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Question:

September 19, 2022

Looking for behavior signs my bird may be preparing to lay an egg


So I recently rescued a conure and she laid an egg yesterday. Prior to this she was exhibiting strange behaviors and I arranged a vet visit but they have a full schedule and can’t see her yet. Afterwards, she laid the egg and I thought oh is this what was happening? I’ve only had boy parrots in the past so this was a shock to me and the previous owners told me she’d probably no longer be laying eggs due to her age. However, that’s not the case. My question however is how long can they lay eggs for, not in terms of years but in the process. Is she still in labor? She is still doing this wing flicking and making the same noises that had me call the vet in the first place and I’m trying to figure out if she is going to lay another egg but an entire day has almost past since she laid the first one. I cannot find any other information on the behaviors a conure has before actually laying the egg. Thank you for your help!


Answer:

Hi Stephanie,

She is likely to lay an egg every other day. It’s not really labor, since she is laying an egg, and while the egg takes about 48 hours to form, she lays it fairly quickly. Most of the time there is no warning and the bird just lays the egg. If she is straining, pumping her tail and breathing heavily, this is a sign that she can’t lay the egg and this can be fatal. If you have a Vet appointment, it’s a good idea to keep it. If the previous owners let her lay eggs often, then she may be in poor health because of that. As for the behavior, it could be hormonal – it sounds like she is trying to solicit a mate. She may need some hormone therapy to break this cycle, if this has been ongoing. It’s not good at all for her to lay eggs over and over and since you may not have all of her past information, it’s possible she has been doing this. There are some changes you can make to discourage more egg laying, so I would make these changes and also consult with the vet in case hormone therapy is needed.

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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