Today's post is about Egg laying Parrots because we are again quite often asked by customers why their bird, or another bird does it.
What is Egg Laying?
Females lay eggs. They do it because their body sends hormones out that tells them to. It is not something they can control. Just as human women have ovaries that release eggs, Parrots do too.
When does Egg Laying happen?
In single parrot situations, it generally happens after the female starts to exhibit nesting behavior. Here is a popular exampe: If your female bird goes into your hoodie, your shirt, or under a blanket and stays in there, as sweet as it is, she is NOT cuddling. She is nesting. Anytime a female goes into a dark warm cave like area, she is nest. You'll see, or feel, her kick things around and sometimes bring paper and feathers into this area to make it warmer for her eggs.
Why do we NOT want that?
Female Parrots use up alot of energy and resources laying eggs. Calcium drains from their body because that's what the shell is made out of. And it is very hard on her to push out several eggs. Remember: unless she is paired with a male, the eggs are NOT Fertile which means there will NO babies. If there are to be no babies, we do not want her wasting her and energy time pushing out eggs. On top of that, once she starts, she will be forever focused on nesting.
How can I make her stop?
We cannot make her stop. What we can do is change her environment and distract her from nesting by giving her playtime and lots activities to do. Here are our suggestion
1) Go to the Vet. A check up is very good when your bird begins to lay eggs. To vet can make sure she is healthy and give you tips on how to keep her healthy.
2) Change the diet. If you give a plethora of food to your parrot, she will think it is forever Spring time. During Spring there is an abundance of resources which is why animals have babies during that season. We suggest narrowing down her food choices and make it seem like Winter instead.
We also suggest switching her over to a Pelleted diet. If your bird is on a seeded diet, you will most likely see her picking through the dish to find her favorite seeds. The act of picking through the seeds actually triggers her egg production. If on a pelleted diet, she cannot pick because every bite is the same.
3) Keep Your Bird Active. Keeping your parrot busy with activities and toys will keep her from focusing in on nesting behaviors.
4) Foraging Time. This is also a good distraction from nesting. Remember: birds in the wild have to constantly forage, aka search, for their food. They have to look on the ground for nuts. They break them open along with fruits. They have to hunt insects. To give your bird the much needed mental stimulation, consider getting a foraging toy. For those looking for a home-made option, all you need is a little cardboard box, pop big holes in it and stuff snacks, food and paper in it. Now encourage your bird to figure out how to open the box.
5) It's Bath time. Certain parrots are prone to egg-binding which means they are unable to push the egg out. I like to offer a bath or shower to egg-layers. That way if she struggles, she can keep that area clean and lubricated to make pushing easier.
6) Limit the Light. Because lots of light also encourages egg laying , we suggest giving her more nighttime hours instead. That way it will mimick Winter and she may slow down her egg production.
7) Calcium. This is very important because she will be depleting herself of calcium as she lays eggs. If she is calcium deficient, she could lay a soft egg which can be fatal. Always makes sure she has access to a cuttle bone. If she is voracious and chews it all up, you can also buy calcium powered and mix it in her food. Another suggestion is: take a hardboiled egg and crush it up, shell and all, and feed it to her. She will get much needed protein and calcium in her diet. Note: make sure that the egg is OVER cooked. An undercooked egg could lead to an avian illness.
8) UVB is important because it stimulates Vitamin D3 production. Occassionally a Vitamin D deficiency can lead to egg binding. Consider buying a UVB bulb. It is beneficial during egg laying, and actually at ALL times with all birds as well.
What do I do if my bird is struggling to push the egg out?
Raise the temperature and humidity level. Take your bird into the bathroom and make steam. Try placing your bird on a warm wet towel. You can also try a warm water bath. Place a little olive oil around that area to make passing the egg easier. Still need help? Call a vet.
vWant to know if we have any of these things in stock? Call us at 415-564-6482 and special order with no extra cost. Or do you just need some more suggestions? Call and ask to speak to Joe. He is our bird expert.
I hope this was helpful.