Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 30, 2021

Eggs


I was told I had two male Cockatiels one is all gray with a completely white face the other is the yellow with orange cheeks they I found four eggs in the cageNeither one of the birds pay any attention to the eggs they don’t sit on them they don’t pay any attention to them at all


Answer:

Hi Linda,

The bird with the white face is the male. Possibly the person didn’t know how to tell the sex of a lutino, which is what your female is. She will have markings under her flight feathers and tail that a male lutino doesn’t have. There are changes you can make in their routine and cage that will discourage more egg laying. It’s important that she not keep laying eggs. In the wild they only lay once a year. In captivity, they can get stuck in an egg laying cycle because we provide the ideal breeding conditions year round. But she can literally die from laying too many eggs, so it’s important to make changes to stop the cycle. Even if you decide to breed them, you have to make these changes after each clutch and make the pair rest for 6 months. But unless you want to deal with breeding, you will continue this new routine year round. It will be important to clean the cage daily – this is disruptive for them and makes them feel like they can’t nest in it. If there is a cage grate, you can just change the papers daily, or refresh the bedding if you use bedding. If there isn’t a floor grate, follow the advice below.

You need to do all of these things to discourage egg laying.  Keep in mind that to lay eggs, she needs longer daylight, warmer weather, abundant food, and a quiet, private environment. Your goal is to reverse these conditions.

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 frequently.

Move the cage to a different place in the room. Move the cage about once a week, or whenever she shows signs of nesting – settling on the cage floor for example.

If she is let out of the cage, do not let her get in any dark cozy places and don’t give her free roam.

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.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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