Hear me out

hiriki

Member
Oct 19, 2014
66
1
Chicago, IL
Parrots
(Birdie - Jenday Conure) (Elby - lovebird) (Bitty & Stormy- Cockatiels) (Gorou & Liberty - Ringneck Doves)
This is actually a question inspired by my dove but I forgot my pigeon forum password & it applies to all birds so just hear me out :p

My dove went through a traumatic accident over the weekend - she's recovering fantastically or I wouldn't be in such a good mood talking about it right now, but she did lay a "stress egg" when she was under observation at the emergency vet, and since I've been obsessively catering her meals at home for nutrients to recoup what she lost from that, it's obviously on my mind... and I couldn't help but wonder.

Have any of you had your birds lay "stress eggs"?

When did that egg start developing?

This inspired me to google how long eggs develop inside of a bird before they're laid, but every result was "x hours after fertilization." This dove has a mate but believe it or not they're both proven female, so that's a moot point, although possibly it takes the same amt of time.

I have no idea if this is species specific, if there's an average range, or if anyone on this forum will even either know or be as curious as me lol. I just wonder if she truly started developing the egg as a stress response or if it was going to come out when it did, trauma or no.
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,141
149
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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Maybe it isn't a stress egg, but a handling egg. My bird has very..cough...intimate experiences with the vet (because of how they hold them, towel them and touch them)..Vet's touch birds in sexual ways compared to how they should be touched on a normal basis...
My bird shivers in a very very sexual way when held like this...it's cringe worthy....
 

Jen5200

Supporting Member
Mar 27, 2017
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Baby - Sun Conure;
Tango - GCC;
Bindi - Sun Conure;
Stanley - Pineapple GCC;
Screamer “Scree� - Cockatiel;
Tee - Pineapple GCC; Jimmy - Cockatiel
Eggs start to develop (fertilized or not) when the bird’s body believes it is time to procreate. This is often triggered by environmental stimuli. I believe in parrots an egg takes about 48 hours to create and leave the body. In chickens it’s around 24 hours. Not sure about doves but would imagine it’s somewhere in the same range? My chickens slow down egg laying in winter when the days are shorter and some stop completely in the winter, starting again when the days get longer. I don’t think egg laying is necessarily a stress response but I suppose it could be (definitely not an expert here).
 

SailBoat

Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
14,965
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Western, Michigan
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DYH Amazon
Okay, I'll ask: What causes you to believe that your bird laid a 'stress egg' and not just a naturally supported or related egg? i.e. an egg that had been or not been fertilized.

Female birds lay eggs. The vast majority as a result of normal fertilization. This naturally occurs in a normal environment where food, water and shelter is appropriate. It would be abnormal for egg laying in a stressful environment.
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,141
149
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Okay, I'll ask: What causes you to believe that your bird laid a 'stress egg' and not just a naturally supported or related egg? i.e. an egg that had been or not been fertilized.

Female birds lay eggs. The vast majority as a result of normal fertilization. This naturally occurs in a normal environment where food, water and shelter is appropriate. It would be abnormal for egg laying in a stressful environment.

Noodles has never laid an egg though..nor did our female grey in 50 years, nor did the parakeet (all female). Food water and shelter were all appropriate, but hormonal triggers were watched very closely.

Female parrots absolutely do not have to lay eggs-- if they do, it is environmental. Not sure about other types of birds though..
 
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Scott

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Aug 21, 2010
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San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Wonderful topic, perhaps few answers.

All my female parrots have laid eggs in a nest box during breeding situations with one exception. My first-born Goffins "Gabby" laid her first egg in 25 years. No discernible behavioral triggers, we had long assumed "she" was a male with coal-black eyes. (general but not foolproof determinant of white cockatoo sex)
 

Talven

Banned
May 4, 2019
451
16
Australia
Stress eggs are a misconception created by cartoons showing chickens laying eggs when frightened.

There is no way an animal would throw away the amount of resources it would take to create an egg in that situation. It doesn't fit with the way evolution has worked over the millennia. The strongest survive the weak die. Throwing away bodily resources in that way would only weaken a bird which are prey animals.

Animals are only going to expend that kind of level of resources to procreate. In my opinion for any bird to drop an egg in that situation they had to have been mated or believe that they had.
 

Jottlebot

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Aug 29, 2012
507
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Shropshire, UK
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Orange-winged Amazon - RIP Charlie,
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Maybe not the creation of the egg, but surely the laying of the egg could be triggered as a result of stress? I agree with the point above, but if carrying a nearly ready egg would make the female heavier and less able to get away from a threat I think evolution could quite conceivably (no pun intended) cause her to lay the egg to get it out of her body? The developing embryo would be sacrificed for the survival of the mother. Even as a distraction to predators, so they eat the egg not the hen.
 

Talven

Banned
May 4, 2019
451
16
Australia
Maybe not the creation of the egg, but surely the laying of the egg could be triggered as a result of stress? I agree with the point above, but if carrying a nearly ready egg would make the female heavier and less able to get away from a threat I think evolution could quite conceivably (no pun intended) cause her to lay the egg to get it out of her body? The developing embryo would be sacrificed for the survival of the mother. Even as a distraction to predators, so they eat the egg not the hen.

That's a very good point and one that I should have considered. It would fit with self preservation. When in a high enough state of fear animals have been known to abandon or abort offspring in order to flee. I guess my preconception of "stress" and "fear" have coloured my view somewhat.
 

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