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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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My 28 yo &G macaw once again wanting to engage in nesting

Customer Question

My 28 yo B&G macaw once again wanting to engage in nesting mode. Constantly pulling her tail and squealing (masturbating?), wanting to shred and nest, eating less, intensely needy. I am trying not to encourage this behavior; put in a grate keeping her from cage floor and papers, closing her in her cage when I'm not in room because she makes her way onto furniture and shreds fabric, and generally limit physical contact with her because it really encourages the nesting leading to egg laying (has happened 3 times over past 8 years). I feel I am not letting her do what she wants and needs to do. Should I just let her nest and lay eggs? Will she go back to normal after egg laying and I remove the eggs? What is normal? Do I need to give her up to a macaw rescue so that she can breed? I hand raised her, she believes I'm her mate. What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry that I have not gotten to your question until now. Thank you for requesting me.

First it would be very important to have a health check, as females between 25 and 35 are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and reproductive complications. It would be smart to rule out other issues that might be contributing. BG are susceptible to low thyroid levels, and those should be checked-- thyroid is a very important hormone in avian reproduction.

Several things may help, but nothing is going to work instantly and even if everything gets changed immediately, it may take 2 months to see a difference in her behavior. Make certain she has 14 hr of dark, quiet uninterrupted sleep at night. Photoperiod governs reproductive cycles.

Low fat diet of high quality pellets and veg. No nuts or seeds. High fat=estrogen=reproductive issues.

At last resort I will sometimes try a series of HCG injections; few side effects and safe, but doesn't always work depending on where they are in their cycle. But she has to have health check and lab work first. You could let her have a clutch, and generally 25-30 after the last one is laid they give up and go back to normal. Until the next cycle. But they can have complications and serious problems as well.

Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

She would be very sad and depressed if you gave her up, and from experience I can tell you that a macaw rescue is not going to allow breeding--or they certainly should not. She sees you as her mate, as you said, and it would be mean to give her up.

PS do not remove eggs. That just stimulates them to try again.