Ask Lafeber


April 27, 2021

Egg cockatiel

How long should let her lay on an infertile egg


Hi Carla,

Many single birds will sit on their eggs for the entire incubation period, 18-23 days, and then abandon the eggs. I would not let her sit longer than that. It’s best to leave the eggs on the cage floor. If there is a metal grate, this is fine. You do not want to give her a nest or a box or anything she can sit in. This encourages egg laying and you don’t want her to keep laying eggs. So do not do anything to make her more comfortable. The less comfortable she is, the less time she is likely to sit on the eggs. Once she stops having interest in the eggs, you can throw them away.

You can make changes to try to discourage or prevent egg laying. Limit her light to 8-10 hours by covering her cage early each evening. When you pet her, only pet her on the head – petting her body can trigger her hormones. As I mentioned, no nests, bird huts or anything she can sit in. If she sits in a food cup, replace it with smaller cups. Limit any fresh foods to once or twice a week. Rearrange her toys and move her cage to a busy place in the room. You can even move the cage about once a week, or any time she seems to be nesting on the cage floor or anywhere in the cage. Laying eggs is hard on her, and if she keeps laying eggs once a month, or more often, she can literally die from laying too many eggs. If she does keep laying eggs, you can take her to an Avian Vet for a hormone shot or implant.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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