Ask Lafeber

Question:

June 24, 2022

Lovebird pulling out feathers after laying eggs


Is this just some stress from children in the house or something we should be concerned with? We have a cover on the cage to keep her and mate calm.


Answer:

Hi Robin,

As for the cover, it’s OK on part of the cage but if course at least one side needs to be open. Some hens will pluck to add feathers to the nest. If your household tends to be loud and busy with the kids, this is not a good environment for breeding birds. They need a quiet, private location. You can’t move them now, but they are not likely to have success – first clutches usually fail anyway, and if there are too many disruptions they will not continue with the eggs. After this clutch, you need to remove the nest box and rest the pair for 6 months – always do this after each clutch whether the eggs hatch or not. Then if you decide to set them up again, I would move them to a room where there isn’t noise or people, and definitely not children because they can’t help being children. LOL There are also changes you can make if you decide not to breed them again.

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. These changes apply to both birds.

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. This disrupts her idea of having a stable place to lay eggs and raise chicks.

If you feed a lot of fresh foods, stop offering any for a couple of weeks, and then only offer them in small amounts about 2 or 3 times a week. You can resume normal feeding later when the birds aren’t being hormonal.

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. Only a bonded mate is allowed to groom the body. We can’t be a mate, so touching the body is off limits.

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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