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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2748
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time, with a heavy emphasis on avian medicine.
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Nothing really. She's acting her normal self, except that

Customer Question

Hi. Nothing really. She's acting her normal self, except that she has been trying to mate with my hands for the last 3 days and there is a pinkish color in her stools the last 2 days. HELP!!!
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about HELP!!?
Customer: I didn't understand your question.
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

I'm Dr. Jo and I'm a licensed veterinarian with more than twenty years of experience. I'm here to help with your question about your bird with the pink color in her stools.

I'm so sorry you're having this problem, but glad you're looking for the information you need. You may join the conversation at any time by typing in what you want to say then clicking REPLY or SEND. Then we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided. I'll do my best to earn your good rating, because that's the only way I receive any compensation for helping you.

In order to help me help you better, I'll need a little more information. To start with, please tell me the following:

  • What kind of bird is she?
  • How old is she?
  • Is she with any other birds?
  • How long have you had her?

I'll look forward to your reply and will respond as quickly as possible.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the response. I went to my veterinarian and he took care of it. They took x-rays and said that she has the start of her follicles which she is getting ready to drop eggs real soon. She is seven years old and is a Sun Connor. She is not with any other birds. She is an only child.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

This is a huge relief. I'm so glad it turned out to be something simple. The reproductive behavior of our pet birds can make life with them complicated at times.

Is there anything else I help you with at this point? I know how hard it is to find knowledgeable avian vets.

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

Excessive egg-laying can become a serious problem, particularly with small birds like conures and cockatiels. I can point you toward some really helpful articles...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If you can point me towards articles on that subject, I would be greatly appreciative. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

Will do. One moment.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

Here's a start. This is an excerpt from a meeting on the topic. Pay special attention to the final paragraph where they talk about steps you can take to minimize egg laying. It's about cockatiels, but the same information applies.

"Medical intervention generally is guided along the ethical guidelines of “Least intrusive, most effective”. A hierarchy of treatment options that progressively move up this scale, as-indicated in specific cases is vastly important. Many of the more intrusive treatment options, when not preceded by some of the more foundational and less-invasive recommendations for excessive egg laying should be realistically predisposed to a higher degree of failure. Degrees of intrusiveness of a recommended treatment can be tested by the amount of induced stress, physical pain, and cost. In addition, treatments that require repeated administrations should be challenged for their compatibility with this hierarchy in-toto. Degrees of effectiveness can be tested by their short term and long term effect at directly achieving their goal, as well as their effect at preventing recurrence in the future. Reduction of the probability of potential side effects and their adverse consequences on the health and welfare of the bird is also a very important test of effectiveness of a treatment.
Many young parrots sold as pets are “mentored” and taught by their new owners only one form of social interactive skills (pair bond enrichment behaviors), as opposed to the typical array of social skills that would have been taught by the parents of their wild counterparts. Deficits in normal social interaction skills, foraging activities, learned inappropriate pair bonding behaviors, inappropriate diets, the provision of nesting environments and other factors are common. The first and foremost component of healthcare and prevention of excessive egg laying comes from the identification of existing risk factors at routine examination, client education, appropriate recommendations, and careful follow up on recommended actions with owners. Recommendations for enrichment of normal lifestyles, positive reinforcement training for guiding flock interactive behaviors, dietary recommendations, foraging training, and cage environment improvements all are essential foundational preventative maneuvers. In essence, enrichment of these types of behaviors is a key aspect of the routine annual examination.
Environmental and Behavioral Interventions
In the presence of excessive egg-laying in companion birds, a series of recommendations and training / enrichments should be outlined for bird owners. Specific recommendations are guided by signalment, history and physical examination findings. Although many of the needed recommendations require the “removal” of reproductively associated stimuli and behaviors, more ethical recommendations should also concurrently package and emphasize the training of normal behaviors to replace what is removed. The stress that can be generated by environmental and behavioral deprivation, although it can add to short-term “effectiveness”, should be viewed as less ethical than a behavior-change strategy that is based on differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors. Environmental and behavioral deprivation can easily result in an increase in behavioral problems, ultimately adversely affecting the health and welfare of these patients. In most circumstances and when applied correctly, environmental and behavioral interventions should be viewed as most ethical, least intrusive and most effective treatments for uncomplicated chronic egg laying.
Environmental stimuli may need to be altered, and every recommendation should be carefully balanced with an enrichment or differential reinforcement plan for alternative behaviors. The photoperiod may need to be altered and reduced for some species. Nest sites, toys, and other items to which the bird has a sexual affinity should be removed from the enclosure. Access to a nesting environment (shredded papers, a box, or other dark cavities) should be prohibited. In the event that a pet bird is showing nesting behavior and laying eggs in a designated site within the cage environment, removal of eggs from the nest should be avoided for the normal incubation period for each species to discourage the hen from laying another clutch. Any perceived or actual mate should be removed from the cage or room environment. In some situations, and with some species such as the Cockatiel, visual and auditory separation from a “mate” may be necessary. A “one-person bird,” with only a single household member who exclusively handles and cares for the bird should be potentially viewed as an established “mate relationship”, which may serve as a trigger for reproductively driven behaviors and activities. Stimulatory petting by the owner, such as rubbing the pelvis, dorsum, and cloacal regions should be stopped. “Flock” interactive behaviors should be encouraged in preference to one person or “mate” interactions in the home. The cage location and internal set up (perches, toys, etc) should be changed and rotated periodically to provide a “new or changing” environment that is less stable and less reproductively stimulating. Inappropriate nutrition that is identified should be corrected to improve the hen’s dietary plane to decrease the severity of metabolic drain. Dietary alteration with a reduction of caloric intake appears to significantly reduce or stop egg production with many companion parrot species, as well as enable training and behavior-change strategies. "

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

The primary concern at this point is to do what you can to make sure she engages only in *normal* egg-laying and not *excessive*.

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

And this is another article that I often share with the bird owners I see at my practice. It's not about excessive egg-laying, per se, but does a good job explaining how egg laying affects your bird. Here's the link...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the information. You have help me out a lot!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

With her being an only child, it's easy for her to transfer all of her feelings of attachment and bonding onto you. While this is only natural and essentially enriches the bond between the two of you, it's important to proceed with caution. Too much of a good thing can result if she starts to lay like crazy without rest.

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

So the important thing for you to keep in mind moving forward is a good understanding of how to avoid letting this behavior become excessive. In the meantime, enjoy the good news that what you've been seeing still falls on the spectrum of normal behavior.

I'm glad I could help.

If there isn't anything else I can help you with today, please take a moment to rate my response on your way out of the chat so I may receive credit for helping you today.

Thank you for using our website.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks again. I was rubbing her phone area I forget the term you used, where her eggs fall out. My veterinarian told me it's best to stop that. I will read the articles and do my best to stop this behavior.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will write you and thank you for helping.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

Thanks so much. I'm glad I could help. Have a great rest of the day.

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.

Just saw your previous reply... the area where the eggs fall out is called the "vent" or "cloaca". It's an all-purpose opening that allows urine and stool to exit the body, and also is the area that connects to another bird for sexual reproduction. While it's okay to be flattered that she loves you so much to have chosen you for a mate, it's important not to go too far in encouraging this notion, because it will eventually cause her a great deal of frustration.

The simplest thing you can do to discourage breeding behavior is to make sure her daylight periods are relatively short. She should get no more than 8-10 hours of daylight time. The rest of the time she should be covered and kept somewhere quiet and dark. This will help reset her internal clock to thinking it is no longer breeding season.

I hope that helps.

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Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.


Just checking in to ask how your bird is doing.

Thank you,

Dr. Jo

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

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