Ask Lafeber

Question:

August 20, 2021

Cockatiel


When a bird sits in his dish does that mean he’s a she?


Answer:

Hi Judy,

It doesn’t necessarily mean the bird is a hen, but it is a sign of hormonal or nesting behavior. You should remove that cup and replace it with smaller cups that the bird can’t fit inside of. Whether it’s a male or female, hormonal behavior should be discouraged. While it is more dangerous for a female, because she can become a chronic egg layer, it can also cause issues for a male such as behavioral problems or cloacal prolapse as a result of straining from wanting to mate. It’s best to make some changes which should help discourage nesting behavior and egg laying. These changes help with both male and female birds.

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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