Ask Lafeber

Question:

November 16, 2021

Female cocktail


My female has laid a bunch of eggs in a 7 month time and last week she’s been plucking her tail feathers and now her chest and under her wings .I’m worried she’s depressed over me taking her eggs up .I don’t won’t baby’s but I don’t won’t her to die on me from depression over not mating


Answer:

Hi Donna,

Her issues are most likely health related from laying too many eggs in a short period of time. Cockatiels only lay eggs once a year in the wild. In captivity, she should be limited to 2 clutches per year, with a 6 month rest in between. She is most likely dangerously low in calcium and protein. I would take her to an avian vet to begin with. She may need treatment for the deficiencies. If she is a single bird, then the eggs can’t hatch because they won’t be fertile. If she is with a male, then all you need to do is not give her a nest or nest box or any way she can sit on the eggs to keep them warm. There are changes you can make to discourage egg laying, whether she is single or with a male. She can die from laying too many eggs, so it is imperative that you stop her from doing this over and over again.

You need to do all of these things to discourage more 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.

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. But most of the time keeping her environment changed around works well.

Thank you for asking Lafeber.

Brenda

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