Ask Lafeber

Question:

March 10, 2021

Conure laying eggs


Hi so my sun conure laid 2 eggs. 1 of which I know she laid today as it was on the cage floor and broken as if she pecked at it. I removed the broken egg. The other I took out of her bed but put it back…I didn’t know she was nesting and took all the ripped apart pieces of bedding out of her bed…and that’s when I found the egg buried in a hole. Should I buy her a different bed?? I left the egg in the hole but the bed just isn’t the same. Also what else can I give her food wise all she eats is seed mix from Walmart with sunflower seeds papaya and pineapple bits.


Answer:

Hi Maryssa,

The best thing to do is throw away the bed and the egg. I know they sell bird huts and tents, but birds do not need a bed. They don’t sleep in a nest in the wild. A nest is only used one time per year when it is breeding season.  You can make sure she has a perch high in her cage, and that is most likely where she will sleep when you take the bed away. The problem with these beds is exactly what you are dealing with. They trigger your bird’s hormones and can cause single birds to lay eggs. Laying eggs is hard on a bird’s system, so it is best to try to discourage egg laying in single birds. Some single birds can get stuck in an egg laying cycle and keep laying eggs over and over. Some birds will actually die from laying too many eggs. In your case, you bird is at high risk for having issues from laying eggs because she is not getting enough nutrition. If she keeps laying, it will deprive her of calcium and she can die from low calcium, or die from egg binding due to low calcium. In some cases, if the egg can’t form a shell due to poor nutrition, the egg can rupture in her body and she will die of sepsis.

I’d love to help you with nutrition since you asked. Unfortunately, the loose seed mixes do not provide much if any nutritional value. Because parrots do live a long time, it can take years for the ill effects to show up. Just like a person who eats only junk food – they may look and feel fine, but eventually they start having serious health problems. It’s actually good if your conure did eat some of her egg – many hens will do this if they are malnourished because it helps to replenish their protein and calcium. She needs to be eating a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets or our foraging foods – Nutri-Berries, Avi-Cakes and Pellet-Berries. All of our foraging foods are nutritionally balanced as a complete daily diet, just like pellets. You can feed any of our foods alone, or combined and you can also feed pellets along with them. Parrots eat a varied diet in the wild. The seed in a loose seed diet are usually no longer fresh enough to retain any nutrients, and any added vitamins are lost when the bird removes the hull. We use fresh seeds with the hull removed, along with other nutritious ingredients to make a balanced product. A “seed addict” like your conure will easily convert to these foods. We recommend crumbling the with the seed mix to begin with, and then gradually reduce how much seed mix you give each day until she is only eating the new food. You can do the same with pellets, mixing them with her seed until she learns to eat them. Our diets ca be ordered online from our site,  or any brand of parrot pellets can be ordered online on Amazon or other sites.  You can also offer fresh greens, veggies and some fruit. I’ll give you a link to our feeding guide to give you more information. We offer free webinars every Friday and I believe in May we will have one on how to teach your bird to eat healthy! You can sign up to receive notices about our webinars. While the healthy diets can seem more expensive that seed mixes, your bird will actually eat much less. Birds eat to satisfy their nutritional needs, so with seed lacking most nutrients, a bird will keep eating and can actually get too fat eating a seed mix. With the healthy diet, they are satisfied more quickly and do not eat as much.

You also need to discourage her egg laying. Of course no beds, nests, boxes or anything she can sit in. If she starts to sit in her food bowl, take it away and replace it with smaller cups. When you handle her, limit any petting to her head. When you pet her on the body, this is a hormone trigger. If she still lays eggs, limit her daily light to 8-20 hours by covering her cage early in the evening. Rearrange toys and perches in her cage and move her cage to a different place in the room about once a week. When she is out of the cage, don’t let her get in cozy or dark places. Don’t give her anything to shred – no paper or cardboard or anything she would try to use for a nest. If she won’t stop laying eggs, you will end up needing to take her to an Avian Vet for a hormone shot or implant. I’ll also give you the link to our past webinars on parrots and hormones, as this can help you understand what you are dealing with and what to do to avoid triggering her hormones. This week our webinar is on parrot reproduction and the Vet will be talking about egg laying by single birds and what to do about it.

Bird Food Guide

You can click on any webinar on this page, and scroll to the bottom to find the box where you can sign up to get notices for the webinar each week:

https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/category/webinar/

Here is the playlist of our webinars on hormones and pet birds:

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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