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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2808
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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My Quaker parrot laid an egg -definitely unfertilized-and is

Resolved Question:

My Quaker parrot laid an egg -definitely unfertilized-and is sitting on it. If I remove the egg, will that be "traumatic" for her? She's protective of the egg, but otherwise seems to be fine. Is there anything else I should do for her?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 7 years ago.
My name isXXXXX and I would be happy to help you with your question.

Even though it sounds like a simple question, it is actually quite complicated. The short story is that you should go ahead and remove this egg and anything resembling a nest that she could use for more.

It gets more complicated when you understand that chronic egg laying can become a serious medical problem for your bird, and we know that if she is allowed to lay her clutch and brood it, she will stop laying for the duration of the brooding time.

However, it is far more important that we break the hormonal cycle that is stimulating her to lay. That means you need to do the following things to start:

1. Be sure she is getting a 12-hour dark, quiet, night alone.
2. Avoid intense interaction with you, if you are her "mate".
3. Remove any objects used for masturbation.
4. Break up her routine with distracting activities. Start a new hobby for her.
5. Occupy her time and energy elsewhere. Make her have to "forage" for food, etc.

Those are a few ideas for you to get started with. As I said before, this can be a very complicated problem. We need to shut down her drive to breed to keep her healthy.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I found the link to this site on About.Com. The same page had the following statement on re: pet birds.
"If you have a female bird, nature requires her to lay an egg every now and then. In fact, if breeding age hens don't lay eggs regularly, they are at risk for egg binding, a potentially fatal health condition."

Obviously, I didn't take it at face value, because I still sent in my question. So, I'm not doubting your answer in the least. Just trying to balance the different positions. I didn't even know that Hoover was a female until this egg. Also, no nesting materials. She laid the egg in her food dish. I put a second dish in the cage yesterday, so that she'd eat. Should I not put the first one back after I remove the egg?

Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 7 years ago.
Wow! It's scary the amount of misinformation you can find on the internet. It seems like a typo to me, because it is hens who DO lay often that are at risk for egg binding, egg peritonitis and other problems. I am glad you asked.

Now, that's not to say that laying one clutch will be harmful to your bird. If it is in otherwise good health and on a good diet, your bird will be just fine. We just don't want this to become a habit. Some birds become "chronic egg layers" where the egg-laying behavior is excessive. This can be really difficult to manage. That's why it's better to trick our pet bird's hormonal systems into thinking that breeding season never comes.
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