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Question:

April 15, 2021

Lovebird trouble laying eggs


Hello,
My lovebird has laid eggs several times before and usually lays an egg every other day when she’s laying with a total of 5-6 eggs being laid.

She is due to lay another clutch of eggs; however, a couple of weeks ago we noticed she was sleeping more often on the bottom of her cage and did not want to come out of her cage as often or for as long as usual. She was making a nest but not laying eggs. Eventually she did lay an egg and was then back to her normal self again. It’s been a couple weeks since she laid that egg, but she has not laid any additional eggs, and she is starting to sleep more often again. We feed her Zupreem pellets as her main source of food. She still seems to be eating and drinking. We have not changed her diet, moved her cage, or changed her surroundings etc. Do you have any ideas what, if anything, could be wrong with her? Is her body having trouble producing eggs?

Thanks for your help!


Answer:

Hi Daniel,

You may want to go ahead and take her to an Avian Vet for a check up. It takes a lot out of a hen for her to form and lay eggs. You say she has done this several times, but didn’t mention how much time there was between each clutch. Wild lovebirds only nest once a year, and generally only have one clutch. In captivity, we recommend no more than two clutches per year, whether chicks hatch or not, with a 6 month rest in between each clutch. If your girl has been laying eggs regularly, such as every month or so, then her resources are depleted. The behavior and only laying a single egg are signs that her health is not 100%. It takes a lot of protein and calcium to form each egg, and it takes a physical toll for her to lay the eggs. It’s good that she bounced back last time, but she may not bounce back a second time. A vet can make sure her blood levels are good and determine if there are any physical issues.

When you have a single female bird, it’s best to try to prevent or discourage egg laying. You can limit her light to 8-10 hours per day by covering her cage early each evening. Do not let her have a nest or build a nest. She should not have a nest, a bird hut or tent, box or even a large food bowl she can nest in. If the cage does not have a metal floor grate, then you should remove any newspaper or cage bedding and just leave the tray bare, cleaning it daily. Don’t give her anything to shred like paper or cardboard. If she gets fresh foods, limit those to a couple of times per week. Rearrange toys in her cage, and move her cage to another place in the room every week or so. Her cage should be in a busy room where you or the family spend a lot of time. Once you have her checked out and she is back to her usual self, then you should implement these changes to try to keep her from laying eggs again. Some birds just won’t stop, and in that case, you need the Vet to give her a hormone shot or implant. The implant lasts longer and seems to be more effective than the shots. The reason for having to intervene is that in captivity, birds do not get the environmental signals that breeding season is over. A captive hen, kept in ideal breeding conditions, can literally keep laying eggs until it kills her. So making these changes is actually more natural for her, because conditions for breeding only happen once a year in the wild.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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