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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7621
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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Hi, I have an avian question that I have wondered about for

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Hi, I have an avian question that I have wondered about for years.... I like to keep finches, particularly goldfinches cause I love their singing. But I guess this applies to all birds. Will a hen always lay a clutch of eggs whether or not there is a male around? I guess the question is what triggers a hen to lay an egg? If there is a nest will they lay eggs with no male. If there is no male and no nest will they lay eggs on the cage floor? Thanks for helping me with this puzzling question.
-- It's one of the most popular questions out there. The answer is "Yes. Birds can and will lay eggs even without a male"

Of course the eggs will be infertile.

It's like chickens. They lay our breakfast eggs every day and in most cases there isn't a Rooster in sight.


As for where the hen lays the eggs, it depends on the particular hen's personality and even age.

One of my resident macaws would lay 1-2 eggs every year and carefully nurture them in a 'nest' at the cage bottom (baby blankets) for about a month before abandoning them.

As this bird got older and wiser she realized none of her eggs would ever hatch and in the last two years she's let them drop from her perch and break on the bottom of the cage.

I expect that she'll want to play 'mommy' sometime in the future and I'll look for the carefully laid egg on the cage floor for her to 'pretend' with for about 28 days.


One thing to monitor is a laying hen's food intake. Check here to see how to modify the diet of an egg layer and tips about how to curb egg laying altogether

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