Ask Lafeber

Question:

November 12, 2020

Budgie eggs


Hi….You had suggested me to remove the nest box immediately…..But I could not do so as there were small young birds which were not knowing to fly..I had decided to remove the nest box when those small birds learn to fly.But the budgies mated and laid eggs before the maturity of last clutches of eggs..Now budgie has laid 2 eggs.But she herself ate one egg.Is this a bad symptom?Suggest me to prevent this..I wanted to say one more thing…It is quite difficult to remove the nestbox as they are continuously laying eggs….suggest me any alternative method


Answer:

Hi there!

OK, I don’t want to sound harsh, but I am going to be blunt about what will happen to your hen if you do not stop her from laying eggs for a while. As the owner, you are responsible for keeping your birds healthy. In the wild, a budgie pair would lay eggs one time per year. Environmental changes signal the end of nesting season, at which time they abandon the nest and will not make a nest or lay eggs again until the next year. In captivity, it is our responsibility to prevent them from laying eggs over and over again. Her little body is not intended to undergo this amount of stress to it. Eating her egg is a warning for you. She is needing protein and calcium in order to survive. It is also habit forming, which means she is likely to eat all of her eggs from now on if you do not stop this breeding cycle immediately. She is in danger of not being able to form the shell, which means the next egg may rupture inside of her causing her death, or she will become egg bound which almost always results in death, or if she is lucky, she just might lay a soft egg, which wouldn’t be able to develop or hatch anyway. Supplementing her protein and calcium will help her with the eggs, but it won’t stop the ongoing stress to her body. When a hen is allowed to keep laying eggs over and over, you will end up finding her dead in her nest box one day, still sitting on her eggs. This is the harsh truth. It isn’t about limiting the number of chicks, it is about protecting the female and not letting her die from over breeding.

Just because she lays eggs, doesn’t mean you have to let her have a nest box or hatch the eggs. If the nest box is hard to remove, then block the entry to the nest box. You need to make other changes to stop her cycle. And if she still won’t stop, then you need to take her to an Avian Vet for a hormone shot or implant. So block the nest box off, rearrange things inside the cage like any toys or perches. If they don’t have toys, the buy some toys for them. Move the cage to a different place in the room – somewhere that it is busy where you walk past it a lot. With some birds, you have to keep moving the cage. Cover the cage early in the evening so that her daylight is limited to 8-10 hours per day. If you are feeding fresh foods & cooked eggs, stop offering those. Do not let her have anything she can sit in – if she sits in a food bowl, take it away and give them smaller dishes. Do not give her anything she can shred or use for a nest. If the cage has a metal floor grate, this is best. If she does lay eggs, leave them on the floor grate. Clean the cage daily. You want to disrupt their routine and this will help signal them to stop this cycle. I would not let her have a nest box for a minimum of 6 months. Again, a pair should be limited to no more than 2 clutches per year, which is one more than they would have in the wild. I personally wouldn’t ever breed this pair again, because of her history of being a chronic egg layer. It can be a hard cycle to break and as I mentioned, might require a trip to the Vet for hormones to stop her. But all of this is necessary to save her life. She can’t go on laying eggs indefinitely. It will catch up with her at the cost of her life. I know this can be frustrating, but keeping birds is not easy. I know you want to take good care of them, so sometimes tough love is the only answer.

Thanks for the update,

Brenda

Subscribe to our newsletter