Please help! My GCC has laid 9 eggs and counting.

festive-grandma

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Hello!

I have two green-cheek conures, Quinn and Mesa. Both are a little over three years old. They started sharing a cage last year. Everything was fine and I hadn’t observed them mating or displaying any troubling behavior, and then this month Quinn started popping out eggs like a machine gun.

March 10 - first egg
March 12 - second egg
March 14 - third egg
March 17 - fourth egg
March 19 - fifth egg
March 21 - sixth egg
March 23 - seventh egg
March 26 - eighth egg
March 28 - ninth egg

I called my avian vet when she first started laying to ask for advice. The vet said she was on a good diet (Zupreem Fruit Blend with a nutriberry in the morning). I was also already doing most of their suggestions to discourage egg laying:

- Early bedtime (I usually turn their light off around 5-6pm)
- No tents, tunnels, or other suitable nesting sites
- No inappropriate petting from me (and I never observe Mesa preening her anywhere except her head)
- No mirrors or any toys she’s overly… *attached* to if you know what I mean

I have not moved the eggs from the wire cage floor where she laid them. She and Mesa both sit on them at night (not their usual sleep routine) but during the day they’re terrible parents and party all day on their boing. I tried candling the eggs with my cellphone light and they appeared infertile, but I’m not confident about my candling skills.

I called my vet when Quinn laid egg #8 to ask what to do. The vet is concerned about transporting her while she may be gravid. I rearranged her cage to try to discourage her from any more.

That said… what on earth should I do?? I’m seeing so many conflicting things - if they’re not properly caring for them, they’ve lost interest, but then they sit on them at night… @_@ I just want my Quinny to be healthy and happy more than anything.

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE SLAP SOME SENSE INTO ME AND DIRECT ME WHAT TO DO?

Editing to add: I have a second cage and am going to separate them ASAP but keep Mesa nearby. Anything else I should do?? Thank you!
 
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ravvlet

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Wow, that is a LOT of eggs! I’m assuming your vet is avian certified? I’d be a little worried about 9 eggs in such a short period- that sounds like a much larger-than-normal clutch for a GCC. Average is 4-6 eggs according to google.

Re: her diet, is she getting any veggies in addition to her pellet? It might be a good time to try to supplement with high calcium veggies (but make sure they’re low in oxalates -kale, mustard greens, or bok choi is good) since her tiny body is using a lot to make those eggs.

If the first eggs were laid March 10th, those are certainly no longer viable. The “fresher” ones might be, but before you endeavor to hatch them (or encourage your GCCs to do so) please read the stickied threads about raising babies on your own - first time parent parrots rarely do a good job, often eat their offspring, and when they don’t do that sometimes they just ignore them and will let them starve. Raising baby birds, especially the smaller species like GCCs/tiels/budgies, is a right pain in the rear, and often results in them passing away and leaving you heartbroken. :(

I am certain someone with more experience than me will chime in about what to do with the eggs, but if she’s still laying since early-March and you’ve left them alone in there then I imagine that leaving them in the cage is apparently not discouraging her from laying them. It might be time to consider putting her mate into a seperate, but adjacent, cage; at least until breeding season is over.

Over-laying can lead to lots of serious problems as it sounds like you are aware, so it might be cruel in the short term, but will ensure her health in the long term.
 

LaManuka

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Hello!

I have two green-cheek conures, Quinn and Mesa. Quinn is a DNA tested female with normal coloring and Mesa is a DNA tested male with a high red factor pineapple mutation. They started sharing a cage last year. Everything was fine and I hadn’t observed them mating or displaying any troubling behavior, and then this month Quinn started popping out eggs like a machine gun.

March 10 - first egg
March 12 - second egg
March 14 - third egg
March 17 - fourth egg
March 19 - fifth egg
March 21 - sixth egg
March 23 - seventh egg
March 26 - eighth egg
March 28 - ninth egg

I called my avian vet when she first started laying to ask for advice. The vet said she was on a good diet (Zupreem Fruit Blend with a nutriberry in the morning). I was also already doing most of their suggestions to discourage egg laying:

- Early bedtime (I usually turn their light off around 5-6pm)
- No tents, tunnels, or other suitable nesting sites
- No inappropriate petting from me (and I never observe Mesa preening her anywhere except her head)
- No mirrors or any toys she’s overly… *attached* to if you know what I mean

I have not moved the eggs from the wire cage floor where she laid them. She and Mesa both sit on them at night (not their usual sleep routine) but during the day they’re terrible parents and party all day on their boing. I tried candling the eggs with my cellphone light and they appeared infertile, but I’m not confident about my candling skills.

I called my vet when Quinn laid egg #8 to ask what to do. The vet is concerned about transporting her while she may be gravid. I rearranged her cage to try to discourage her from any more.

That said… what on earth should I do?? Separate Quinn and Mesa? What if the eggs are fertile and they die because she laid so freaking many it requires two parents to sit on them? Are they a loss anyway because their parents would rather party all day like young birds? Am I just being soft and need to stop romanticizing my birds having babies? I’m seeing so many conflicting things - if they’re not properly caring for them, they’ve lost interest, but then they sit on them at night… @_@ I just want my Quinny to be healthy and happy more than anything. If I separate her from Mesa they just cry for each other all day. I’d rather not separate them because their constant screams get obnoxious, but if it’s to prevent her from calcium deficiency or egg binding, I will do anything.

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE SLAP SOME SENSE INTO ME AND DIRECT ME WHAT TO DO?

Oh wow, nine eggs and counting, I would be freaked out about this too!

I have zero experience with GCCs, my understanding of chronic egg-laying comes from my lorikeet hen, Lilly, who would lay eggs for me because for 6 months of the year I was her mum but for the other 6 months of the year apparently I was her boyfriend :rolleyes: So thankfully therefore I never had to face the dilemma of what to do with fertile eggs!

Nine eggs does sound like an awful lot, and if they are not sitting on them during the day, chances are they not fertile, although again I cannot be certain about this. @ravvlet is quite right, often young birds/first time parents are just not particularly good at raising babies, and hand raising them yourself can be very difficult if it comes to that.

There are things that can be done to try to snap your hen out of this cycle from a veterinarian perspective - you could try to have her injected with a hormone implant such as Suprelorin that works to shut down an over-active reproductive system. I had that done with my lorikeet and the effects were noticeable within just a few days. I am not an avian vet so obviously you would need to discuss this option with yours to see if it's suitable.

At some point you may very well also need to look into caging them separately too. I once had a male and female cockatiel, the male, Fang, was MADLY in love with the female, Twinkle, and if I had caged them together I would have been up to my ears in babies in no time flat! They had separate cages so that I could cage Twinkle if/when Fang's romantic overtones became excessive, and they had plenty of out-of-cage time together but it was always supervised to ensure no hanky panky took place. Perhaps these measures along with possibly some intervention by your vet might be the solution for you?

I wish you all the very best of luck!
 

Terry57

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That is a lot of eggs! I agree with everything ravvlet said except for the hatch date time. I'm seeing on Google that the eggs hatch between 22-24 days so the age doesn't mean they aren't viable, but the fact that neither conure is sitting on them during the day does not sound good.

Your vet may be able to do an implant which would help with her hormones. I wouldn't even mention this if she hadn't laid 9 eggs, but that is so hard on them.
I hope that this will be a one off, and that she won't lay this many again.
 

ravvlet

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Broccoli - Dusky Conure - 3?mo old (July 2023 -)
~~~
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(RIP) Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
Yeah, my assumption of them not being viable is largely based on them being on a raised floor area (the cage wire means there is always cooler air moving under the eggs) & the parents not actually “sitting” regularly; they require a temp range of 98.7-100 not unlike poultry. All my hatching & incubating experience is from poultry, but I’ve had broody hens sit on their eggs more regularly than it sounds like your pair is doing, and in a proper nest, and we still had low hatch rate because she wasn’t sitting enough! (She was also a first-timer, and we ended up moving the eggs to an incubator to finish them off halfway through their incubation period).
 
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festive-grandma

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Thank you!! You’ve both been so helpful. I’m rewriting my post a bit as I don’t care as much about the eggs as I do my Quinny’s health. I’ve got a second cage being delivered from PetSmart today and I will look into a nice permanent cage for him to maybe live in during mating season 😂 and I will absolutely ask my vet about the injection - I’m a super helicopter mom so they may think I already know about it or simply forgot to suggest it. Bless you!!!
 
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festive-grandma

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Yeah, my assumption of them not being viable is largely based on them being on a raised floor area (the cage wire means there is always cooler air moving under the eggs) & the parents not actually “sitting” regularly; they require a temp range of 98.7-100 not unlike poultry. All my hatching & incubating experience is from poultry, but I’ve had broody hens sit on their eggs more regularly than it sounds like your pair is doing, and in a proper nest, and we still had low hatch rate because she wasn’t sitting enough! (She was also a first-timer, and we ended up moving the eggs to an incubator to finish them off halfway through their incubation period).
This sounds like so much more than I’m ready for so I’m absolutely just forgetting about anything to do with the eggs and focusing on Quinn 😂 It was never my intention to breed them and I’m definitely not prepared for that.
 

Terry57

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That's a wonderful idea to separate them during mating season. They will still be able to have out of cage time together but then have their own space.
You may find that they actually like some alone time by having separate cages.
Please keep us updated, and I'd love to see pictures of Quinn and Mesa:)
 
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festive-grandma

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Wow, that is a LOT of eggs! I’m assuming your vet is avian certified? I’d be a little worried about 9 eggs in such a short period- that sounds like a much larger-than-normal clutch for a GCC. Average is 4-6 eggs according to google.

Re: her diet, is she getting any veggies in addition to her pellet? It might be a good time to try to supplement with high calcium veggies (but make sure they’re low in oxalates -kale, mustard greens, or bok choi is good) since her tiny body is using a lot to make those eggs.

If the first eggs were laid March 10th, those are certainly no longer viable. The “fresher” ones might be, but before you endeavor to hatch them (or encourage your GCCs to do so) please read the stickied threads about raising babies on your own - first time parent parrots rarely do a good job, often eat their offspring, and when they don’t do that sometimes they just ignore them and will let them starve. Raising baby birds, especially the smaller species like GCCs/tiels/budgies, is a right pain in the rear, and often results in them passing away and leaving you heartbroken. :(

I am certain someone with more experience than me will chime in about what to do with the eggs, but if she’s still laying since early-March and you’ve left them alone in there then I imagine that leaving them in the cage is apparently not discouraging her from laying them. It might be time to consider putting her mate into a seperate, but adjacent, cage; at least until breeding season is over.

Over-laying can lead to lots of serious problems as it sounds like you are aware, so it might be cruel in the short term, but will ensure her health in the long term.
Sorry I’m super new to this forum and figuring out how to reply to each of you individually. I’m so grateful for the help!

Yes, my vet is avian certified. Dr. Kersting in STL area.

Quinn is very picky about her veggies and I’m admittedly kind of an enabler. I offer them regularly but only Mesa eats them. But, you have reminded me to try offering some new veggies to her, or maybe some nice sprouts, so I will do that!

Thanks to you and everyone else, I’ve got a cage ordered and on its way to be delivered today. Mesa will have a great view of his girlfriend and maybe I can work on more supervised visiting time.

Also, yeah, I knew I was romanticizing the eggs but I really needed someone to just tell me the nitty gritty to snap me out of it, so thank you ❤️ Maybe some other time when I’ve been able to do proper research and prepare.
 
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festive-grandma

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That's a wonderful idea to separate them during mating season. They will still be able to have out of cage time together but then have their own space.
You may find that they actually like some alone time by having separate cages.
Please keep us updated, and I'd love to see pictures of Quinn and Mesa:)
4C91893E-2723-4D1E-840B-95AA4EC48EB5.jpeg

Here they are! Mesa left and Quinn right ❤️
 

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LaManuka

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Laurasea

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I would offer them boiled egg shelks a little boiled egg us ok too. But the calcium from the shells will be great and mine like to eat them.

I've only had eggs once in my 10 year old female, she laid 4 and I pulled them and tossed . She did fine never laid again.

My 6month old quaker laid one and I tossed. No problem. Fingers crossed hasn't again.

But 9 wow...and sitting on them some....not sure how to advise. Glad you are in contact with avian vet.
 

Terry57

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HeatherG

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Is there any chance that you have two girl birds?

Sometimes if you have a really big clutch of eggs, it’s because you don’t have a boy and girl but two girls. Nine eggs is a lot of eggs but I guess it’s possible that one bird laid all of them.

I may have asked a dumb question but it’s worth asking if you never thought about it before.
 

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