Sun wont stop laying

songlake

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Mar 25, 2014
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Florida
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2 moustached parakeets, 2 Sun conures, 20 cockatiels, 11 English budgies
We got this older bird (13years old) and she was in pretty rough shape but since we have some experience with birds we thought we could turn her around. She was supposed to be a male but I were always pretty sure she was a she. She proved it when she started laying eggs. Her previous owner said she had never laid a egg and that's why she thought the sun was a male.

Well the poor girl is making up for those lost years. She's laid 4 times this year. 3, 3, 3 AND 5! She's not showing any signs of slowing down and we are at our wits end trying to stop her. She's noisey about it and driving us nuts.

She's a indoor bird, gets little natural light and we do like to keep it dark indoors so I'm pretty sure she's not getting 12hours a day of any type of light! Other than giving her some dummy eggs is there any way to stop her? She's so loud while on eggs or broody. She used to be such a nice bird and I loved playing with her. Now she's incredibly aggressive with my husband often drawing blood but I can still handle her forcibly without being bit too bad. I miss my dancing conure and want her back :(

BTW she's self pleasuring to get herself into this condition. Both conures on the gym are female, I do have a male moustached but he's bonded to the younger sun and has nothing to do with this one. She's pretty much on her own and likes it that way.
 
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Skittys_Daddy

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2014
2,172
63
Lewiston, Maine
Parrots
Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10)
Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sammy"
(1989-2000) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sandy"
(1987-1989) R.I.P.
I had this exact same problem with Peaches. She had incessant egg-laying. I had to remove a bunch of toys, all the mirrors and make other adjustments as well. Eventually, she stopped.

Try moving the cage around the room (or to another room). If the bird is not in a 'familiar' area then it won't lay eggs most likely. Also, try moving things around in the cage. Have the cage out in the open versus in a quiet corner. Continue to limit the amount of light. It's not a big deal for a bird to lay a clutch. My vet said they can lay as much as nine in a single clutch. BUT if they are repeatedly doing this - then it's a problem. Also, make sure the bird has easy access to a cuttlebone. The calcium in cuttlebones in necessary to make the shells so it will restore the nutrients she loses from egg-laying.
 

MonicaMc

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Sep 12, 2012
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Mitred Conure - Charlie 1994;
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This is my general recommendation when dealing with hormonal egg laying hens. (mostly geared towards the smaller species, but could help with the larger ones, too!)


  • Remove Eggs
    • Rearrange the cage
    • Move the cage to a new location
    • Use a cage grate
    • Get a new cage/Use a different cage
    • 12-14 hours of complete darkness
    • Decrease calcium and protein within the diet (if she is on a high calcium & protein diet prior to laying eggs)
    • Remove anything that could be taken as a nest
    • Remove anything that could be used as nesting material
    • Don't allow her in any dark place or enclosed area
    • IMPORTANT: save the eggs in the fridge
    • If she lays more than 3-4 eggs, put them back in the cage

  • Leave the Eggs
    • Leave the eggs alone in the cage
    • [Optional] Replace with fake eggs (prevent eggs from breaking)
    • Increase calcium
    • Let hen sit on eggs for 3-4 weeks or until she gets bored of them
    • Once done sitting, toss



If you remove the eggs, you must also remove the triggers to egg-laying. If you don't, your bird will just lay more eggs.

If you decide to leave the eggs, then once the hen is done sitting, you need to remove the triggers to egg laying so that she wont lay more eggs.






Sometimes though, instead of decreasing day light, you need to increase it. For extreme cases, I have heard it may be necessary to keep a bird in a well lit room with no darkness for up to 72 hours. I've never done this myself as I do not have any chronic egg layers!

Or perhaps the issue could be that the room she is in is too dim and doesn't get enough natural lighting? Moving her to a location with better lighting may greatly help!


Or another issue is that the house is kept at the same temperature year round so she doesn't know when to shut off her hormones??? Varying the temperature could help control her hormones.



Just some thoughts.... my birds don't get an even 12 hours of day and night year round... instead, I allow them to follow the natural day and night schedule in my area (I live in northern Nevada) as well as allowing the temperature of the seasons to influence the temperature of the room they live in. Now, the temperatures where I'm at are a bit more extreme than Florida! I live in the desert, so we get extreme dry heat (low 100's in the summer), as well as occasional below freezing temperatures with snow! So the room the birds are in could get into the low 50's or the mid or even high 90's, depending upon the time of year as well as the time of day.

I don't have birds laying eggs in the winter. If any egg laying occurs, it's Spring to Fall, but mostly Summer.




I think the recommended day/night schedule and temperature settings in our homes could potentially be setting many birds up to be hormonal.... add in a nutrient rich diet, warm foods, lots of places to hide, plenty of snuggles, etc and you've got a hormonal parrot!




Picture of the cage setup would help, especially where she's laying her eggs!
 

Skittys_Daddy

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2014
2,172
63
Lewiston, Maine
Parrots
Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10)
Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sammy"
(1989-2000) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sandy"
(1987-1989) R.I.P.
The worst thing you can do is remove the eggs. Every time I did that, they'd just lay more to replace what was taken. My vet told me to either let her sit on them until she 'discards' them to the other side of the cage OR replace them with dummy eggs.
 
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songlake

songlake

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2 moustached parakeets, 2 Sun conures, 20 cockatiels, 11 English budgies
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Thanks for all the advice. There is no mirror type of toys at all. She does use a swing that has felt knots on it and it's low hanging so it's one place she self pleasures. I've seen her use perches for that purpose too.

They are not in a cage but on a 8ft by 3 ft gym with a mesh bottom that sits over a table top. She got below the mesh and tore up the liner on the table to lay her eggs and cover them.


The gym toys change constantly as I add or move things around. It would be somewhat difficult to relocate the gym since that's my only wall big enough to put it (haha!) The cage part was up there when we first made the gym for the male moustache who had some security issues he has since gotten over. Poppy the sun took over the cage and had rearranged the bottom of it. I thought she might be nesting so I removed the cage but then she just went under the mesh.

The birds are fed fruit to nut, boca nut, a bird blend with larger seeds, the fruity like pellets and nutriberries as well as fresh fruit. Poppy was in sad shape when we got her and was very thin. The moustache male stays thin so we do have a high fatty diet mainly for him.

One thing that might have triggered poppy is that I started hatching chicks from eggs, quail, chickens, turkeys. The brooder and incubators are located under the gym and she hears the chicks peeping all the time and has always been curious about them. Just a thought.

edit* I did put a cuttle bone up there and a mineral block because of her excessive egg production. My husband has been mixing a tiny scoop of avi cal into their food too, that's a teeny scoop to 5lbs of food which they will often make soup out of rather than eat it straight.
 
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Skittys_Daddy

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2014
2,172
63
Lewiston, Maine
Parrots
Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10)
Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sammy"
(1989-2000) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sandy"
(1987-1989) R.I.P.
Well it sounds like you've tried several different solutions. Believe me, I get your frustration. Peaches, my 'tiel, was laying constantly for over a year before she finally stopped.

IF they aren't laying constantly (like taking breaks between clutches - a couple weeks etc) then it isn't a big deal. But if they are laying one after the other after the other then it's problematic. Laying eggs is stressful on the bird, not to mention the nutritional deficiencies that can result. You could always contact a vet to see if they can run some tests to see if she has a hormone imbalance, that's one option.

I'd make sure as well that there is nothing around her that could be used as nesting material. That can promote egg laying as well.

You have to use trial and error for these situations, I have found. There is no 'one size fits all' as far as ending excessive egg laying. But there are certain things that should be done (removing nesting materials, mirrors etc) and certain things that should not be done (removing eggs, having no cuttlebone) regardless of situation.
 

MonicaMc

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Sep 12, 2012
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Mitred Conure - Charlie 1994;
Cockatiel - Casey 2001;
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The worst thing you can do is remove the eggs. Every time I did that, they'd just lay more to replace what was taken. My vet told me to either let her sit on them until she 'discards' them to the other side of the cage OR replace them with dummy eggs.

Yes.... removing the eggs *IS* a bad idea *IF* you don't remove the triggers to egg laying. If a bird has deemed the bottom of a cage to be a nest, and you remove the eggs but you don't change the bottom of the cage, she's just going to lay more eggs! If a hen has decided that a toy is a nest (coconut toy, card board tube toy, happy hut, one of those plastic ball toys for dogs with three openings, etc) and you remove only the eggs, then of course she's going to replace them!

The only way to get a hen to stop laying eggs is to *REMOVE* the triggers to egg laying! That, or hope she has had enough of egg laying, sitting and incubation after x-amounts of clutches and gives up.... but this doesn't work for all hens... because you still need to remove the triggers to egg laying!!!!



I have cockatiels which are notorious for becoming chronic egg layers! In fact, one hen I took in was becoming a chronic egg layer. She was fed a seed diet (if anyone remembered to feed her... she was around 46% underweight when I took her in... and still laying eggs!), in a tiny cage with crappy perches, a couple of toys, a mite protector... oh, and they ended up keeping her covered 24/7 because she was "too noisy".... being in a room that hardly got any natural lighting at all because a dark tan colored blanket covered the only window in the room... and everyone in the house were (are) chain smokers, so the ceiling is stained with nicotine and the air so thick with cigarette smoke that you could see the smoke move around you as you moved through the house..... oh, and uh, the kids (teens and twenties?) did drugs, including pot..... *AND* the house was (is?) overrun with sick cats and kittens with respiratory infections!

Yet, considering these circumstances, this cockatiel was still laying eggs. Her eggs were becoming malformed and small in shape. And she was sitting on them. If they removed her eggs, she would only lay more.


35b84811.jpg


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Since this cockatiel has been with me, I've never had any issues with her and egg laying! She gained back the weight she lost and she looks a lot happier now!

4c6f61a2.jpg





She got below the mesh and tore up the liner on the table to lay her eggs and cover them.
One thing that might have triggered poppy is that I started hatching chicks from eggs, quail, chickens, turkeys. The brooder and incubators are located under the gym and she hears the chicks peeping all the time and has always been curious about them. Just a thought.

These are the two main things that stood out to me.... is there any possible way to restrict her access to underneath the wire mesh, or get rid of it entirely? If you can't, then I would recommend getting a cage for her and seeing if you can break the cycle by keeping her in the cage. She could come out during the day, supervised, but if she tried to be all nesty like, back into the cage.


And is there any possibility of moving the chicks away from her so she can't hear them?
 

Skittys_Daddy

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2014
2,172
63
Lewiston, Maine
Parrots
Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10)
Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sammy"
(1989-2000) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sandy"
(1987-1989) R.I.P.
You are correct Monica about removing the triggers as well.

This is one of those 'all or nothing' situations. You can't just go half-hearted at it.

Tell me, did you ever have a cockatiel hen who developed a swollen crop after stopping her egg-laying? I have this issue currently with Peaches. It's "spongy". I figure her crop is stretched because of all those times she had a full crop and was sitting on her eggs. Her chronic egg-laying lasted for over 2 years. Luckily, she's on Harrisons.
 

MonicaMc

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Sep 12, 2012
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Mitred Conure - Charlie 1994;
Cockatiel - Casey 2001;
Wild Caught ARN - Sylphie 2013
I'm afraid that is one situation that I have not come across. :( Has an a-vet mentioned anything about it?


My bourke hen (RIP) was laying an egg every 2 weeks when she was around 14 years old. I had her on the Harrison's HP diet, and I needed her to stop laying eggs for *at least* two weeks so I could put her through surgery to remove a lump from her foot. (turned out to be cancerous) I got her to stop laying eggs by switching her from the Harrison's HP to the AL diet. I later switched her back to HP, and never had that issue again.

What issue I did have though, was that she'd get sick and start laying eggs. I would get her back into good health and she would stop laying eggs. I think she did this about 3 times.... only laying eggs when she was sick and not when she was healthy. Go figure...
 

Skittys_Daddy

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2014
2,172
63
Lewiston, Maine
Parrots
Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10)
Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sammy"
(1989-2000) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sandy"
(1987-1989) R.I.P.
Yes, I have contacted the vet. She suggested doing a 'crop-wash'. However, Peaches is almost 21 yrs old and she does NOT travel well. The vet is nearly an hour away and I told her that 'd rather not subject her to that unless it's absolutely necessary.

Peaches is acting fine, eating and drinking fine and doesn't have any signs of sour crop. I have Googled this and noticed many others have had similar problems but no one mentioned it being a life-threatening situation. I do monitor her daily though, just to make sure she doesn't develop sour crop.
 
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songlake

songlake

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Mar 25, 2014
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Florida
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2 moustached parakeets, 2 Sun conures, 20 cockatiels, 11 English budgies
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Ok, I think I can do this. A friend recently gave us his pair (m and f bonded) suns and we have had them on a big play top cage half way across the room to introduce them to our territorial young Sun. Today I moved their cage over to the gym in the hopes they eventually move onto the gym if the young Sun lets them (she's a female too). The new suns do not use the inside of the cage but do use the playtop so I can move Poppy into the cage for a while if she starts trying to nest again. We may be able to remove the supports to the mesh on the gym and have the mesh sit closer to the table top to remove that area she's been nesting in.

I will also take away the swing she uses for self pleasure. If I do hold her I try not to stimulate her back but I do "preen" her neck but maybe I should stop that too. I'm not currently hatching any eggs or have any chicks inside, but when I do that again I'll move my setup to the spare room so Poppy doesn't hear chicks.

gah, 3 female suns. I'm in for some future torture.
 

MonicaMc

Well-known member
Sep 12, 2012
7,960
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Mitred Conure - Charlie 1994;
Cockatiel - Casey 2001;
Wild Caught ARN - Sylphie 2013
Skittys Daddy, I hope it doesn't ever become an issue for Peaches! :) She could still live another 10 or so years, so here's hoping she has a great, long life!



songlake.... I can only wish you the best of luck! I don't think I could handle one sun conures screams, let alone 3! :D
 

Skittys_Daddy

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2014
2,172
63
Lewiston, Maine
Parrots
Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10)
Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sammy"
(1989-2000) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sandy"
(1987-1989) R.I.P.
@Monica Peaches laid a few clutches well over 10 yrs ago and hadn't again until I got Skittles. The following Spring, after getting him, she started the chronic egg-laying. I don't let them see each other at all, which seems to help. When they get each other going (vocally) I try to put the kibosh to it. He's more responsive to my commands to be quiet than she is. Reason being, I've never had to discipline Peaches nor tell her to quiet down so I don't expect her to learn it now. So I rely on Skittles being quiet. The funny thing is, she is the one who gets him going. It's not the other way around.

I'm just so thankful that Skittles is a male! That way I don't have to deal with egg-laying.
 

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