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The hand raising process begins with the breeding of two adults. Prolific breeders, cockatiels will breed at just about any time of year once reaching sexual maturity. However, breeding in the heat of summer should be avoided. Hens lay between five to seven eggs and share the incubation with the cock, which lasts from 18 to 21 days. Chicks grow rapidly after hatching and are ready to fly (fledge) at around five weeks of age. Hand raised cockatiel chicks are removed from the nest at around seven to 10 days. The chicks are then hand fed, using a syringe with special chick feeder, for between one to six weeks. Breeders say that more effective bonding occurs if the birds are hand fed for up to six weeks by an experienced person before the bird is sold. When hand feeding, normal feeding patterns are duplicated, with feeding occurring up to five or six times daily. As the birds grow, the feeds are decreased until they are five to six weeks old and starting to feed themselves.Defrosted frozen peas and corn kernels are a particular favourite. Once reaching seven to eight weeks, the bird will generally be able to feed itself.