How to make a nesting box for a female cockatiel

A cockatiel pair that is getting ready to nest will look for a suitable place to lay and care for their eggs. If you have caged cockatiels, you will be responsible for making this provision. But there is no need to run out and purchase a fancy nesting box. Cockatiels are not picky and will nest in any type of semi-enclosed space that is suitable in size. A cardboard box will work fine for this purpose and can be easily disposed of afterward.

Find a cardboard box that is large enough to fit your cockatiel pair comfortably, yet small enough to fit in the cage without causing an obstruction. A cardboard box approximately 25 by 25 cm (10 by 10 inches) should be suitable. A clean cardboard shipping box will work fine, but be sure that it was not used to maintain anything toxic that may cause harm to your birds.

Secure the flaps of the box with a strong packing tape that will inhibit the box from opening. The tape should be smoothed down against the surface of the box and free of any areas that may lift. Double-check that the flaps are fastened securely before introducing the nesting box to your cockatiels.

Cut a small hole in the centre of the box with a utility knife. Make the hole big enough for the cockatiels to enter and exit comfortably. A hole approximately 7.5 cm (3 inches) in diameter should be sufficient, but be sure that you make a clean cut that is free from rough edges or any overhang of the cardboard. On the opposite side, also cut a few small holes for you to view the happenings later on.

Place a soft nesting material inside for the female cockatiel to lay her eggs, and for the newly hatched youngsters to stay warm. Shredded newsprint, pine shavings, timothy grass or hay works well to add comfort and warmth.

Place the box into the cockatiel’s cage in a clean corner of the cage bottom. The cockatiels should be able to enter the nesting box easily, and if secured at a height that is uncomfortable, they may not use it. Resting it gently on the cage bottom will ensure that it is secure and stable.

Check the nesting box periodically to see if the female has laid her eggs. To do this, peer through the small holes that you have made on the side but do not disturb the box itself. Discard the cardboard box when it is no longer needed for nesting.


Nesting boxes can be made of any clean material that is free from sharp edges and toxins. Cardboard milk containers and jugs also make great nesting boxes. Just follow the same guidelines as above.


Always use a new cardboard box for each individual nesting time. The box should always be fresh, clean and free from debris that can cause injuries to the cockatiels. Try not to disturb the nesting box during periodic cage cleanings. A nesting pair will usually prefer to know that their nesting box will not be handled during this sensitive time.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard box
  • Utility knife
  • Nesting material
  • Packing tape
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About the Author

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.