it's about seeing what makes them happiest, safest and secure for the eggs.

The eggs on the cage floor was not good. It's getting cold and they rolled around. At least now in a proper nesting box they are safe and she can stay warm and safe inside it. I put her seed and water bowls down the bottom of the cage so she does not have to travel far plus will put fresh vegies in her cage every day and got a HUGE cuttlefish stick and tied it to the inside of her cage. I'm doing the best I can so they are all safe and well.

Thank you all for the advice. Cockatiels are a lot more complex than budgies it seems!!! But I adore them. She is kind and sweet and loving - he is cheeky, talky and smart. They are both awesome.
 

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I've never bred cockatiels before since Obi is my first and only one, but I do have to agree that they are a LOT more complex than budgies! I had two about a year ago before I had to get rid of them because of moving and they were perfectly happy just interacting with each other and singing to music. I never did get either tamed, no matter how much I tried. They just always preferred each other. The female always tried nesting in a coconut husk but never hatched anything because the male wasn't interested in her.
 

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It's possible that you'll get some extra eggs as the result of the move. That's what happens when my Shodu lays an egg before I give her the nestbox. She has a certain number of eggs that's her standard clutch size, and it seems like she's programmed to lay that number in the same place. If she lays an egg somewhere else and I move it into a nestbox, she'll take care of the egg but it seems like it doesn't count toward the total. She'll proceed to lay the standard number in the box. If I give her the box before she lays any eggs she'll lay the standard number with no extras.

My guess is that in her mind, the old nesting site was abandoned and so was the egg in it, even though it's actually right there with her. She abandoned it because she found a better nest site, and now she needs to start over with a new clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks everyone. I've spent all day and night getting her used to her eggs in the breeding box. I had her out quite late tonight for some 'love' and she was happy then went into into the box no problems. She just needed some mummy love from me. Then she was fine. I put her in the box and she finally stayed in there. It's all looking good so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It's possible that you'll get some extra eggs as the result of the move. That's what happens when my Shodu lays an egg before I give her the nestbox. She has a certain number of eggs that's her standard clutch size, and it seems like she's programmed to lay that number in the same place. If she lays an egg somewhere else and I move it into a nestbox, she'll take care of the egg but it seems like it doesn't count toward the total. She'll proceed to lay the standard number in the box. If I give her the box before she lays any eggs she'll lay the standard number with no extras.

My guess is that in her mind, the old nesting site was abandoned and so was the egg in it, even though it's actually right there with her. She abandoned it because she found a better nest site, and now she needs to start over with a new clutch.
So how many have your cockatiels ever laid and hatched? You've been amazing by the way. Just have to say that.
 

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Since 2008 I've had 74 chicks hatched and 73 raised to fledging. There was one chick that died 24 hours after hatch, and I noticed afterwards that she hadn't fully absorbed the yolk like she was supposed to so that was a hatch problem. There were also two DIS eggs, that started to develop but failed prior to hatch time. I haven't had any eggs that required hatch assistance or started to hatch but didn't make it through the process. That's a very good success rate, which is mostly due to the efforts of the parent birds not to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So no more then three eggs and now neither of them are incubating the eggs. Totally ignoring them. Guessing they know they are duds? It is their first breeding so is this common? I feel rather sad.
 
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