Of all the small pet birds, cockatiels are by far the easiest to breed. They are generally friendly, strong, healthy, and very adaptable which make them excellent pets for the novice breeder.
Further, the selection of color and sexes are somewhat easy to identify. Cockatiels are good parents, and unlike with other species where you need more than one pair to settle into breeding, one pair of cockatiels is usually sufficient to breed.
The grey cockatiel is the most common color and is also the color of wild cockatiels. Males have well defined markings on their faces, which are vivid yellow with well-defined, orange, circular patches on the cheeks. They also have a striking border of white feathers around the shoulders. Under-wings and tail feathers are solid gray.
Normal females follow the same color-pattern but the hues are subdued. The many cockatiel color mutations include Yellow, Lutinos, Pearlies (also called Opalines by some), White-faced pearls, Cinnamon, Fallow, Albino, and Silver.
Young cockatiels are difficult to distinguish sexually as both sexes look female, but the plumage develops it will become clear which is which.
Females of all colors have bars or stripes on the undersides of their wings, no matter how faint the color is you should be able to notice the bars or stripes. Males do not have bars.
Another way to determine sex is by measuring pelvic ridges, which are wider in female birds and more flexible. This method requires training and novice breeders might find it difficult.
The most common method for determining sex is by identifying facial marking and feather coloration. In normal grays, the cheek patches are bright orange in the male and duller in the female. Also, in the female the tail feathers have the same bars or stripe as in the wings, but the males don’t.
We feed our birds a mixture that includes commercial pellets. We recommend trying some of the many pellets on the market to see which your birds prefer.
Seed should be included with the mixture, but should not comprise the entire food source as it lacks key nutrients. A mixture of 70 percent pellets, 20 percent seed and nuts, and 10 percent green or other fresh vegetables should suffice. Note: you may need to make some adjustments during breeding season when birds require more food.
Further, you should always keep a calcium and mineral block in their cages especially during breeding season because the female will deplete her calcium when producing eggs if calcium is not supplemented.