Ask Lafeber

Question:

July 5, 2022

My Conure I don’t want her to get egg


Hello, my Green -Cheek- Conure layed a egg last year & she seems to be getting ready to do it again. She feel heaver and her abdomen feels firm. It’s to late to remove her blanket and other nesting items & not sure if she is going to lay a egg. However I don’t want her to get egg bound if I remove things from the cage. Will she still lay her egg on the cage floor? Thank you so very much.


Answer:

Hi Carol,

You definitely need to remove her blanket and nesting items. Adult birds should not have any type of nest, nesting items and definitely do not need a blanket. All of these things create confusion and can keep the bird in a constant hormonal state. Adult birds in the wild do no use a nest except one time a year, during nesting season. The rest of the year they sleep in trees with the rest of the flock. A nest is never a bed – they have no need for a bed. So when you give one to a pet bird, all they see is a nest and then they want to nest. A single pet bird – male or female – should never be given anything to use as a nest or bed. I realize they sell bird huts and tents, but these are not a suitable item for a pet bird. Sadly there are a lot of items that are sold for pet birds that are dangerous or not good for them. The soft huts and other soft items can be very dangerous. For some reason, Green Cheeks in particular are known to pick at these items and eat small fibers. However, these fibers do not pass through the digestive system, and instead gradually accumulate until the bird’s system is completely impacted and she dies. There is no way to remove these one a bird eats them. So for her safety, no more blanket or nesting items. Other complications can be that she becomes a chronic egg layer, which must be treated with hormones, or she may even suffer a prolapse, which will almost always keep recurring even after surgery. I’m not trying to scare you, but you need to be aware of how harmful these things can be. Yes, the bird loves items like these and it’s fun to see a bird snuggle, but as an informed owner, we have the responsibility of not allowing them to indulge in items or foods or activities that can be harmful or fatal. So, lecture over, let’s cover how to discourage egg laying, and these things can apply year round for some birds.

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. There is no need for a single or non-breeding bird to lay eggs. It drains her system of calcium and protein and is physically exhausting to lay each egg. Then there are many complications that can often cause death, so you always want to try to discourage egg laying.

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.

The webinars in this playlist offer additional ideas for distracting a bird from hormonal behavior and laying eggs:

Pet Bird & Hormonal Issues Webinar Series:

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

 

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