Laying another clutch... Again?

rhaewynsmom

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Jul 15, 2015
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I have a mated pair of green cheek conures and another female (my mom could no longer take care of her bird so we got the male's sister). The male and his sister are fancies, the other is a cinnamon. The cinnamon is a little hen. She has been laying eggs since she was a year old. The parents had no idea how to feed the babies (neither did I at first). I used fake eggs last year and that seemed to work okay. This year I did not take them out in time and they did figure out how to feed one of the babies, they over fed it and it died. The first year she laid 5 eggs total. Last year she laid 6. This year she laid 6. It's always been the same timing the middle/end of May for laying, and until mid/end of June for the incubation period. This year her egg laying was further apart--took almost two weeks to lay the full clutch.

Now she has two more in their box as of today. It is not an official nest box, but a card board box with a huge hole... Plus the one she has torn into the side of it. They sit by the window and can come and go as they please. They do not like to sleep on perches. They tend to lay down and will be up all hours of the night if they don't have something to lay down on and seem to like the added darkness. I cover them with a big thick dark comforter at night and they are covered for 10-12 hours.The male says "Night! GOOD NIGHT!" around 8-8:30pm every night to tell me they want to sleep. They will all piled into the box for bed.

My fiance does watch tv pretty late although we don't always have the lights on at night because I like to make sure the birds get rest. I'm not sure if this is an issue. We've never had a problem with this previously--just this year. In our own lives, we have been dealing with death after death, family drama, and having to leave a lot (we were gone for one whole day and night and had someone check on them). I'm not sure if this disrupted their pattern at all or not. They get quite a bit of attention though. They eat harvest garden by zupreem. No dyes in the pellets. They have a seed mixture as well and always have veggies at dinner time and fruit earlier in the day as well as fresh water 2-3 times a day.

I've seen some posts on lighting and hormones and understand from breeders that green cheeks are can become prone to laying twice a year if they have an optimum food supply readily available. I added 4 fake eggs to see if that would stop her from laying, but the pair are still having sex. I am also unsure if the sister being with them is throwing off the hen and causing her to lay more? (The sister has been with them over a year now). The sister has not laid any eggs, but does sit on them with the hen and will feed the hen and helps.

The hen has also seemed kind of sad to me since the baby died. Where they didn't know how to feed the baby and figured it out, but overfed, I was thinking maybe she wants to try again? I have never seen the hen feed the male or the sister before, but ever since this last clutch, the hen has been feeding the other two birds. It almost seemed like she was practicing?

Any suggestions?
 

SilverSage

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I'm a bit confused, are you trying to stop them from laying, or trying to get the babies to survive? I have to say, there'd are hundreds of hours of research and preparation and potentially thousands of dollars to invest in vet visits, equipment, etc, if you are going to raise baby parrots in an ethical and responsible way.

In order to stop them from laying, please take a look at my article on it here
Handling Hormones ? Silver Sage Aviaries

First off, please remove the box. If they have become so used to it that you really feel bad taking it, just give them a piece of cardboard or something similar in the bottom corner of the cage. The nest box stimulates them to lay.

Is there a specific reason you think over feeding is what lead to the death of the babies? There are hundreds of things that can go wrong in a nest box that can lead to death with almost no sign to the untrained eye.

Not really that relevant, but there is actually no such color as "fancy" conure. Pet stores call them that when they don't know what they have ;) can you show us a picture? I can tell you what they are :)
 

henpecked

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You can still use a roost box with out them having a nesting box. use a roost box (that looks like a nest box) that doesn't have a floor on it, just a couple of perches. The box with no bottom isn't good for nesting but still satisfies their need for a roost.
 

SilverSage

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Excellent! That is one thing I have never heard of! I will implement this with my non breeding GCCs, who do so love their boxes!
 
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rhaewynsmom

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Sorry for the confusion. I am trying to stop the hen (Salem) from laying. I'm worried she's becoming a chronic egg layer since this is her second clutch this year within a few months time. She's only ever laid one clutch a year since she was a year old so this is very odd.

Thank you for the idea with the roost with the perches. I will give it a shot. They do like to lay down to sleep so maybe it will take some time for them to get used to it?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/92188593@N03/

I have some photos of the birds on flickr. I'm not sure if that is the right link or not. In the tree are the two females. In the box is the male and the hen. Don't worry they did not consume anything on the tree. It's become a tradition when the tree is done, they fly over and get their photos taken for the holiday. They had fun showing off. And yes, they have claimed the stuffed animal (lizard) as their own. The box in the photos is not what they sleep in, that was just a play area.

Getting a better idea of what they are would be nice. It's even listed as "Fancy" on the paperwork from the breeder that they sent to the pet store. Weird.
 

SilverSage

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Sadly that likely indicates a lazy breeder with only as much knowledge as it takes to make a little money. Your "fancy" conures are yellow sided :) did you get a chance to look at the article on hormone control? You may also end up puting them in different cages durin the spring time.
 

Kyoto

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Lots of good advice here!

I would try taking the male out and putting him in his own cage and see if that helps. This said, i had a similar issue with lovebirds. I tried separating the male from the females, putting the females in a large cage together and the male in his own. Well, two of the 4 girls decided to make a communal nest much like you describe! I had never heard about this before.

once they start it is so hard to get them to stop. But when I did finally get them to stop it was all worth the effort. Make sure they get closer to 12 or 14 hours covered each night, and change their cage around every week (perches and toys) to unsettle them.
 
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rhaewynsmom

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Thank you all so much. Yes, I was able to read the article--thank you. It had more detail than some of the others I have read online. We're going to start with small changes and work our way up to the more drastic ones. Rearranging the cage is first on the list.

What about hours to sleep because everything has something slightly different. Some say 8-10. Some say 10-12. Other say 12-14... Does it depend on where you live? We're in Massachusetts and our windows face East. We do get a ton of sunlight throughout the day and it's still light when they go to bed at 8-8:30.

Isn't it strange how the females will do that together? They are actually really sweet to one another and Salem(hen) has been feeding Holly (male's sister) like crazy. I just caught Holly kicking her away before I checked the forum, lol.

I worry about separating the pair only because the male can be quite crafty. When we first got him, he used to escape his cage and crawl into bed with us. What a surprise to wake up to feathers. I thought I had rolled onto him, but there he was asleep on the pillow laying on his stomach, tail feathers in my face, lol. He would cry at the door if we closed it so he couldn't get in. We ended up getting a new cage with locks, but helped him transition by letting him fall asleep on one of us on the couch and then putting him to bed in his cage. Getting Salem though, he had a reason to stay in the cage and he was so ecstatic. They fell in love and have been almost inseparable!
 

SilverSage

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Awww. Well consider it a last resort. And if you do have to, they could still be placed side by side. However, the tips in the article are usually enough. Also,mp lease be sure she is getting enough calcium :)

Are you sure Salem is the only one laying?
 

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