Cockatiels Require A Class in Sex Ed


Q: I have two cockatiels. Sugar was found a roadside. She’s about 5-years old, and is rather skittish. After a couple of months, I though she could use a companion. Her name is Sweetie, and also a female. The pair quickly bonded. Sugar has become more tame, and Sweetie more wild. In the past year I’ve noticed that Sugar seems to want to mate. She postures and makes all sorts of noise. Sweet seems indifferent Is there something I can do?  E. L., Bear Lake, MN

A: “Sometimes a female may be taking the role of the male,” says Dr. Peter Sakas, a veterinarian in Niles, IL with an interest in birds. “Sometimes the two females can both be laying eggs despite no presence of a male. The hormones get stimulated while they are in their hormonal cycle, their ovary develops follicles, the oviduct enlarges and eggs can develop. So fertilization does not need to occur for that to happen.”

Isn’t nature wonderful? But now what? Sakas adds, “Increase the birds’ time in darkness to 16 hours daily for two weeks, avoiding too much stimulation with affectionate owners, and remove stimulating toys or objects. Also remove areas (in the cage) where bird might nest. And rearrange the cage furnishings to throw them off a bit. If little changes, another option is hormonal control measures (hormone injections).

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