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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17682
Experience:  As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.
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Have what I believe is a 2 year old hen parakeet that in

Customer Question

Have what I believe is a 2 year old hen parakeet that in spite of having no mate keeps laying eggs. She has laid 97 eggs in total. The first 50 or so looked very normal. The last few since then are lacking in calcium cover. I'm giving her liquid calcium daily, 1 teaspoon on 8 os water. Sprinkling calcium on her food and the problem continues. What shall I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

Now I am quite concerned to hear that she has laid so many eggs and is now getting to a point where we are seeing signs of serious calcium issues. Therefore, in this situation, we need to be proactive and discourage laying before this leads to sever calcium deficiency (which can be fatal) for her.

First, you did not mention if you are removing the eggs, but I would note not to if you have been. If you do remove these, you will just cause her to restart her lay. Therefore, at this stage, we do want to allow her to continue to have access to any eggs she laid. This will usually "turn off" the ovaries and stop egg production. On average, we tend to find females will sit on these dud eggs for about week or two after she has stopped laying. Hopefully by that stage, they will give up hope on them hatching and abandon the nest (which can then be removed).

Otherwise, just in case she is actively laying now, I do want to outline some environmental changes you can make to discourage her body from thinking about laying. The first thing to try is to consider cutting back her hours of light to no more than 10 hours a day, as we simulate winter (when birds shouldn’t be laying eggs). You can achieve this by covering the cage or keeping it in a quiet, dark room for the 14 hours of her ‘night.’ This will help modify her hormonal chemistry and discourage egg laying. Usually this is done for two weeks. If after the two weeks, you aren’t seeing an effect, then decrease the daily light exposure to 8 hours for a following two weeks.

As well, you can also make dramatic changes to the cage to make her not want to continue laying eggs there. This includes removing any beds, mirrors, or toys (that she might be particularly attached to) and moving the remaining items around the cage. As well, you can also remove any possible nesting materials and make sure there are no dark, warm cubbies to set up a new nest in. Alternatively, you can even change her into an entirely different cage in a different room. Basically, the bigger the change, the more she will feel that now isn’t the time to be egg laying.

In addition, I do want to note that sometimes we see females lay eggs without males because of the handling they receive from their owners. Specifically, we can see over vigorous petting of the bird's back, stomach or under the wings as this can stimulate ovarian production and potentially lead to more eggs. So, if anyone has been petting her excessively, they could be stimulating her to lay. So, if that is an issue you here,then do keep that in mind.

If you try the above and are still struggling, then it would be worth having her evaluated by her vet and considering hormone therapy at that stage. Your vet will be able to advise you if it comes to that.

So do try the above to retrain her brain to think it is winter and thus no time for egg laying. Also do consider the above steps to halting her laying and do keep supporting her calcium and nutrition levels.

Just in case you do need an avian vet and do not have one already, you can check where you can find one at near you at:

AAV (http://www.aav.org/search/),

Avian web (http://www.beautyofbirds.com/recommendedvets.htm),

Lafeber database(http://lafeber.com/pet-birds/find-an-avian-vet/) or Birdsnway(http://www.birdsnways.com/birds/vets.htm).

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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