Reproductive Emergencies in Birds

Key Points

  • Reproductive disease is most commonly seen in small parrot species like the cockatiel, lovebird, and budgerigar parakeet.
  • A normal physiologic change in the hen gearing up to lay eggs is ossification of long bones or osteomyelosclerosis which provides a critical calcium reserve for the processes of shelling and passing the egg.
  • The initial approach to dystocia should include fluids, warmth, humidity, and in many situations, calcium administration.
  • Halt or reduce egg laying in the chronic egg layer with the use of medication such leuprolide acetate and environmental modification techniques.
  • Household techniques that can halt or reduce egg laying include removal of reproductive stimuli (i.e. real or perceived mates, nesting material, or mastubatory objects), leaving eggs in the cage as long as possible, and short-term reduction of photoperiod to eight to ten hours of light.

Reproductive emergencies are most commonly seen in small psittacine birds like the cockatiel, lovebird and budgerigar parakeet. This article reviews conditions commonly seen on an emergency basis such as dystocia, egg yolk peritonitis, cloacal or oviductal prolapse, and/or chronic egg laying. Pertinent anatomy and physiology as well as case management, including the reproductive history, physical examination, diagnostic imaging, and behavioral modification techniques are also discussed . . .

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To cite this page:

Pollock C. Reproductive emergencies in birds. September 22, 2012. LafeberVet Web site. Available at