Ask Lafeber

Question:

August 6, 2021

1st time cockatiel owner help!


My 1 year old cockatiel just laid their first egg and she is not a breeder so its infertile and I’m out of my depth. I took a trip to a different state to take care of my grandparent with cancer and she started being very hormonal and this morning she laid an egg and I’ve got idea what to. I’ve put her in a quiet room with good light and she wont stop acting frantic and jumping around her cage and screaming and I just dont know how to deal with the whole situation, everything I read is contradictory and I’m just lost. I dont want her to be in any distress please I need help!


Answer:

Hi Tyler,

This is very common, and there are things you can do to discourage this from happening again. It’s very hard on her to lay eggs, and she really is much too young to start already. She will lay up to 6 this time, most likely, with a day between each one. You can leave the eggs on the cage floor, but do not give her anything to sit in or make it comfortable for her. You actually want to keep her in a busy room around people. She is frantic right now because you moved her. The last place she needs to be is a quiet place, because this will encourage egg laying. There are changes you can make, but you need to do all of these things. You can’ stop her from laying the rest of this clutch, but you can discourage her from doing it again if you keep up with these changes. Keep in mind that to lay eggs, she needs longer daylight, warmer weather, abundant food, and a quiet, private environment. Your goal is to reverse these conditions.

Limit her light to 8-10 hours by covering the cage early each evening

Do not give her anything to use as a nest – no bird huts or tents, no box, bowl, etc. If she decides to sit in a food bowl, remove it and replace with smaller cups.

Do not give her anything to shred such as paper or cardboard.

Rearrange the toys in the cage.

Move the cage to a different place in the room. Move the cage about once a week, or whenever she shows signs of nesting.

If she is let out of the cage, do not let her get in any dark cozy places.

When you handle her, limit any petting to her head and neck – do not pet her on the body.

If there is no metal floor grate, then do not use any bedding or paper in the cage tray – leave it bare and clean it daily.

If she continues to lay eggs anyway, then you may have to take her to an Avian Vet for a hormone implant or shot. The implant seems to be more effective and lasts longer.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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