Ask Lafeber

Question:

May 26, 2021

My 16 year old Quaker parrot


Help my parrot has laid 14 eggs.
4 at the end of Feb. sat on those then gave them up.

4 more about 3-4 weeks later
Sat on them until giving them up.

4 weeks later now 6 more.

We moved the cage
Darkened the room
Cover her up early at night

Not sure how to stop the egg laying.
Scared


Answer:

Hi Julia,

I know it can be very worrisome when a pet bird lays so many eggs. I know you made some changes, but I’m going to give you information on everything you can do – and you need to do all of these things. If she still lays more eggs, then it’s time to take her to an Avian vet for a hormone implant or shot. This is a safe treatment and is usually effective. It’s only used as a last resort because it can be expensive, so making environmental changes should be tried first.

To begin with, making the room darker might actually make her more likely to lay eggs, because in the nest it would be dark and cozy. In the wild, they have one breeding season a year. The weather, combined with longer days, abundant food and a safe nesting place will trigger breeding. We provide this perfect breeding environment all year. You can start by limiting her light to 8-10 hours by covering her cage early each evening. Never give her anything she can use as a nest – no box, bird tents or huts, large food bowls, etc. If she sits in a dish, take it away and give her smaller food cups. If she chooses a corner of the cage as a nest, hang some toys there to block the area. When she is out of the cage, don’t let her get in dark, cozy places. Even sitting in your lap can be a trigger. If she is sitting on eggs, leave the eggs on the cage floor. If the cage does not have a floor grate, remove all papers or bedding from the cage tray and clean the tray daily. Don’t let her roam free and explore when she is out – she needs to be with you, on her cage or on a play stand. When you pet her, only pet her head – any petting on her body will trigger her hormones. Do not let her have anything to shred like paper or cardboard. Limit her fresh foods – stop offering all of them for now, and when she is no longer laying eggs, you can offer them in small amounts, about 3 times a week. Rearrange the toys in her cage, and move her cage to another place in the room. Move her cage about once a week. Again, you need to do all of these things to end “breeding season”. And then if she continues to lay eggs, you should take her to an avian vet for hormone treatment – there is an implant or shots. The implant seems to be the most effective. If you have to do the hormone treatment to stop her, continue the other changes, and in most cases, they do not resume egg laying.

Please let me know if you have more questions.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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