It’s a typical morning; you have just woken up, and the first thing you always do is greet your parrot. However, this morning you find something different. When you visit your parrot’s cage, you’re surprised by a few eggs and don’t know what to do since your initial plan was not to become a breeder or you thought you had adopted a male parrot. So what do you do and what do you need to know about when parrots lay eggs?
Female parrots can lay eggs during the breeding season, even without mating. Unfortunately, an unfertilized egg cannot hatch, so if you want to hatch some chicks, this is the best time to introduce your female to a male.
Just because your parrot has never mated, it doesn’t mean that it will not lay some eggs during the breeding season. This article will show you everything you need to know about when parrot lays eggs and their gestation period. We’ll also show you what to do if you want to breed some parrots.
At What Age Do Parrots Start Laying Eggs?
Generally, parrots are known to lay a clutch of up to 4 eggs once every year, with the smaller parrots laying about three times annually, but this depends on their health. Fortunately, some parrots won’t lay eggs if it’s not the breeding season or there is no mate.
Most parrot species start laying eggs between the ages of 18 and 24 months, so you shouldn’t be surprised by the presence of some eggs in your pet’s cage. After all, every female can lay eggs as soon as it attains maturity.
Some will even lay unfertilized eggs as soon as the mating season starts. Some of the factors that can activate their hormones are associated with the mating season. The presence of nesting materials, other parrots of the opposite sex, and exposure to sunlight can force your female pet to start laying eggs. (source)
Some parrots seem oblivious that the laid eggs are theirs, so they continue living their lives without any care in the world. On the other hand, some hens become protective thanks to their maternal instincts and are overprotective of their cages. So they can attack anyone, including their owners, when they try to approach their cages.
What should you do if your parrot seems oblivious to the eggs? The answer to this question will depend on many factors, with the main one being, do you want more parrots in your home? Do you have enough space to accommodate chicks once they hatch, or is this the first time you’re adopting a parrot? After all, taking care of baby parrots can be demanding and tedious. (source)
Can Females Start Laying Eggs Without a Male?
Just because you own only female parrots, it doesn’t mean that you will never have to worry about eggs; after all, they can lay eggs even in the absence of a male. Some parrot species are more prone to laying eggs, even in the absence of a male than others. Some cockatoo species can lay eggs even without a con-specific male or an appropriate nest box. (source)
You’ll never have to worry about chicks in a few weeks if there is no male parrot in the vicinity; after all, the laid eggs will be infertile. Unfortunately, egg-laying is a big deal for bird owners, and it comes with a wide range of complications.
Egg-laying may be a natural process, but some complications are associated with the process. And if you don’t consult the vet in time, you may lose your parrot.
Why Is Egg-Laying a Huge Deal?
You may be wondering why your parrot is laying eggs in the absence of a mate. Egg-laying can result in some health complications, particularly if it’s repeatedly laying or the first time laying eggs.
Parrots that lay unfertilized eggs in captivity tend to produce more eggs than they normally would in the wild, resulting in several health issues. Some of the common problems that you have to worry about when parrots lay eggs include:
- Egg Binding
One of the most common health complications associated with egg-laying is egg binding. Egg binding is quite common among captive birds, including the budgies. And that is because they don’t get the needed sunlight and workout that can help with egg-laying. Lack of activity can cause obesity which can result in egg binding.
Therefore, instead of producing an egg with a hard shell, it creates a lumpy or soft egg that can’t move through your parrot’s oviduct. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include blood from the vent, difficulty breathing, excessive straining, and your bird sitting in the cage. (source)
So when parrots lay eggs, you should watch them closely and monitor their behaviors, and if you suspect something wrong, you should consult a vet immediately. After all, ignorance can result in the sudden death of your pets.
- Egg Yolk Peritonitis
Suppose the eggs are not shelling properly before being laid! In that case, the egg’s innard can easily fall into its body cavity resulting in a condition known as egg yolk peritonitis. Peritonitis can result in a severe inflammatory process that causes the abdomen to fill with hazardous fluid for your pet.
Peritonitis can make your parrot very uncomfortable while causing reduced appetite, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. Since yolk forms an exceptional bacteria growing medium, peritonitis can result in some secondary infections like organ failure, ascites, and even morbidity. (source)
When parrots lay eggs constantly, their body produces high amounts of proteins and fats to facilitate egg production, resulting in thickening blood. Hyperlipidemia can cause thickening of the blood resulting in a stroke.
Unfortunately, returning the blood to normal cannot be accomplished by changing diet or exercise. This condition can only be solved with hormone therapy, which is quite costly.
- Change In Behavior
When most birds start laying eggs, they undergo the hormonal changing process that activates their maternal instincts while preparing their bodies for egg-laying. Therefore, you should expect your pet to become overprotective of its cage. Fortunately, this is not a life-threatening concern, but it can be frustrating for pet owners. (source)
You may be surprised when your usual friendly parrot tries to peck anyone who tries to go near its cage, and it may even hurt you when you try to put your hand in the cage. Luckily, these weird behaviors will only last for a few days, or you can take it to the vet if your plan is not to rear chicks.
What To Do When Parrots Lay Eggs?
If your pet has already laid eggs, there are very few things you can do; the first thing you should do is determine if it’s infertile. If there is a male parrot around, you can suspect that the eggs are fertilized. So you should confirm if the eggs are fertile, but if there is no male around, you have nothing to worry about.
You can confirm the fertility status of the eggs using a candling method which includes holding the eggs behind a bright light and illuminating the content without necessarily having to crack them.
If you’re a breeder, you can easily tell if it is fertilized by observing the egg’s content shape, opacity, and color. But you have to incubate it for a few days before monitoring the growth progress using a candle.
After incubating for four days, you can take the egg to a dark room and illuminate it using a candler.
A fertilized egg will have a dark spot in the middle and some spider-like veins. You should hold the egg in a slanting position with the huge part inside the candler when candling.
Grasp the smaller end of the egg between the tip of your fingers and thumb and turn it quickly.
The twisting action will move the content and throw its yolk near the shell. If it has a white shell, you will easily see the content of the egg. (source)
More On What To When Parrots Lay Eggs
If you’re a first-time parrot owner, then the chances are that you are not experienced and don’t want to raise young parrots; therefore, you should freeze or boil the eggs to make them infertile.
But if you’re a novice parrot owner and want to keep the fertilized eggs, you should consult your vet as soon as possible. You can do more research on how to rear baby parrots before deciding.
But if you don’t want to keep the eggs, you can boil or freeze them and return them to the test. And even if your pet won’t sit on them, you should leave them there for three weeks.
After all, when they start laying eggs, the maternal instinct kicks in thanks to the hormonal changes it experiences. Therefore, even if the eggs are infertile, you don’t want the parrot to be traumatized, so you should gradually remove the eggs.
But make sure you are providing it with the needed nutritional supplements rich in calcium and vitamins when parrots lay eggs. They will need phosphorus and calcium to build hard shells.
How to Prevent Your Pet From Laying Eggs in Future
Since laying eggs can cause a wide range of health issues, you should find a way to prevent them from laying more eggs. After all, some of them tend to compete and find out who can lay more eggs.
If you don’t plan on taking care of young parrots, you should try the following exceptional techniques that can prevent your bird from laying eggs:
- Rearrange Its Surroundings
Start by moving its cage to another part of the house to make her uncomfortable. You can even rearrange some of the movable things in its cage. A little confusion can prevent your parrot from laying eggs until the breeding season is over. But you may have to do it a couple of times during the mating season.
Moving its watering and food bowl to confuse it and disrupt the hormonal process needed to lay eggs.
- Extend Night Hours By Covering Its Cage
All birds, including parrots, need sunlight to activate the egg-laying process. Generally, they need 8 hours of darkness and 16 hours of light to lay eggs. So by covering their cages, you’ll be disrupting the egg-laying process and eventually stop them from laying too many eggs. (source)
- Get Rid Of What It Perceives As A Mate
Most parrots perceive any other birds or their owners as their mates, which can make them start laying eggs during the breeding season. So to disrupt the egg-laying behavior, you can remove what it considers its mate from its surroundings.
How Will You Know When Your Parrot Is About to Start Laying Eggs?
When female parrots are ready to start laying eggs, they gain weight. Therefore, you will notice that your parrot is heavier than usual when you lift her. Her abdomen will increase in size while becoming firm. Plus, she will start drinking lots of water to replenish the moisture used to create the egg.
How Many Eggs Do Parrots Lay In A Year?
Generally, most parrots produce an average of 4 years per clutch once every year, while others have two laying seasons. For example, Ringnecks lay four eggs once every year, while cockatoos lay three eggs twice.
How Do I Prevent My Parakeets From Breeding?
To prevent them from breeding, you should stop them from going to the dark spots in the house that can make great nesting spots. You should avoid some sexually stunning activities such as petting or hand-feeding near the base of its tail.
All-female parrots lay eggs, even those that have never mated before—unfortunately, the eggs produced by birds that have not bred are usually infertile. So if your goal is not rearing chicks, you’re good to go.
But if you plan on becoming a breeder, you should introduce a male parrot to your parrot as soon as it starts laying eggs.
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- Chewy Editorial, Poultry Egg-laying dilemma, https://be.chewy.com/parrot-egg-laying-dilemma/ Accessed March 31, 2022
- Alyson Kalhagen, Egg-binding in birds, https://www.thesprucepets.com/signs-of-egg-binding-in-birds-390494/ Accessed March 31, 2022
- Palani Srinivasan, Bacteriological and pathological studies of egg peritonitis in commercial layer chicken in Namakkal area, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805102/#:~:text=Egg%20yolk%20peritonitis%20is%20the,be%20reabsorbed%20by%20the%20peritoneum./ Accessed March 31, 2022
- Candling eggs, https://web.extension.illinois.edu/eggs/res26-candling.html/ Accessed March 31, 2022
- Jane Meggltt, Effects of sunlight on laying hens, https://animals.mom.com/effects-sunlight-laying-hens-1392.html/ Accessed March 31, 2022