Ask Lafeber

Question:

July 27, 2020

African Grey


My Grey is 30 yrs old and never laid an egg. Does that mean it is a male?


Answer:

Hi Jill,

No, it definitely is not an indication of gender. Most captive female parrots will go their entire lives without laying an egg. But some medium to larger species have also been known to surprise the owner with an egg after decades of never laying one. The exception is the smaller species, particularly parakeets, lovebirds and cockatiels.

The best way to avoid unwanted egg laying is to avoid hormonal triggers. With the medium to larger parrots, over petting is probably the more common hormonal trigger that results in egg laying. We have learned it is best to stick to the head and neck when petting your parrot. Petting a bird on the body is a big trigger because normally only a bonded mate is allowed to have that type of contact. So try to avoid cuddles and hugs and stick to head pets. You can interact in other ways by playing with toys or teaching tricks or behaviors to your bird. Whatever you are doing has worked so far, so just be aware of the possible triggers. Aside from over petting, giving them a box or anything they can get into can serve as a trigger because it stimulates nesting behavior.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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