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How Can I Incubate Cockatiel Eggs?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Native to Australia, the cockatiel is a sociable household parrot that usually features gray, yellow or white plumage. Cockatiels possess an average lifespan of about 15 years. Female cockatiels may lay four to seven eggs in a single clutch, laying each egg about two days apart. Ideally, the parents should incubate their own eggs. If parents resist incubation, you can incubate the eggs on their behalf.

Encouraging Parents to Incubate Eggs

Provide a nest box for your cockatiel pair. Line the bottom of this wooden box with layers of soft paper. Avoid lining the nest box with wood shavings. Place millet seed near entrance of the nest box to encourage your cockatiel pair to enter.

Wash your hands to remove bacteria. Place eggs inside of the nest box. Cockatiels may not start incubation until there are two to three eggs in the clutch. Eggs can still be viable for up to a week after they are laid without incubation from a parent.

Create an alternative nesting site if cockatiels continue to reject the nest box. If your cockatiel continues to lay eggs at the bottom of the cage instead of using the nest box, place a small wooden or glass container at the bottom of the cage. Line the container with layers of soft cloth or paper. Place eggs on top of the lining.

Incubating Cockatiel Eggs

Place an incubator in a quiet, temperature and humidity controlled location that is not in direct sunlight. You should also have a second backup incubator in the event that the first incubator breaks down.

Set the temperature of your incubator to rest between 99.5 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit according to your incubator's directions. Temperatures more than a half degree away from this range increase the chances of eggs not hatching.

Set the humidity of the incubator between 86 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. On some incubators, you cannot set humidity automatically. Instead, you must add water to the incubator's water pan each day and moderate humidity manually.

Wash your hands and place the eggs inside of the incubator. Eggs should be turned over at least five times a day, although turning every hour is ideal. Repeat this action until day 16 of incubation. Do not turn eggs for the final three days of incubation.


  • If cockatiel parents reject or abandon an egg, it may be because they know that the egg is not viable.

    Always wash your hands before handling eggs.

    Read directions included with your individual incubator. Some incubators are mostly automatic, while others require constant monitoring. You should check your incubator's humidity and temperature at least twice a day.

    Talk to an avian veterinarian about any breeding concerns.