Ask Lafeber

Question:

May 10, 2021

Stop sun conure from egg laying and hormonal behavior


Our sweet 12 yr old sun conure laid her first egg. It was very traumatic, she did it without intervention, but with supportive care – we had her at the emergency avian vet for three days in an incubator with calcium, fluids, pain meds and supplemental oxygen. She is home now to recover, and it’s been a week, but her hormonal behavior is persisting. We have her in a travel cage away from her familiar areas in the home (she tries to make nests in the sofa) and are keeping her daylight hours short, we’re avoiding any supplemental food beyond her pelleted diet, and do not engage with her in a way that would stimulate further hormonal behavior (we’ve had intentionally limited interactions this past week too). We’re very worried that she’s going to continue to try to build a clutch of eggs. Is there anything else we can do to help curb this now that she’s already laid one egg?


Answer:

Hi Marie,

A bird should not need any help or intervention to lay an egg. So it is alarming that she needed the amount of support she got from the Vet. Did the Vet recommend hormone treatment? When you have a bird that reacts that badly to laying eggs, then you do need to try to keep it from happening again. Since she is on pellets, nutrition shouldn’t be an issue. Did the Vet give you any reasons why she did so poorly? I would discuss a hormone implant with the Vet. This is the most effective way to prevent egg laying. As you mentioned, you can also limit her daily light, do not give her anything she can use as a nest – no bird tents or huts, no boxes, do not give her anything to shred like paper or cardboard, avoid petting her anywhere but on her head and neck, keep her out of cozy places when she is out, limit fresh foods. You can also rearrange her toys in her cage and move the cage to another place in the room about once a week. If she usually has free roam of the house, that needs to stop. She should be on your hand or a playpen or on her cage – always supervised. If she tries to nest in a corner of the cage, put some toys there to block the area. With some birds this is not enough and they need the hormone implant. But it works well, and if you notice the signs ahead of time, you can take her in for the implant at the first signs of hormonal behavior.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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