Ask Lafeber


June 25, 2021

Preventing breeding

Can African Grey’s be neutralized to prevent unwished breeding between siblings)


Hi Jette,

Birds can’t be spayed/neutered/sterilized routinely like with other pets. It is an extremely risky procedure that might be done as a last resort to resolve a health issue. It would be considered unethical to do a risky surgery like this for birth control, considering birds lay eggs so it’s safer and easier to discard the eggs before the hen can incubate them. You are correct that related birds should not be allowed to breed with each other, particularly siblings from the same parents, whether they are from the same clutch or not. They either need to be kept separated by gender, or if males & females are kept together, any eggs should be immediately discarded. You can discourage egg laying by avoiding hormone triggers or an ideal breeding environment. You need to do all of these things to keep them from getting into breeding mode.

Limit their daily light to 8 – 10 hours by covering the cage early each evening.

Never provide anything that can be used as a nest – no nestbox, nest, bird hut or tent, boxes of any kind or large bowls. If a bird starts to sit in a food bowl, remove it and replace with small cups.

Do not provide anything for them to shred like paper or cardboard.

If the cage does not have a floor grate, do not use any bedding in the tray – leave it bare and clean it daily.

Only offer fresh food a few times a week, and never in large amounts at one time.

If the birds come out of the cage, never let them get in dark, cozy places.

If you handle the birds, always limit any contact to the head and neck – avoid petting the bird on the body.

If the birds act like they want to nest, rearrange the toys in the cage and move the cage to another place in the room. Move the cage weekly or any time you see a female sitting on the cage floor like she wants to nest.

If you do notice any mating, separate the birds until they stop trying to mate.

If a female starts laying eggs, and won’t stop in spite of these conditions, take her to an Avian Vet for a hormone implant or shots.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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