Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 11, 2020

how long can a Goffin cockatoo lay eggs?


Hello,
I have a Goffin Cockatoo that I got from my mother around 2008, my brother purchased her around 85 as a retired breeder I found a broken egg in her food dish this morning. my brother is guessing she is 45 to 50 yrs old. She has a plain round leg band of an imported bird. How long can she still lay eggs? I didn’t think she still could this late in life. Is this a problem at her age?


Answer:

Hi Brian,

What a surprise! I actually have a Goffin’s from the same time period, and also imported. I got him in 1985  – he came from a home and his owner had died. We really do not know their true life span, because parrots live so long and it is difficult to do any type of scientific study. Older birds laying eggs was actually discussed recently in one of the free weekly webinars we broadcast. The Vet commented that we do not know when a bird gets too old to lay eggs, and the Vet had encountered birds that were 40+ years old that laid eggs for the first time. Of course forming and laying eggs is a strain on a bird at any age, so it is important that she is on a nutritionally balanced diet such as pellets or our foraging diets. We do make a senior diet that has added nutrients that are particularly beneficial for older birds. While adding foods is fine, I never recommend a major diet change with an older bird, as far as trying to convert to an entirely new diet. She must be on a good diet to still be alive and now laying eggs at her age. Both of our birds have lived beyond the life spans that are currently projected. As far as what triggered this, if you recently started needing heat instead of AC, the warmer temperature in the house may have been a trigger. I’m not sure if she is tame, but if you do handle her and pet her, limit petting to her head since petting her body can trigger her hormones. Start covering her cage early in the evening, to limit her light to 8-10 hours a day. My main concern would be her calcium level. While I usually do not recommend feeding eggs when you want a bird to stop laying eggs, cooked eggs with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with the eggs is a good way to give her some extra protein and calcium. You can also offer some calcium rich but non dairy foods. Almonds have more calcium than other nuts. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale have a lot of calcium. Broccoli and broccoli rabe also have a good amount of calcium. If she continues to lay eggs, you might have to take her to an Avian Vet for a hormone shot or implant. But hopefully this will be a one time thing, or she may lay one or two more eggs in the next few days. There is always a day between each egg because they only form one egg at a time. If the shell is hard, that is great but if the shell in thin or soft, this is cause for alarm and she probably needs to be seen by a Vet, who can give an injection for calcium.

Best wishes for your girl. Goffin’s are great birds and highly intelligent. It’s good to know there are still some of the older Goffin’s out there!

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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