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Old 07-13-2019, 05:41 PM
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Question I think my female is going to lay eggs... help!

My female cockatiel is about 3 years old now, and once a day she makes these really big poos. I immediately looked it up and found that in female cockatiels, that can mean she's about to lay eggs. She also exhibits other behavior like wiggling her tail in the corner of the cage.

This is really worrying because egg laying takes a toll on a bird's health, and I really really don't want anything bad to happen to her. I've been trying to discourage egg laying for the past year by covering her cage early, not letting the room get too warm, and limiting fresh food. However, it is summer. It's slightly warmer in the house than usual, and the days are incredibly long.

There are no male cockatiels around anymore, (RIP...) so I know if she does lay eggs, they will be infertile.

Here are my main questions:
  • Does it sound like she's definitely going to lay eggs?
  • What can I do to nurse her back to full health if she does?
  • What do I do with the eggs?
  • Is there anything I can do to prevent egg laying in the future?
  • If not, how often can I expect a female cockatiel lay eggs without the presence of a male and in the conditions I've created?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Soul; 07-13-2019 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:38 PM
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Re: I think my female is going to lay eggs... help!

How long has Miko been exhibiting this behaviour? You need to be wary of egg binding if she’s been looking like she’s straining or is in distress. If it’s obvious she’s in trouble you will need to get her to a bird vet as soon as you can. If there’s no vet open near you on the weekend you can try to help her pass the egg by warming a few drops of olive oil between your fingertips and massage it into her cloaca - that worked for me once a few years back. Make sure she has access to a cuttlebone for extra calcium too.

If/when Miko does lay eggs and continue to do so it can be detrimental to her health if it becomes chronic. It’s best to buy dummy plastic eggs online to replace hers because if she sits on infertile eggs she may break one and that will be a bacterial hazard. She can then sit on the dummy eggs and should lose interest in them after a while once she realises they’re not going to hatch. Remove anything remotely nesty from her cage to discourage any further egg production.

I’ve been through some egg laying with my lorikeet in the last little while so you have my sympathy. Good luck to you and Miko, I hope she’ll be ok!
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Old 07-13-2019, 07:07 PM
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Re: I think my female is going to lay eggs... help!

LaManuka, she's only been doing this for a couple of days. I've been keeping a very close eye on her, and apart from the 2 things I mentioned, her behavior has not changed. I'm with her for several hours a day, and there's been no sign of strain or distress, but if anything sus shows up I'll be sure to bring her into a bird vet right away.

And okay, I'm making sure she has plenty of cuttlebone. I might even scrape a little off into her food if I don't see her going to town on it enough. We have a wonderful store here that sells cuttlebone in a large box for 75 cents a bone, so there's no shortage.

I purposefully never put anything nesty in bird cages, and she spends most of her time (when she's not asleep/napping/eating) outside of the cage and with me.

I will look into purchasing some dummy eggs... if they don't come in handy now, they might later. Thank you so much for all of your advice.

How did your bird handle the egg-laying? What was it like for you guys?
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:56 PM
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Re: I think my female is going to lay eggs... help!

Oh we’re still going through Lilly the lorikeet’s hormonal ragings! Unfortunately her breeding period is August through to December so we’ve got a long way to go!

My previous cockatiel Kang was an occasional egg layer even though we had nothing the least bit nest-like anywhere near her. I would give her a dummy egg or two to work off her maternal yearnings on and she’d lose interest after a week or so and snap out of it.

Changes in poop is a very good indicator of potential health issues so even if Miko is not laying eggs it might be an idea to have a general wellness check if you can. That’s how we were alerted to Fang’s heart arrhythmia for which he now has medication and is doing very well. As you know birds hide symptoms of illness from us very well but poop doesn’t lie!
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Old 07-14-2019, 03:52 AM
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Re: I think my female is going to lay eggs... help!

With Kang, did you put the dummy egg in before/while she was laying eggs so she would lay fewer eggs, or did you swap them out afterwards?

I'll keep an eye on her poops, from what I can find, it seems that sometimes birds will take a big poo when they first wake up, and females will when they are about to lay eggs. I'll call the vet Monday and see if she thinks the size is anything to worry about, and I'll be looking for changes in consistency and color too.

I had one other bird who tried to lay eggs, but she was old for a budgie (12) and her egg was unfortunately bound. We rushed her to the exotic animal hospital near us, but they weren't able to save her. I just don't want anything like that to happen to sweet little Miko I love her so much.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:12 AM
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Re: I think my female is going to lay eggs... help!

I think you’re wise to involve your vet, you certainly don’t want Miko suffering the same fate as your budgie!

We would wait until Kang had laid at least one egg before swapping them out. No use pre-empting something that may not happen huh? Where there’s one there’s often a second one on the way but Kang never laid more than two at a time. I think over her whole life of 17 years she probably laid no more than about eight or so. She had a very upscale jade egg to sit on as a replacement and it didn’t bother her in the slightest bit that it was green

Let us know how you go at the vet won’t you!
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Last edited by LaManuka; 07-14-2019 at 05:03 AM.
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