Ask Lafeber

Question:

June 10, 2022

Why is my parakeet eating her egg


So my parakeets are one cage and they have reached the age where they start breeding, the female layed a egg and the egg was fine for like 2 or 3 days untill today I saw that the egg shell was on the bottom of the cage and there was like yellow colored outside of the egg and it was cracked open,and my Two parakeets are in one cage what can it be?


Answer:

Hi Yasmine,

This type thing does happen, and it is most common with birds that are set up for breeding when they are still too young. Most captive parrots – and this includes parakeets – become sexually mature a year to a few years before they are truly ready for breeding. It’s unknown if they mature this quickly in the wild, but just don’t bond until they are older. But in captivity, just because a bird can breed doesn’t mean it is ready. For parakeets, both birds should be about 2 years old before pairing them and giving them a nest box. Before that age, they are still going through some physical and emotional development. Young pairs are more interested in mating than settling down and caring for eggs or chicks. This is especially true of the males. Young hens are at a higher risk of becoming egg bound because the muscles in their reproductive tract aren’t fully developed yet. Young pairs tend to develop bad breeding habits that will ruin them for being good breeders, including eating eggs, breaking eggs, failing to sit on eggs, failing to feed the chicks or even killing the chicks. So if this pair is younger than 2, I would take down the box and possibly separate them until they are old enough. If the hen continues this habit with the eggs, she will never be a good breeder because they generally never break that habit.

Another reason a hen might break and eat the eggs is inadequate nutrition. A breeding pair needs a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets or our foraging diets, fresh greens, veggies, fruit and an egg food as well as a cuttlebone. A loose seed mix will not provide the nutrition they need. The hen loses a lot of calcium and protein when forming and laying each egg, so if she feels too depleted, she eats her own eggs to replace the nutrition.

It sounds like she may have thrown the egg out of the nest box rather than eat it. The nest box needs to be attached to the outside of the cage as high as possible. If she doesn’t like where the nest box is, or if you didn’t give them the right kind of nest box, this can cause her to discard the eggs. The nest box is a large wooden box with one opening for the pair to enter and a hinged top for you to have access – not a coconut or open nest or anything else that are often sold as nests on Amazon.

And finally, if she is old enough, and getting the right nutrition, and has the right type nest box, this may be due to inexperience or she simply may not be a good breeder. Always rest your pair with no nest box for 6 months after each clutch, whether the eggs hatch or not. If she destroys the eggs the next time, then I wouldn’t try to breed this pair again.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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