Baby Cockatiel Weight Gain

By Eleanor McCaffrey, Copyright Notice: Text and photos on this page
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Each chick should be weighed daily, right before the first AM feeding, on a digital gram scale. Weight gain is one indicator of normal  growth and development. A healthy chick will gain weight every single day, even if it's only a few grams. Baby cockatiels grow quickly and in appearance, they will seem to almost double in size overnight. A chick that does not gain weight each day or one that loses weight each day should be evaluated by an avian vet.  It's normal for chicks to lose a small amount of weight when they fledge. Fledge is the stage in a bird's life when feathers and wing muscles are  sufficiently  developed to sustain flight. Cockatiels fledge and are ready for their first flight at 4-5 weeks of age. As chicks become more interested in flying, they may start to  reject the entire amount of formula in the syringe per feeding. (Not the same as 10-12 week old weaning.) If there is a decrease in the amount of formula consumed per feeding, divide the total amount that should be consumed for the day into smaller portions and increasing the number of feedings per day. This will ensure that the chick's daily nutritional needs are being met and any pre-flight weight that was lost should be gained back. Allowing the chicks to play and fly first and feeding them afterwards is another alternative.

Peanut, the chick in this picture weighs 35 grams and he is 14 days old.  Both his weight and development are below average for his age. Stunted growth can be caused by a medical problem but the most common cause is under-feeding and feeding formula that is too watery. The amount of formula per feeding is based on an individual chick's daily, AM weight. (This is only one of the reasons  why a record of each baby's daily weight should be kept.) 
Chicks should be fed 10% of their body weight at each feeding each day. Example:  If a chick weighs 80 grams this morning,  80 grams x .01 %  = 8 mls,  or 8ccs of mixed formula for each feeding today.  If a chick is not eating the 8ccs of formula at each feeding you can calculate the total amount of formula required for this day and feed smaller portions but more frequently throughout the day. The total amount of formula for an 80 gram chick on 4 feedings a day  would be  8ccs x 4 feedings a day = 32ccs for today's total. Feeding the chick slightly more than 6ccs of formula but with an additional 5th feeding would also add up to the total of 32ccs for today.

Below is a typical cockatiel weight gain chart. Although each baby grows and develops at an individual rate, growth should be very noticeable. If your baby does not fall within average ranges and growth appears to be stunted, please contact an avian vet immediately. Supplements available only through a vet can  make the difference between a healthy chick with a long life span and an unhealthy chick that may never live past a few weeks or months of age.

Age and Average Weight of Cockatiel Chicks in Grams
  • 3-6 days---5-12 grams
  • 1-2 weeks 12-45 grams
  • 2-3 weeks 45-72 grams
  • 3-4 weeks 72-108 grams
  • 4-5 weeks 80-120 grams
  • 5-6 weeks 80-90 grams
  • 6-7 weeks 80-95 grams
  • 7 weeks to Adult 90-110 grams
(Source: Avian Medicine, Principles and Practices by Dr. Branson Ritchie, Dr. Greg Harrison and Linda Harrison, 1997)

Click Here to see Hand Feeding Video
Click Here for Breeding 1
Click Here for Breeding 2
Click Here for Photos: Chicks 1-26 Days Old

Breeding 1 Breeding 2 Photos See Me Grow! Hand Feeding Video
Formula Recipe How To Hand Feed Feeding Schedule Weight Gain Chart
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